Dentist in Wicker Park IL | What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago ILThe hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, but a recent study indicates that e-cigarette vapors could be damaging to your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.

The Vapor Ingredients

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated in the same way tobacco cigarettes are, meaning that their contents can be inaccurately labeled without any oversight. Contents that e-juice usually contains include nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, and propylene glycol. Some of these substances are safe in food, such as chemical flavors, but the effects of inhaling them is not well researched. Heating these chemicals can form dangerous carcinogens such as formaldehyde. E-cigarettes might also include tiny metals and particles that you inhale while smoking.

What This Means for Your Oral Health

A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, or the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. The study placed oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, in a machine simulating how a person would smoke. During the test, 85% of the cells died. According to the lead author of the study, they plan to move forward to test the impacts in humans.

These cells are your mouth’s defense by helping to release antioxidants. As the cells die off or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases.

Another study by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded e-cigarettes are just as bad for your gums as tobacco cigarettes are. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease

Steps You Can Take

Since the e-juice industry is largely unregulated, it is best to avoid smoking electronic cigarettes. The carcinogenic contents pose serious risks to your health, especially to your mouth. Your mouth relies on the functions of these important cells to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease.

Make sure you are regularly visiting our office, especially if you are a smoker of either tobacco cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against combating oral disease.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact us.

Dentist Wicker Park IL | Plaque: Your Teeth’s Number One Enemy

Wicker Park Chicago Dentist

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago When buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming in to our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile.

What is Plaque?

If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth.

What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth

Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody.

What You Can Do

The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums.

Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so
our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.

For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Denist in Wicker Park Chicago | Kill the Pain, Save the Tooth

Wicker Park Chicago Dentist

Dentist Wicker ParkRoot canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter.

Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Chip or crack in tooth structure
  • Tooth root fracture
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Repeated treatment on a single tooth

Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss.

Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications.

After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy.

Whenever possible, saving your natural tooth is our goal. Root canal therapy can help to preserve your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Dentist Wicker Park | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago

Dentist in Wicker Park ChicagoThe 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!

Wicker Park Chicago Dentist | Look 10 Years Younger

Wicker Park Chicago Dentist

Wicker Park Chicago DentistYour smile is one of the first things a person will notice when you meet.  If you would like to improve your smile with a simple procedure, teeth whitening may be a great option for you, especially if you have stained, dull or discolored teeth. Our dental office is providing teeth whitening services to new and existing patients.

Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, over time, discoloration will occur.  The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well. While preventing tooth discoloration is nearly impossible, our experienced team can help reverse the effects of discoloration by helping to create a whiter and brighter smile.

Whether it’s an in-office treatment or at-home treatment, the principles of teeth whitening are the same.  A special whitening agent is applied to the teeth in order to bleach the stains and brighten your smile. Our expert dentist will discuss your whitening needs and goals with you to determine which option is best for you.

In-office teeth whitening is the quickest method to a brighter, whiter smile.  With the supervision of an experienced dental professional, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than with at-home kits. Optimal results are achieved much faster with the professional whitening treatment, and in many ways the results are much better given the nature of the bleaching agents that are used. On average, patients find they appear up to ten years younger just by restoring the bright, white smile of their youth.

During a professional teeth whitening treatment, we will first clean the teeth.  They will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums and soft tissue.  Once applied, a laser light will be directed at the teeth to expedite the process.  For maximum results, the process may be repeated more than once.

If a visit to our office for professional whitening isn’t an option for you, at-home treatment may provide the whitening you need. While you will find a vast variety of at-home teeth whitening products on the market, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays and more, we can fit you with custom-made whitening trays that will more accurately fit to your teeth for a more even whitening result.

At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist. While at-home teeth whitening is easy to use, it is not recommended if your teeth or gums are sensitive.

If you are looking to brighten your smile and look ten years younger, contact our office for more information or to schedule a consultation today.

Wicker Park Chicago IL Dentist | Providing Relief from Periodontal Disease

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago ILOver 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.

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago IL | Digital X-Rays

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago

Wicker Park Chicago Dentist

X-rays, or radiographs, have long been used in dentistry. Traditional film x-rays are a safe and effective part of your dental care, but they do require a small amount of radiation. In our office, we utilize digital x-ray technology that provides the benefits of film imaging but uses up to 80% less radiation. With our advanced digital radiographs, we can view your teeth and surrounding structures with remarkable accuracy.

Unlike traditional x-rays, digital x-rays require no wait time for film to develop. Instead, the images are available on the computer screen within seconds. These images can then be enhanced and enlarged for more accurate diagnosis. Digital x-rays can be stored, printed, or even transmitted electronically to a specialist or laboratory, if needed.

Intraoral x-rays create an image of the teeth, bone, and tissues inside the mouth. This image can be used for prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment planning, depending on the need. X-ray images can be used to identify or diagnose potential oral health issues that may not be fully visible to the naked eye. Some of these may include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cracks or fractures
  • Impacted teeth
  • Tooth root infection
  • Bone loss
  • Cysts, tumors, or other abnormal growths

How often you need dental x-rays will change over your lifetime. Healthy adults may only need radiographs taken every 2-3 years. Children and teens often need more frequent imaging to monitor the growth and alignment of their teeth. However, there are several additional factors that can influence how often digital x-rays are recommended. Some of these include:

  • Multiple dental restorations
  • Periodontal disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Tobacco use
  • Orthodontics
  • Root canal therapy

Your safety is our primary concern. Before having a digital x-ray taken in our office, let us know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have had a dental x-ray in another office within the past year
  • You are or may be pregnant
  • You have any questions or concerns about x-rays

For more information on how our digital x-rays benefit you, contact our office.

Dentist in Wicker Park | Root Canal Treatment: Common Myths Busted

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago

Wicker Park Chicago Dentist

According 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.

Wicker Park Dentist | Say Cheese!

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago, IL

Dentist Wicker Park ChicagoIt has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on your teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I eat?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If you enjoy aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If you prefer softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to enjoy a snack that makes you smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for those who have a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider eating cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our dental office.

Dentist in Wicker Park | To Floss or Not To Floss

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago, IL

Wicker Park 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.