We all need to see the dentist on a regular basis to make sure those small cavities don’t grow into a full root canal procedure. But there are other things available for more cosmetic purposes that can be important both to your health and personal confidence.
The Cosmetic Dentist in Wicker Park and Bucktown has done what would be called cosmetic procedures for patients in the past but those patients have gotten more than just a superficial improvement to their teeth. These procedures can also help repair damage that has happened over the years to teeth and make them last longer and perform better than they have in years.
Cosmetic Procedures and Their Benefits
Teeth Whitening. Not only can a good professional cleaning whiten teeth, it can remove harmful plaque and tartar which will prevent the development of gum disease. According to the ADA, both the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and The American Association of Orthodontists found most Americans want to whiten their teeth. The best way involves having a whitening agent used by the cosmetic dentist in the office to whiten your teeth. At home agents may be applied improperly and hurt the patient’s gums. Once whitened, patients are more interested in keeping them stain free and healthier.
Tooth Implants. Replacing a broken tooth will not only improve the smile but also keep the underlying bone stronger and healthier.
Veneers. A damaged tooth can be saved by placing a ceramic covering over it called a veneer and give that person back both their smile and a tooth that will perform better.
Crowns. A more involved replacement procedure than veneers, a crown can be attached to a fractured tooth to help with chewing and keeping the underlying bone structure intact.
All of these procedures can be performed by Dr. Anast and Associates at Kimberly Smiles Cosmetic and General Dentistry. Please contact them today and get on the road to not only a brighter but healthier smile.
Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:
Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.
Alternative Milk Products
Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt.
A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.
Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble digesting dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.
Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums. These are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. In many people, periodontal disease can start without showing obvious symptoms. If left untreated, you risk irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.
Floss to the Rescue
Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Your daily oral hygiene routine should include a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day. You should also be incorporating floss into your routine as well. Dental floss is effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris as well as sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.
Facts Behind Flossing
According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans are flossing each day. The same study showed a clear link between those who floss having better oral health compared to those who don’t. Unfortunately, many people lie about the frequency they floss. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.
Tips to Floss Correctly
It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use floss. Try working with roughly 18 inches of floss, while wrapping most of it around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to work with for each tooth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section for each new section between your teeth.
It only takes a few minutes to floss your teeth each day, but those few minutes can contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.
For more information about gum health, or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact our team.
Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.
Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?
Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.
The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.
What Grinding Does Your Teeth
Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.
What We Can Do
If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.
If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.
For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!
Don’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines.
No Fruit Juice in First 12 Months
The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger.
A Good Source of Vitamins – And Sugar
Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100-mililiters.
Fruit Juice May Be Harming Your Teeth
Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP also advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay.
According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar.
Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar still leads to decay in adults as well. Our team suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks.
Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health.
To schedule a visit to our dental office, please contact our team.
Did you know that chocolate might not be as bad for your teeth as people may have thought? You can now eat your favorite treat without feeling guilty. Studies have shown that there are benefits to eating chocolate, however, not all chocolate is created equal. It is important to note that these benefits apply to dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
11 grams of fiber
It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Here are more advantages to eating dark chocolate and how to maintain good oral health while doing so.
Chocolate and Your Teeth
Chocolate is a candy that dissolves quickly in your mouth, resulting in less time on your teeth. It does less damage than a chewy or sticky candy because the sugar doesn’t cling to your teeth as long.
Chocolate and Your Health
Cocoa and dark chocolate are also a powerful source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease, cancer, and other conditions. The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
Eating chocolate can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. A study also showed that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.
Remember to eat responsibly as too much sugary food can be harmful, regardless of the benefits. Eating dark chocolate and brushing your teeth after will reduce the negative effects of chocolate.
While you can indulge on your favorite chocolate treat occasionally, be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Brush at least twice each day for two minutes, and floss regularly.
When a tooth is extracted, your blood cells clot over the site of the tooth to protect your bone, nerves, and tissue. However, some patients experience dry sockets, a condition where blood clotting does not occur. Here’s what you need to know about dry sockets after tooth extraction.
What are Dry Sockets?
Dry sockets are the result of your blood failing to clot, or when an existing clot is removed. They leave the area previously protected by your tooth exposed, which includes bone and nerves. Symptoms often include significant pain and discomfort where your tooth was extracted. Pain often lasts beyond the first three days following your procedure. Further symptoms can include having a bad taste in your mouth, pain on the same side of your face as the extracted tooth site, and visible bone where the tooth was removed.
Who Is At Risk for Developing Dry Sockets?
In most cases of extraction, your mouth will heal normally. Dry sockets have been noted to occur at a higher rate in individuals who smoke, chew tobacco, practice poor oral hygiene methods, or suffer from an infection impacting the gums or teeth. Additionally, it is important that you follow all directions provided to you following extraction. Patients who fail to do so, and choose to do things such as drinking with a straw after treatment, have a higher risk for developing a dry socket.
Treating Dry Sockets
If you experience a dry socket, contact our team for an appointment. It is essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Removing debris is the first step to keeping the site clean. Additionally, our team may provide you with pain medication suggestions as well as gauze or medicated dressings to protect the site. Avoid touching the area before coming in to our office.
The direct cause of dry sockets is not widely understood. However, it is a temporary condition that can be managed and treated by taking the proper precautions. If you develop a dry socket following the extraction of a tooth, please contact our team. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible to ensure your mouth is able to heal properly.
Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.
Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.
The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.
Brushing Too Hard
Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.
The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.
Grinding and Clenching
Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.
The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.
Chewing Ice Cubes
Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.
The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.
Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.
The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.
The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.
Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment.
During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer.
Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer.
Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age.
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.
Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.
Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office.
People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team.
Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination.
Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact our office to schedule a comprehensive oral examination.
If you are like most Americans, you probably consider a nice hot cup of coffee an essential part of starting each day. In the U.S. alone, we consume about 400 million cups daily. While coffee can be an effective way to help you feel more alert and ready for the challenges that await you, not everything about coffee is so positive. Did you know that your habitual morning beverage may impacting your smile?
Coffee can cause wear.
Though coffee is a liquid, it does cause tooth enamel to wear over time. Coffee is full of acids that cling to the miniscule pits and grooves in the surface of your teeth, eating away at tooth structure. If you are using sugar or cream in your coffee, you may be adding to the effects by attracting more harmful bacteria that can cause decay.
Coffee causes staining.
Particles from coffee adhere to the surface of teeth and cause the teeth to become discolored over time. The enamel wear caused by coffee can make teeth appear less white, as well. This can make your teeth look and feel older than they are, as we tend to associate dull or discolored teeth with age.
There are actions that can help.
Your first and best option should be prevention. Obviously, if you stop drinking coffee it will not have the ability to further damage or stain your teeth. However, this may not be an option you are willing to consider. Teeth whitening can help restore the brighter, whiter appearance that you want your smile to show. Contact our office for a consultation to discuss what whitening option is best for your teeth.
Once you have completed your whitening treatment, there is another bit of good news. You can continue to enjoy your morning coffee and preserve your bright white smile. Consider using a straw so your coffee will bypass your teeth when you drink. Drink your coffee quickly, rather than lingering over it. This will limit the time the acids from coffee can sit on your teeth and cause damage. When you finish your cup, brush your teeth, if possible. Rinse your mouth with water to help prevent any coffee from remaining on your teeth.
With some care, you can restore and maintain a bright white smile without giving up the morning coffee you love. For more information on whitening your smile, contact our office.