Northern Ireland Dental Care
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Northern Ireland Dental Care

Common Symptoms

Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums are usually a sign that your gums are swollen and inflamed due to the presence of bacterial plaque. This is also known as gingivitis. If you are suffering from the symptoms of gingivitis this is good reason to visit your dental practice. The presence of bacteria can lead in some individuals to periodontitis and gingivitis is often the precursor of this more serious condition.

When you come to Northern Ireland Dental Care your dentist will carry out a full examination. The key to determining your treatment plan is accurate diagnosis and this is where the dentists and hygienists at our practice have years of experience. As a result you will receive the appropriate type of dental care for your particular circumstance.

Gingivitis may or may not continue to a more serious disease known as periodontitis. However even if it doesn't as well as bleeding gums other symptoms can go hand in hand with gingivitis, such as bad breath and pain as a result of food impaction or acute infection. Whatever your concerns we will make sure you receive the best possible dental care to address your particular concerns and alleviate your particular symptoms.

At Northern Ireland Dental Care Dental we have a well defined protocol for dealing with varying severities of periodontal disease which will involve sessions with one of our hygienists and may involve treatment with our periodontal specialist

Click here for more information on how to contact us for an initial appointment if you are worried about your bleeding gums
Tooth Ache
Tooth ache has many different causes, effects people in different ways and there is a wide spectrum in the severity of tooth pain. It can take over your life or act as a minor irritation or annoyance.

People's characterisation of toothache can be increased sensitivity to hot and cold, increased pain on chewing or biting or a constant or intermittent throbbing or aching. It can be worse at particular times of day or after eating or when food gets trapped between the teeth. It can be localised to a particular tooth, to a particular area or not all.

Tooth ache can be caused by receding gums, dental decay, cracked tooth, an abscess caused by infection associated with the tooth or gums, inflammation of the gum around the wisdom tooth, food trapping and countless other causes.

When you make an initial booking at Northern Ireland Dental Care Dental we can carry out either a detailed dental examination where we check everything going on in your mouth and provide you with a costed treatment plan or see you for a dental emergency where we will diagnose the problem and do what we can to alleviate your dental pain. The key to carrying out appropriate treatment to deal with toothache is taking the time to get the initial diagnosis correct.

What we hear a lot from patients is it wasn't hurting so I didn't bother with a visit to the dentist. Dental decay can advance almost to the nerve deep inside the tooth before it starts to cause pain. If left too late a root treatment might be the only option when an earlier visit to the dentist may mean that this treatment could be avoided and preventive work or simple fillings carried out instead.

Click here for more information on how to contact us for an emergency apt if you have a toothache.
Erupting Wisdom Teeth
For some people wisdom teeth can cause recurrent problems with regular infections at monthly intervals. Wisdom teeth pain can be caused as they push through the gum into the mouth but more commonly due to food and bacteria getting under the gum which covers the wisdom tooth. This is called pericoronitis.

Wisdom tooth pain can be caused by dental decay or decay which has occurred in the adjacent tooth because the position of the wisdom tooth has made the surface adjacent to the wisdom tooth impossible to clean.

Removing a wisdom tooth is a minor surgical procedure and there are risks involved. You should only have a wisdom tooth removed if there is good reason. This can range from; recurrent infections, decay in the wisdom tooth or in the adjacent tooth, or severe bone loss around the wisdom tooth or around the adjacent tooth.

We often have patients coming to us concerned that the presence of their wisdom teeth is causing their teeth to crowd up at the front. There is actually no evidence to suggest that this actually occurs. Teeth tend to crowd up and overlap as you get older anyway so crowding is not considered a good enough reason to remove wisdom tooth.

Removal of wisdom teeth can be either incredibly straight forward depending on the situation. For difficult wisdom teeth we will refer you to a specialist oral surgeon who can deal with removal quickly and effectively.

Click here for more information on how to contact us if you are having problems with erupting wisdom teeth.
Cracked Teeth
More and more people are suffering from cracked teeth. Cracked teeth more commonly occur in teeth which are heavily filled. Our stressful lifestyles can encourage clenching or grinding of teeth and this too can lead to cracks developing.

Clenching or grinding can often go un-detected. Grinding of teeth can often keep your partner up at night but clenching makes no sound at all. The signs of clenching or grinding are best detected by visiting your dental practice. The cusps of the teeth are often worn down and characterised by the loss of enamel on the biting surfaces of your teeth.

If there is a crack within the tooth, it can be difficult to diagnose. Cracks are difficult to see at examination and almost impossible to see on x-rays. Signs of a crack within a tooth are pain whilst chewing or biting on particularly hard things and sensitivity with hot and cold.

The problem is these signs and symptoms are characteristic of other dental pathology and a careful dental examination should be made by your dentist before carrying out this diagnosis.

The treatment for a crack can involve taking the tooth out of the bite, placing an adhesive restoration in the tooth to keep the tooth structure together or placing a restoration over the tooth, such as a crown or an onlay to protect the remaining tooth tissue.

A crack is a direct route for bacteria into the nerve within the tooth and if the tooth has been badly affected it may need a root treatment prior to placing a crown. Teeth which have been root treated are more likely to fracture and so especially back teeth are likely to need crowns after a good quality root treatment has been carried out.

Teeth can split or fracture in such a way that the roots within the tooth are divided. This is called a vertical fracture. These teeth should be removed as they have a very poor prognosis. At this point a decision should be made whether or not the tooth needs to be replaced.

Click here for more information on how to contact us if you are worried one of your teeth may have a crack.
Discoloured Teeth
There are multiple causes of discolouration in teeth. These can be subdivided into extrinsic (caused by an external agent) or intrinsic (caused by internal discolouration within the tooth).

Extrinsic discolouration can often be easily removed from teeth. It is caused by smoking, tea, coffee, red wine, certain mouthrinses etc. This kind of discolouration can easily be removed after a visit with our dental hygienists. At our practice we not only have ultrasonics to remove stain and up to date polishing systems but also the advanced prophyflex air abrasion system which gently and effortlessly removes any external stains.

Intrinsic staining can be caused either before or after the tooth comes through in the mouth. Tetracycline is a commonly used antibiotic and in the 1970's and 80's was commonly given to children to treat various bacterial infections.

Unfortunately it causes grey banding on the teeth. There are other drug induced types of discolouration including dental fluorosis where too much fluoride can lead to white or brown spots on the teeth. There are some types of discolouration where the causes are genetic and lead to abnormalities in the calcified tissues of the tooth which in turn leads to discolouration. Examples of these are Amelogenesis and Dentinogenesis imperfecta.

Some kinds of discolouration are caused as a result of a disturbance to the cells that produce the enamel at a critical period during its formation. Difficulty during labour, high fevers in childhood or continued ill health can lead to discolouration.

If a tooth has suffered physical trauma the blood supply within the tooth can be compromised leading to blood products leaking out into the calcified tissues and a grey discolouration. Sometimes the nerve within the tooth can respond by laying down more tooth structure as a protective mechanism leading to a yellow discoloration.

Other causes of discolouration can be because enamel has been lost around the teeth as a result of erosion (dietary acid) or abrasion (over brushing). Decay or leaking fillings can cause discolouration.

Due to the fact that there are so many causes of discoloration, it makes sense that there are various different treatment options to solve the specific discolouration.

The types of treatment that are commonly carried out at Northern Ireland Dental Care are: Tooth Whitening (Home and Zoom advanced power whitening), hygienist treatment, prophyflex air abrasion, cosmetic bonding of white filling material,composite and porcelain veneers (Eg lumineers), ceramic (Empress,Procera, Emax) and high quality bonded crowns

Click here to contact us if you are worried about discoloured teeth.
Sensitive Teeth
The term 'sensitive teeth' relates to teeth that over react to stimuli such as cold, hot or sweet. This over reaction can be anything from a mild twinge to severe discomfort that can continue for several hours. It can sometimes be an early warning sign of more dental problems that require treatment.

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time. It is more common in people aged between 20 and 40. Women are more likely to be affected than men.

Sensitve Teeth is caused by anything that removes the enamel or otherwise exposes the inner layer of the tooth (the dentine). Some things that remove the enamel are listed below.

  • Toothbrush abrasion - brushing too hard especially from side to side, can cause enamel to be worn away, particularly where the teeth meet the gums.
  • Dental erosion - this is where tooth enamel is dissolved away by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks so the dentine underneath is exposed leading to sensitivity.
  • Gum recession - gums may naturally recede (shrink back) or recede due to gum disease. The root surfaces which do not have an enamel layer to protect them will become exposed causing sensitivity.
  • Tooth grinding - this is a habit which involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This can cause the enamel of the teeth to be worn away, making the teeth sensitive.
  • A cracked tooth or filling - a cracked tooth is one that has become broken. A crack can run from the biting surface of a tooth down towards the root. Extreme temperatures, especially cold, may cause discomfort.
  • Tooth bleaching - some patients have sensitivity for a short time during or after having their teeth bleached.
There are many brands of toothpaste on the market made to help ease the pain of sensitive teeth. The toothpaste should be used twice a day to brush your teeth. It can also be rubbed onto the sensitive areas. These toothpastes can take anything from a few days to several weeks to take effect. Your dentist should be able to advise you on which type of toothpaste would be best for you.

You may find that hot, cold, sweet or acidic drinks, or foods like ice cream can bring on sensitivity, so you may want to avoid these. If you have sensitivity when brushing your teeth with cold water from the tap, you may need to use warm water instead. It is important you do not avoid brushing your teeth regularly as this can make the problem worse.

At Northern Ireland Dental Care will talk to you and look at your teeth to find out what is causing the sensitivity. We may treat the affected teeth with special de-sensitising products to help relieve the symptoms like applying fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes. Sensitivity can take some time to settle, and you may need to have several appointments. If this still does not help, your dentist may seal or fill around the neck of the tooth where the tooth and gum meet, to cover exposed dentine. In very serious cases it may be necessary to root-fill the tooth.

Click here to contact us if you have sensitive teeth.
Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums or, bits of food that get caught between the teeth rotting. Correct and regular cleaning is the easiest and most effective way to keep your breath smelling fresh.

The following can cause bad breath

  • Strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions.
  • Smoking can cause short term bad breath.
  • Regular blocked noses and sinus problems make some people breathe through their mouth instead of nose, this can make their breath smelly.
  • Dry mouth caused by medical problems medicine or old age.
  • Common medical problems that cause bad breath are infections in the throat, nose sinuses or lungs.
  • Other medical problems that can cause bad breath are diabetes, liver or kidney problems.
If you think you might have bad breath, lick the inside of your wrist and sniff - if the smell is bad, your breath probably smells bad too. Small signs like people stepping back from you when you are talking to them may suggest that your breath is bad. You could ask a friend (make sure it is a true friend so they tell you the truth not a polite answer)

To prevent bad breath visit Northern Ireland Dental Care for a check-up and a thorough clean, we will advise you on a routine to keep your mouth clean and fresh and show you any areas you might be missing including your tongue. We will show you any areas where food is likely to trap and how to clean them.

Stick to your cleaning routine, include mouthwashes and floss as well as thorough brushing

If you have a dry mouth, chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and wash away many of the bacteria that are causing the bad smell

Click here to contact us if you are concerned about bad breath


If you have another query click here to ask the expert

028 9066 4009

Northern Ireland Dental Care | Belfast
639 Lisburn Road, Belfast
BT9 7GT Northern Ireland
T: 028 9066 4009    E:

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Website Last Updated - 24th October 2019

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