Our Patients' Questions Answered

Question Answer
I worry about my Childs’ teeth…

From your childs’ first milk tooth to the visits from the tooth fairy to the development of adult teeth and wisdom teeth, there are some good habits that can be developed which can help your child to avoid oral health problems.  Here are some summary guidelines (more detail in the FAQ section) …

Establishing good habits can help your child avoid oral health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.  You can help them enjoy trouble free teeth for life and

  • Start a brushing routine as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through.
  • Change your Childs’ toothbrush regularly.  Best practice would be to change your toothbrush every three months.
  • We recommend a toothbrush with a small head and ultra-soft bristles.  Consider Eco Friendly toothbrushes.
  • Visit Vard Dental so that your child becomes familiar with our environment and gets to know us.  Dr. David can identify any oral health problems at an early stage.  Just opening the child’s mouth for the dentist to look is a useful practise.
  • From around the age of 7, encourage your child to brush their own teeth.  Keep an eye on their brushing to ensure they are bushing properly (more details in FAQ section).
  • Consider Fissure Seals for your Childs’ teeth as they give teeth an extra layer of defence.
  • Sport enthusiasts – a sports mouth guard should be considered for children who engage in contact sports.

Call us on (01) 2855 841 for an appointment and we can discuss your specific concerns.

Why do my gums bleed?

Bleeding gums can be a sign that you are at risk of, or already have gum disease.  Make an appointment with Vard Dental so that we can examine your teeth and gums and provide you with an oral care plan.

Bleeding, redness, and painful or sore gums are symptoms of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) that arises due to several different causes and may occur during brushing or flossing. The soreness can be accompanied by swelling of the gum tissues. Most commonly, gingivitis is the result of plaque build-up on the teeth around the gum line. Without adequate removal, the plaque hardens to become tartar, which worsens gingivitis and can, over time, lead to receding gums and even damage the bones of the jaws.

Vard Dental can provide you with a treatment or oral care plan for you to follow, which will relieve the symptoms of gingivitis, and, through regular follow ups to remove plaque, should remove the re-occurrence of bleeding completely.

Gingivitis can be reversed by your thorough removal of plaque daily and regular professional cleaning. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.

I’m unhappy with my teeth

Everyone is unique and everyone can have a different reason for being happy or unhappy with their teeth.

Come in and talk to Vard Dental about your teeth and we can help you to get and remain happy with your teeth or at least, to help you be happier with your teeth.

Read on to hear about some of the treatments which have helped others to be happier with their teeth…

  • “Bridge the gap” – there are a number of different ways to “bridge the gap”. They include restoring a tooth, to providing a denture, to building up the teeth. Call for an appointment so that we can discuss the best approach for you….
  • Stop the wear and tear of grinding – We can provide you with a night splint (sometimes called a mouth guard) which will reduce the wearing of teeth from grinding.
  • Repair the wear and tear of grinding – There are several different restorative treatments which you can elect to have e.g. cosmetic bonding.
  • Whiten your teeth – We can provide you with a whitening kit.  A whitening kit consists of a custom-made tray, which is unique to you, together with whitening gel. Dentists (along with anyone registered with the Dental council) are the only approved providers of whitening kits and in line with providing excellent customer service; Vard Dental will provide you with a whitening kit, information and advice which provides you with the tools to whiten your teeth to a level that you want to maintain.

We love unique teeth. If your oral health is good and your teeth function for you, they get the Thumbs Up from us. We know that sometimes you might want a few changes so talk to us.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

We recommend you replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if the toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes. When in doubt, look at the bristles, if they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly and frayed bristles are a good sign that it’s time to replace.

What sort of toothbrush should I use?

There are two main styles of toothbrushes.   A manual with a plastic handle or an eco-friendly handle and the other main style is an electric toothbrush.

A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums. Consider being eco aware within your dental care by using a toothbrush with a compostable handle rather than a plastic handle. Ask Vard Dental for more details on Eco Friendly Toothbrushes.

An electric toothbrush requires charging and might be a bit more cumbersome to take along when travelling.   However, the rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you don’t brush too hard and that you brush for the length of time recommended by dentists.

I think my breath smells bad

Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, is a common problem. Bad breath is usually preventable. If any of the following factors are contributing to your halitosis, Vard Dental can identify them and work with you on a treatment or oral care plan: poor oral hygiene; gum disease; tooth decay; mouth infections.

Is now the right time to restore my broken tooth?

YES – the right time is now! Or at least come in to Vard Dental and let us examine your broken tooth and talk with you about the restoration option that you can choose e.g. Fillings (either silver or white), Composite veneers, which is commonly known as bonding, Porcelain veneers or Crowns. An examination which, will include an xRay, will allow us to identify if a root treatment or an implant is required.

Do the children need sports guards?

It’s always a good idea to protect your Childrens’ growing teeth through encouraging them to use a sports guard while participating in sports. You can choose to make the sports guard more interesting and fun through getting us to introduce colour to the sports guard.

Should I use a night splint?

A night splint is a good idea if you are grinding your teeth. It can prevent further wear and tear of your teeth and it can also protect any restorative work which you decide to get us to do for you.

If you have damage from grinding, consider restoring your teeth by availing of our bonding service.

Family Visits

Here at Vard Dental we welcome family visits. The well-used adage comes to mind – ‘Prevention is better than cure’. We encourage parents to bring their children into us for a visit from around the age of three or earlier if you have any concerns.

Watch out for our regular promotions which have included:

❤ Children under 6 having a free check-up once a year

❤ 8-16 years having a half price check up

❤ Youths have had half price check-ups with an oral hygiene clean and plenty of advice

❤ Students have been able to avail of half price check-ups and cleans

See the delight when we, with parents’ consent, give treat bags or enter Youths into a draw for a One for All voucher.

Treat Bags include:

❤ A Daily Tooth Brushing Star chart

❤ Information on sugar content of treats regularly given to children

❤ Top Tips for Healthy Teeth

❤ Crayons, colouring pages, selection of novelty play items

What do you mean by Eco Aware Your Dental Care?

We are all raising our awareness that “There is no Planet B”. In the same way as we gradually created our environment problems, we can gradually do something about it. Within Vard Dental we are building up our own awareness of being eco-friendlier within our dental practice and have made several changes. We embrace continual change and will continue to make our practice as eco-friendly as possible.

We are also identifying eco-friendly ways which our patients might want to embrace into their own daily oral health care routines. Our suggested changes are aimed at improving our ways of recycling, reusing, reducing or composting materials that we use within our oral health care routines. We publish suggestions regularly on our social media platforms.

What should I be interested in your social media platforms?

Our social media platforms are for our patients and potential patients to connect and engage with us.

We aim to ensure our social media platforms represent our values and patient centric approach to oral health care.   Our local communities can connect and engage with us through these platforms which we try to make interesting, informative, educational and fun.

Follow us on social media and you will have access to:

❤ Oral hygiene tips regularly.

❤ Keep up to date on our Community Fund. To date funds have gone to SVP, Pieta House, Lakers Bray, Local Football Club.

❤ Suggestions on How to Eco Aware Your Dental Care;

❤ Information on all our Services (general and cosmetic);

❤ Friday joke (they are great but that really depends on your sense of humour!);

❤ Fun Family Facts about Teeth;

❤ Team & Practice Update;

❤ Daily Journeys e.g. 30 consecutive days on flossing; 8 consecutive days on oral hygiene and pregnancy;

❤ Promotions, Raffles & Competitions (Prizes have included teeth Whitening Services, Electric Toothbrushes, Vouchers, Cinema Tickets)

❤ Industry Trends, Statistics and Information e.g. dental treatment benefits

Our Facebook page is Vard Dental – Love Your Teeth

Our Instagram page is Vard_Dental

Our Twitter page is Vard_Dental

We are also on Google My Business.

Support our mantra that Visiting us “Twice a Year is Best” by following and engaging with us on whichever social media platform suits your ways.

How often should I visit my dentist?

We say, “Twice a Year is Best”.

Vard Dental will recommend when you should have your next check-up which will be based on your requirements. Perhaps you’ve lapsed a bit with your oral hygiene routine which might mean that you need to visit us more regularly than 6 months until we get on top of an issue or repair damages and then you go on the 6 monthly maintenance routine.

The time between check-ups can vary from three months to 12 months depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are and your risk of future problems.

After your check-up, we will recommend a date for your next visit. Generally, the lower your risk of dental problems, the longer you can wait before your next check-up. So, people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 6 to 12 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more often.

A lot of our patients choose to have their check-ups on a scheduled regular basis in line with the thinking that prevention is better than cure.

What treatment is available under the PRSI Scheme?

Under the PRSI scheme patients are entitled to a dental examination free of charge each year and a Hygiene Clean for €15 once a year.

How will I know if I qualify for dental treatments under the PRSI scheme?

Phone us (01) 285 5841. We can check online while you are on the phone. All we will need is your PRSI number and you Date of Birth. When we key in those details into the Social Welfare Online system, we will get back a result of either Qualified or Pending. Qualified means you are entitled to immediately avail of your benefits while Pending usually means that there is some information which social welfare require or perhaps you don’t qualify as you don’t have enough PRSI “weeks”. Social Welfare will write out to you requesting information or explaining why you don’t qualify.

What treatment is available under the Medical Scheme?

Under the Medical card system patients are entitled to a dental check-up, 2 fillings and any number of extractions per calendar year. We can also apply to the HSE for approval to provide you with dentures. Youths, 16 and over are entitled to the same benefits as adults. Additional care is considered for exceptional/high risk cases such as: Special Needs Patients; Hepatitis C Patients (with a R Card); Haemophiliacs; Oral Cancer Patients; Complex Cardiac conditions; Cancer Patients under active treatment; Some neurological Disorders; Type 1 & 11 Diabetes; Some dental or social vulnerabilities.

Could I qualify for both PRSI benefits and use the benefits of my medical card?

Yes, absolutely you can. To note though, that you will only be entitled to one check-up per year alongside the rest of the benefits available under the medical card scheme, and your clean under the PRSI Dental Treatment Benefits scheme for 15€.

What dental treatment are children entitled to?

The HSE operates the Schools Screening Services which aims to screen children in Second, Fourth and Sixth Class. Unfortunately, due to restrictions in the public service, these target classes are not always reached.

What are the different parts of a tooth?

Crown: The top part of the tooth and the only part you can normally see. The shape of the crown determines the tooth’s function.

Gum line: where the crown and the gums meet. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up in the gum line.

Root: the part of the tooth that is embedded in bone. The root usually makes up two-thirds of the tooth and holds the tooth in place.

Enamel: the outermost layer of the tooth. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, yet it can be damaged by decay.

Dentine: the layer of the tooth under the enamel.

Pulp: the soft tissue found in the centre of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are. Pain usually occurs if tooth decay reaches the pulp (gone through dentine).

What are the different types of teeth?

Every tooth has a specific job or function…

Incisors: the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth used for cutting food (four upper and four lower).

Canines: also called cuspids. These teeth are shaped like points and are used for tearing food.

Premolars: also called bicuspids. They have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are used for crushing and tearing food.

Molars: used for grinding and have several cusps on the biting surface.

Why do I need a dental check-up?

A Vard Dental check-up aims to help you keep all parts of your mouth healthy. It will allow us to see if you have any dental problems. Leaving problems untreated could make them more difficult to treat in the future, so it’s best to deal with problems early, or, if possible, prevent them altogether. Read “What happens during our dental check-up for more info.

What happens during a dental check-up?

At each check-up, Vard Dental will:

  • Examine your teeth, gums and mouth which may include x-rays.
  • Conduct an oral cancer check.
  • Ask about your general health and any problems you’ve had with your teeth, mouth or gums since your last visit.
  • Ask about, and where appropriate provide advice on healthy habits or identify habits which may be causing oral health problems e.g. smoking.
  • Identify any potential problems which may be starting and suggest appropriate treatments e.g. tooth decay.
  • Identify the root cause of any pain or problem which you may be experiencing and suggest appropriate treatments e.g. an untreated cavity.
  • Listen to your concerns about your teeth e.g. you might want to restore a chipped tooth.
  • Provide you with an overall treatment plan which will address both the immediate issues, treat potential problems and outline treatment which can help to restore your teeth.
  • Provide advice on your teeth-cleaning habits.
  • Discuss with you a date for your next visit.
Why do dentists need to know about my general health?

It is generally accepted that there is a link between general health and oral health and hence our interest in your overall health. Conditions e.g. diabetes can have serious implications on your oral health and could be the cause of oral health problems that you are experiencing.

We are also interested in hearing about any medication you are taking and will ask about allergies. We want to ensure that any treatments we suggest will synergise with your medication.

Should I tell my dentist if I’m pregnant?

Being pregnant will not prevent you from having dental treatment carried out, but at Vard Dental we prefer to know so that you can choose to have or defer any elective procedures (procedures that are not necessary) until post pregnancy. While experts agree that x-rays may be taken, where necessary e.g. in the case of an emergency, the taking of dental xRays is also best avoided.

Another reason to tell us if you are pregnant has to do with changes which may occur in the mouth due to your pregnancy. Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by the hormonal changes that increase the blood flow to the gum tissue and cause your gums to be more sensitive, irritable, and swollen. So, don’t hesitate to come on into us and share with us and we will help you to manage the gingivitis.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a soft sticky, bacteria-laden substance which is normally white and hence is difficult to see. During your Vard Dental check-up, we will advise you if you have a plaque build-up and give you information about how to floss and brush to avoid plaque building up again. If plaque is not removed it will harden into tartar (also known as calculus). While plague and tartar are removed during a check-up it is best to visit our dental hygienist twice a year for thorough removal of plaque and tartar.

Why is plaque / tartar harmful?

If plaque is not removed it can lead to gum disease, a cavity or cavities. Plaque bacteria on the tooth surface continually attract bacteria and create an unhealthy environment of a diverse population of bacteria and their by-products. Plaque bacteria react with sugars and starches to create acid which attacks the tooth enamel. Weakening the tooth enamel is the start of tooth decay and creates cavities.

Why should teeth whitening be carried out only by a dentist?

Only dentists can offer teeth whitening using peroxide. Teeth whitening are perfectly safe when carried out by a dentist. Based on a thorough examination of your mouth, and knowledge of your oral health, Vard Dental will discuss your whitening options and the results that you can expect to achieve.

It is generally accepted, within the dental industry, that the most effective and predictable teeth whitening results for surface stains are achieved by using the tray system. If your stains are more internal to the tooth making them more likely to be difficult to treat, we will advise you.

Why should I floss?

Flossing gets in between the teeth. Normal brushing doesn’t clean in between the teeth completely. It is important to carry out flossing at least once a day.

Vard Dental will demonstrate flossing to you. There are different types of floss (waxed / unwaxed).

Interdental brushes of different sizes can be used.

❤ Eco Aware: Small interdental brushes are available with bamboo handles. Bamboo handles are biodegradable, sustainable and reusable. You can also get biodegradable floss which will be clearly marked on the packaging.

What is the correct way to brush my teeth?

At Vard Dental, we recommend that you brush 2 minutes twice a day with toothpaste.

  • Use a soft or medium toothbrush with a small head.  Using a small head will help you to reach into all areas of the mouth
  • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle along the gum line
  • Use gentle circular movements observing where the bristles are brushing.  Aim to get the bristles of the toothbrush in between your teeth
  • Clean all teeth surfaces – outside, inside, top of teeth and along the gum line
  • Vard Dental also encourages you to brush the top of your tongue and inside your cheeks gently
  • If your gums bleed, don’t stop brushing.  Bleeding gums may be the first sign of gum disease and thorough brushing can help reverse this.  If bleeding persists, you should get in touch with us so that we can diagnose and treat the root cause of the problem.

❤ Eco Aware: Consider using a bamboo handled toothbrush that is biodegradable. Ask Vard Dental for more information on biodegradable toothbrushes.

What is a cavity or cavities or tooth decay?

Cavity or cavities is another name for tooth decay.   Tooth decay is caused by sugars which generate acids that attach to the dental enamel causing damage and erosion which eventually destroys the tooth.

A cavity or cavities may be several different colours from yellow / brown to black. Symptoms may include pain and difficulty with eating. Complications may include inflammation of the tissue around the tooth, tooth loss, and infection or abscess formation.

There are three main types of cavities:

  • Coronal cavities are usually found on chewing surfaces or between the teeth
  • Root cavities occur on the exposed part of tooth roots
  • Recurrent cavities are decay which can form around existing fillings and crowns

Cavities should not be left untreated as they can destroy your tooth which in turn can kill the nerves at the center of the tooth, leading to an abscess, which can only be treated by extracting the tooth or having a root canal treatment.

How will I know if I have a cavity or tooth decay?

A cavity or cavities, also known as tooth decay, is very difficult to see as it occurs below the surface of the tooth. The best way to diagnose tooth decay or cavities is by having an oral examination. Vard Dental will examine your teeth for tooth decay and cavities and propose treatments depending on the severity of the decay.

Cavities should not be left untreated.

What will I do – I’ve lost or broken a filling in my tooth?

Call us on (01) 2855 841 or click here to book an appointment

It’s important to visit us as soon as possible.  We will advise you on the most appropriate treatment to repair the filling.

There are many reasons why teeth/fillings chip or break including biting down suddenly on something hard such as a hard boiled sweet. Symptoms can vary from none to sensitivity to hot and cold or tenderness on chewing. A lost filling will always feel much bigger to the tongue.

Before your visit to the dentist……

  • If you are having sensitivity try avoiding eating or drinking in that area, similarly if it is painful on biting.
  • Rubbing a toothpaste designed for sensitivity on the impacted area can help with the sensitivity.
My child has knocked out a front tooth. Help what should I do?

Pick the tooth up by the crown (the part visible in the mouth normally) – do not touch the root.  Rinse the tooth briefly under cold water to dislodge any dirt. Do not scrub the tooth!

Holding the crown, place the tooth gently back into the socket. Make sure it is the right way around – looking at the same tooth on the other side will help here.

If the tooth can’t be put back in the socket, the most important thing is for it to be stored properly until you get into us. Milk is ideal, as it simulates conditions in the body quite well. If milk isn’t available, water is better than nothing, but don’t let the tooth dry out.

Phone us on (01) 2855 841 for an emergency appointment.

You must attend a dentist as quickly as possible. With all dental injuries, time is of critical importance, and will make the difference between possibly keeping the tooth, or losing it.

My crown has fallen out – what should I do?

Call us on (01) 2855 841 or click here to book an appointment.

It is important to visit us as soon as possible.  We will examine the damage and discuss your options re restoring the tooth.

Crowns are normally placed on teeth that have broken down or had been decayed and may already have had a root canal treatment.

There are many reasons why a crown may come loose or fall off. This can possibly happen if there is a problem underneath the crown such as decay or if the tooth has been traumatised.

Before you visit us….

  • Try to hold onto the crown whether it’s a temporary or a permanent crown.
  •  If you are having sensitivity, try to avoid eating or drinking in that area, similarly if it is painful on biting.
  • Rubbing a toothpaste designed for sensitivity on the impacted area can help with the sensitivity.
What causes sore jaw joints? What can I do?

The chewing muscles around the mouth can become tender and inflamed from excessive grinding while asleep. It is a common problem. To ease the tension or spasm in the muscles try applying a hot and cold press to the area and do simple jaw exercises.

But it is important that you contact us as we can examine you to confirm the problem and recommend a treatment. A standard treatment would be a night guard for use during sleeping to prevent your teeth contacting during grinding.

Vard Dental will make an impression of your teeth and from that impression we will provide you with a well fitting night guard (night splint or mouth guard). We will also advice you on pain management to help relieve your symptoms.

I’m constantly getting mouth ulcers. What should I do?

There are many reasons why mouth ulcers occur e.g. poor diet, stress, chipped filling rubbing against the gum or tongue, weather changes.  Most people will experience mouth ulcers at some stage of their life.

Simple, small ulcers will usually heal within 7 days.

You should contact us for an appointment if you have recurring or longer lasting ulcers.  Vard Dental will examine your mouth to determine the best course of treatment and if necessary, we will provide you with an appropriate prescription.

Before you visit us:

  • Use warm salty water or a mouth rinse to help with the discomfort.
  • Try to avoid spicy or acidic foods.
  • Apply an appropriate gel to the impacted area.