Monthly Archives: October 2015

I have gum disease. So what?

By | Diseases | No Comments

‘It’s just about my teeth, right?’


In recent years, an ever increasing body of scientific evidence is emerging which indicates why we need to take gum disease much more seriously than would have been the case years ago. In the old days, all we knew about was the likelihood of losing teeth prematurely and the difficulties of providing successfull replacement for those missing teeth.

Now, we know that gum disease has an impact much greater than the old thinking would indicate.

Here’s why (in very simple terms).

Gum disease is one of a family of diseases called inflammatory diseases. Basically, this means that the body tries to fight the disease by flooding the affected area with white blood cells. The white blood cells have a role in fighting off infections and they do this by releasing toxins into the area affected in an effort to kill off the attacking bacteria or viruses in a kind of nuclear war. Unfortunately, in wars, it’s not just the soldiers who suffer. Likewise here. The toxins also destroy normal tissues (bone, gum cells, blood vessel walls etc) and the damage may be permanent if the war goes on for long enough without a ceasefire.

And just like the nuclear war scenario, toxins and bacteria get into the bloodstream (through the damaged blood vessel walls) and get carried around the body where they can continue to do damage in other areas. For instance, bacteria may travel to the arteries in your heart, where they may trigger a cycle of inflammation and arterial narrowing that contributes to heart attacks. But that’s not all! Other body systems are just as vulnerable.

Some complications associated with gum disease include:

  • Tooth loss
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Premature, low birth weight babies
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer

So what?

This is why we are taking gum disease so seriously. It’s no longer about losing teeth. Now it’s about the general health effects.

When we recommend treatment to control your gum disease and the inflammation associated with it, we are fighting the effects that may put you at increased risk of developing or failing to control one of the diseases above.

That’s a pretty big ‘So what’.

Tell me about sealants

By | Preventative | No Comments

Fissure sealants are an excellent way to protect children’s teeth from tooth decay by coating them with a thin plastic material. Their teeth look and feel normal, but they are protected from plaque build-up and decay early on in life. At Quirke Dental Surgeons, we recommend sealants as a preventive measure for children before any decay appears and irreversible causes damage to their teeth.

Who should get fissure sealants?

Fissure sealants are intended for young children as soon as their first adult teeth come in. This would usually happen at about 6 years old but may be much earlier or later. Decay is most common in the molars, so bringing your child to see us for sealants as soon as you see the molars grow in gives your child the best chance to fight tooth decay.

A child’s first set of permanent molars grow in between ages five and seven, while the second permanent molars arrive between 11 and 14 years of age. Some teens and adults who don’t have tooth decay may get sealants as well, but it is less common.

How long do dental sealants last?

Once the sealant has been placed on the teeth, it can last up to five years. This depends on your child’s diet. Lots of sticky foods can pull those sealants right off the tooth.  We will check the sealant and determine if it needs to be replaced or repaired at each dental health check.

What is the process of getting sealants?

Applying sealants is a simple, pain-free procedure that is done quickly at Quirke Dental Surgeons. There is absolutely no harmfull effect on the tooth structure from sealants.

For starters, the teeth are cleaned carefully, then dried. A mild acid solution is applied to them to roughen them slightly. This is done so the sealant can bond properly to the teeth. Then the teeth are rinsed and dried, and the sealant material is painted on and hardened with a special light.

Molars are susceptible to decay early on in life, which is why sealants are an important treatment to get for your children’s adult teeth.

There is an old saying ‘A stitch in time saves nine’. Fissure sealants are the ‘stitch in time’ and are a hugely cost-effective method of keeping your child’s teeth for life.