The Basics about Pediatric Dentistry

kid_imageYou are wrong if you think your child’s dental care can wait until the permanent teeth erupt. Around your child’s first birthday, it is time to begin seeing a dentist. Many parents and kids alike prefer going to a pediatric dentist, who specializes in oral health care for children. You and your child will learn the best ways to maintain and protect the teeth and gums. Here are some basics that your dentist will likely share with you about childhood oral health.

It is important to learn the most effective ways to keep your child’s mouth clean. Removing plaque and food particles will reduce the risk for tooth decay. Your dentist will show you how to properly brush your child’s teeth, which you can expect to do as a parent until your child is several years old. You can then teach your child to brush themselves, although you must continue to supervise and help as needed. Flossing should not be neglected, because it’s a key part of the dental hygiene process. Parents need to continue to assist with flossing for a longer time, since it can be difficult for kids to do.

Applying dental sealants to your child’s teeth is a great way to provide protection. The purpose is to seal the tooth so that it is harder for bacteria and plaque to get inside and cause decay. The risk of tooth decay is significantly lowered with the application of sealants. Your dentist will apply the material to the teeth and allow it to dry, which is not a lengthy or painful process for your child, but goes a long way in helping to avoid cavities.

Bad habits
Your dentist will help identify any habits that your child has that may be detrimental to oral health. There are risks with habits such as falling asleep with a bottle, pacifier use, and thumb sucking. Your dentist can provide helpful hints on how to eliminate bad habits so that your child’s dental health is at less risk.



Dentist for kids in Bartlett, IL

Teeth Whitening Options

If you smile doesn’t shine as brightly as you would like, teeth whitening can transform your appearance. Several options exist for people who want to enhance their smiles with teeth whitening. Drugstore kits, at-home whitening, and in-office whitening are all ways to give your pearly whites a pick-me up.

Whitening Toothpastes
When you use toothpaste, it contains mild abrasives that remove surfaces stains. Some whitening toothpastes also include carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that will lighten the enamel a shade or two. Unfortunately, whitening toothpastes don’t produce lasting results.

Over-the-Counter Kits
Various companies make whitening strips and other products that claim to whiten your teeth. Though these kits may remove some discolorations, a higher level of a bleaching agent is needed to generate long-term changes. Additionally, drugstore whitening kits can weaken tooth enamel or damage gum tissue if not used properly. It’s advisable to go with dentist-recommended options.

At-Home Whitening
Some people desire professional results but on their own schedules. Custom take-home trays allow you to whiten teeth when it works for you. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and send the models to a dental lab that will produce the trays you will wear. Apply the whitening gel and keep the trays in as directed. You may notice a difference in your smile right away, but the final results usually appear in two to three weeks.

In-Office Whitening
The quickest way to lighten stains is with in-office whitening. In one appointment, your dentist can brighten your smile up to 10 shades. You can come in at lunch time and leave with a dazzling new appearance. For in-office whitening, your lips and gums are protected, a bleaching agent is applied to the teeth, and a special ultraviolet light is used to activate the whitening gel.



Teeth whitening dentist in Bartlett IL

Simple Ways to Protect Kids’ Teeth

kid_imageKids don’t always play it safe or make the best decisions when it comes to protecting their teeth. Tooth decay and mouth injuries are just a couple of things parents must worry about for their kids, whether it’s the elementary school or college years. Here are some simple ways that parents can teach their kids to protect their teeth.

Limit sports and energy drinks.
Sports and energy drinks are both heavily marketed toward today’s youth. It is true that sports drinks help replace electrolytes during exercise, but many people drink them too much or outside the exercise realm. Experts have deemed sports drinks to be unnecessary in the lunchroom or as a snack on the playground. The high acid levels in these drinks can erode tooth enamel, with energy drinks determined to cause twice as much damage. It is recommended to save sports drinks for very strenuous activities, and instead stick with water for hydration and refreshment without the negative effects.

Insist upon mouthguards.
Parents should provide mouthguards for kids in nearly any sport, even if it isn’t considered mandatory by the school or team. Mouthguards can prevent chips, fractures, or knockouts of teeth, as well as protect the soft tissues of the mouth. According to research estimates, 3 million teeth were knocked out in youth sports in 2011. Dentists suggest that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to sustain oral injury. Inexpensive basic mouthguards or the boil-and-bite variety are available at sporting goods stores, or customized mouthguards can be purchased through your dentist.

Say no to oral piercings.
Although it applies primarily to teenagers and older, the Academy of General Dentistry advises against oral piercing for active people. Those with piercings should remove them before participating in sports, because puncture wounds can lead to infections related to increased blood flow and breathing rates during exercise. If your child is considering and oral piercing, make sure you discuss the risks and need for removal during physical activity.


Dentist for kids in Bartlett IL

Dealing with Dental Plaque

dental-cleaning2From a young age, we are taught to fight plaque. Considered a dreaded enemy of teeth, dental plaque is a clear, sticky substance that sticks to surfaces in your mouth. Initially, this film is easily removed when you brush, but if left alone, the plaque releases acid that will erode enamel. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar, which only a dental professional can eliminate.

The following bad habits can contribute to plaque build up:

Lack of brushing
Although no one else may notice if you don’t brush religiously, your teeth will suffer. Make twice-a-day brushing part of your regular routine.

Infrequent flossing
If you only brush and don’t take time to floss, plaque gets left between teeth and can create dental health issues like cavities and gum disease.

Forgoing Dental Visits
Even with good home care, you may not remove all the plaque from your teeth. Once it forms tartar, a hardened substance, your dentist will need to remove it. Neglecting dental visits can increase your chances of tooth decay, and even tooth loss, so schedule checkups at least once a year at a minimum.

Dietary Choices
Before toothbrushes and toothpaste existed, certain foods were known to naturally fight plaque and promote oral health. Apples, celery, cucumbers, carrots, and other raw fruits and vegetables help remove plaque when you eat them.

Feeding Your Sweet Tooth
Simple carbohydrates like sugar provide a breeding ground for the bacteria in your mouth. When you indulge in candy or other sweets, bacteria have a guaranteed food source.



Family dentist in Bartlett IL

Stages of the Smile Makeover Process

smile-4A smile makeover offers ways to improve your looks through a variety of procedures both big and small, as needed for your circumstances and goals. You don’t have to be a celebrity to undergo this kind of transformation. Smile makeovers are performed by cosmetic dentists all over the country and to people in all walks of life. Here are some important stages of the process that you’ll experience to gain your new look.

The first step is to meet with your cosmetic dentist to discuss what you dislike about your current smile, and the goals you have with a new one. Your dentist can help determine if your goals are in line with your facial structure, skin, eyes, and features. Also, you will provide your full medical history and identify any health concerns.

Next you will receive a complete oral examination. Your dentist can determine any conditions that contribute to your current smile and come up with ways for improvement. Your dentist will want to know about any factors that might affect your smile, such as previous injuries, periodontal disease, and nutritional impacts. This is a good time for you to ask questions as he gets to know you and your case better.

Treatment plan
After your dentist has carefully examined you and created a recommended treatment plan, you will learn about the suggested procedures. You will learn all about the potential treatments and expected results.

The most exciting part of the process is actually getting the procedures done that will help accomplish your goals. This may include preliminary dental work, temporary restorations, and implementation of the treatment plan.

Once the final restorations have been placed and you have recovered from the dental procedures, you will be advised on how to properly maintain your new look. Any minor adjustments can be made, and you will be able to begin your new life with your new smile.



Smile makeover dentist in Bartlett, IL

Do Energy and Sports Drinks Ruin Your Teeth?

Advertisements have successfully convinced many adults and kids that energy drinks will pump you up, and sports drinks will heighten your performance. They’ve been sold on the idea that these drinks are better for you than soda, and their popularity has skyrocketed. Not everyone is on the bandwagon, however, and one of the reasons is the possible negative affects on your teeth.

The main impact is a result of the high acidity levels in the drinks. Acid can erode your tooth enamel, which is the glossy outside layer of your teeth. Some studies go so far as to suggest that you are basically bathing your teeth with acid. Experts say that damage to tooth enamel can’t be reversed, and without a good layer of enamel your teeth will become sensitive and more likely to decay.

Researchers are still studying the effects of energy and sports drinks on your teeth. So far, studies haven’t consistently proven exactly what can happen. However, many experts suggest that since there is evidence that tooth damage may occur, it seems smart to heed the suggestions about how to minimize the effects of these drinks on your teeth. Here are some suggested ways to reduce potential tooth damage:

Cut down on your consumption of sports and energy drinks.
Chew sugarless gum after drinking these items, because it will stimulate saliva production. Choose gum containing xylitol because it has been shown to protect tooth enamel.
Rinse your mouth with water after consuming these types of drinks. This will help wash away residue from the drink, and also increase saliva production. Saliva flow naturally helps the acidity levels in your mouth to return to normal.
Wait an hour after having these drinks before you brush your teeth. This will avoid spreading the acid onto the surfaces of your teeth and increasing the erosive action.


Family and general dentist in Bartlett IL

Can Seniors Get Dental Implants?

denturesTo restore missing teeth, many people turn to dental implants as an effective and long-lasting solution. Titanium implants are surgically inserted into the jaw to create an artificial tooth root, and then a crown is placed on top to complete the restoration. Some people may wonder if this technology is advisable for senior adults. This is what the experts have to say.

There is not an age limit for receiving dental implants. The only way to know if you are a good candidate is to discuss your situation with a qualified dentist.

Medical history
The main factor that might impact a senior’s ability to qualify for dental implants is medical history. The dentist will use a patient’s medical history to make sure the patient has a good chance for successful implantation, as well as not overly high risks for infection. Some conditions that decrease implant success include previous strokes and heart attacks, which are more common among seniors.

Bone condition
At any age, a patient’s jawbone much have adequate height, width, and mass to anchor an implant properly. It is not uncommon for people to lose bone mass with age, which means that elderly patients may not qualify. Sometimes a bone graft is an option though, so bone condition doesn’t automatically rule a patient out.

Ability to heal
Because an implant is inserted into the jawbone, it is vital that it heal correctly and completely. Seniors with medical conditions like diabetes may not heal as well as other patients, so dentists will want to make sure the patient does not have an impaired ability to heal.

Dental implants require maintenance to be successful. That means practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining dental checkups to ensure progress. Seniors must be capable and willing to maintain their implants.



Dentist in Bartlett, IL for seniors and dental implants.

The Difference between Composite and Amalgam Fillings

When you have a cavity, your dentist will have to remove the decay and repair the tooth with a filling. For years, the only option for tooth restorations was amalgam, or metal, fillings. These fillings stabilized the tooth and were relatively inexpensive and easy for dental practitioners to use. Currently, many dentists have started choosing composite fillings instead.

Amalgam fillings contain several different metals, but they are over 50 percent mercury, a potentially toxic material. Normal chewing and grinding can release some amount of the chemical into your system. Overexposure to mercury can lead to problems such as kidney dysfunction, neurological impairment, birth defects, and other serious issues. The FDA still considers amalgam fillings a safe option for tooth repair.

Tooth-colored fillings offer several advantages to amalgam fillings. With metal-free fillings, your dentist can remove less of the healthy tooth structure, which protects the tooth’s strength. All-white restorations create an natural-looking repair whereas amalgams turn dark over time and then stand out in your mostly white smile. Though metal fillings can leak or crack from normal wear and tear, all-white fillings bond to the tooth and form a solid surface.

Usually, the dentist can fill your cavity in one appointment. The doctor will remove the decayed area and clean the remaining tooth surface. Then, he or she will tint the composite material and fill in the tooth. A curing light will harden the new filling, and the dentist will polish the tooth to finish the process.


Family and Cosmetic dentist in Bartlett IL

Diet Tips to Keep Your Smile in Tip-Top Shape

fruits-vegiesOver the years, millions of people have tried diets like South Beach, Atkins, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers to lose weight, look good, and improve their wellbeing. The foods you eat also impact the health and appearance of your teeth. Follow these suggestions to maintain a gorgeous, white smile:


  • Choose light-colored foods and beverages. Red wine, black coffee, and other dark options can cause staining, which dulls your smile’s brilliance.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy candy. If you need something sweet, try sugar-free gum or chocolate instead. Taffy, caramel, and other gooey choices can stick to your teeth and increase the chances of cavities forming in the grooves and crevices.
  • Limit consumption of acidic foods. Fruits like strawberries, apples and melons aren’t as hard on your teeth as lemons, limes, and oranges, which can weaken enamel.
  • Cut down on sugary foods and beverages. When you have a choice, select water, milk, or unsweetened tea over sports drinks or sodas.
  • Get plenty of dairy. Calcium helps keep bones, including teeth, strong, so snack on cheese cubes in the afternoon or have a glass of milk with dinner. Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach are also great sources of calcium.
  • Set a time limit for indulging. Consuming sugary, starchy, or acidic food and beverages over several hours is worse on your teeth than enjoying a few treats all at once. After you finish, make sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth.



General dentist in Bartlett, IL

Will People Know I have a Dental Implant?

dental-implantsIf you are considering getting a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, you might wonder if it’s going to be noticeable. It stands to reason that it should be less obvious than having a hole in your mouth where your tooth is missing, but you also probably don’t want it to stand out as not being your real tooth. You’re in luck, because dental implants replace missing teeth by providing a natural and attractive restoration.

The technology of dental implants has proven to be a successful way of restoring your mouth’s appearance and function. They can replace one or multiple teeth, and adjacent teeth are not affected. Usually made from titanium, implants are small screws that are surgically placed into your jaw. A dental crown is then attached to the top of the implant. Over time, your jaw bone fuses with the titanium implant so that it feels like a real tooth.

Properly done, dental implants not only feel like your natural teeth, they also look real. Your dentist will fit the implant exactly into your mouth so that it is secure and comfortable. The color of the restoration will also be matched to the rest of your teeth, and the size of the crown will be coordinated with the position and shape of your other teeth.

You can rest assured that your dental implant should look and feel like it was always there. Others won’t notice you have an implant, but you can be certain to reap the benefits of this effective dental restoration.



Dental implants dentist in Bartlett, IL

Cosmetic Dentistry Not Just for Women

smileOften, advertising for cosmetic dentistry focuses on women. Photos in magazines and on Web sites show attractive females with gorgeous smiles. Although these campaigns often target women, men can benefit from cosmetic dentistry too.   Professionally and personally, men have just as many reasons as women do to look their best. Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. Having a vibrant, white smile can create a perception of self-assurance, intelligence, and warmth. Men who have cosmetic dental enhancements can enjoy the benefits of looking younger and feeling more confident.

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Dental Advice for Seniors

oldersmilingcoupleMost 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.



Dentist in Bartlett IL for senior citizens

What You Should Know about Your Child’s Dental Health

kidsIf 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.

Pediatric dentist in Bartlett IL


Identifying Dental Emergencies

emergency-dentistThe painful truth is that 25 percent of Americans experience a dental emergency at some point during their lives. This means that quick treatment by a dentist is warranted, usually due to pain or trauma. Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether a problem is a real emergency requiring immediate attention or something that can wait until the next available appointment with your dentist. Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

How do I know it’s an emergency?
Pain is your body’s signal to you that something is wrong. If you feel pain in your mouth or jaw, make an appointment with your dentist for an examination. That’s the best way to identify the cause of your pain, diagnose the issue, and obtain treatment to help get rid of your pain.

What are some common dental emergencies?
Some emergencies are more obvious than others. When a tooth is broken, cracked, or knocked out, you should see the dentist immediately. An accident causing jaw pain is another reason to head straight to a medical professional. Here is a list of common things that are typically considered emergencies:

  • Abscess or infection, often indicated by fever or swelling
  • Severe wisdom teeth pain
  • Fractured tooth
  • Knocked out tooth
  • Broken denture
  • Loose permanent tooth
  • Toothache, especially those that worsen when laying down or with time
  • Lost crown, cap, or filling
  • Dry socket

What can I do until seeing the dentist?
Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen as directed by your dentist. Don’t take aspirin because it can worsen bleeding. Pain medicine doesn’t treat the actual problem causing your pain, but at least it helps make you feel better until you can see your dentist. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water may also help, as well as holding an ice pack to the painful area for 20 minutes at a time. Try these methods until you can make it to the dentist for more permanent solutions.



If you are having a dental emergency, contact our Bartlett, IL dental office.

What you Should Know about Veneers

smile-1Teeth discolored with stains or imperfect from chips can leave you too embarrassed to smile. Dental problems like these can affect both your appearance and your attitude. Instead of letting your self-confidence plummet, consider restoring your smile with veneers. These provide a simple way to making your smile something to be proud of instead of ashamed.

What are veneers?
Veneers are thin shells that go over your existing teeth, correcting imperfections and giving you a beautiful smile. Your dentist creates the veneers to match the size, shape, and color of your other teeth. Most often, veneers are made using porcelain. These are translucent, which makes them very natural-looking.

Who gets them?
People choose veneers for a variety of reasons. Some of these include broken or chipped teeth, gaps in your smile, discolored teeth, and crooked or misaligned teeth.

How are they applied?
It takes several dental visits to get veneers. First, your dentist will help you decide which ones are best for you and X-rays will be taken. Then, your dentist will probably need to shave off a small portion of each tooth. This process isn’t painful because anesthetic is used. A mold of your mouth will be taken to be used by the lab to make your veneers, personalized just for you. Once the veneers arrive at your dentist’s office in a week or two, your dentist applies them to the fronts of your teeth with a special adhesive.

Is porcelain the only choice?
There is a new type of veneers called Lumineers, which provide the same beautiful results using a shorter process. These can be attached to your teeth in only two dental visits, because they are thinner and don’t require shaving down your natural teeth. On the first visit, your dentist makes a mold of your teeth. On the second visit, the Lumineers are adhered to your teeth and set using a special light.



Contact our Bartlett, IL dental office today to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation.