Swords dentists

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Tooth Whitening

Tooth 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


Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

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.


What can the mouth tell us about your health?

What can the mouth tell us about your health?

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.




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 usually 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 018401001


Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist

An estimated 75% of Irish people suffer from some form of periodontal disease or gum disease.
The mouth can be a major source of chronic release of bacteria into the bloodstream, so your oral health also affects your general health.

– Studies have linked the presence of gum disease to:
– Heart Disease
– Diabetes
– Low birth weight and pre-term babies
– Stroke

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a dental professional, registered with the Irish Dental Council. They work alongside dentists to provide oral health care. They have training that specialises in the prevention and treatment of oral disease.

What to expect from a Dental Hygienist?

An initial exam?
Our Dental Hygienist will review your medical history. After an initial examination of your oral health and level of plaque control, some measurements are taken to diagnose and identify areas of gum disease (Periodontitis). We may take a full mouth x-ray to consider the bone levels around the teeth.

The main focus of a Dental Hygienist is to provide preventative education. We will discuss your current oral health and highlight any areas of concern; from this we can tailor a homecare regime specific to your needs. We will also discuss the best plaque control techniques and aids to use. Finally, we consider any diet or lifestyle factors which might impact on your oral health.

Our hygienist will suggest a treatment plan to meet your needs and discuss this with you prior to commencing treatment. To clean your teeth our hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaler, which combines high frequency vibrations and water spray to flush deposits from your teeth. Most patients tolerate this treatment comfortably. However if you are prone to sensitive teeth there are a number of measures we could take to make your teeth less sensitive e.g. applying a numbing gel. After scaling, your teeth will also be polished to remove any residual stains. This is done using a powered polishing hand piece, a bit like an electric toothbrush and a gritty polishing paste.

Protracted Periodontal Gum Treatment or Deep Cleaning
In certain cases, patients require a deeper cleaning to remove tartar from under the gum-line. We numb the area with a local anaesthetic and the area is then cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler and smoothed with hand scaling instruments.

Patients with little or no gum disease will only need one Dental Hygienist session with six-monthly maintenance visits. However patient’s with Periodontal disease treatment might need to attend as often as three-monthly to slow down and manage the progression of disease.

PRSI Subsidy towards your Dental Hygiene
Patients who are qualified on PRSI are entitled to a subsidy of 42 euros towards the cost of gum treatment. This benefit can be used once per calendar year. Gum treatment is also tax deductible at 20%. This is done through the Med 2 form which we can organise for you.

If you’d like to make an appointment with our Hygienist Charlotte Quinn, give us a call on 01 8401001


Smoking and gum disease

Smoking and gum disease

It is said that quitting smoking is harder than giving up heroin- so the odds aren’t great. Heroin is also bad for the teeth but I’m going to focus on the smoking. I’m sure there are lots of smokers out there who are fed up of being told what to do by condescending dentist types. However…while most people know about the links between smoking and cancer, heart disease, emphysema etc. I find that a surprising number of patients don’t know about the catastrophic effects of smoking on the gums. Numerous times over the course of a year I’m forced to extract the lower front teeth and fit a denture for people in their twenties and thirties directly because of it. I find this profoundly depressing- largely because the teeth are perfect but the gums and bone which are the foundations for the teeth have collapsed.
Losing your front teeth is hugely psychologically damaging to anybody, particularly young people. I remember doing it once for an older lady who was a heavy smoker and losing a lot of her front teeth. The denture looked much better than what was there previously but she cried for twenty minutes afterwards when I told her they were gone.
The facts: Periodontal disease is the most common reason for people losing their teeth. Its a complicated process but after poor oral hygiene, smoking is the major preventable risk factor. It happens when bacteria in the mouth attack the gum and underlying jaw bone. Periodontal disease can be treated but if the patient is still smoking the success of the treatment is greatly reduced. At the age of sixty-five 41% of smokers have lost all their teeth. Smokers are seven times more likely to have it than non-smokers.
Smoking causes the blood vessels in the gum to constrict. This reduces the oxygen and nutrient supply to the area. It also reduces the numbers of white blood cells and antibodies which are needed to fight infection. The number of periodontal disease linked bacteria can be up to eleven times higher in smokers than in the mouths’ of non-smokers. This rapidly increases the rate at which it progresses and explains the decreased chances of successful treatment.
Other than the gums, smoking causes increased rates of: oral cancer, bad breath, mouth sores, loss of taste, tooth staining and wrinkling. Memorably one of my patients who smokes descibed her mouth as being “like a cat’s arse” because of the cigarettes. Oral cancer in particular is a nightmare scenario with only a 40% 5-year survival rate.
Giving up smoking is something that I often speak to patients about. I find that it generally takes five attempts or more to actually give up for good. Often patients who have given up say the same thing:
I had to mentally accept that I was going to give up, no matter what, before I was able to do it. The next thing they say is: I wish I’d done it sooner.
The HSE have a website that might be worth a look if anyone’s intersted: www.quit.ie


Tel 01 8401001



A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth to strengthen it and improve its appearance.
Crowns are generally made from a reinforced porcelain material. They help to restore a tooth’s shape, size and strength and cover the entire part of the tooth that lies above the gum line.
Crowns can also be used to cover teeth whose appearance we want to improve. We can use them to redesign the shape and improve the symmetry of the front teeth.

Crowns are generally made over two visits. At the first appointment the tooth is prepared. Firstly, we numb the tooth. Then we take some impressions: these are molds of the teeth that set over a couple of minutes. The tooth has to be shaped to create the correct base for placing a crown on. This drilling phase takes about fifteen minutes. After some more impressions we place a temporary crown on the tooth with a weak cement.

This temporary will be similar to the original tooth and stays in place for about ten days. It is important not to put excessive pulling forces on the tooth at this stage. In this interim period the tooth can be sensitive, however this should settle soon after the permanent crown is fitted.

The second visit is much quicker. Generally we numb the tooth again. The temporary crown is removed and we cement the permanent crown. The permanent crown will match the shade and shape of the surrounding teeth.

Tel 01 8401001

Sedation for Dentistry

Swords Dental are delighted to be offering the option of conscious sedation for our patients.

Nervous Patients

Many people are a bit anxious about attending a dentist. For some people however, this fear is more pronounced and can be classified as a dental phobia. This is an intense, irrational fear of dentistry. It may be related to one specific procedure or to a more general fear of dentistry. This phobia can be triggered by a bad experience in childhood. Dental anxiety and phobia can lead to people delaying or avoiding the treatment that they need. Often the most difficult step in overcoming this fear is making the initial appointment for a chat and an assessment. The availability of relaxation techniques, modern anesthetics and sedation means that dentistry can be performed in a relaxed and pain free manner.


This involves the use of a tablet before treatment to help the patient to relax. It offers mild sedation. Sometimes patients take a tablet the night before the treatment to help them get a good nights sleep.

Nitrous Oxide

This is a safe and effective agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a special mouthpiece to help you to relax. The use of nitrous oxide or “happy air”induces a feeling of lightheadedness and is often accompanied by a feeling of warmth and tingling. It makes you feel calm and comfortable. The effects wear off once the sedation is finished. This is particularly suited to children and is the only available sedation for people under the age of 16. It also works well for mild to moderately anxious adult patients. We offer this particular service in our branch practice Balbriggan Dental Clinic,  but assessments for Nitrous Oxide treatment can be performed in Swords.

IV Sedation

This involves using a drug called midazolam to establish a strong level sedation. It allows us top perform a broad range of dental treatment. The relaxed state is often described as something between sleep and wakefulness. It leads to sense of detachment from the treatment. Most patients can’t remember much of the appointment afterwards. You are conscious through the appointment however and can respond to any requests. We carefully control the level of sedation to ensure the correct level is achieved.

Who carries out the sedation?

Dr Lyndsey McTavish BDS (UWCM), MFDS, RCPS (Glasg), Dip Clin Dent (TCD), Dip Con Sed. (TCD).

Lyndsey undertakes the sedation at Swords Dental.  Lyndsey completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Sedation at Dublin Dental Hospital in 2017. Lyndsey is particularly interested in helping nervous patients and is a member of the International Society of Dental Anxiety Management. Lyndsey enjoys treating children and has a young family of her own. Her friendly and relaxed approach will help make your visit to the dentist an easier experience.

If you’re interested in making an  assessment appointment for dental sedation or have any questions you can give us a call on 8401001.


Fissue sealing teeth.

Fissure Sealing teeth.

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.

We generally fissure seal the four first molar teeth at the back of the mouth which come at around age 6 so this is a good age to consider this procedure.

To make an appointment give us a call at  www.swords-dental.ie  on  01 8401001.

First visit to the dentist

First visit to the dentist:

Opinions vary on the recommended age for a first visit to a dentist. At Swords Dental  we recommend parents bring their child along for their first visit before the age of three. Before this, I also encourage parents to bring their child along when having their own routine check-ups or with their older siblings. This helps to normalise the experience, so the child knows what to expect and lets me have a quick look to screen for any problems.

It is very important to see the child’s teeth before the adult teeth start to erupt around 6. If there is decay in the baby teeth before this age we need to consider any changes that should be made to reduce sugar in the diet. It is also worth planning to fissure seal the adult first molar teeth, to protect them,  if this is the case.

A first dental visit should fun. Tell the child that they will get a ride in the magic chair and that they will have their teeth counted. Bringing a favourite soft toy along can be very helpful. I often examine a teddy or dolls mouth first before I look at the child’s. Seeing what will happen beforehand can help the child prepare them for  what is involved. Sitting on a parent’s knee can also help relax a nervous child.

It is important to be as positive as you can in advance of the visit. There are several books about visiting the dentist that can also be helpful. We have copies of ‘Topsy and Tim Go to the Dentist’ in the waiting room. The first visit to the dentist episode of Peppa pig is also mentioned on a regular basis. Giving young children an idea of what’s to come helps to reduce any anxiety that they may have. We give young children stickers at the end of the appointment to reinforce that the appointment has been a positive experience.

I am happy to see most children once a year for a check-up unless there is a specific problem or issue that needs urgent attention.


Tel 01 8401001