Dentist Chicago IL | Root Canal Treatment: Common Myths Busted

Chicago Loop Dentist

Dentist Chicago LoopAccording to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are three major misconceptions many people have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Take a look at these myths and truths behind this important treatment option.

Myth 1: Root canal treatment causes pain.

This commonly held perception predates modern dentistry. Patients who have actually experienced root canal therapy are 6 times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than those who have never had the treatment.

Truth 1: Root canal treatment relieves pain.

In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.

Myth 2: Root canal treatment causes further illness or infection in the body.

This unfortunate belief stems from a long-discredited report from nearly 100 years ago that still turns up during internet searches. This report by Dr. Weston Price was highly criticized in its own time for the sub-standard research methods he used, and his conclusions were being debunked as early as the 1930s. 

Truth 2: There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that suggests root canal treatment may cause other illness or infection in the body.

In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less trauma to the patient. Recent research has also found that patients who have had multiple root canal treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not.

Myth 3: Tooth extraction is always a better option than root canal treatment.

Sometimes a tooth cannot be saved. When that happens, extraction is far better than leaving a diseased tooth in place. However, there is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. Even the best tooth replacement options may leave you needing to avoid certain foods. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to jaw bone resorption over time.

Truth 3: Saving natural teeth, when possible, may be the best option for overall health.

By saving the natural tooth whenever possible, doctors and patients avoid the need for further, more costly restoration treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime.

Our doctor makes every effort to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. We will review your oral health needs carefully before recommending any treatment.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office.

Dentist in Chicago IL | 7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Dentist in Chicago

Chicago IL DentistHalitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact our office.

Dentist Chicago IL | Dental Implant Restorations

Chicago Loop Dentist

Chicago Loop DentistAbout 1 in 4 adults experience tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30. Dental implants are a safe and long-term option for tooth replacement that improve the appearance and functionality of your smile.

A dental implant can be paired with a replacement crown for single tooth replacement or can be used in small groups to anchor a denture or dental bridge. Dental implants are a strong, long-lasting solution for tooth loss and serve to prevent jaw bone loss in the same manner as a natural tooth root.

There are many benefits to choosing dental implants as a tooth-replacement solution. Some of these include:

  • Natural looking smile: Dental implants are crafted to closely resemble your natural teeth, restoring a natural-looking smile.
  • Improved oral health: Since there is no need to alter surrounding teeth to anchor implants, more of your natural teeth are preserved intact, improving long-term oral health.
  • Improved speech: With removable, non-anchored dentures, teeth can slip within the mouth, causing slurred or mumbled speech. Dental Implants remove that concern.
  • Improved comfort: Dental Implants avoid the slipping and discomfort of removable dentures.
  • Improved function: Dental Implants function like your natural teeth, allowing you to eat without pain.
  • Durability: Dental implants are stable, strong, and stain-resistant.
  • Protect healthy bone structure: Empty spaces caused by tooth loss can, over time, lead to deterioration of the jawbone. Since Dental Implants function like tooth roots, they are able to prevent this type of deterioration, just as natural teeth do.
  • Long-term solution: Dentures must be replaced about every 5-7 years. Dental Implants, when cared for properly, can last a lifetime.

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants may be right for you. We will consider your oral and overall health prior to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. Some considerations include:

  • Adequate bone support to anchor the implant
  • Healthy gum tissue
  • Sinus and nerve location
  • Overall health, including any chronic illnesses 

In some cases, we may recommend advance treatment for your upper or lower jaw to enable you to have the bone support needed for implantation. As always, your treatment plan is created based on your specific needs and goals for your healthy smile.

If you are interested in learning more about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our office today for an appointment. We’re here to help restore the health and beauty of your smile.

Chicago IL Dentist | The Periodontal Disease – Diabetes Connection

Dentist Chicago

Chicago DentistNearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Almost 65 million Americans have periodontal disease. Recent studies have suggested that there is a two-way connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease have increased risk of other diabetic complications and patients with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease.

Gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which can make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetic patients. Severe periodontal disease has even been shown to increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain or regain good blood sugar control. In addition, when blood sugar is elevated, patients experience increased risks of additional diabetic complications.

Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections in general. This is especially true for patients whose diabetes is not well controlled. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control are more likely to develop gum disease than patients whose diabetes is well controlled. Less controlled diabetic patients will generally have a more severe case of gum disease and are likely to lose more teeth from gum disease, as well.

Besides blood sugar control, diabetes includes a number of other health complications. Diabetic patients are more prone to other oral health issues, such as dry mouth or thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth). Reduced saliva production or infection in the mouth can increase risks of developing periodontal disease as well.

Smoking can escalate these risks even further. Studies have shown that smokers are 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop gum disease, overall. Diabetic smokers age 45 or older have been found to be 20 times more likely to develop severe gum disease.

Fortunately, when diabetes and blood sugar are well-controlled, the risks of periodontal disease and other oral health complications are no different than for patients without diabetes. If you are diabetic, it is important to work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible to avoid these added health complications.

Be sure to let us know if you have diabetes and how well-controlled it is. We may need to discuss your medication schedule when planning treatments or to postpone a treatment if your blood sugar is not controlled. Keep in mind that healing from treatment can take longer for diabetic patients, even when blood sugar is well-controlled.

If you have questions or concerns about your risk of periodontal disease with diabetes, contact our office for more information.

Dentist Chicago | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Dentist in Chicago

Chicago DentistThe food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

Dentist in Chicago | Restoring Smiles with Veneers

Dentist in Chicago, IL

Chicago DentistAbout 1 in 4 adults in the United States feels embarrassed by the look of their smile. Our dental office is proud to offer porcelain dental veneers to new and existing patients. Our doctor has the training and experience to provide porcelain veneers to patients who wish to restore a whiter, healthier, more even look to their smile.

Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic and restorative dental solution that are designed to mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Veneers create an immediate improvement in the appearance of a smile. They are a minimally invasive treatment option and can be more cost-effective than many other cosmetic improvement options.

Patients  whose teeth are healthy, but are chipped, cracked, crooked, or mildly stained can benefit from veneers. Patients whose teeth are uneven or have gaps may also find veneers are a great solution for improving the look of their smile.

We offer custom-crafted porcelain veneers that are fitted precisely to cover the front surface of the tooth. Because porcelain is a semi-translucent material, the tooth continues to have a natural healthy appearance with the veneer in place. Veneers are chosen with care to match the natural teeth around them, to ensure optimal aesthetic results.

Once placed, porcelain veneers are a strong, stain-resistant, and long-lasting cosmetic dental solution. However, porcelain dental veneers need ongoing dental care, just like natural teeth. They should be brushed and flossed regularly and normal dental exam and cleaning schedules should be maintained. When cared for properly, veneers can last a lifetime.

There are some additional factors to consider before choosing veneers. First, it is common to experience some sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages for a few days following the placement of veneers. This is generally mild and unlikely to last more than about a week.

Second, while porcelain is a strong and durable material, it is recommended to avoid activity that will put great stress on the veneers, such as chewing excessively hard foods or using the teeth to attempt to open a nut or bottle. Finally, any patient who has issues with bruxism (grinding) should discuss this with our doctor before deciding whether to have dental veneers placed.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with our expert dentist, contact our office today. We’re here to give you a smile that you can show with pride.

Dentist in Chicago | To Floss or Not To Floss?

Dentist in Chicago, IL

Chicago DentistBy now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis. 

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Chicago Dentist | Providing Relief from Periodontal Disease

Dentist in Chicago

Chicago DentistOver 45% of U.S. adults have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Periodontal disease ranges from a mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis, a major oral disease that can result in soft tissue and bone damage and even tooth loss.  Our experienced dentist is providing periodontal treatments to both new and existing patients who are suffering from any form of periodontal (gum) disease.

One of the major causes of gum disease is practicing poor oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional exams and cleanings are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. When these practices are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this plaque is not properly removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. Once that occurs, only a dental professional can remove the tartar from teeth.

If gum disease is not treated in a timely manner, tartar may continue to build. When this occurs, the gum disease may advance. Gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding from normal activities, such as brushing or eating. At this point, professional periodontal treatment is needed to prevent the disease from advancing further.

When periodontal disease is not treated in a timely manner, it may become periodontitis. Periodontitis is the most advanced form of periodontal disease. With periodontitis, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gumline. These spaces are highly difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bone, gums, and soft tissues may be destroyed by periodontitis. One of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults is periodontal disease.

Some of the most common factors that contribute to periodontal disease developing include poor oral hygiene habits, diabetes, smoking, and female hormonal changes. Some medications can cause gum tissue to develop abnormal tissues, which can increase difficulty in proper cleaning of the teeth. People who are receiving treatment for AIDS are also at increased risk of developing periodontal disease.

Our doctor has the training and experience to diagnose and treat every stage of periodontal disease. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Some symptoms include: chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, sensitive or bleeding gums, and difficulty or pain with chewing. Our dentist provides excellent periodontal care for our patients, and welcomes new patient consultations. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Chicago IL Dentist | Oral Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

Dentist in Chicago Loop, IL

Chicago Loop DentistOur expert dentist wants to remind patients that our office offers thorough oral cancer screenings as part of our comprehensive dental health services. Like with every form of cancer, early diagnosis can have a profound impact on the success of your treatment. Regular screenings are your first line of defense against oral cancer and our doctor is here to help.

In your screening, our doctor will check your lips, tongue, gums, mouth, and throat for any abnormalities that could be or become cancerous. We will give careful consideration to any symptoms you may be experiencing. If you have experienced any oral cancer symptoms for more than a week without improvement, schedule an appointment and tell your dentist immediately. Symptoms that could indicate oral cancer include:

  • Ear pain
  • Unexplained mouth bleeding
  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Lumps or swellings in or around your mouth
  • Sore throat without other sinus symptoms
  • Sensation of something caught in the back of your throat
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue

One adult American dies of oral cancer every hour. Though anyone can develop oral cancer, some factors can increase your risks. Some of the most common risk factors include: genetic predisposition, prolonged sun exposure, unhealthy diet, and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Oral cancer is more common in men than women. Patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) are at increased risk. Users of tobacco in any form are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-users.

Whatever the cause, the success of treatment depends on the size, type, and stage of the cancer. Early detection can play a critical role in your successful recovery. When found in early stages, oral cancers have an 80 – 90% survival rate. The primary reason for this is that early detection leads to earlier treatment. Oral cancers that are found in early or precancerous stages can often be removed and require less invasive procedures to treat. Later stages of cancer are likely to be larger and more complex and often have spread far beyond your mouth.

We are accepting new patients. If you would like more information about oral cancers and oral cancer screenings, call our office for a consultation.

Dentist Chicago IL | 4 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

Chicago Dentist

Dentist in ChicagoAs a parent, the best way to help ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy teeth is to help them establish great dental hygiene habits as they grow.

Here are some useful tips for keeping your child engaged by making dental hygiene fun:

Pick out a special toothbrush.

One great way to keep your child excited about brushing is to allow him or her to choose their own toothbrush in a favorite color or branded with a favorite cartoon character. Child-size soft-bristled brushes come in a wide variety of options designed to make your child like their toothbrush.

Choose children’s toothpaste.

Another great option is to use a toothpaste that is designed for kids. While adults generally prefer the fresh mouth taste of a minty toothpaste, many children find mint to be too powerful a flavor. This can make brushing unpleasant or even painful to sensitive taste buds. Instead, let your child choose a children’s toothpaste. There are many options available in a variety of soft mint, fruity, and bubble gum flavors. It is much easier to keep your child brushing for a full two minutes when their toothpaste tastes good.

Use a timer.

Two minutes can seem like a long time to a child. It can be very difficult for your child to try to estimate or count how long to brush without some kind of visual aid. You can help your child stay more engaged and ensure a full two minutes of brushing by using a timer. Choices range from a small sand timer your child can flip over, to a manual stopwatch with buttons to press, or even an app on a phone or tablet to time digitally (if your child is old enough). By letting your child take control of the timer, they can be more confident and more engaged in their brushing.

Brush together.

A parent is the first and strongest role model for their child. Brushing together can help your child model your great brushing technique, which will improve their own. Additionally, brushing together emphasizes to your child that brushing is important. When your child sees that you take dental hygiene seriously, they are likely to follow suit.

For more tips on making dental hygiene fun for your child, contact our office.