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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.



Understanding Full Mouth Reconstruction

If you haven’t visited the dentist in a while or you have developed a host of issues, you may be a candidate for full mouth reconstruction. With full mouth reconstruction, your dentist will often combine restorative procedures like crowns and bridges with endodontic work, as well as implant therapy. Usually, the need for full mouth reconstruction occurs because of trauma, severe decay, or injury.

Smile Makeovers versus Full Mouth Reconstruction

Cosmetic in nature, a smile makeover is something you choose to update your smile. Similar to full mouth reconstruction, it may involve various procedures to complete the work. The biggest difference, however, is that a smile makeover is something you choose while full mouth reconstruction is something you need.

The Full Mouth Reconstruction Process

To determine the extent of the issues, your dentist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your mouth. The doctor will look for cavities, excessive wear, cracks, and tooth movement. At this time, the dentist will also perform a periodontal analysis to inspect the health of your gums. Finally, the doctor will check for alignment and bite issues.

After completing the exam, your dentist will create a detailed treatment plan and review the recommendations with you. Full mouth reconstruction often involves:

  • Dental implants to replace missing teeth
  • Deep cleaning and scaling to improve periodontal health
  • Orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign for optimal positioning
  • Restorations like crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays
  • Root canal therapy to save deeply damaged teeth


Are Regular Exams and Cleanings Really Important?

Many people mistakenly believe that if they have no visible problems and no discomfort they don’t have to see the dentist. The American Dental Association recommends twice yearly checkups to promote a strong, healthy smile. People with periodontal disease or other oral health issues may need more frequent visits.

During a routine care appointment, your dentist can examine your mouth, take X-rays, and look for signs of tooth decay. The hygienist will clean and polish your teeth as well. Thorough assessment of your whole mouth will give your dentist a clear picture of your current dental health status.

At a checkup, your evaluation will likely include:

  • Medical History Review – Collecting information about current medications and any underlying health conditions gives the dentist insight into your oral health.
  • Dietary Review – Because diet plays an important role in your dental wellbeing, the doctor may ask about the foods you are eating.
  • Oral Cancer Screening  – Your doctor will look at your face, lips, mouth, throat, and soft tissue areas to check for signs of oral cancer. Early detection can increase survival rate for this disease to about 80 percent.
  • Gum Disease Assessment – Over 75 percent of adults in this country have some level of gum disease, and they may not even realize the problem is there. During the check up, the dental team will assess the health of your gums.
  • Examination of Existing Repairs – To make sure your mouth remains healthy, the dentist will check old fillings and/or crowns. Over time, metal fillings can crack or leak, allowing food and bacteria to enter the tooth.


Dental Advice for Seniors

Most people assume that senior adults all properly take care of their teeth by the time they reach that age. That isn’t always the case though, since older people face different oral health issues than they did in their younger years. It’s important for seniors to maintain a smart oral care routine so that their mouth will stay healthy their entire lives.

Here are some tips to help accomplish that goal.

Brush regularly

Seniors have a higher risk of receding gums and resulting problems like cavities and tooth loss. Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft bristled toothbrush, and rinse with mouthwash. Also floss your teeth daily. These tasks remove food and plaque from both your natural teeth and dentures, as well as below the gum line. Be sure to brush your dentures daily too.

See your dentist

Visit your dentist for regular checkups twice a year, whether you have natural teeth or dentures. Your dentist will check for gum disease, oral cancer, as well as clean your teeth and adjust your dentures if needed. Also, make sure you tell your dentist about any medical conditions, medications, allergies, or recent operations you may have had. This will alert him to any potential drug interactions or side effects that might affect your oral health.

Recognize warnings

Be aware of warning signs that you have a problem, such as red or bleeding gums when you brush. That can indicate an infection or other issue. Also tell your dentist if you have red or white patches inside your mouth, or sores that don’t heal within two weeks, because these may be signs of oral cancer.

Follow denture recommendations

Use the correct amount of denture cream or adhesive. If your dentures are uncomfortable or require using more than one tub of cream every three weeks, have your dentures evaluated by your dentist. An adjustment or replacement may be necessary.

Tips On Kicking Bad Breath

Although bad breath is not a life threatening concern, it can impact personal and professional relationships. Certain foods such as onions or garlic can make your breath smell badly, but this is usually a temporary problem. Unfortunately, some people struggle with a dental condition known as chronic halitosis.

Many times, bad breath occurs because of food particles and debris that get trapped in our mouths. These substances provide a prime breeding ground for the bacteria that cause halitosis. Other factors that contribute to bad breath include poor oral hygiene, smoking, dry mouth, medication, and certain illnesses.

To fight bad breath, people may only mask the problems with temporary solutions like breath mints or mouthwash. Because these products can actually dry out your mouth, they end up making the problem worse. If you have real concerns, ask your dentist for recommendations on products designed to address the causes of bad breath.

Follow these tips to keep your breath as fresh as possible:

  • Apply a few drops of peppermint or tea tree oil to your tongue or toothbrush
  • Eat lots of crunchy vegetables, like celery or carrots, to help get rid of plaque
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Keep hydrated with plenty of water
  • Remember to brush your tongue
  • Rinse your mouth with a mixture of 50 percent hydrogen peroxide and 50 percent water
  • Try chewing sugarless gum, which can increase saliva
  • Visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups
  • When possible, brush teeth after every meal to remove food particles

Giving you something to smile about at our Bartlett, IL dental office


Sports Dentistry

When you are active in a sport, especially those involving contact, there is often a risk of dental injury. The frequency of such injuries has led to a specialization called sports dentistry, which focuses on the treatment and prevention of oral sports injuries and associated risks. In sports, the difficulty can be maximizing the benefits of playing while at the same time limiting injuries. Sports dentistry plays a role in this by protecting athletes from harm, and knowing what to do in the event an injury occurs.


In some sports, mouthguards are essential to dental injury prevention. Mouthguards are vital in contact sports like football, boxing, hockey, and martial arts. Properly fitting mouthguards are also key in some sports classified as non-contact, such as basketball, baseball, cycling, soccer, racquetball, and skateboarding.


Quick and proper treatment of oral and facial injuries is important in successfully helping an athlete who has suffered a sports injury. This may be in a dental office, or treatment at the site of the injury such as a basketball court or a football field. It requires knowledge and ability to diagnose injuries without using advanced technology.

Non-dental issues

Sports dentistry involves recognizing other health-related issues that athletes may face. Sometimes injuries include concussions or neck injuries that a sports dentist can identify and refer to another specialist to obtain proper care. Sports dentists also address issues of tobacco use, especially because smokeless tobacco is common in certain sports. These dentists also are trained to recognize drug use, and refer patients for treatment. It is also not uncommon for sports dentists to spot the symptoms of anorexia and bulimia through dental examination, which are frequent problems for some athletes.

What You Should Know about Your Child’s Dental Health

If you have kids, you want the best for them. Part of your role as a parent is to make sure they grow up healthy. Proper oral health care assists in your child’s overall wellbeing. To ensure that they have vibrant smiles that will last a lifetime, you need to have the correct information about dental care for children, so it’s important to learn fact from fiction.

Fiction: Baby teeth aren’t important.

Fact: Primary teeth actually serve as placeholders for permanent teeth as well as allowing for normal speech and chewing function. If baby teeth are lost early because of decay, your child may experience crowding or misalignment when permanent teeth erupt.

Fiction: Thumb sucking won’t hurt my child’s teeth.

Fact: While it’s cute to see a baby or toddler sucking his or her thumb, you need to work on curtailing this habit by the time your child enters kindergarten. If thumb sucking continues after that point, the permanent front teeth may not come in properly.

Fiction: Kids don’t need to floss.

Fact: The earlier you teach children to floss, the more likely they will be to continue this important oral hygiene step. As well, flossing baby teeth can help prevent cavities.

Fiction: My child doesn’t need a checkup until kindergarten.

Fact: Most dentists recommend bringing your child in for a first visit by age three. At this appointment, your doctor can examine your child’s mouth and create a positive feeling about dental visits so that your child feels safe and comfortable.

Fiction: I don’t need to help my child with brushing.

Fact: Although you may think your kids are doing a good job, they may not be able to brush the hard-to-reach areas on their own. At the very least, you should do a quick check after brushing is completed.


What about Amalgam Fillings?

In recent years, composite, or tooth-colored, fillings have become the choice when dentists repair damaged teeth. Composite fillings blend with your smile and preserve more of the healthy tooth structure. Though amalgam fillings are thought to cost less and last longer, health concerns have caused patients and dentists to reconsider this option.

What are the problems with amalgam fillings?

Metal fillings present several challenges. For one thing, they darken over time, detracting from your attractive smile. Often, metal fillings can crack or began to leak after years of wear. If this occurs, you risk further damage and will likely need more dental work. One of the biggest concerns with amalgams is that they contain mercury, a heavy metal substance.

Are amalgam fillings dangerous?

Currently, the American Dental Association says that metal fillings are safe since the levels of mercury are low. Because amalgam fillings lose their mercury over time, many people fear that the mercury vapors could be absorbed into your body and create a risk for overexposure, which can cause symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and headaches.

What are the benefits of composite fillings?

Not only do tooth-colored fillings look better, but they offer solid restorations designed to last. With a composite filling, the material is bonded to the tooth, so it won’t change shape with age, giving you a solid, attractive smile.

Do I need to have my old fillings removed?

Unless they show signs of wear, you can probably leave metal fillings in place. As they need to be replaced, talk with your dentist about using composite fillings.


Consider Dental Implants for Lost Teeth

implant-dentistry-3Just one missing tooth can dramatically impact your life. If you don’t replace a lost tooth, the bone begins to reabsorb and shifting of the remaining teeth can occur. Your bite may change, which can set the stage for major dental problems like TMJ. Some people also have trouble eating and speaking.

Dental implants can help patients enjoy healthy, complete smiles. Constructed from titanium, implants are artificial tooth roots inserted into the jawbone and covered by prosthetic crowns. Benefits of dental implants include restoring functionality, preventing bone loss, and possibly eliminating the need for bridges or dentures.

Am I a candidate for implants?
Your dentist can conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if implants would work for you. For successful implant therapy, you need good oral health and adequate bone density to support the posts.

What doe the implant process involve?
First, a surgeon will surgically place a titanium screw in each empty socket. After surgery, it will take two to three months for your mouth to completely heal. Your dentist will then place a crown over the artificial root.

Will my new teeth look real?
Absolutely. Dental implants look, feel and function the same as natural teeth. Because they are permanently secured in your mouth, you won’t have to worry about slippage or an uncomfortable prosthesis.

How do I take care of my implants?
Treat your implants like you would your natural teeth. Brush them twice a day, floss often, and schedule routine checkups. Performing these steps will help you protect your new smile.

Dental Implants Bartlett, IL

Tips Dentists Want You to Know

SheerVision Dentist Patient Loupes Headlamp Headlight 300x350CTo have a healthy, attractive smile, you need to take good care of your mouth. At your checkup, your dentist will offer advice on keeping your smile in top condition. The following suggestions can ensure that your next dental visit will be a great success.

Gum disease affects your whole body
One of the main causes of tooth loss in adults, gum disease has also been linked to health conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and pre-term labor. If you notice swollen or bleeding gums, contact your dentist right away.
Twice-daily brushing keeps cavities at bay
Food debris and plaque can lead to tooth decay. Brushing at least twice a day cleans your teeth and removes cavity-causing agents from your mouth.
Your diet matters to your oral health
Limiting your intake of sweet treats and sugary beverages will protect your teeth and gums. Instead, eat a wide variety of healthy foods, choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
Schedule routine checkups
At your regular visits, your dentist can look for any signs of problems, including oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay. Without routine care, you run the risk of damaging your oral health and costing yourself a great deal of money.
Change your toothbrush often
The bacteria that you remove from your mouth can stay on your toothbrush, so get a new brush about every three months. You should also rinse your toothbrush with hot water each time you brush.

Bartlett, IL Family Dentist

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Dental Bridge

toothbrush1Quality dental work can be time-consuming and expensive, so it pays to take care of your dental bridge and to prolong its life for as long as possible. Thoroughly cleaning your dental bridge will enable you to enjoy its benefits for longer. Listed below are a few tips to help keep your bridge beautifully clean and hygienic.

Choose a soft bristled toothbrush and make sure you brush at least twice a day for a couple of minutes each time. This will help clean your teeth and your bridge. Take your time to brush all around the sides of the bridge to remove food particles as it is still possible for plaque to build up, putting your natural teeth at risk of decay.

It is especially important to floss around your dental bridge, and it’s best to do this at least twice a day before you brush. Use a floss threader to clean underneath the bridge, or ask your dentist in Bartlett, IL for advice on the best tools to clean this area. Super floss is especially designed for use with a floss threader and to clean underneath bridges, as it consists of three components which are a stiffened end dental floss threader, regular floss and spongy floss. All these elements help to keep the gum tissue underneath the bridge clean and healthy.

It can be helpful to use medicated mouthwash to kill off any bacteria you may have missed, and to reach parts of your mouth that aren’t easily accessible. Use mouthwash at least once a day.

Visit your dentist in Bartlett, IL at least twice a year for routine checkups and professional cleanings. This will help ensure your bridge fits properly, and professional cleanings will remove any hardened tartar from around the margins, keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Dental Bridges Bartlett, IL

Overview of a Smile Makeover

Not everyone has the smile of their dreams. That’s why cosmetic dentistry is such a popular field. Modern techniques and skilled professionals are able to give you the smile you’ve always wanted with a smile makeover.

There are a number of reasons that people turn to smile makeovers. Repairing misaligned, stained gapped, broken, chipped, missing, or otherwise damaged teeth all fall under the benefits of a smile makeover. When you have any problems such as these, you can visit a cosmetic dentist to learn about surgical or non-surgical methods that your smile may be improved.

Beginning the smile makeover process is easy. Schedule a consultation with an experienced and reputable cosmetic dentist. You can convey the things you dislike about your smile, discuss your goals and expectations, and create a plan with the dentist about ways to improve your smile. Remember, a smile makeover is unique to each patient’s needs and desires. The dentist will also consider your age, skin tone, gums, lips, and facial appearance to help give you the best look.

Since each smile makeover involves different things, there are a variety of procedures possible to treat each individual. Some common treatments include:

  • teeth whitening – brightening stained or discolored teeth by using quick and effective professional whitening methods
  • veneers – permanently attaching tooth-colored, thin customized shells to the fronts of your teeth to cover flaws
  • composite fillings – using composite resin material that matches your tooth color to reshape teeth or improve their appearance
  • gum contouring – altering your gum line so that your gums and teeth fit together in a more aesthetically appealing way
  • orthodontics – correcting the alignment and placement of your teeth so that they are straight and positioned well
  • implants and crowns – replacing missing teeth by implanting a titanium root into the jawbone and artificial tooth on top

Choosing one or more of these types of smile makeover procedures may transform your smile to one that makes you happier and gives you the look you desire.

Cosmetic Dentistry Bartlett, IL


What about Amalgam Fillings?

In recent years, composite, or tooth-colored, fillings have become the choice when dentists repair damaged teeth. Composite fillings blend with your smile and preserve more of the healthy tooth structure. Though amalgam fillings are thought to cost less and last longer, health concerns have caused patients and dentists to reconsider this option.

What are the problems with amalgam fillings?
Metal fillings present several challenges. For one thing, they darken over time, detracting from your attractive smile. Often, metal fillings can crack or began to leak after years of wear. If this occurs, you risk further damage and will likely need more dental work. One of the biggest concerns with amalgams is that they contain mercury, a heavy metal substance.

Are amalgam fillings dangerous?
Currently, the American Dental Association says that metal fillings are safe since the levels of mercury are low. Because amalgam fillings lose their mercury over time, many people fear that the mercury vapors could be absorbed into your body and create a risk for overexposure, which can cause symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and headaches.

What are the benefits of composite fillings?
Not only do tooth-colored fillings look better, but they offer solid restorations designed to last. With a composite filling, the material is bonded to the tooth, so it won’t change shape with age, giving you a solid, attractive smile.

Do I need to have my old fillings removed?
Unless they show signs of wear, you can probably leave metal fillings in place. As they need to be replaced, talk with your dentist about using composite fillings.

Safe Amalgam Removal Bartlett, IL

Options for Complete Dentures

dentures3Denture technology has come a long way since the days of George Washington and his wooden teeth. Unfortunately, people still lose teeth for a variety of reasons including periodontal disease, trauma, and decay. Missing teeth make talking and eating difficult, and can ultimately cause sagging facial muscles. However, with today’s advances in technology it is more possible than ever to replace those lost teeth with natural and comfortable dentures.

Complete dentures cover both upper and lower jaws. The options for complete dentures range from immediate dentures to highly customized implant dentures. Immediate dentures are pre-made and available at your dentist’s office. They are not custom fitted and are set into gum sockets immediately upon removal of your teeth. While these offer the convenience of walking immediately out of the dental office with your new teeth in place, once gum tissue heals and swelling reduces they may shift and become loose. This issue requires follow-up visits for your dentist to make adjustments. People with immediate dentures may also have difficulty speaking, or experience a “clicking sound” when talking.

Conventional full dentures can be made 8 to 12 weeks after tooth loss or removal. Once the gums have healed, your dentist takes a series of impressions of your mouth to be sent away to a dental lab to create your dentures. This process may require multiple visits to your dentist to ensure a proper fit and correct bite. While this process takes longer and is more involved than immediate dentures, you will achieve a more secure and personalized fit. Both conventional and immediate dentures require the use of denture adhesives to keep them securely in place.

For an even more custom, natural looking and secure denture option, implant dentures are an excellent alternative. With implant dentures, small implants are placed in the jaw where they heal in place surrounded by the bone. The denture then snaps into the implant with attachments under the denture. These attachments keep the denture stable, providing more comfort and confidence. You do not have to worry your dentures will slip or fall out while you are eating, talking, or laughing. Implant dentures do not require the use of any denture adhesives.

Talk to your dental professional to determine the best use of denture technology to ensure many years of a confident and comfortable smile.

Complete Denture Dentist Bartlett, IL

Signs that You Many Need Root Canal Treatment

toothache1A root canal procedure involves opening your tooth to get rid of the severely damaged or infected root inside of it. Your tooth pulp is removed and replaced with filling material so that your tooth will be unlikely to become infected again. Root canal treatment is often the only way to save a badly damaged tooth.

So how do you know if you need root canal treatment? The most prevalent symptom of a tooth that needs this type of procedure is pain. Sometimes the pain associated with a severely infected tooth can be intense. If you experience tooth pain, consider whether you can identify the source of your pain. Try to determine if it’s a single tooth in particular, or if the pain continues down your jaw. Jaw pain may mean a bad infection or impacted wisdom teeth.

Once you locate the pain, use your fingernail to gently tap your tooth. If it hurts, then your tooth itself is probably the problem. Also look at your gums around the tooth. If they are swollen or irritated, that may further indicate an infection.

Think about the type of pain you have. Dull and throbbing pain usually points to an infection, especially if it worsens at night or when you bend over. Sharp and piercing pain can indicate a different problem than infection.

After you have gone through this checklist of things to consider, make an appointment to see your dentist. If infection is suspected, you may be prescribed antibiotics to see if that takes care of it. If your root and tooth pulp are affected however, you might require root canal treatment. Don’t let tooth pain continue without seeing a dentist and getting the treatment you need.

Root Canal Treatment Bartlett, IL

Update Your Smile for the Spring

smile4As winter fades away, most people look forward to spring. The flowers bloom and the weather warms up. Spring is often considered a seasonal of renewal. What better way to start this season than with a smile makeover. Even subtle cosmetic changes can transform your image.

Consider enhancing your smile by:

  • Whitening your teeth. A simple, easy way to take years off your appearance, teeth whitening can remove stains and brighten your smile. Most dentists offer either in-office whitening or take-home kits, and some practices provide both options to their patients. With in-office whitening, you leave the appointment with immediate results. At-home whitening produces gorgeous smiles in two to four weeks.
  • Replacing old fillings. In the past, metal amalgam fillings were the only choice. Now, many dentists use composite fillings to repair decay and restore your teeth. If you have metal fillings that have darkened over time, your dentist can replace these restorations with tooth-colored fillings that will blend in with your beautiful smile.
  • Straightening teeth. A flawless smile never goes out of style, so you might consider straightening crooked teeth with Invisalign clear braces. These removable, custom aligners fit over your teeth and gently move them into the correct position. Treatment usually lasts for 12 to 18 months, but most people won’t even notice you are wearing the aligners.
  • Covering imperfections. To close gaps, cover discolorations, and erases chips, you may want to consider cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers. Cosmetic bonding costs less, but it only works well for smaller imperfections and isn’t as strong as other options. Porcelain veneers can completely transform the appearance of your smile. Veneers are customized to fit your smile and match your natural teeth.

Schedule your appointment at our Bingham Farms dental office today.

Cosmetic Dentistry Bartlett, IL