Category Archives: Ask the Dentist

Ask the Dentist

Cold Sores

Q. What is a cold sore ?

A. A cold sore is a small, painful raised area of small, fluid filled blisters, usually where the lip joins the surrounding skin. The blisters are painful and dry up to make a yellow crust which gradually heals in a few days. Cold sores are usually found on the lip but you can get them in other places, such as in the nostrils, on the nose or arount the outside of the mouth. Cold sores last 5-7 days.

Q. How do i get cold sores ?

A. Cold sores are caused by a virus ( a ‘herpes simplex’ virus ). You first get this virus in childhood or early adulthood, and it may cause a fever and mouth ulcers (called ‘primary herpetic gingivestomatitis’ ).

Q. What brings on the cold sore ?

A. Cold sores ususlly appear when people are ill with comething else, for example with a cold ( hence the name ) Sunlight and ultra-violet light can often bring on an attack of cold sores, and occasionally women find that they develop cold sores at particular stages of their menstrual cycle.

Q. Can cold sores be treated

A. Yes. Antiviral creams, such as acyclovir and penciclovir, ease the pain and blistering and help the sores heal more quickly. You can buy acyclovir from a chemist, but penciclover has to be prescribed by your doctor. Both these creams should be applied as early as possible when the cold sore starts to develop and should

How Can I Stop Grinding my Teeth at Night?

Q. When i wake up in the morning my teeth are aching. I have broken a lot of fillings recently. My partner says I’m grinding my teeth at night. How can I stop grinding my teeth at night?

A. Many people suffer from headaches and migraine which are actually related to disorders in their sleep.

Many patients we see wake up in the morning with stiff muscles and headaches, sometimes difficulty opening and chewing properly.

Usually this is related to grinding at night and it can easily be corrected with the manufacture of bite guard appliance.

Q. I’m missing four front teeth and hate having to wear a denture to replace these. It is embarrassing when it moves while I eat and i dread it falling out when I’m out. W What are the alternatives to dentures?

What are the Alternatives to Dentures?

Q. I’m missing four front teeth and hate having to wear a denture to replace these. It is embarrassing when it moves while I eat and i dread it falling out when I’m out. What are the alternatives to dentures?

A. A denture is not a great long term replacement for missing teeth. It will increase the likelihood that you will lose further teeth and end up with a bigger problem.

The alternatives include bridge work or implants, both of which will give you back fixed teeth in the mouth.

Implants are superior because they mimic the lost teeth, and stimulate the bone similar to a natural tooth.

Is it Cheaper to See A Dentist in a Different Country?

Q. My sister went abroad recently and has come back with white teeth at half the cost of what it would have been here. Her dentist said her teeth weren’t suitable for crowns but the dentist abroad disagreed. Why shouldn’t I do the same when it’s cheaper to see a dentist in a different country?

A. Over the last few years the phenomenon of patients travelling abroad has become increasingly common. Magazines and newspapers now carry regular advertising for foreign dental services and also publish feature articles and accounts of patients who have availed of these services.

The attraction of so called ‘dental tourism’ appears to be the cost advantage, speed of treatment and the combination of some treatment with a holiday package. However’ as a relatively recent phenomenon’ we are not yet fully aware of THE LONG TERM prognosis for some of these treatments.

While some are carried out to an acceptable standard, unfortunately some are not. The reality is that huge amounts of dental treatment should be spread over months and sometimes even longer, not done over the curse of a few days.

The problem is that while your sister may have come back with white teeth, you must ask yourself why her dentist here didn’t recommend crowns in the long term Irish dentists may be reluctant to take responsibility for resolving problems resulting from treatment abroad as it is rarely a positive experience for the patient or the dentist.


Why Does My Breath Smell?

Q. I have been told there is a smell off my breath. I brush twice a day and use mouthwash so why does my breath smell?

A. The early symptoms of gum disease often go unnoticed, yet in its later stages it can cause teeth to become loose and even fall out. Your hygienist can help to bring gum disease under control, and will give help and advice on how to care for your teeth and gums, and how to avoid issues such as bad breath.

Seeing the dentist regularly is an essential part of preventive care too. They examine your mouth carefully for signs of any areas of concern, from decay and erosion to mouth cancer. By seeing them as often as is recommended, they can spot any issues at an early stage.

Will My Crowns Fade Over Time?

Q. I’ve asked my dentist to replace my old crowns as they have unsightly dark lines around them which I can see when I smile. When I first had them fitted, they were perfect. I’m worried the same thing will happen again. Will my crowns fade over time?

A. This dark line is usually the metal surface underneath the porcelain showing. This can be caused by a number of factors,including your oral hygiene around the crown,the amount of gum recession etc.

It’s best to discuss the situation beforehand with your dentist. Newer technology now means that sometimes all porcelain crowns can be used which look more lifelike.

Gap in Front Teeth

Gap in My Front Teeth

Q. I have a large gap between my front teeth. I’m getting married in two months time and need something done quickly. What is the best thing to do ?

A. Your dentist will best be able to advise you as each situation varies. Sometimes veneers or crowns are possible and a fantastic result can be achieved. However, to do this some natural tooth structure needs to be removed. Orthodontic treatment is usually the best way to move the teeth, but can take some time to achieve the desired result. your dentist will be delighted to explain the pros and cons of each treatment.

Do I need a Dental Implant

Do I Need a Dental Implant?

Q. My dentist advised me to replace a back tooth I had removed recently with a dental implant. I can’t see the missing tooth so do I need a dental implant?

A. You should replace missing teeth for a number of reasons. Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at either side.

A gap can also mean your “bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.

Will Whitening Damage My Teeth?

Will Whitening Damage My Teeth?

Q. Will whitening damage my teeth? They’re quite sensitive.

A. Whitening, if supervised by a professional is perfectly safe. There are different forms of whitening, some of which are more suited to some than others. If your teeth are already quite sensitive, this should be treated first,and will influence the type of whitening for which you are suitable. It is best to discuss which is best with your dentist.