Welcome to our Advice Centre

Welcome to the Blackrock Dental advice centre where you can find a range of resources covering general dentistry and common queries. Please read the sections of interest and contact us if you have any further questions. We are open and honest in dealing with patients’ concerns, so please do not hesitate to make an appointment with our team.

Adults & teenagers


At Blackrock Dental we carry out orthodontic treatment for teens and adults of all ages. Depending on your age and type of tooth movement that is needed, different orthodontic options will be suitable. Children are ideally assessed at 7-8 years when their adult teeth begin to erupt. At this stage early intervention methods may be recommended. Teens & Adults can be assessed at any time.

Malocclusion is the incorrect alignment of the teeth, the jaw or both. Examples of malocclusions that benefit from orthodontic treatment include crooked/crowded/spaced teeth, overjet (protruding teeth), overbite (deep bite), and cross bite (upper teeth on inside of lower teeth).

We offer the following orthodontic treatments:

  • Fixed braces the gold standard of orthodontic treatment, aka train tracks, this method is best for malocclusions confined to the teeth
  • Removable appliance often referred to as a retainer, this method is useful for widening the arch or tipping teeth
  • Functional appliance similar in appearance to the removable appliance, this method is used in the growing child with growth differences between the upper and lower arches

Why is orthodontic treatment important?

For most children or adults, the main downside of crooked and crowded teeth is that they are perceived as unsightly. Orthodontic treatment therefore can often greatly improve a person's self image and confidence.

The value of an attractive smile should not be underestimated

A pleasing appearance is a vital asset to one's self-confidence. A person's self-esteem often improves as treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion.

Crooked teeth can also be hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to conditions that cause not only tooth decay but also eventual gum disease and tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints, which can result in chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.

How long does treatment take?

In general, active treatment time with orthodontic appliances (braces) ranges from 18 months to about 30 months. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take only a few months. The actual time depends on the growth of the patient's mouth and face, the co-operation of the patient and the severity of the problem. Mild problems usually require less time, and some individuals respond faster to treatment than others. Use of rubber bands and/or headgear, if prescribed, contributes to completing treatment as scheduled.

While orthodontic treatment requires a time commitment, patients are rewarded with healthy teeth, proper jaw alignment and a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. Teeth and jaws in proper alignment look better, work better, contribute to general physical health and can improve self-confidence.

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment or would like to be assessed for suitability, make an appointment with Dr Tom Feeney who will be happy to discuss your options.

Sports guards

No matter what level or league you play in, a mouth guard is the most important piece of equipment a contact sports player should own. Compared to store-bought boil-and-bite guards, custom mouth guards not only protect your teeth and gums, but can also reduce damage around the jaw and risk of minor brain injury. Custom mouth guards are tailor-made in terms of their fit and level of shock absorption required. Every mouth is different, so every mouth guard should be moulded to fit perfectly around the top half of a player's mouth.

Getting a custom gum shield is easy; make an appointment for impressions and to discuss your specific requirements with Dr Tom Feeney or Dr Aisling Whitaker. Two weeks later, you will be fitted with your guard. In growing children, mouth guards should be replaced every year. In adults, new guards are indicated when showing signs of wear. Bring your sports guard along to your annual check-up to ensure that it is giving you maximum protection.

Oral cancer


Tobacco – cigarettes, cigars, pipe-smoking and chewing tobacco – and alcohol use are the most important risk factors for oral cancer. 85% of these types of cancer are linked to tobacco use. People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone.


Oral cancer may occur anywhere in the oral cavity including the buccal mucosa, palate and salivary glands. Most, but not all, begin in the squamous cells that line the structures of the mouth. The commonest sites for oral cancer are the lips and tongue. In the early stages of oral cancer, pain may not be a symptom, so any lump or discoloured patch should never be ignored.


Stopping smoking is the first step, and will immediately reduce the risk of developing oral cancer. There are many smoking cessation methods and help lines available. Good oral hygiene and regular check-ups with your dentist and/or dental hygienist are essential, even if dentures are worn. Drink alcohol sensibly and follow recommended guidelines.