Monthly Archives: September 2015

6 main reasons why I might need an extraction

By | Treatment information | No Comments

Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed.

  • A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired.
  • A crowded mouth. Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontic treatment so that the remaining teeth can be properly aligned. If a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) because there is not enough room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend pulling it.
  • Related, but slightly different, are problems and repeated infections caused by impacted wisdom teeth which just do not have sufficient space at the back of the mouth or may come through at a totally incorrect angle.
  • Infection. If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp — the centre of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels — bacteria in the mouth can enter the pulp, leading to infection. Often this can be corrected with root canal treatment (RCT), but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT do not cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Risk of infection. If your immune system is compromised (for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or are having an organ transplant), even the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough to pull the tooth.
  • Periodontal (Gum) Disease. If periodontal disease — an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth — have caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to the pull the tooth or teeth. This is probably the largest cause of extractions in Ireland.

Permanent teeth are only permanent if you take great care of them and the supporting gums. This does not happen by accident. It needs the ongoing co-operation of dentist, hygienist and patient to ensure that permanent teeth live up to their name.

Mouthwashes, what are they good for?

By | Preventative | No Comments

We are regularly asked by patients ‘should I be using a mouthwash?’

We’re glad they do ask, because patients should consult their dentist or hygienist before using any mouthwash. The fact is, mouthwashes may mask the evidence of dental or other health problems. The most common of these is bad breath (halitosis) – which can be due to a range of causes, including poor oral hygiene, decay, infection or xerostomia (dry mouth).

It’s important that patients have a good understanding of the differences between a mouthwash they may use at home on a daily basis (a “cosmetic” mouthwash) and one prescribed by their dentist or hygienist (a “therapeutic” mouthwash). It’s a good idea to discuss with your dentist or hygienist which mouthwash may be appropriate for your use.

COSMETIC MOUTHWASHES are available over the counter from pharmacies and other retailers. They can give you fresh breath for up to three hours. A cosmetic mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath but does not always affect the bacterial agent causing that bad breath. The ingredients in these products include odour neutralisers, which work by chemically deactivating the odour-causing compound. Some cosmetic mouthwashes also contain fluoride (to fight cavities), as well as other ingredients that help fight gingivitis and decrease plaque build-up. Nevertheless, over-the-counter products that do contain these additional ingredients have limited ability to combat decay, gingivitis and plaque accumulation.

THERAPEUTIC MOUTHWASHES, which can be prescribed by your dentist or hygienist, contain active ingredients that specifically target decay-causing agents, aid in reducing plaque build-up and help reduce gingivitis in a more controlled and direct way than their cosmetic counterparts. The concentrations of ingredients in therapeutic mouthwashes are usually higher, and often have different ingredients, and therefore require professional advice on use.

It’s crucial to remember that any kind of mouthwash is only useful when used in conjunction with good oral hygiene techniques involving brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least once daily.

Also, it’s recommended that patients opt for alcohol-free mouthwashes as recent research has shown a link between alcohol-containing mouthwashes and the development of oral cancers.

In summary, if you’re concerned about having fresh breath, daily use of a mouthwash may be helpful, but only if used along with daily tooth brushing and flossing, accompanied by regular six-monthly checks with your dentist or hygienist. Therapeutic mouthwashes may be helpful where appropriate and when recommended by your dentist or hygienist for decay, plaque reduction or to assist in the reduction of gum inflammation.