The following is a list of some of the questions we get asked by our patients.

If you feel your question has not been answered below, please give our practice a call on (091) 596 640 or contact us and we will endeavour to answer your queries or concerns. We aim to make your visit as relaxing as possible.

Our dental team are ready to provide and meet your every dental need, ensuring that your visit is a pleasant dental experience.

+ Where are you and is there parking?

We are on the left hand side as you approach Barna from the Galway side next to Brennans Haven pharmacy. From Spiddal direction we are the first right after Donnellys bar. There is ample free parking available.

+ What can I expect on first appointment?

Our patient journey begins at the reception area where Jennifer will give you a health questionnaire. This can be filled out in the waiting area or Jennifer can help you with any queries. The waiting area allows you to relax and avail of the numerous magazines on display. One of our qualified dental nurses will then show you to the treatment room where the dentist will greet you and have a chat about any relevant health concerns and your dental needs. The dentist will complete a comprehensive assessment of your mouth checking the teeth, gums, jaw joint and also doing an oral cancer screening. Digital X-rays may be taken. Once a full assessment is complete treatment options are discussed specific to your needs/wants. We can provide you with a written estimate prior to any treatment begins. It is very important to us that the patient understands all aspects of their treatment and the costs involved. We hope you will ask any member of staff to further explain or clarify any issues you may have. We look forward to helping you achieve long lasting dental health.

Any questions for Katie, Brendan or Norette are always welcome (if you forget at the time you can always email us).

+ Do you accept medical cards and what am I entitled to?

Yes. Over 16 year old holding a medical card are entitled to

  • one free check up a year
  • two fillings a year
  • extractions

Some additional treatments may be allowed in certain circumstances but prior approval with the use is required.

+ Am I entitled to anything on my PRSI?

One free check up a year.

+ Can I get tax relief on my dental treatment?

There are certain treatments that allow a 20% tax relief such as crowns, root canal treatment, bridges, veneers. If you have any of these treatments we will give you a Med 2 form filled out with the required details.

+ What age should I start to bring my child to the dentist?

We recommend you bring your child from about age two. Maybe bring them along with you initially to let them get familiar with the environment. It is important to establish good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Dental checks, diet advice and brushing advice is crucial for your child life long oral health. Remember prevention is better than cure!

+ How often should I visit the dentist?

You should visit your dentist once a year and more often if you are having difficulties. Remember under the PRSI and Medical Card schemes you are entitled to one free examination a year.

+ I may be pregnant. Does the dentist need to know this?

If you think there is a chance you might be pregnant, it is always wise to inform your dentist before you begin treatment. Being pregnant will not prevent you from having dental treatment carried out, but we prefer to defer any elective procedures (procedures that are not absolutely necessary) until after the pregnancy is over. This is particularly the case during the first and third trimesters. The taking of dental x-rays is also best avoided, if possible, during pregnancy, but experts agree that x-rays may be taken, where necessary, in the case of an emergency.

+ Why do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?

The most common reason why gums bleed is due to the teeth and gums not being cleaned thoroughly enough. If you leave bacteria-containing dental plaque sitting on the teeth beside the gums, the bacteria infect the gums themselves.This is called gingivitis.

+ What is plaque?

Plaque is a soft sticky substance, and can be removed with regular, thorough brushing and flossing. Your dentist or hygienist should be able to show you if there's plaque on your teeth. They will also show you how to brush and floss properly in order to stop plaque accumulating.

+ Is flossing really necessary?

Absolutely! Normal brushing doesn't clean in between the teeth fully. The most common and effective way of doing this is by flossing. The dental floss removes the plaque between teeth. It is important flossing is carried out correctly, and regularly, at least once a day. You should get your dentist or hygeinist to demonstrate for you. Some patients may need to use other methods, like small brushes that fit between the teeth, particularly if the spaces between the teeth are bigger than normal. Your dentist or hygienist will advise you on the method most suitable for you.

+ Is toothwhitening safe?

Toothwhitening is a procedure that should be carried out by a Dentist only. There are many reasons for this.Hydrogen peroixde is a substance that should be handled with care and only by a dentist. Any staining on your teeth may be due to an underlying condition and your dentist may need to diagnose this before commenceing.

+ I think I may have broken my filling. What should I do?

Unfortunately sometimes fillings for whatever reason may fall out or become chipped or broken.

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

It is important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. However if you cannot immediately access a dentist here are some helpful tips .

  • If you are having sensitivity try avoiding eating or drinking in that area, similarly if it is painful on biting.
  • The use of toothpaste can help with the sensitivity by rubbing some fluoride toothpaste on the tooth in question.
  • As a temporary measure until you visit your dentist you may try and get some oil of cloves or a temporary filling kit from your pharmacy. However it is important that you attend your dentist as soon as possible to get the tooth restored to normal function.
  • Finally the use of over-the-counter painkillers from a chemist if is constantly painful are also helpful until you contact the dentist.

Don’t place any pain-killing tablets on the site of the tooth or its gum as this can cause burns to the gum.

+ My child has fallen and knocked out a front tooth. What should I do?

If a adult (not baby tooth) tooth is knocked out, the most important thing is to replace it as soon as possible . The tooth should be picked up by the crown (the part visible in the mouth normally) only. You should not touch the root.

The tooth should be rinsed briefly under cold water to dislodge any dirt. Do not scrub the tooth!

Still holding the crown, place the tooth gently back into the socket. (make sure it is the right way round - 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 to the dentist. 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.

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 surely losing it.

+ While biting something hard, my crown came out. What should I do?

Crowns are special caps that are custom made to fit your tooth. They are normally placed on teeth that are broken down or had been decayed and may already have had a root canal treatment.

Sometimes the crown may come loose or even fall off. This can possibly happen if there is a problem underneath the crown such as decay or if the tooth has been traumatised.

It is important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If you cannot get to the dentist immediately here are some tips:

  • It is a good idea to hold onto to the crown whether it’s a temporary or permanent crown.
  • If the tooth is sensitive the use of a fluoride toothpaste will help by rubbing some toothpaste onto the tooth.
  • As a temporary measure until you visit your dentist you can also place some temporary filling material over the tooth to help the sensitivity.
  • Don’t place pain killing tablets on the site of the tooth or its gum as it can cause burns to the gum. If the tooth is painful to bite on the use over-the-counter painkillers may help until you see your dentist.

+ I have a very sore jaw especially after waking up. Any idea why?

This is a common problem which mainly affects adults. There are numerous causes including trauma, awkward biting and stress. This is due to excessive grinding (bruxing) of the teeth which can make the chewing muscles around the mouth tender and inflamed. It often happens subconsciously when you are asleep. It is important to contact your dentist if this problem arises.

Simple jaw exercises or the application of hot and cold may ease the tension or spasm in the muscles.

A splint that is like a night guard can also be made by your dentist to prevent your teeth contacting during grinding. This is a relatively straightforward procedure where your dentist takes impressions of your teeth.

Otherwise painkillers or other over-the-counter (OTC) remedies like anti-inflammatories may help relieve the symptoms.

+ How safe are Amalgam / Mercury fillings ?

Dental amalgam has been used on patients for over 150 years. All available world-wide research indicates that amalgam is not harmful to health. This view is endorsed by the International Dental Federation, the International Association for Dental Research, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and many dental associations, including the American, British and Canadian.

No Government or reputable scientific, medical or dental body anywhere in the world accepts, on any published evidence, that dental amalgam is a hazard to health.

Dental research is ongoing in a wide variety of areas, including filling materials, in the search to provide the most up to date and safest treatments to the public at large.

We are always keen to improve our services or to get feedback.

Drop us an email at or why not write in our positive comment book in the waiting area.