Should Teens Whiten Their Teeth?

More and more teens, especially girls, are asking parents for permission to whiten their teeth, using either products from the drugstore or with the assistance of a dentist. When a teen is free from braces, there is a desire to have the best, brightest smile possible, and teeth whitening is at the top of the list. Parents find themselves wondering if it’s safe or even acceptable for a teen to take this kind of cosmetic step.

Dentists agree, tooth whitening is safe for teens. Drugstore products like whitening gels, strips or trays have a lower concentration of chemicals than treatments found at the dentist’s office. These products are safe when used for no more than their recommended durations, although professional treatments will act faster and last longer.

The main concern for younger patients is that their teeth are also “young,” meaning that the pulp inside the tooth that supplies the blood, nutrients and nerve of the tooth is larger and closer to the surface than in adult teeth. This can mean that the younger tooth is a more sensitive tooth, and that any sensitivity side effects that come from teeth whitening would be exacerbated in the young patient.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommended recently that full-mouth whitening be discouraged in any patients who don’t yet have all of their permanent teeth. Children who whiten a mix of adult and baby teeth can end up with teeth that are mismatched.

Another concern about at-home whitening for teens is that they might not follow all of the instructions, leading to sensitivity or pain. Any whitening treatment should be discontinued at the advent of any pain or discomfort. Whitening is safest when performed under the supervision of a trained dental professional.

Dental exams can determine if the teen has any issues, such as red or swollen gums or decayed teeth that have to be taken care of prior to whitening. Whitening a tooth that is unhealthy can lead to uneven color and the chemicals used can irritate already problematic gums.


Teeth whitening dentist in Bartlett IL

Children and Family Dentistry Practices

Family dentistry is all about relationships. A family dentist can care for your teeth for your entire life, from infancy to long past retirement. Because your dental needs change as you age, a family dentist offers comprehensive dental care for patients of any age.

A family dentist is especially sensitive to the unique sensory and emotional needs of children. Good oral hygiene is established in childhood, and a family dentist realizes that if you begin a child’s oral care with positive experiences at the dentist, that child will have a lifetime of good oral health. With that in mind, a family dentist will offer you and your entire family a positive experience and atmosphere, taking a gentle approach to dental visits.
A family dentist can offer the same kinds of services that a general dentist can:

  • Oral health check-ups
  • Regular dental cleanings
  • Fluoride treatments
  • X-rays
  • Sealants
  • Treatment of cavities/fillings
  • Treatment of gum disease
  • Tooth extractions
  • Orthodontics
  • Cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening

Children will also benefit from understanding that their parents receive the same oral care that they themselves are receiving. An anxious or fearful child will tend to relax if an adult has “gone first.” Knowing the family dentist is there for the entire family and the wide range of services required over a lifetime can be very comforting. Over time, children will learn to feel more comfortable in the familiar atmosphere of the family dentist.

A family dentist understands how to care for a child’s baby teeth and for his or her adult teeth. There is a focus on preventative care, hoping to prevent any dental complications down the road. This dentist will ensure that your child knows how to brush properly and will emphasize the importance of daily routines such as regular flossing. With proper habits, the child who is a patient of a family dentist will grow up into an adult at that same practice, and will be more inclined to avoid issues such as cavities, gum disease, infections, and bone loss.

Early Childhood Cavities

Cavities during early childhood, often called “baby bottle tooth decay,” affects kids up to age three (or as long as they continue using a bottle). It is a result of poor oral hygiene accompanied by habits that increase the child’s risk of tooth decay. Not only do poor habits learned during childhood often last into adulthood, the same things that caused cavities during childhood will probably cause cavities in adult teeth as well.

What causes early childhood cavities?

  • Sugars and carbohydrates in the child’s diet
  • Drinks containing sugar, like milk, formula, and fruit juice
  • Frequent feedings
  • Bacteria transferred from caregiver to child
  • Letting the child sleep with a bottle containing anything but water

How can early childhood cavities be prevented?

  • Giving the child a pacifier instead of a bottle for sleep times
  • Filling bottles only with water if you must give a bottle during sleep times
  • Making sure your child has fluoride in their diet, often through your water supply. If not, ask your dentist about other ways to expose your child to fluoride.

What other ways can I help my child’s teeth healthy?

  • Clean your baby’s gums.
  • Once teeth have started erupting, brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • After your child can brush, monitor the process so the child doesn’t swallow fluoride toothpaste and to make sure the teeth are getting clean.
  • Help your child floss daily until about age 8 to 10, when most children should be able to do it correctly on their own.
  • Take your child to the dentist for checkups every six months after the first tooth appears, usually at about one year of age

Helping your child avoid “baby bottle tooth decay” and learn good dental hygiene will likely help your child throughout life.


If you need a family dentist that treats kids, contact our office today.


Preventing Gum Problems

Having sore, swollen, or bleeding gums can be painful as well as alarming. Everyone’s gums become tender or bleed at some point, but experiencing gum issues regularly indicates you may require treatment. There are a variety of steps you can take to prevent gum problems. Try these suggestions, but if you have persistent trouble with your gums you should let your dentist know so that they can be examined.

Brush your teeth at least twice daily, and use proper brushing techniques. For example, brush gently in a circular motion without scrubbing vigorously. Select a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be easier on your gums.

You should floss your teeth every single day. It may be the most important way to prevent gum problems, because it gets rid of plaque and bacteria in hard-to-reach areas and along your gum line.

Drink water
Especially after eating, drinking water helps to rinse food off your teeth and gums so that there is less opportunity for bacteria to attack.

Eat healthy
Choosing a well-balanced diet can lower your risk of gum problems. Be sure to incorporate vitamin C and calcium, which both assist in maintaining health gums.

Avoid hot or cold items
Be careful about drinking extremely cold or hot foods and drinks. Your gums can become irritated by extreme temperatures, and it can be especially painful if you consume these items with already sensitive gums.

Don’t use tobacco
Cigarettes and other tobacco products have proven to be damaging to your teeth and gums. Do your best to stop using tobacco products, and your mouth will reap the benefits.

Stress raises levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body. High levels of cortisol have been linked to increased inflammation throughout the body, so it stands to reason that trying to relax can benefit even your gums.


Family dentist in Bartlett IL

Make Your Brushing Count

While most people understand the importance of brushing twice a day, they may not realize that how you brush is also critical to protecting your oral health. Brushing is designed to remove food and bacteria from your mouth. The technique you use and steps you take play an important part in your success. At your checkups, your hygienist can offer suggestions to help you maximize your home care routine.

Brushing Tips

  • Place your toothbrush under running water to soften the bristles. Then, apply a small dab of fluoride toothpaste to the brush.
  • Plan to brush for at least two minutes. Set a timer or sing a song like “Happy Birthday” in your head to devote adequate time on this task.
  • Choose the right tool. Pick a toothbrush that has soft bristles and has a comfortable handle so that you won’t have an excuse not to brush.
  • Gently brush your teeth in a circular motion and spend 5 to 10 seconds on each tooth. Start on one side of your mouth and work your way across to reach all your teeth.
  • Cover all your bases. Make sure to brush your teeth, gums, tongue, and roof of your mouth.
  • Get into the groove. Don’t brush too harshly because it can damage your gums and weaken tooth enamel. If you don’t brush firmly enough, though, you may not remove the bacteria and debris from your teeth and gums.
  • Remember to care for your toothbrush. Always rinse it after you finish. Also, you need to replace your toothbrush or brush head every two to three months.

General dentist in Bartlett IL

The Best and Worst Foods for a Healthy Smile

What you eat impacts your overall wellbeing, including your dental health. Although most individuals realize that eating only candy and sweets would destroy their smiles, many people would be surprised about other foods that make the “worst” foods list. Selecting foods from the “best” list can have a positive impact on your whole-body health, not just your teeth. Read through these suggestions for a better understanding of healthy and not so great choices:

Snack Options to Limit:

Treats such as chocolate bars, gummy bears, and licorice contain sugar, which feeds the bacteria in your mouth, generating acidic wastes that rot your teeth.

Starchy foods like bread and potatoes
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that the bacteria in your mouth also love carbohydrates. As well, starches become sticky, and when they combine with plaque, can create a mess that will lead to tooth decay or other issues.

Cakes and cookies
Made with sugars and starches, these sweet treats can produce the perfect storm of potential damage to your teeth.

Good Foods Choices:

Sugarless Gum
Chewing gum made with Xylitol, a natural sweetener, will help clean debris from your mouth and increase saliva production, making it more difficult for plaque to stick to teeth.

Fruits and Vegetables
Crunchy options like carrots and apples are good sources of fiber, and they help curb your appetite so you won’t snack as much between meals.

Dairy Products
Low-fat choices like yogurt and certain cheeses contribute calcium, which helps keep teeth healthy and strong.


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What Are the Differences between General and Pediatric Dentists?

Some people mistakenly believe there is no real difference between a general dentist and a pediatric dentist. In fact, choosing a good pediatric dentist who has been specifically trained to treat children’s teeth can be very beneficial. A pediatric dentist will know how to put anxious or nervous children at ease. This can help ensure they have a positive experience which can shape their attitude towards lifelong dental care.

Pediatric dentists have first qualified as general dentists but have been chosen to undergo an additional two or three years training in treating infants, children, teenagers and children with special needs. This specialized training will have included a residency program. During this time a pediatric dentist in Bartlett will have learned how to correctly diagnose issues and provide preventative dental care, how to teach oral hygiene to young children, and how to manage children’s behavior during their dental visits. In addition they will have been taught about the growth and development of children’s teeth, jaws and facial structures, and will have studied sedation techniques.

Children have unique oral health issues, and pediatric dentists have been trained to identify any possible risks. Some of these can be due to oral habits such as thumbsucking or pacifier use, while others can be down to parental influence, particularly diet. A typical visit to a pediatric dentist in Bartlett is likely to include an examination and teeth cleaning, as well as fluoride treatments if required. Your dentist can diagnose any problems such as cavities or broken teeth. They are also trained to help identify issues with tooth alignment and bite problems and can monitor and treat dental health issues due to gum disease, or to other general health problems such as diabetes.

Special Needs
Most general dentists are not trained to provide the level of care required by children with special needs. These children may have mental or physical challenges. A pediatric dentist can ensure they receive the best level of oral health care, as their issues often require a dentist with specialized knowledge.


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Common Oral Surgery Procedures in Bartlett IL

A specialization area of dentistry is oral surgery, which involves diagnosing and treating functional or aesthetic issues of the teeth, gums, jaws, neck, and head. Some dentists are able to perform oral surgeries, but often it is advised to seek treatment from an oral surgeon who is well-trained and experienced in the sometimes tricky aspects of intricate surgeries. Here are some of the most common types of oral surgery.

Jaw surgery
Often surgery is the best way to correct various problems associated with the jaw. There are a number of issues surgery can address, or reasons behind the need for this type of intervention. Some typical cases are incorrect bite (malocclusion), trauma, teeth grinding or clenching that causes tooth wear, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, incorrect jaw position, misproportioned facial appearance, or problems using the jaw for eating or speaking.

Dental implants
A very popular type of oral surgery is replacing missing teeth with dental implants. This procedure involves surgically inserting a titanium rod in the site of the missing tooth root. The jaw bone will fuse together with the implant, and then later the procedure can be completed by placing a crown on top of the post.

Tooth extractions
Another very common reason for oral surgery is extracting teeth that are causing some type of problem in your mouth. This may include impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth, severely damaged teeth from decay or trauma, primary teeth that haven’t fallen out appropriately, or orthodontic treatment that requires tooth removal to achieve the desired results.

What to Tell Your Family Dentist in Bartlett IL

Your oral health is an important component of your overall health and can impact your entire body. Because of this impact, it is of vital importance that your family dentist has comprehensive knowledge of your medical history, as well as any other concerns or issues you may have that could affect your dental treatment. The following are some items you should discuss with your family dentist:

  • Tell your dentist if you have been diagnosed with any diseases or illnesses.
  • Provide a list of all medications you take, including both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Tell your family dentist if you have any known allergies, or if you are pregnant.
  • Report any sleep issues you may be having, or if you have been snoring.
  • Discuss any changes you have become aware of in your teeth or gums. Examples of the type of changes to share would be bleeding, bumps in your mouth, possible new cavities, and sensitivity to hot or cold.
  • Disclose if you smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Tell your dentist if you have bad breath.
  • Discuss if you have noticed you are grinding or clenching your teeth, or are having tension in your jaw or neck muscles.
  • Express any fears or anxiety you may have of dental treatment.
  • Share details of any previous dental issues you have experienced, or treatments you have undergone.
  • Discuss your expectations. Maybe you are hoping for a brighter smile or straighter teeth. With this information, your family dentist can determine the best course of action to achieve your goals.

The relationship you form with your family dentist is important. Entrusting your oral health to your dental professional requires an honest dialogue regarding all aspects of both your dental and overall health history. With the proper information, your family dentist can provide you with the excellent care you deserve.

Potential Side Effects and Risks of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening in our Bartlett dental office, which is generally considered very safe and mild, carries a risk of primarily temporary side effects, including tooth sensitivity, gum irritation or aesthetic problems with uneven whitening.

A portion of the people who use whitening products, either over-the-counter or in your dentist’s office, experience some small degree of tooth sensitivity or gum irritation during the course of their treatments. In severe cases, a dentist may recommend that a particular patient skip any whitening procedure to prevent a problem.

The concentration of the peroxide used and the length of time the whitening product is applied appears to be directly related to the risk of sensitivity after use. In general, these side effects are temporary and will abate after one or two days.

If you are using an at-home product, be sure to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Overuse of a whitening product is not healthy for your teeth or gum tissues, and can lead to greater sensitivity over time.

Tooth sensitivity can lead to discomfort or pain in the teeth when exposed to hot or cold liquids and food, or sweet or sour foods or drinks. Even air or the touch of your tongue can lead to discomfort. Mild discomfort is normal and should disappear within a day or two of treatment.

Gum irritation may be caused by chemicals in the whitening process or by physical problems with the whitening trays. The latter is most likely the result of over-the-counter whitening kits; custom-fitted trays that come from your dentist are more likely to fit properly and to minimize gum irritation.

Gum irritation and tooth sensitivity caused by whitening can be stopped by discontinuing the use of the whitening products for several days. You may want to decrease the time you spend using the product, or you may want to use less of the product in the trays.

Your teeth may not whiten evenly, leading to discoloration or splotches on your teeth. Whitening products do not work on teeth covered in plaque or debris. Having your teeth professionally cleaned prior to a whitening procedure can ensure a more even result.

Family Dentistry vs. General Dentistry

The areas of family dentistry and general dentistry have many similarities, but there are some slight differences that set family dentistry apart. When it’s time for you to choose a dentist, consider these descriptions to help you decide.

Age groups
Family dentists care for patients of any age, ranging from small children all the way through senior adults. These practices are set up to provide treatment for the unique needs of every age group. On the other hand, general dentists may limit their practices to specific age groups.

Both types of dentists typically provide numerous treatments and procedures. These can include general checkups, X-rays, professional cleanings, fillings, implants, root canals, preventative care, crowns, and other procedures. Family dentistry tends to provide a more comprehensive list of services because the focus is on a wider variety of patients and issues. General dentists tend to cater to the treatment of adults only.

Cosmetic treatment
Family dentists are usually known for providing preventative and restorative care, many of these types of dentists obtain additional training to provide cosmetic dentistry services. This may include aesthetic treatments like teeth whitening, bonding, and porcelain veneers.

Comfort level
By treating everyone in the household, a family dentist is able to provide unique benefits regarding the comfort level of dental care. It is not uncommon for people to have anxieties or fears associated with visiting the dentist, so finding a dentist you are comfortable with and confident in goes a long way in allowing you to maintain regular dental visits. Once you select a family dentist you all like, everyone in your family can continue to use that dentist as long as you desire. Good oral health can depend on your dentist as well as your own hygiene and care.


General and family dentist in Bartlett, IL

Things You Should know about Pediatric Dentistry

A specialized branch of dental care that concentrates on the youngest members of families, pediatric dentistry can be a real help in meeting the needs of children when it comes to their oral health. These dentists know how to make your child comfortable in a sometimes frightening situation, while providing preventive dental care and correcting any problems. If you are wondering if there are benefits to taking your child to a pediatric dentist, here are some things you should know.

Pediatric dentistry is a specialization area.
In additional to basic dentistry training, pediatric dentists receive advanced training in their specialty area. They are also required to complete an extra two years of residency training exclusively in pediatric dentistry.

These specialists focus on treating children.
Pediatric dentists have made a choice to work with kids, so they are trained in handling the unique needs of this age group. They are experienced in working with children’s behavior and are able to deal with their fears. These dentists are also trained in treating children with special needs or disabilities. Most pediatric dental offices are designed and decorated with kids in mind, so it’s often an appealing environment.

Pediatric dentists are specifically trained in kids’ dentistry techniques.
If your child is nervous about dental treatment or experiences anxiety, many pediatric dentists offer sedation methods to help them relax. It can make your child more comfortable during the visit, and reduce or even eliminate pain so that it’s not an upsetting memory. Pediatric dentists focus on helping your child learn proper dental hygiene like brushing and flossing, and establishing lifelong good oral care habits. When needed, procedures such as fillings, crowns, and cleanings will be performed.

Look for members of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
The AAPD is an organization that promotes its members in offering the most effective pediatric dental services possible. Members have access to increased knowledge and training in the latest technologies and issues in this area. Consider finding a pediatric dentist who is part of the AAPD.


Kids dentist in Bartlett IL

How to Find the Best Family Dentist

Many healthcare practitioners specialize in particular areas, and dentistry is no exception. For example pediatric dentists treat children, while orthodontists treat problems with the jaw and teeth through prescribing braces and other orthodontic procedures. Cosmetic dentists focus on improving the appearance of teeth as treatments are mainly for aesthetic reasons. A family dentist in Bartlett IL is able to treat all members of the family, regardless of age, and can provide general dental treatments.

Your local family dentist can treat most dental problems you are likely to face. Procedures offered include general checkups and professional cleanings, dental fillings, tooth extractions and crown and bridge work. Having a good family dentist is a convenient way for all members of your family to receive dental care in the same location, and to gradually build up an excellent relationship with the dentist and staff. Your ideal dentist in Bartlett IL will provide good preventative dental care, and can offer helpful information on how to care for your teeth and gums in between appointments. You should find treatment is customized for your particular dental health needs. If you need more extensive dental treatment, your family dentist can refer you to the appropriate specialist.

There are a number of ways to find a good family dentist in Bartlett IL. You can do your own research online, or you might want to ask family, friends and co-workers for their personal recommendations. It is important to take the time to visit the practice, and to meet the staff and view the practice facilities and equipment. You should feel free to ask any questions necessary to help you decide, and it is vital to feel comfortable in your chosen dental office. If you make a good choice, you could be with your family dentist for many years to come.

Home Remedies for Keeping Your Teeth White

Are your teeth looking less than their best because of dingy yellow or grey stains? As teeth age, some discoloration occurs naturally. However, many everyday drinks, foods, and even some mouthwashes can leave your teeth stained. The best way to brighten your teeth is to visit your dentist regularly and to get your teeth whitened professionally. If you are in-between appointments, you can use many effective home remedies.

Your grocery store aisles are full of do-it-yourself teeth whitening products. Teeth whitening kits are available that contain carbamide peroxide, a kind of bleach that removes surface stains as well as deeper stains and is able to change your natural tooth color. Many kits utilize a gel you apply directly to your teeth. Others have a tray that holds the gel and is then molded to the teeth and worn for a length of time over several weeks. The positive results can be seen immediately, and will improve over time.

Home whitening strips also help remove tooth stains. These strips come coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel and are thin and virtually invisible when applied. They are worn for several minutes a day for a week or more. You will see results quickly, but the results will be less evident than those obtained using a kit.

Using whitening toothpaste is a very popular and simple method of at-home teeth whitening. Unlike the aforementioned products, whitening toothpastes don’t change the natural color of your natural teeth.

Other at-home methods include baking soda, made into a paste, and brushed onto the teeth twice a month. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide can also brighten your smile. Diets including strawberries, apples, celery, carrots, and citrus fruits have also been shown to brighten smiles. Dairy products, especially hard cheeses, contain lactic acid which can decrease gum disease, and contain calcium and vitamin D, which are important to your bones and teeth.

Use these at-home treatments to keep your smile bright in-between dental visits. Talk to your dentist for more useful tips on keeping your smile bright year-round.


Teeth whitening dentist in Bartlett IL

Headgear: Is it Worth It?

Most patients say the worst thing about wearing headgear as part of their orthodontic treatment is the way it looks. There’s no hiding it and it just gets in the way. However, it’s an important part of the treatment process for some patients because it creates a special force on your teeth that other appliances can’t achieve. But is the hassle and embarrassment of wearing headgear worth it?

Headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance that attaches to braces, or sometimes to a palatal expander. The main goal of headgear is to guide the growth of your jaw to correct severe bite problems.

There are two main types of headgear. The Facebow attaches to your back teeth braces, and has a strap that goes around your neck or over your head. The strap is used to provide the direction and degree of pressure on your jaw. The J Hook headgear has wires with loops on the end that hooks to your braces. It also has a strap that goes behind your neck to adjust the pressure on your jaw.

The specific amount of time for wearing headgear depends on the unique needs of each patient, but in most cases it must be worn 8-12 hours each day for 9-18 months. It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s guidelines so that you’ll achieve faster and better results. Patients are usually instructed to at least wear the headgear while sleeping overnight, even though it may take some getting used to. Also, you must be careful when putting it on and off so that you don’t injure your eyes, lips, or cheeks. Headgear should be removed when playing sports or running for safety reasons.

It is normal to experience some soreness for a few days when you begin wearing headgear, as your teeth and jaw adjust to the pressure. The key is to wear it consistently as instructed, and not to ignore it for longer periods of time so that you will get used to wearing it and the pain will subside.


Family dentist in Bartlett IL


Is a Pediatric Dentist Better for your Kids?

General dentists are trained and experienced in providing quality oral care to patients of all ages, but pediatric dentists focus on enhancing the oral health of children. If you are deciding which dentist your child should see, consider the benefits of pediatric dentistry.

Pediatric dentists have advanced training catering to the unique needs and personalities of children. They learn to treat kids from infancy through adolescence. Part of their training involves undergoing a residency program that concentrates on all aspects of children’s oral care.

Preventive care
Teaching both parents and children about the importance of good dental hygiene and regular dental checkups is a key part of a pediatric dentist’s role. Preventive care is very important in training kids to make their oral health a lifelong priority. Pediatric dentists also provide instruction on good nutritional habits with your oral health in mind.

Comfort level
Children who start seeing the dentist from infancy have the best chances of being comfortable in a dentist’s chair and maintaining checkups. There is also a decreased risk of serious oral health problems, because issues can be caught early. Pediatric dentists focus on creating positive relationships with their patients and making the dental experience a positive one. In fact, many pediatric dental offices are designed and decorated with kids in mind.

Most pediatric dentists are up-to-date on the newest technologies and advancements in children’s dental care. There is a higher likelihood of a pediatric dentist knowing the cutting edge treatment for kids than a general dentist. A good example of this is sedation dentistry, which helps anxious children become more relaxed and comfortable in a dental environment if needed.

As your child transitions though each stage of oral health, a pediatric dentist can see kids through those changes. This includes having no teeth as infants, baby teeth as young children, and then permanent teeth as adolescents. If complications occur, the pediatric dentist is there to help guide the child’s oral health to the next stage as safely and painlessly as possible.


Dentist for kids in Bartlett, IL

The Connection between Gum Disease and Breast Cancer

Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point during their lifetime. Many women have yearly mammograms and carry out regular self-examinations from approximately aged 40 onwards. However recent studies suggest taking care of your teeth and gums could decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.

A study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found women with missing teeth or gum disease could be up to 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer. Researchers followed more than 3,000 patients, 41 of whom developed breast cancer. This study is one of the first to link breast cancer with gum disease and tooth loss.

It’s not possible to eliminate all risk factors, but any dentist in Bartlett, IL will tell you tooth loss and gum disease is usually preventable. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults worldwide. It is caused when plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, infecting and inflaming the gums. The infection and inflammation causes the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets that are difficult to keep clean and free from bacteria. Patients suffer from receding gums, and from bone loss around their teeth. Eventually the teeth will become loose and will either fall out on their own or will have to be extracted by your dentist in Bartlett, IL.

If you’d prefer to prevent gum disease and tooth loss, follow the tips below:

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and finish up with an antimicrobial mouth rinse
  • Eat a balanced diet containing plenty of nutrients to help gums heal
  • Visit your dentist for checkups and professional cleanings every six months, or more frequently if recommended
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products

Replacing Metal Fillings

Cavities were once typically filled with a silver compound called amalgam, which was used because it was strong and could repair areas weakened by tooth decay. In recent years, composite resin has become more popular as the material used for dental fillings. It serves the same purpose, but provides other benefits that amalgam does not. Some people not only choose composite resin when getting new fillings, but also have metal (or amalgam) fillings replaced with composite resin.

Why replace metal fillings?

The main reasons that patients consider replacing their metal fillings include:

  • Tooth sensitivity – some patients complain that they feel discomfort near their metal fillings when eating cold foods.
  • Concerns about mercury – there is a common but untrue belief that the mercury levels in metal fillings might be poisonous. Researchers have proven this to be false, reporting that metal fillings are safe.
  • Inadequate bonding – due to the makeup of metal fillings, sometimes they do not fully bond to the tooth and need replacing to treat the cavity most effectively.
  • Additional decay – if old fillings develop more decay or break, it is necessary to have the filling replaced. Patients may choose whether to replace the metal filling with composite resin, or to have a metal filling placed in the tooth again.

Are there benefits to using composite resin?

The main benefit of composite resin is that it can be colored to match the surrounding teeth perfectly. Many patients choose this option because it is aesthetically pleasing, with fillings often being unseen. Also, composite resin fillings require less tooth area to be removed. This allows dentists to keep as much of the original tooth as possible. Another benefit is that composite resin fillings do not change shape or crack.


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Did You Know Your Dental and Cardiovascular Health Are Connected?

Regular brushing and flossing helps maintain a healthy and attractive smile, but could save your life. Clinical studies have shown possible links between oral health and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular or heart disease is one of the main causes of death in the US. Many people with heart disease are completely unaware they have this condition. It might be hard to believe, but a simple oral care routine could help lower your risk of developing heart disease.

How Can Good Dental Hygiene Help?
The correct brushing techniques help get rid of plaque buildup and reduce the numbers of bacteria in your mouth. Daily flossing removes plaque from in between your teeth in areas that can’t be reached by your toothbrush. These oral hygiene tasks decrease your risk of gum disease, a condition linked to heart disease. It’s been found people with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease compared to those with healthy gums. These patients are at higher risk of having a heart attack, and heart disease has also been linked to missing teeth. If you’re not sure how to brush and floss properly, ask your general dentist in Bartlett, IL for advice and practical help.

The Connection between Your Heart and Mouth
Gum disease causes bleeding gums, enabling bacteria from your mouth to get into your bloodstream. Experts think these bacteria can contribute towards blockages in the arteries, while another theory centers on inflammation. Gum disease is an inflammatory condition, and once bacteria enter the bloodstream they can cause new sites of inflammation, increasing the risk of blood clots. This restricts blood flow and the transport of vital nutrients and oxygen to your heart.

Visit Your Dentist
The early stages of heart disease can cause very few, if any symptoms. As a result many people with this condition do not see a heart specialist until the latter stages of the disease. Regular visits to your family dentist in Bartlett, IL will help detect any early signs of gum disease so it can be treated before affecting your general health.



Dealing with Tetracycline Stains on Teeth

Tetracycline is a popular antibiotic used to treat infections, but it can negatively impact the appearance of teeth. The medicine may cause dark stains if prescribed to pregnant women or to young children whose teeth are still forming. The resulting stains can be brown or grey and may partially or completely cover the tooth.

People with tetracycline stained teeth can often feel self-conscious about smiling. If you are affected there’s no need to put up with this, as your dentist in Bartlett, IL can recommend options for treating or hiding the stains. Sometimes teeth whitening will be effective, but otherwise porcelain veneers can successfully hide stains and can be a great choice for restoring your smile.

In the past, teeth whitening treatments were often ineffective against tetracycline stains as they are intrinsic, which means the stains are inside the tooth. Nowadays repeated laser whitening sessions at your dentist, and the use of stronger bleaching gels can sometimes work if the stains are not particularly bad.

However it’s far more common to cover-up tetracycline stains with porcelain veneers. These are thin shells of porcelain that cover the front surfaces of your teeth, providing a gorgeous white smile. The veneers are durable and stain resistant and will blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.

Your dentist in Bartlett, IL will need to prepare the teeth for veneers, through removing a tiny amount of tooth surface. Next, they will take dental impressions to send to the laboratory so your veneers can be custom-made. In the meantime your prepared teeth may be covered up with temporary veneers, and this is a great chance to get a preview of your new smile. Your next appointment will be for fitting the veneers, and it’s possible your dentist will need to make minor adjustments before they look absolutely perfect and can be permanently bonded in position.

How Medications Can Affect Your Oral Health

It is not unusual for some medications to impact your oral health. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and even vitamins and herbal supplements can have side effects related to your teeth and gums. It is important to know the types of reactions that medications may have, and how to deal with them if they occur.

Dry mouth
One of the most common oral side effects of medication is dry mouth. If your mouth does not produce enough saliva, you are at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Some of the drugs that can cause dry mouth include decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, pain medications, antacids, and high blood pressure drugs. If your doctor doesn’t recommend changing medicine, try sipping water often, using an artificial saliva product, or sucking on sugarless candy.

Increased cavity risk
Sugar is found in many medications, like cough drops, antacids, and chewable tablets. To limit sugar and associated cavities, ask for the medication in tablet form, take medication with meals and not at bedtime, and brush with a fluoride toothpaste afterwards.

Some drugs alter the color of your teeth or gums. If you experience discoloration, ask your dentist about teeth whitening options.

Altered taste
Certain drugs cause a bitter or rusty taste in your mouth, or just change how foods taste to you. If you can’t handle this side effect, ask your doctor about switching medications.

Abnormal bleeding
If you have oral surgery or another procedure planned, tell your dentist if you are taking any drugs like aspirin and anticoagulants that thin the blood. These put you at higher risk for bleeding.

Bone loss
Corticosteroids and antiepileptic drugs have shown to cause loss of bone that supports your teeth. Osteoporosis medications may damage your jawbone. If you are taking these drugs, tell your dentist so that precautions might be taken to slow bone loss.

Taking antibiotics, chemotherapy, or steroids can lead to thrush. This is an oral yeast infections that causes white lesions in your mouth. Antifungal treatments may be prescribed by your dentist to treat thrush.


Family and general dentist in Bartlett, IL


Natural Smiles Transformed with Veneers

Teeth that are discolored, chipped, gapped, or otherwise damaged are no longer reasons to hide your smile. Dental veneers offer a way to improve the appearance of teeth that are healthy, but in need of cosmetic improvement. There are lots of ways to improve teeth like whitening or bonding, but veneers have grown in popularity as one of the best ways to renew smiles.

One of the best things about veneers is that it is considered a minimally invasive tooth restoration. There are no complicated surgical procedures involved, and can be completed in just a few dental appointments. The process begins with having impressions made of the teeth so that the veneers can be created, often in a dental lab. This can take up to a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the dentist will remove a very thin portion of tooth enamel so that the veneer can be attached later. While the veneer is in production, the dentist may provide temporary veneers to cover the prepared teeth. When the final veneers are ready, they will be securely attached to the teeth.

The most popular material used to make veneers is porcelain. It is preferred because it is very durable, has a natural appearance, can be shaded in a chosen color, and resists stains. Another option for creating veneers is composite resin, which may be a less expensive alternative but can stain more easily and does not have the same natural glow as porcelain offers.

If all maintenance instructions such as proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are followed, veneers are known to last up to ten years or longer. They can provide a beautiful new look for a smile that was otherwise damaged.


Dr. Hofmeister is a family and cosmetic dentist in Bartlett, IL

Common Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

shutterstock_20284090One of the things that people complain about the most when it comes to their teeth is the color. Yellowing and staining is hard to avoid, but there are ways to whiten your smile so that it looks more appealing.

Whitening toothpastes contain gentle whitening ingredients to help brighten your teeth and remove surface stains. It requires consistent use in order to see a difference in your smile after a period of time. Typically, whitening toothpastes lighten the teeth’s color by about one shade. Toothpastes are an inexpensive way to improve your look.

Mouth rinses are one the most recent categories of teeth whitening products. Similar to regular mouthwash, whitening rinses contain ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide for the purpose of minimizing tooth discoloration. These rinses are made to reduce plaque and gum disease, as well as freshen breath. To use the rinse, swish it in the mouth at least twice daily before brushing. It can take anywhere from 1 to 12 weeks to see results.

Trays and gels
A stronger whitening method is whitening gel that is placed in a mouth tray. The concentration of the hydrogen peroxide gel varies, with stronger gels only worn a couple of hours a day and weaker concentrations overnight. It can take a few days to several weeks to see results. Trays are available from your local drugstore, or customized ones from your dentist. Ask your dentist about the differences between the types of trays.

The strongest and fastest way to whiten teeth is professionally at a dental office. Teeth may be lightened up to eight shades this way in as little as an hour. The whitening agent is applied directly to the teeth, and often combined with a special light to aid the process. Some patients experience sensitivity to the stronger whitening gel, but professionals can make adjustments to lessen discomfort.


Contact our dental office in Bartlett, IL if you are looking for professional teeth whitening.

Learning About Smile Makeovers

shutterstock_66213397You may benefit from a smile makeover if you are embarrassed about your smile. Unsightly teeth and gums can make a person unwilling to smile, but there are many options available through cosmetic dentists to make you smile again.

What does a smile makeover include? The answer is different for every patient, since each person has unique problems with their mouth. A smile makeover is often a combination of treatments that work together to correct problems. Some common issues that patients seek help for include crooked, chipped, gapped, missing, or discolored teeth. These types of problems can be solved with procedures like dental veneers, implants, teeth whitening, crowns, bonding, braces, and contouring. A reputable cosmetic dentist will listen to your concerns about your smile, determine what types of treatments will address the issues, and help you decide which ones to pursue.

Some smile makeover treatments take longer than others to complete. For example, orthodontic braces can take up to a couple of years to fully correct your smile. Implants require several months to complete the process. On the other hand, treatments such as veneers and crowns take only a couple of appointments or less. Teeth whitening and bonding are usually performed in only one visit. How quickly your smile is transformed really depends on the types of dental work decided upon by you and your dentist for your particular case.

Once you decide to pursue a smile makeover and have the procedures done, you will likely be able to enjoy your new look for years to come. Many cosmetic dentistry procedures are very durable and often even permanent, so the results are worth it to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

Smile makeover dentist in Bartlett, IL

Helpful Hints for Whiter Teeth

whitening-zoomTeeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures available today. A beautiful white smile is a symbol of health and youth. Your dentist in Bartlett, IL can provide professional in-office tooth whitening, or if you prefer you can whiten at home using custom-made bleaching trays. Afterwards, you’ll want your smile to look good for as long as possible.
The following tips will help your teeth look their best:

Limit Your Intake of Heavily Colored Foods
Darker colored beverages such as red wine, tea and coffee, and highly colored fruit juices will all stain your teeth. Wherever possible use a straw, as this will cut down the contact these liquids have with your teeth. Afterwards, rinse your mouth with plain water to help get rid of the residues. Highly colored foods can also stain your teeth, including tomato-based sauces and juicy berries.

Quit Smoking
Smoking discolors teeth and increases your risk of gum disease. It’s best to quit completely, but if you can’t at least try to cut down.

Stay Well Hydrated
Plain water is great for staying well hydrated and helps rinse away any excess food particles after eating, improving oral health and reducing the risk of tooth stains.

Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is well known to help lift some surface stains on teeth. It’s possible to buy toothpaste already containing baking soda, but otherwise you can make your own whitening paste simply by mixing up a little baking soda, salt and water.

Make Healthy Food Choices
A balanced diet will provide your teeth and gums with plenty of nutrients to stay strong and healthy. In addition, eating certain foods can help improve your smile. Crunchy fruits and vegetables, for example apples, carrots and celery, have a high water and fiber content. Eating these foods will help remove some surface stains as their fibrous quality has a slight scrubbing action on your teeth.

None of these solutions are a substitute for professional dental care with your dentist in Bartlett, IL, and for proper daily dental care at home.