Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry Improves Smiles

Everyone wants a nice smile. A great set of teeth and overall appearance of your mouth positively affects all aspects of your life. Self-confidence and attitude both improve along with your smile. Instead of hiding your mouth and covering it up when you smile or laugh, cosmetic dentistry offers ways to improve it so that you will be smiling every chance you get.

There are a wide variety of procedures and treatments provided by cosmetic dentists. The main goal is to enhance the appearance of your smile, which can involve things such as teeth whitening, gum alterations, hiding imperfections, and teeth straightening.

One common problem that many people are unhappy with about their smiles is staining or discoloration of their teeth. It can result from smoking, eating foods that stain, drinking beverages like coffee and cola, and other issues. Luckily there are various whitening methods, with the ones available in professional dental offices offering the most dramatic and fastest results.

Another popular cosmetic dental treatment is veneers, which are porcelain covers that permanently attach to your teeth to hide imperfections. They are used for things like closing gaps, hiding stains, and altering tooth length.

Cosmetic dentists can perform gum contouring to change the appearance of your gums along your teeth. Sometimes gums cover too much or too little of your teeth, so your gums can be lifted or lowered to improve your smile’s appearance.

Dental implants have grown in popularity, providing permanent and effective tooth replacement. People lose teeth for a number of reasons, but implants give people back their smiles. These titanium rods are attached directly into your jaw so that your bone fuses with the implant, and then an artificial tooth or crown is place on top to complete the natural look of implants.

Orthodontic treatment may also be provided by cosmetic dentists to straighten teeth and correct alignment problems. Newer technology such as clear braces and ClearCorrect retainers offer less noticeable orthodontic treatment methods.

No matter what your goals might be for your smile, it’s likely that a cosmetic dentist can help you achieve them.

If you live in the Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Dental Bridges

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a cosmetic way to help restore health to the mouth that has been compromised by a missing tooth. If you have lost several teeth, multiple or longer bridges can be placed. Because they are not removable, bridges help to restore the integrity of your bite without slipping or falling out of place. Other benefits of dental bridges include:

  • The placement of a bridge is quick and can be completed in two appointments, unlike having an implant or partial denture placed.
  • Bridges are predictable, durable, and have been shown to last a considerable length of time.
  • Because bridges are less invasive than alternatives like implants, they are a good option for patients who are not good candidates for surgical procedures for other medical reasons.
  • Dental bridges help to maintain your natural face shape and prevent the facial changes that occur when missing teeth are not replaced.
  • Bridges help prevent jaw and chewing problems caused when missing teeth force you to chew repeatedly on the opposite side.
  • A dental bridge prevents the remaining teeth from shifting to fill the space where your teeth are missing.

Besides the dental health benefits, a qualified dental professional can plan and place a bridge that creates a remarkably natural result. Having a bridge that perfectly complements the color and texture of your surrounding teeth will not only improve your oral health, but also improve the esthetics of your smile. Consult with Bartlett dentist Dr. Hofmeister to find out if bridges are a good option for replacing your missing teeth and improving your smile.

If you live in the Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Mouth Guard

Moms for Mouth Guards: Preventing Sports Injuries

In today’s society where millions of people are active in sports, it should be no surprise that there are over seven million injuries related to sports and recreation every year in the age group of 5 to 24 alone. One way to cut down on injuries to the mouth and face is for participants to wear mouth guards. The group Moms for Mouth Guards is getting involved to promote safety.

The American Associate of Orthodontists (AAO) advises that team or recreational sports participants wear a mouth guard to protect their mouths and faces. AAO research shows that more than 67 percent of parents do not make their children wear mouth guards. Moms for Mouth Guards is on a mission to educate parents, players, and coaches about the effects of facial and jaw injuries. Wearing a mouth guard is a proven way to decrease the seriousness of injuries and impacts that they have on players.

Moms for Mouth Guards has joined the AAO in its efforts to encourage other mothers in supporting athlete safety by wearing mouth guards. The group’s website provides details about sports injuries, tips on selecting an orthodontist, and the Moms for Mouth Guards pledge. This pledge asks individuals to commit to ensuring their children wear appropriate athletic equipment, including mouth guards. For every signature on the pledge, Moms for Mouth Guards donates mouth guards to the National Alliance for Youth Sports. This non-profit group promotes safe, fun, and healthy sports for all children.

The AAO suggests choosing for a custom mouth guard over store-bought options for the best protection. A custom mouth guard is personalized to your child’s teeth after a mold is taken by an orthodontist. The models are sent to a dental lab so that a personalized mouth guard can be created. The orthodontist will then ensure that the appliance fits your child perfectly, and provide directions for proper usage and cleaning.

If you live in the Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Cosmetic Dentistry

Most Popular Cosmetic Dental Procedures

With advances in cosmetic dentistry, you no longer have to live with an unsatisfactory smile. Today’s cosmetic dentists can perform a wide variety of procedures intended to make your smile brighter, more youthful, and aesthetically pleasing.

Some of the most popular procedures currently being performed by qualified cosmetic dentists include the following:

  • Teeth whitening or bleaching eliminates tooth stains and discoloration
  • Dental implants, both mini and full, give a more natural look and feel than traditional dentures
  • Dental bonding corrects broken, crooked, or uneven teeth
  • Porcelain veneers can correct both heavily discolored or severely damaged teeth
  • White or composite fillings are used to treat damage to the teeth caused by cavities, and are a more natural looking alternative to traditional silver fillings
  • Dental contouring aligns overlapping or crooked teeth, or helps correct the shape of teeth
  • Cosmetic gum surgery can correct a receding gum line caused by natural aging or gum disease
  • Accelerated orthodontics offers the same straightening benefits as braces with a much shorter treatment time
  • A dental bridge or fixed partial denture helps eliminate a flat look caused by missing teeth, and helps bring back the appeal of your natural smile

Nearly all of these cosmetic procedures can be completed in one to two dental visits, are relatively painless, and require minimal recovery time. Cosmetic dentistry offers a multitude of treatments to help you improve your smile and boost your self-confidence. Consult with qualified Bartlett IL cosmetic dentist Dr. Hofeister to find out how you can reshape your smile and enjoy greater self-esteem for years to come.

Schedule your appointment at our Bartlett, IL dental office

Teeth Whitening

Why Do Celebrities Whiten Their Teeth?

Celebrities are in the public eye all the time, so they are constantly speaking in public and smiling for the cameras. Of course they don’t want to flash a dull, discolored, unattractive smile! Many celebrities make their livings off their public image, and a set of pearly white teeth adds to their appeal. So what are some of the specific benefits that white teeth offer famous people?

Confidence
A bright sparkly smile enhances confidence and self-esteem. A smile is a personality trait that a celebrity can use to influence the public, so they want to make the very best of that characteristic. Having white teeth makes a celebrity more comfortable in photos, press opportunities, and other events. Celebrities are usually the focus, and self-confidence shines through along with their bright smiles.

Positive image
Both in their professional and social lives, celebrities need to be appealing to others. A pretty smile allows them to smile freely and enhance their positive image by their willingness to be the center of attention.

Profitability
Celebrities are constantly being photographed, so their smile is a precious commodity to them. They seek the help of dentist professionals to help them achieve the most stunning smile possible, so they in turn can continue a profitable career.

Good health
Healthy living and a fit body are keys to success for many celebrities. White teeth demonstrate a healthy lifestyle, even though some celebrities may not be making the healthiest choices in reality. Smoking, drinking wine, and sipping coffee are some habits that many celebrities have that can discolor their teeth. They have learned, however, to seek the help of teeth whitening to save their winning smiles.

If you live in the Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Dental Cleaning

Denture Care Tips

With proper care, dentures should last five to seven years before they will need to be replaced. Daily care and cleaning are important to extend their life and keep them looking their best. See your dentist every six months to check their fit and look for any signs of gum disease, and follow these recommendations to keep them in top condition:

  • Brush your dentures daily in the same manner you would brush natural teeth. However, because traditional toothpaste is too abrasive, you should use a soft denture brush and clean them with warm water. Be sure to brush both the inside and outside of your denture to help eliminate harmful bacteria.
  • Your dentist may also recommend the use of ultrasonic cleaners to care for your dentures. Use of these cleaners should be in addition to thorough daily brushing.
  • Remove dentures nightly to allow the gum tissue beneath them a chance to rest.
  • When removing dentures, you need to handle with care. Avoid dropping them by standing above a folded towel or full sink of water when handling dentures.
  • To keep dentures moist when not being worn, soak in specialized denture cleaners or cool water. If your denture has metal attachments, check with your dentist regarding the best method, as soaking could tarnish the attachments.
  • Never use hot water for cleaning or soaking, as it can cause dentures to warp.
  • Do not try to adjust your dentures yourself, as this may cause harm to your mouth or damage your appliance.

Daily care and cleaning of your dentures is crucial to help keep them looking their best and to prevent denture odors. Your dentures will last longer and fit better if you take proper care of them. Vigilant denture care is essential to both the longevity of your dentures and the health of your mouth. Visit Bartlett, IL dentures dentist Dr. Hofeister regularly for advice and answers to specific questions about denture care.

If you need a dentist in Bartlett, IL, contact us today

General Dentist

Managing Diabetes and Oral Health

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, an estimated 9 million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes. A chronic medical condition, diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t process sugar correctly. With Type 1 Diabetes, you produce no insulin at all. Type 2 diabetics don’t manufacture enough insulin or the insulin does not work properly. If you have diabetes, it impacts your whole body, including your mouth. Understanding common issues and taking a proactive approach will help you protect your oral health.

Does diabetes increase my risk for gum diseases?
Because diabetes weakens your germ-fighting abilities, you are more likely to have a higher concentration of the bacteria that cause gum disease in your mouth. High blood glucose levels can result in more severe levels of gum disease.

What other dental issues do diabetics face?
Although gum disease is the biggest oral health concern you may struggle with, diabetics should also watch out for increased chances of oral infections, thrush, dry mouth, and poor healing.

Should I tell my dentist about my diabetes?
Having diabetes changes your oral health needs. If your provider isn’t aware of the issue, he or she won’t be able to offer you the most thorough level of care. Make sure to update your dentist about any changes in your health during your regular visit.

How can I prevent problems in my mouth?
The biggest step you can take is controlling blood sugar and managing your diabetes. As well, you need to develop good home habits that include frequent brushing and flossing. Scheduling routine checkups will also help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Our dental office is located in Bartlett, IL

Cosmetic Dentistry

Is It Time For a Smile Makeover?

Do you have a special occasion coming up? Is there a class reunion in your future? A wedding?Are you taking a family photo and want to look your best? Have you been looking in the mirror and feeling dissatisfied with what you see? Does your smile seem lackluster? Present your best self by beginning with an attractive smile.

Over time, your smile is aging. You may not realize it, but your teeth discolor over time. Drinking coffee, tea, or red wine can affect the brightness of your teeth. Smoking can leave telltale stains. Your dentist can work with you to provide the best, most modern ways of whitening your teeth and reversing discoloration, whether through an at-home or an in-office procedure.

Even our normal everyday use of our teeth can wear away the tooth enamel and leave teeth chipped and unattractive. If whitening doesn’t achieve all of your smile goals, you may consider composite bonding, porcelain veneers, or dental crowns. These options can cover the gaps left by missing or misaligned teeth and can completely hide chipped teeth, restoring the smile you used to love.

Do you wear dentures? Older dentures can discolor faster than our natural teeth. If your dentures are more than six years old, you should talk to your dentist about revitalizing them, or about getting a new pair. Changes in your gums and jaw can cause dentures to fit poorly over time. Coupled with the expected discoloration, it can necessitate a new pair of dentures every 6-10 years.

Your dentist can help you determine the right course to rejuvenate your smile, and by extension, to rejuvenate YOU. You will look younger, you will feel better, and people will respond to you more positively. Many of the people you already know may not be able to pinpoint what you’ve done to change your appearance, but they do know that you look your best, and they will respond as such. It’s never too late to make immediate improvements to your smile that can enhance your life for years to come. Talk to your dentist today!

If you live in the Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Dentures

Getting Used to Your New Dentures

If you have new dentures, it may take you some time to adjust to them. As you begin your life with dentures, there are some factors to remember.

At first, you may experience an increase of saliva in your mouth. It is a natural reaction to what your mouth perceives as a foreign object. As you adjust to the denture, the flow of saliva will abate and return to normal levels.

You may dislodge the dentures by movements such as coughing, yawning widely or sneezing. This is normal. Once you get used to the differences in performing these movements, it will occur less frequently.

Cleaning your dentures is different than cleaning your natural teeth. Some extra skills will be necessary and will take time to learn and master.

Learning to eat with your new dentures can be challenging. Start with soft foods, such as soups, soft bread and eggs. Cut your food up into small, bite-sized pieces. Don’t try to chew a huge bite. Avoid biting down with your front two teeth, as this may dislodge your dentures. Use a sideways motion to chew your food, not front to back. Avoid pulling or tearing food off of a fork. Try to chew your food on both sides of your mouth simultaneously, as this can help your dentures stay balanced.

Speaking normally with your new dentures will take time and practice. The first several days will be the most difficult for you. You will feel awkward and as though your mouth is full or garbled. This issue can be exacerbated by the increased flow of saliva you will experience in the beginning. Practice speaking, especially difficult words, and you will find yourself becoming more confident in public.

Early on, your dentures may feel loose, especially if you have lower dentures. Your mouth needs time to learn to keep the dentures firmly in place without your consciously thinking about it. Over time, it will become second-nature to speak, eat and live your life normally with dentures.

Talk to Bartlett, IL dentist Dr. Hofmeister if you have irritation or pain, or if you have any questions regarding your new dentures.

We look forward to seeing you in our Bartlett, IL dental office

Clear Correct

Straighten Your Smile with ClearCorrect

Do you cringe at the thought of metal braces, but still want to obtain a fantastic smile? You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your mature image to straighten your teeth. With ClearCorrect clear braces, you don’t have to endure the discomfort or embarrassment of traditional orthodontia.

Adult and older teen patients often love the option of ClearCorrect clear braces. Through a series of clear, custom aligners, this advanced system gently shifts crooked teeth into the desired position. With these virtually undetectable aligners, only you and your dentist will realize that you are undergoing treatment to improve your smile.

Before beginning treatment, your dentist will first complete a full analysis to make sure ClearCorrect is the right solution for your case. Bartlett IL dentist Dr. Hofeister will then take photos and collect data to create an exact treatment plan. Using advanced 3-D technology, the ClearCorrect lab will translate the dentist’s instructions into a complete series of aligners.

During treatment, you will wear each aligner for around two weeks; then, switch to the next aligner. You will visit the dentist every four to six weeks so that the doctor can monitor your progress. Remove the aligners when you eat, brush, and floss, or for special occasions. In about 12 months, you can reveal a flawless smile to family and friends.

Benefits of ClearCorrect:

  • Makes cleaning and home care easier
  • No bulky metal brackets
  • No painful adjustments
  • Usually requires less treatment than traditional therapy

If you need a dentist in Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Root Canal

Understanding a Root Canal Procedure

Root canal procedures typically require more than one office visit and may be done by your dentist or an endodontist.  An endodontist is a dentist whose specialty is the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and trauma to the dental pulp of or the nerve of the tooth. Your dentist may feel comfortable performing your root canal procedure, or, depending on the level of difficulty, may refer you to an endodontist. Your dentist will know who is most qualified to perform the work you need on your particular tooth.

Before the procedure, an X-ray is taken. This will show the shape of your tooth’s root canals and will help determine if there are any signs of infection, particularly in the bone surrounding the tooth. You will receive a local anesthesia to numb the gum tissue around the affected tooth. If the nerve in the tooth is dead, anesthesia may not be necessary.

To prepare the working area and to keep it dry and saliva free during the procedure, your endodontist will use clips to place a dental dam (a rubber sheet) around the tooth. The endodontist will then drill a hole into the tooth and remove the decayed pulp, nerve tissue, and any other debris. Great care is taken to clean the entire root canal and to flush away all of the unwanted material.

Once the tooth is completely cleaned, your dentist will seal it. Depending on the severity of any infection, medication may be applied before the sealant can be applied. Once the infection is cleared, the tooth may be sealed. If the root canal procedure takes more than one visit, your dentist might apply a temporary filling to protect the area between your appointments.

At the second appointment, the inside of the tooth is filled with a rubber compound and sealer paste. Any holes left by the treatment are then filled. Many times, damage to a tooth is so severe that the tooth must be restored with a dental crown. Your dentist will know what additional dental work will be required to complete your root canal procedure.

If you live in the Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Smile Makeover

How to Maintain a Gorgeous Smile

One of your most valuable assets is your beautiful smile. You feel better about yourself and display an air of self-assurance when your smile looks sensational. To keep your pearly whites in top condition, follow these helpful hints.

Schedule routine dental visits
During these appointments, your dentist will perform a thorough exam to assess your current status and look for any potential problems. Addressing small issues, like cavities, before they escalate can save you time and money.

Brush and floss frequently
Good home care goes a long way towards protecting your teeth and gums. Make sure to brush at least twice a day and floss daily to prevent problems like cavities and gum disease.

Consider orthodontic therapy
With a straighter smile, you will feel more confident and improve your dental health. Routine tasks, like brushing and flossing, are easier to perform on straight teeth.

Eat well
Choose a balance diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy options, and lean proteins. Limiting your intake of sugary beverages and sweet treats will also help preserve your smile.

Curb bad habits
Nail biting, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption can cause damage to teeth and gums. Talk with your dentist if you need suggestions to help you break the habits.

Talk with your dentist about cosmetic dentistry
Simple procedures like teeth whitening or cosmetic bonding can dramatically impact your smile. During a consultation, your dentist can review the options and help you determine the best choice for enhancing your appearance.

If you need a dentist in Bartlett, IL, contact us today

Dental Crown

Zirconia: The New Choice for Dental Crowns and Bridges

Zirconia – the same diamond-like simulated stone you know as cubic zirconia – is a white crystalline oxide derived from the metal zirconium. In addition to being used in all types of jewelry, it has also been studied and used for years to produce a variety of ceramics, including a type used in cosmetic dental restorations.

Porcelain is often fused to metals such as gold or palladium in order to create a natural-looking dental crown or dental bridge, and it can also be fused to zirconia. Because the bonding process between the porcelain and the zirconia is stronger than it is between porcelain and other metals, the porcelain is more durable, and is less likely to chip away from a base of zirconia.

Zirconia is translucent, allowing for light to pass through teeth in the most natural way, and does not block light like other metal cores. As well, crowns of metal zirconia do not reveal an unsightly dark line along the gumline with age and wear, even as the patient’s gumline recedes.

Full-zirconia dental crowns and bridges are also available. They are stronger than porcelain-fused-to-zirconia, and look more natural than a metal-alloy crown or bridge; however, they are not as natural in appearance as when porcelain is used with a zirconia base.

Zirconia is rarely reactive in the mouth for those with metal allergies, although it is recommended that any patient with an acute metal allergy be tested for reactivity before using zirconia as a restorative material. Traditional cements can be used to affix zirconia crowns and bridges, making them an attractive choice for patients who have sensitivity to full porcelain bonding procedures.

Zirconia restorations are extremely strong and suitable for use in the front or the back of the mouth. They easily hold up to both back teeth grinding and front teeth biting pressures. With some other crown materials, hot and cold sensations can be increased due to electrical conductivity; however, this does not occur with a zirconia crown.

Talk to your Bartlett IL dentist today to learn if zirconia is the right material for your dental crown or dental bridge.

Our dental office is located in Bartlett, IL

Clear Correct

ClearCorrect Clear Braces will Make You Smile

At one time, the only option for orthodontic treatment was bulky, metal braces. Many adults shied away from straightening their teeth because they didn’t want the hassle or discomfort of traditional orthodontics. With ClearCorrect clear aligners, adult and older teen patients can transform their smiles but keep their dignity intact.

Before starting treatment, your dentist will take x-rays and perform an exam to see if ClearCorrect is a good option. ClearCorrect can correct many common orthodontic problems. Using a series of clear, custom aligners, ClearCorrect will gently move teeth into the proper position.

At the first visit, your dentist will take 3-D images and impressions of your teeth, which an ClearCorrect lab will utilize to produce your entire set of aligners. Wear each aligner for about two weeks and move on to the next one. Ideally, you should keep the aligners in for about 22 hours a day. In 12 to 18 months, patients can achieve perfect smiles.

To monitor your progress, the dentist will schedule appointments every four to six weeks. Because the aligners are removable, you can take them out to eat, brush, or attend a special event. Even when you are wearing the aligners, the clear plastic material makes them virtually invisible to the people you see.

ClearCorrect aligners offer several advantages to traditional orthodontics including:

  • No adjustments or pain
  • Reduced treatment time
  • Removable aligners
  • Imperceptible to others

Schedule your appointment at our Bartlett, IL dental office

Dental Implants Bartlett IL

Dental Implants Explained

People sometimes lose teeth to decay, gum disease, or injury. When this occurs, especially in younger people, it’s important to replace missing teeth in a way that will be both attractive and comfortable. Dentures used to be the only choice for tooth replacement, but now dental implants have become a popular solution.

What are implants?

Dental implants involve oral surgery to place an artificial tooth root in your jaw that will anchor a replacement tooth or crown. They are permanent, can replace one or more teeth, and do not affect neighboring teeth. Your dentist will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for implants, because you do need enough bone height in order to secure the implant.

What are the benefits?

Many patients prefer dental implants over dentures, primarily because implants often look more natural and are more comfortable. They feel more like your own teeth since they are a permanent, long-term solution. Since the artificial tooth is screwed in and attached to your jaw bone, implants do not come loose and become part of your own mouth and jaw over time. This allows you to eat and speak with confidence, and dental care is the same as caring for your natural teeth.

What’s the process for getting implants?

There are several steps in the process of getting dental implants, but most patients believe the outcome is worth it. First, a metal anchor is surgically placed in your jaw bone, which will fuse with the anchor. Then an extension is place on the anchor, and finally a replacement tooth is added to the extension.

Are Dental X-rays Safe?

If you think it’s better to skip the x-rays at your dentist’s office than to be exposed to radiation, you may be surprised to know that’s not the case. Exposure to any sources of radiation can eventually harm your body, but the amount of radiation emitted during dental x-rays is extremely small. Therefore, dental x-rays are considered safe.

Sources of radiation

You are exposed to radiation through many sources that you may not even realize. The sun, minerals in the soil, and home appliances all emit some levels of radiation. So completely avoiding radiation is difficult to achieve.

X-ray technology

Advancements in dentistry have caused low radiation levels in today’s x-rays. Some of the new technologies include x-ray machines that target the radiation beam only on the small area being tested, faster x-ray films that require shorter amounts of radiation activity, and film holders that secure the film in your mouth so that repeat x-rays are not necessary. Also, full-body aprons that are lined with lead are used to further protect your body. Frequent x-ray machine checks are mandated by federal law, with analysis required every two years or less.

Purpose and frequency

Dentists recommend that most patients get one set of dental x-rays every two years. The amount of x-rays you need is determined by your level of risk for tooth decay and gum disease. X-rays show your teeth’s condition, their roots, jaw position, and the makeup of the bones in your face. This data can alert your dentist to gum disease, abscesses, and abnormal conditions.

Effects

Even though the risks of potentially harmful effects are very small from dental x-rays, the exposure to radiation does add up over your lifetime. Every bit of radiation you receive from all sources contributes to your exposure. It’s smart to be aware of the risks and minimize them when possible, but remember not to do so at the risk of your oral health.

Healthy Smiles for Seniors

As people get older, their bodies change. One area that can be affected is oral health. To protect the longevity and beauty of your smile, you need to be aware of problems like gum disease and dry mouth.

The following tips will help you enjoy strong teeth and optimal dental health.

Keep up with dental visits

Plan to see your dentist every six months for checkups. During these appointments, your dentist can assess your oral health and make recommendations for any necessary treatment.

Stay vigilant about home care

Older patients can be susceptible to increased plaque development. Brushing twice daily and flossing regularly will help protect your mouth from problems like cavities and gum disease.

Find the right products

Sometimes, mobility becomes an issue as you age. Consider purchasing an electronic toothbrush and/or extended flossers to make your oral hygiene routine easier.

Protect your dental appliances

If you wear dentures, treat them with care. Make sure to remove and clean them regularly to keep them in good condition and prevent odor build-up. It is also important to schedule periodic appointments, which will allow your dentist to check the fit and make any adjustments.

Be honest with your dentist

Make sure your provider stays up-to-date on your current medications and any health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Having the big picture of your whole body will allow the dentist to tailor a dental care plan that will produce the best results and preserve your fabulous smile.

TMJ Treatment in Bartlett, IL

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint, shortened to TMJ, is the joint where the upper jaw and the lower jaw meet. It is located in front of each of your ears. The joints enable your jaw to move smoothly open and closed and from side to side. This allows you to chew, talk, and yawn. It is one of the most commonly used joints in your body, which also means that when there is something wrong with it, you’re sure to notice.

What causes TMJ problems?

It is unclear exactly what causes TMJ, but dentists believe that issues arise from problems with the jaw muscles or with the joint itself. Injuries like whiplash or a heavy blow can cause TMJ, but some of the other causes are a bit more subtle. These include teeth grinding or clinching, arthritis in the joint, dislocating the disc between the ball and socket, and stress.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

There are many ways that TMJ presents itself, and not all patients have every symptom. Most commonly affecting people ages 20 to 40, TMJ pain can range from mild to severe, and symptoms may be temporary or last for years.

The most common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck, shoulders, or ear
  • Difficulty opening your mouth very wide
  • Getting your jaws stuck in the open or closed position
  • Popping, clicking, or grating sounds in your jaw joint when moving your mouth
  • Feelings of fullness in your ear, or ringing in your ear
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial swelling

How is TMJ treated?

Treatments range from self-care techniques to appliances and even to surgery in severe cases. Most experts agree that conservative therapies should be tried first, with surgery as the last resort. Dentists also suggest that using several of the techniques in combination with one another may be helpful.

Some treatments to try for TMJ problems are:

  • Apply heat or ice packs.
  • Eat soft foods.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, or higher prescription doses prescribed by your dentist. Muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety medicines are also sometimes prescribed.
  • Wear a splint or night guard, which are plastic mouthpieces that fit over your teeth to prevent you from clenching or grinding them.
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements and chewing harsh items like gum or ice.
  • Learn relaxation techniques to avoid muscle tension in your jaw.

TMJ Treatment in Bartlett, IL.  Contact our office today.

The Latest on Dental Technology

Advances in dentistry have made it possible for patients to receive the care they need while remaining as comfortable as possible. Dentists can find cavities when they are just starting to develop. In many cases, they can also remove tooth decay easily and painlessly.

Take a look at some of the tools dentist use today.

DIAGNOdent

Often, dentists don’t find cavities until they damage your teeth. DIAGNOdent, a laser cavity detection tool, can identify areas of a tooth that may be susceptible to decay even before a cavity forms.

Cavitron

This tool employs high frequency sound waves to clean teeth. The sound waves actually vibrate build up off your teeth. Then, water rinses away the debris to give you a vibrant smile.

Air Abrasion

With this form of cavity removal, tooth decay is eliminated using a pumice powder, which reduces the need for drilling and anesthesia. Like a sandblaster remove graffiti, this device works by blowing out a powerful stream of tiny aluminum oxide particles. These particles bounce off the tooth, blasting away the decay.

Healozone

This machine can safely and effectively offer pain-free treatment of dental caries. By directly applying ozone to the affected area, it kills the bacteria and stops development of the cavity. In some cases, the Healozone may reverse the affects of tooth decay.

CEREC

Typically, placement of a crown takes two appointments. The revolutionary CEREC technology allows your dentist to design and mill a ceramic crown, inlay, or onlay in one visit while you wait. Patients leave their appointments with their permanent restorations.

Keep Your Teeth Whiter With These At-Home Tips!

As you age, your teeth do too! White enamel on the surface of your teeth can become stained with everyday foods and drinks. Even some mouthwashes and medications can leave your teeth stained or looking dingy. The best way to whiten and brighten your teeth is with a visit to your dental professional; it’s fast, it’s safe and it’s long-lasting. In-between appointments, however, you can help keep your teeth whiter with some simple at-home tips.

To keep your teeth looking their best, visit your grocery store or drug store and choose an at-home whitening product. Kits are available that can remove surface stains as well as deeper discoloration, changing your natural tooth color to be whiter and brighter. Some kits utilize trays that hold whitening gels, and some instruct you to apply the gel directly to your teeth. These types of whitening agents act quickly, generally over one or two applications, and can help you make your in-office treatment last between appointments.

Some kits contain whitening strips that sit on top of your teeth and help remove stains. These strips are very thin, and can be worn for several minutes a day for a period of time. Whitening strips are effective, but the results are neither as fast-acting nor as evident as gel-based whitening kits.

Whitening toothpaste is extremely popular and simple. While trays and strips can change your tooth color, whitening toothpastes can only remove simple surface stains.

Additional at-home methods include rinsing with hydrogen peroxide or brushing with a paste made with baking soda. Including apples, strawberries, citrus fruits, celery or carrots to your diet has been proven to brighten your smile. Hard cheeses and other dairy products decrease gum disease because of their lactic acid content, and they contain vitamin D and calcium, important building blocks for your teeth and bones.

Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups, and follow these simple at-home tips for keeping your smile brighter and whiter between professional whitening treatments.

Dental Veneers can Produce Extraordinary Results

If you look in the mirror and wish you had a more attractive smile, porcelain veneers may provide the answer you are looking for to update your image. Made from fine dental porcelain, veneers can cover imperfections and transform your appearance. With veneers, you can cover stains, close gaps, and produce uniformity. Depending on your case, you may choose from custom veneers or minimal preparation options.

Before beginning any treatment, schedule a consultation with a skilled cosmetic dentist. At this visit, explain your desires in detail to your doctor. Some people even bring examples of smiles that they like. Your dentist will combine this information with a complete examination to develop a customized plan for your new smile.

Traditional Veneers

Handcrafted to fit your specific smile, traditional porcelain veneers can be created to complement your facial features, neighboring teeth, and personality. For traditional veneers, your doctor will prepare the teeth by removing a thin layer of enamel and then take impressions of your teeth. Your dentist will send this information to a trained ceramist, who will generate your restorations. While you wait, some dentist will place temporary veneers, giving you a chance to try out your new look. Once the permanent veneers arrive from the lab, you will return for final placement.

Minimal-Prep Veneers

Marketed through brands like Durathin or Lumineers, minimal-prep veneers are ultra-thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to your front teeth. With minimal-prep options, little enamel removal is necessary and usually local anesthetic is unnecessary. Reversing minimal prep veneers is also possible if you change your mind at a later time. Because they can look unnatural or bulky in certain cases, not all individuals make good candidates for minimal-prep veneers.

 

Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic procedure that dentists perform today. It can have a dramatic effect on your smile at a smaller cost than other cosmetic procedures. You can whiten your teeth yourself using at-home techniques, but often professional whitening with your dentist’s help achieves the fastest and most effective results.

Let’s examine the whitening options provided by most dentists to help you evaluate what might work for you.

Whitening at your dentist’s office

The dentist applies a whitening product to your teeth containing higher percentages of hydrogen peroxide than what is available in at-home kits. Heat or light may be used also. This technique produces quick, uniform results, but it does sometimes cause temporary gum irritation or tooth sensitivity.

Home whitening supervised by your dentist

A customized mouthpiece will be created by your dentist for you to fill at home with whitening gel, which contains a lower strength of hydrogen peroxide then the in-office gel. You wear the mouthpiece at home for several hours each day, and your dentist supervises the whitening with regular checkups. Although this method is convenient and less expensive than chair side whitening, it produces slower results.

Repeating the process

Whichever type of teeth whitening technique you might choose, remember that it isn’t a permanent repair to your teeth. You will need to repeat the process every year or two. The length of time between treatments will increase if you don’t smoke and avoid foods that are known to stain your teeth, such as coffee and red wine.

What is Oral Thrush?

Also referred to as oral candidiasis, thrush is a condition that you can develop when a fungus called Candida albicans builds up inside your mouth. Usually, thrush presents as creamy, white lesions on the tongue and cheeks. Anyone can develop thrush, but it commonly occurs in babies, young children, the elderly, and patients who have compromised immune systems such as HIV patients.

Does poor oral hygiene cause thrush?

Interestingly enough, your home care routine does not contribute to thrush. This condition is brought on when the naturally occurring fungi in the mouth get out of balance and become overpopulated. Proper brushing and flossing will help with your recovery so keep up with your oral hygiene. Replace your toothbrush after treatment for thrush to prevent a return engagement.

How do you prevent thrush?

Acidophilus, healthy bacterial organisms can help restore balance in your mouth. You can buy it as a supplement or purchase and eat yogurt that already contains the live cultures.

What is the treatment for thrush?

Otherwise healthy adults and children may not require treatment because thrush can go away on its own. If the thrush continues to be a problem, your dentist or doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication.

What’s the difference between thrush and leukoplakia?

Although you may confuse the two, leukoplakia lesions develop because of chronic irritation from rough edges on teeth, fillings or crowns. Thrush often appears suddenly, while leukoplakia lesions occur over time.

 

Tooth Pain Relief During Pregnancy

Are you one of the many pregnant women dealing with swollen gums and gingivitis, making your entire mouth painful? The stress of pregnancy on your body and fluctuating hormones are believed to contribute to pregnancy dental issues. In typical circumstances, you would have a variety of methods to choose from to relieve tooth pain, but during pregnancy some of those options aren’t safe. Here are some solutions to try that won’t endanger you or your baby.

Acetaminophen

With your doctor’s approval, you should be able to take acetaminophen according to package directions. It will provide pain relief for a few hours, allowing you to get in to see your dentist or obstetrician. Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin, however, as those are not considered safe during pregnancy.

Clove oil

Try chewing on a whole clove. As strange as it might sound, the oil that the clove secretes can be a natural way to help tooth pain while pregnant. Experts say that you should experience some relief within thirty minutes after chewing cloves.

Gargling

Gargling with warm water can safely relieve minor pain for a short period of time.

Benzocaine

The topical antiseptic benzocaine is often used for teething babies, and is considered safe for pregnant women as well. Apply it directly to the aching tooth with a cotton swab. It should be available in the baby products section of your local drugstore.

Dentist

If your tooth pain doesn’t go away in a day or two, make an appointment to see your dentist. Managing the pain for an extended period isn’t enough, because you need to determine the cause of your pain. You might have a cavity, abscessed tooth, or other problem requiring treatment. Make sure to inform your dentist of your pregnancy so appropriate care will be provided.

Technology That Helps Dentists Identify Oral Cancer

Every hour, one person in the United States dies from oral cancer. Worldwide, 300,000 new cases of this disease are diagnosed each year. Because oral cancer is often found in the later stages, the prognosis is usually not good. In fact, almost half of all people who receive an oral cancer diagnosis won’t live longer than five years. With early diagnosis and treatment, survival rates improve dramatically.

One reason regular checkups are so important is that they give dentists a chance to examine your mouth and look for anything unusual. Common symptoms of oral cancer include discolored tissue, scratchy throat, or a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks. Many doctors perform visual assessments of their patients’ teeth, gums, and mouth. Tools like ViziLite and Velscope help dentists accurately diagnosis oral cancer.  Both the ViziLite and Velscope augment the physical exam dentists perform.

At our dental office, Dr. Hofmeister offers Velscope oral cancer screening. The Velscope uses fluorescence to differentiate between healthy and abnormal tissue.  This device emits a safe, high energy blue light inside the mouth. Generally, healthy tissue shows up with a green glow, while areas of concern show a loss of fluorescence and appear dark.  The Velscope allows Dr. Hofmeister to detect oral abnormalities before they are visible to the naked eye.

Another device that helps dentists diagnose oral cancer is the ViziLite. The patient first rinses with a cleansing solution. The dentist will dim the lights and scan your mouth with the ViziLite. Abnormal tissue appears in a distinct white color, which looks different than healthy areas. If the dentist finds areas of concern, he or she can then request a biopsy to get more accurate information.