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Dental Emergencies

Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. At Swords Dental we always try to fit in appointments for patients who have urgent problems.

Question: What do I do if I knock out my tooth?
Answer: For a knocked-out adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums or in milk. Then, get to your dentist’s office right away.

Q: What if I crack my tooth?
A: For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Q: If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?
A: If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Q: How do I treat a toothache?
A: For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.

Q: What if I think my jaw is broken?
A: If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.

Q: How do I remove an object that’s stuck in my mouth or teeth?
A: For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Q: How can I avoid a dental emergency?
A: There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:

Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports.
Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard sweets, all of which can crack a tooth.
Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.

If you have an emergency and need to see a dentist you can give Swords Dental a call on 01 8401001. We are open on Saturdays and have early morning and evening appointments: www.swords-dental.ie

Dental Implants

Dental implants

Durable, long-lasting and natural in their appearance, dental implants are the most modern method of replacing missing teeth.

The procedure involves fitting an implant which is made of Titanium, into the bone of the jaw. It is important that we have enough bone in the area and that this bone is of good quality. If this is not the case, a procedure called bone augmentation can be used, to help build up the bone levels prior to the implant procedure.

We then allow time for the bone to heal and grow in around the implant. The implant can now hold a single false tooth, called an implant crown in place. This is generally the best way of replacing a missing tooth. Implants can also be used to hold multiple false teeth (an implant bridge) or to fix a full denture in place. An implant supported denture has advantages over a standard denture in that it can greatly increase the biting force. Also it won’t cover the roof of the mouth in the way that a traditional denture would.

Procedure time will depend on how many implants you’re having. It’s possible to have several implants fitted in the same procedure.

Dental implants are usually fitted under local anaesthesia. If you’re feeling nervous about the procedure we can arrange for you to have some sedation. Both nitrous oxide and intravenous sedation options are available.

At Swords Dental our implants are fitted by our specialist oral surgeon Dr Eimear McHugh. If you’re interested in making an appointment to discuss implants or for an implant assessment give us a call on 01 8401001.

www.swords-dental.ie

Toothbrushing

TOOTHBRUSHING

This is a very easy thing to do yet we are all busy rushing around that we tend to miss the same surfaces all the time.

Top tip!

SLOW DOWN

It takes a good 3 minutes to brush your teeth properly, it is important to do this at least twice a day, morning and night.
Some tips to help maintain a happy and healthy mouth:
1. Use a small head with soft to medium texture made of nylon , germs are small!.
2. Use a pea size amount of toothpaste.
3. Angle the toothbrush at approximately 45 degree and make contact with the tooth and gumline.
4. Gently using circular motions and massage the gums.
5. Place the brush over the biting surfaces of the teeth brush in an over and back motion.
6. Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months.
If you see bleeding it is a sign of gum disease.

Gingivitis is a word you might hear at your dentist this when the gums around the teeth become red, inflammed and swollen. Bad breath can occur.
This is curable. Bleeding is the first sign. Bleeding is not good so do not ignore it.

Another word you might hear is Periodontal disease, this is irreversible which means damage is permanent. The bone levels get damaged, treatment can only maintain the bone that is undamaged.

Generally there is no pain is associated with gum disease so it can sometime come as a shock to patients.

It is therefore so important to get regular checkups with your dentist and hygienist.
Paula Cavanagh Dental Hygienist at Swords Dental  Tel 8401001

What health problems can dentists spot?

Regular dental care is critical to the overall health of your gums and teeth. What you may not know is that we can also spot signs of non-dental medical issues in your mouth during an exam. Some of the diseases and conditions that show signs within your mouth include diabetes, infections, oral cancer, HIV, stress, poor nutrition, and osteoporosis.

Diabetes

A few of the signs that can indicate a diagnosis of diabetes include loose teeth, dry mouth, and receding, dry, and bleeding gums. Poor immunity and an inability to fight disease effectively also make it much more difficult for wounds and gum infections to heal in diabetic patients. Bleeding gums don’t always mean that you have diabetes. This problem can also come from gingivitis and other gum diseases. However, these early warning signs might lead us to encourage you to visit your doctor for a blood sugar check.

Infections

If we see any troubling signs of infection in your mouth, we can prescribe some antibiotics to fight the problem. Signs of infection include severe pain, swelling, redness around the affected area, a surface that feels hot to the touch, fevers, and drainage from the wound or tooth. Infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs and heart, so it’s critical to treat it urgently.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth-most common type of cancer, with more than 30,000 new cases being reported each year. When you visit a dentist twice a year, we can look for signs of this disease. Most cases appear as red and white lesions on the floor of your mouth, palate, lip or the tongue. Risk factors that increase the chances of oral cancer include heavy alcohol use, smoking, and exposure to HPV (the human papillomavirus), which also causes cervical cancer. We perform an oral cancer screening at each check up.

HIV

Some oral conditions may indicate that a patient is suffering from HIV. In children, patients might have salivary gland swelling, which can result in a dry mouth. Children infected with HIV are often more prone to oral lesions and viruses. Adults with HIV might exhibit signs like oral warts, lesions, white, red, purple, or brown spots on the tongue or in the mouth, and other infections.

According to some studies severe gum problems occur in up to 5 percent of HIV-positive adult patients.

These symptoms alone don’t necessarily mean that you have HIV, although a these signs might lead us to recommend seeing your doctor for a blood test. Anyone engaging in risky behaviours should be tested for HIV regularly.

Stress

When you are stressed, your body may respond in ways that affect your mouth. One of the most common physical manifestations of stress is grinding your teeth. You might grind them when you’re feeling stressed, or commonly it happens when you’re asleep.

Grinding your teeth can do serious damage, so we often make night guards to protect against this. It’s also worth considering ways to reduce your stress levels.

Poor Nutrition

Patients suffering from eating disorders or getting poor nutrition also show signs in their mouths. Most people who suffer from bulimia will do everything they can to hide it from others, but it’s hard to hide it from your dentist. We look for signs such as dry mouth, bleeding gums, and erosion on the insides of the front teeth. Stomach acid is erosive to the enamel that covers your teeth, so forced vomiting can wear away that protective enamel and cause increased sensitivity. Morning sickness during pregnancy or acid reflux can cause similar problems.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is especially common in post-menopausal women, although this weakening of the bones can happen to anyone. We look for signs like loose teeth or receding gum line, which can indicate changes in the bone that supports your teeth. These signs, especially in a patient at higher risk for osteoporosis, will often lead us to refer you back to your doctor for a bone density test.

Keeping up with regular dental appointments has a number of advantages. We can watch for changes in your mouth, some of which can indicate more serious problems. Catching problems early enables you to have treatment earlier and leads to a more successful outcome.

www.swords-denral.ie

Bad Breath

Bad Breath is a common condition that can cause much embarrassment. About 90% of the time the mouth is the source of this problem. The good news is that by taking a few simple steps, to improve oral health, it can often be resolved.

There are a number of possible risk factors that can contribute to bad breath.
Smoking: As well as inducing halitosis smoking can also stain the teeth, induce gum disease and is catastrophic for general health.
Dry Mouth: Saliva is important help clean the mouth and prevent bad breath. It can be caused as a side effect to many common medicines. It is important to clean the teeth before going to bed as salivary rates fall during the night.
Food: Certain foods such as garlic and onions can affect the breath.
Health Problems: Sometimes these can have an effect. Diabetes, , Sinus problems, Liver, Kidney or Gastric problems have all been shown to contribute to bad breath. If the more common causes have been excluded we often advise the parent to follow up with their GP to look into these areas.

It is important to start by improving the overall health of the mouth. This will include brushing twice a day (including the top part of the tongue) for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing on a daily basis. Regular trips to the dentist or Hygienist will help improve the health of the mouth. Dentures should be left out at night. Stop smoking: www.quit.ie have a range of support material to help with this.
Mouthwashes that contain Chlorhexidine e.g Corsodyl should help but be careful about using them on a long-term basis as they can stain the teeth. CB 12 is a new mouthwash specifically aimed at helping with this proble.

www.swords-dental.ie

Is Chocolate Bad for your Teeth?

The answer is maybe not as bad as you might think. Studies have suggested that eating chocolate on a daily basis over years can actually improve your overall brain function. The  The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study  was conducted observing 968 participants over an 18-year period and the results indicated higher scores on various cognition tests in participants who consumed chocolate on a daily basis. Having said that the devil is in the detail…

Milk chocolate, such as Cadburys,  is probably one of the most popular and widely consumed types of chocolate. Unfortunately, it contains more sugar than dark chocolate. It is made from a combination of cocoa, powdered milk, and sugar. The breakdown is usually 20-30% real cocoa, with the balance consisting of sugar and powdered milk. The higher sugar content that is contained in milk chocolate can cause tooth decay more so than dark, raw, or organic chocolate.

Dark chocolate is by far the better choice when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy and cavity free. There are some studies that even suggest that it can actually inhibit cavity formation. Chocolate is made up of over 300 compounds and is a highly complex substance. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols. These chemicals can help fight the overgrowth of bacteria and other organisms in the mouth. They can neutralise organisms that cause bad breath and they can prevent some sugars form turning into acid, which can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities.

Dark chocolate contains Flavonoids which have been shown to slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants. These are beneficial to overall health in many ways but when it comes to oral health, having higher levels in your saliva helps fight gum disease. It is made up of around 70% cocoa and only 30% powdered milk and sugar. This drastically reduces the negative effect that it could have on tooth enamel when compared to milk chocolate.

When we consume sugar, bacteria in the mouth break it down and produce acid which attacks the tooth enamel.  However, decay can be prevented by cutting down on your sugar intake, watching what types of foods you eat, both sweet and savory, and ensuring that you are brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis. It also helps to visit your dentist two times per year to identify oral problems early and remove plaque and tartar buildup.

As with everything in life remember that moderation is the key!

www.swords-dental.ie

Fissure Sealants

Fissure Sealants

The adult first permanent molar teeth tend to come into the mouth at just six years old. This is a critical period for protecting them because the diet between 6-12 tends to have higher levels of sugar. We often find that when people need to have more extensive dental treatment later in life, e.g root canal treatments or crowns, it can be linked back to damage that started soon after these particular teeth erupted in to the mouth.

We can protect the molar teeth from decay by putting a white plastic coating on the tooth soon after it comes into the mouth, called a fissure sealant. The coating plugs the natural depressions and grooves on the tooth’s biting surface called pits and fissures. This helps to protect the teeth from acid attack after eating sugar (dental decay). This procedure is a particularly good idea if there has been any problems with decay in the baby teeth or if the molar teeth have deep grooves.

The procedure is very straightforward- we dry the tooth, place a conditioning agent on it which we then wash off soon after and then apply the sealant and shine the curing light on the area to set it. Placing fissure sealants is a very straight forward and painless process and can often help to boost the child’s confidence if they are nervous about visiting the dentist. Sealants can also be placed by Dental Hygienists.
To make an appointment give us a call at www.swords-dental.ie on 8401001.

 

Teeth Whitening

 

 

 

At Swords Dental, we use a tray system for all our tooth whitening cases. This involves taking impressions of the teeth at an initial appointment and demonstrating the whitening process a few days later. Whitening gel is placed in the trays. The trays are worn overnight or for a period of 2-3 hours in the evening time. Generally we require about 3 weeks for this process to ensure a good long term result.

It is important that we do a thorough examination of the teeth and gums prior to starting to ensure you are suitable for whitening. If there are white fillings, crowns or dentures towards the front of the mouth this is significant as they will not change shade and we may need to consider replacing them afterwards.

Whitening the teeth can make them slightly sensitive during the process. This will settle soon after we finish. If sensitivity is an issue it might be worth using the trays on alternate days over a longer period. This will still ensure the same result but reduce the sensitivity.

The ‘in chair’ method of whitening involves the use of much stronger whitening agents, which are likely to cause increased sensitivity. This process is also likely to contravene the EU directive (2012) banning whitening agents containing over 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. The other major drawback of in-chair whitening is that to top up the whitening effect the procedure has to be repeated, which makes it far more expensive long-term. The trays we make can be reused in the future and typically only a small amount of whitening gel is needed to achieve this at minimal additional cost.

Whitening is a great way of producing a dramatic improvement in tooth appearance and smile without doing a lot of dentistry. We have very high levels of patient satisfaction with this procedure.

 

To make an appointment, call us on 018401001

www.swords-dental.ie

Sensitive teeth (Dentine Hypersensitivity)

This is an extremely common condition that affects about 15% of the population. Is is characterised by short, sharp pain from areas of exposed dentine. This is where the the enamel has been worn away or areas of exposed root which would normally be covered by the gum. The pain can be stimulated by a range of factors including cold, heat, touch and acid. The problem is often associated with areas of gum recession but can also be triggered by tooth grinding or cracked teeth. These areas may be caused by gum disease or brushing with excessive force. The pain itself is thought to be caused by the movement of fluid in the dentine tubules which sets off the nerve endings in the pulp.

Can it be prevented?

It is important to eliminate any risk factors:

Brushing with excessive force or with a hard bristled brush
Exposure to acidic agents in the diet or from vomiting or gastric reflux.
Effectively treating gum disease.
Using a soft brush with a standard toothpaste two hours after exposure to any acidic agents helps reduce loss of enamel. A detailed dietary history will help to identify problem areas such as : fizzy drinks, wine, yogurts, citrus fruits and smoothies. Conditions such as gastric reflux and eating disorders should be addressed by a doctor.

How to treat Dentine Hypersensitivity?

Sensitivity toothpastes such as Sensodyne and Colgate Sensitivity contain Potassium salts, Fluoride and Strontium which help block the tubules and reduce sensitivity. These toothpastes can offer good shoes term relief. They can be applied topically to treat acute episodes of pain. It is important not to rinse after using them. I sensitivity persists more than a month it is worth attending a dentist to have a topical gel placed on the areas. These can offer longer lasting relief.

www.swords-dental.ie

Which toothpaste to use?

Which toothpaste should you use?

The basic answer is that most of the popular toothpastes are very similar. Fluoride is the key ingredient, which strengthens the enamel and helps remineralise areas damaged by tooth decay. Avoid fluoride free toothpaste e.g Euthymol – the burning sensation does not make it more effective, its just the type of flavoring agent that’s used (the same can be said about most mouthwashes).

Colgate Total and Oral B Pro-expert are good general toothpastes which most dentists and hygienists recommend.

Sensitivity toothpastes e.g Sensodyne and Colgate Pro-Relief are good options if you have a sensitivity problem. This is often caused by areas of gum recession. Standard toothpaste options are better if you don’t suffer from sensitivity.

Care should be taken with whitening toothpastes, many are very abrasive and can cause damage longterm to the enamel coating covering your teeth. Dr Lyndsey McTavish recommends Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening or Kin Whitening Toothpaste for people looking to minimise stains.

Pronamel toothpaste is designed for use on teeth that are at risk from acid erosion (wearing away of the outer layer by acid in food and drinks).

Duraphat toothpaste can be used for patients with high rates of decay, it has a much increased fluoride content but is only available by prescription from a dentist.

For patients with Dry mouth (xerostomia) Again there are lots of brands but I find that Biotene, BioXtra and Curaprox enzycal toothpaste are great options.

Paula Cavanagh our hygienist recommends Colgate total for mild gum disease along with Kin products such as perio kin gel, Corsodyl products and some Curasept products. Please be aware that apart for the Colgate total the other products are not for long-term use and patients are all treated on an individual basis when recommending these products.

www.swords-dental.ie Tel 8401001