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.


General dentist in Bartlett, IL

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.

Dental Sealants Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay

whitesmileUnfortunately studies show that tooth decay in children is increasing, and it’s not unusual for kids to have one or more fillings or to require more extensive procedures. Some dentists have reported that children as young as two can have between six and 10 cavities. Tooth decay is a serious problem and dental sealants can help prevent it.

The American Dental Association (ADA) approved the use of dental sealants more than 35 years ago so this procedure is tried and tested. Dental sealants consist of a very thin plastic coating that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, filling in all the grooves and fissures so bacteria cannot penetrate. This procedure helps prevent tooth decay as the grooves in back teeth can often trap bacteria and food and can be difficult to clean, increasing the risk of cavities.

Your dentist in Bartlett will usually apply dental sealants to the permanent molars, and the procedure is best carried out as soon as the adult teeth erupt. Sometimes dental sealants are used to protect baby teeth to prevent them from being lost too soon.

The procedure to apply dental sealants is quick and painless. First your dentist will thoroughly clean and dry the teeth. An acidic solution is painted onto the tooth surfaces to slightly roughen the tooth, increasing the bond between the sealants and the tooth. The acidic solution is washed off and the teeth are dried once more before the dental sealant is painted on. Sometimes your dentist in Bartlett, IL might use a special light to help harden the sealant. Teeth can be used normally at the end of treatment.

Dental sealants usually last between five and 10 years but can be replaced when they become chipped or worn. This treatment is very effective at helping to prevent cavities and is likely to be recommended for children with newly erupted adult teeth.

Stress and Your Oral Health

Everyone knows that stress can take a toll on the body. Headaches, stomach pain, and feeling edgy are common by-products of excessive tension in your life. Many people don’t realize that stress can also significantly affect your oral health. During times of high anxiety, you may experience the following oral health issues:

tmjIncreased risk of gum disease
Even if your situation is only short-term, stress can boost plaque production. When plaque levels rise, you may contend with gingivitis, the early form of gum disease. Learning positive coping strategies for managing your anxiety can reduce the damage to your oral health.

Improper oral hygiene
Often, personal care falls by the wayside when you are really stressed out. If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, you could end up dealing with issues like gum disease or tooth decay. Continue to brush twice a day and floss frequently to protect your whole mouth.

Flare-ups of mouth sores
Fatigue and stress can lead to canker sores as well as outbreaks of fever blisters. Small ulcers that develop on your soft tissues, canker sores can cause a great deal of discomfort. A result of the herpes simplex virus, fever blisters can definitely pop up during times of emotional stress.

Grinding and clenching
Often an unconscious habit, clenching and grinding your teeth can become exacerbated by stress. Not only can this cause painful symptoms like headaches and facial pain, but clenching and grinding can also result in tooth fractures and uneven tooth wear.

We care about your oral health at Bartlett Family Dental – If you live in the Bartlett IL area and you need a new family dentist, contact our office for an appointment.

Trends in Cosmetic Dentistry

cosmeticdentalDentistry is no longer just about pain control and oral hygiene. It doesn’t only include traditional dental care, but also many treatments that achieve the goal of cosmetic improvements. There are lots of reasons that cosmetic dentistry is appealing to patients. Some of these are decay, tooth loss, enamel loss, weak gums, teeth grinding, crooked teeth, improper bite, and oral trauma. To deal with these problems, let’s learn about some treatments that help.

Tooth loss is more common than most people think. From accidents to tooth decay to other issues, once missing teeth occur it’s time to think about restoration options. Dental implants provide permanent, comfortable, and natural results. Typically made of titanium, implants are attached directly to the jaw during surgery. The implants fuse with the jaw and when healing is complete, an artificial tooth is attached on top to complete the restoration.

Damaged teeth can be corrected with dental bonding, in which a putty-like material is applied to the tooth’s surface and bonded with a special light. Bonding restores chipped or fractured areas so that they look as good as new.

For patients who aren’t interested in braces or more extensive dental work, contouring is a painless way to correct crooked, damaged, or unevenly spaced teeth. In just one visit, the dentist can alter teeth by removing small amounts of tooth structure to change the length, position, or shape of teeth. Significant results can be achieved with minimal reduction. Chips and fractures can be smoothed, and angles can be rounded to improve smiles.

Veneers and whitening
Dental veneers can be attached to the fronts of teeth to hide various flaws, providing long-lasting smile improvements. There are a variety of teeth whitening methods available through cosmetic dentists, which can dramatically change tooth color and brighten smiles.




A Guide to Dental Veneers

smile-1When you’d like your smile to look healthier and brighter, and you’d like to feel better about yourself, dental veneers might be the answer. These cosmetic restorations can enhance the beauty of teeth no matter how bad they appear before you get them.

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are attached to the fronts of your real teeth to recreate the look of natural teeth, but improve their appearance. When the veneers are applied, a small amount of your enamel must be removed to create room for the veneer. This allows the veneers to fit well and provide better tooth function.

Some common reasons that people get veneers is to transform the color, contours, or shape of their teeth. Veneers also cover gaps, chips, fractures, and minor misalignments of the teeth. Some of the great things about veneers is that they provide strength and resilience compared to your tooth enamel. The color can be selected so that it is just the shade you desire, and the porcelain resists stains so they remain as bright as the day you got them.

An important thing to know about veneers is that it is a permanent treatment. Adjustments and replacement veneers may be needed at some point, but you can never go without veneers completely since a portion of the tooth enamel was eliminated. Also, you will likely wear temporary veneers for a short time while your permanent veneers are created in a lab. Once you have your final veneers, maintenance involves regular brushing and flossing as you would your natural teeth. Your dentist may recommend a less abrasive fluoride toothpaste. You will also be warned to avoid placing excessive stress on your veneers, such as chewing ice or biting your fingernails, since they can be broken in some instances.

If you are looking for a way to improve your smile in a painless and quick method, dental veneers are a great option for most people with healthy teeth who just want to enhance their smile.


Find a cosmetic dentist in Bartlett IL – Contact our office today!

The Truth about Gum Disease

whitesmileAre you one of the 80% of adults in the United States who have some level of gum disease? Also called periodontal disease, gum disease forms in the area between your gum line and your teeth. It leads to inflamed tissue and receding gums. The deeper the space is that forms as your gums recede, the more severe your case of gum disease is. It can lead to serious issues if left untreated. Gum disease is a common problem that you should know how to prevent, recognize, and obtain treatment.

Stages of gum disease
Gingivitis if the first stage of gum disease and causes swollen gums that easily bleed. Practicing good dental hygiene like brushing and flossing can prevent and help reverse gingivitis, which usually doesn’t lead to loss of teeth or gum tissue. The next stage, periodontitis, is more serious and happens if you leave gingivitis untreated. The gums will recede and infected pockets form in the gaps. Without treatment, your gums, tissues, and jaw bones may break down. It’s likely that your teeth will loosen and possibly fall out.

Treatment options
The main goal is to control the chronic infection that damages your gums. Treatment depends on the stage of your gum disease. Sometimes it can be cleared up simply with proper dental hygiene and regular professional teeth cleanings. Oral medications may be prescribed, or even medicines that are inserted right into the infected tissue. In severe cases, gum surgery is required.

Consequences of untreated gum disease
In addition to loss of teeth, untreated gum disease gets worse and worse. It has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and to difficulties controlling blood sugar in diabetics. Pregnant women have an increased risk of delivering babies with low birth weights. Any way you look at it, the smartest and easiest ways to prevent gum disease is to properly brush and floss your teeth, eat a nutritious diet, and see your dentist for regular checkups.


Dr. Hofmeister is a dentist in Bartlett, IL that can help treat gum disease.  Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

What is Preventative Dentistry, and why is it Important?

whitesmilePreventative dental care simply means scheduling regular checkups and professional cleanings with your dentist, and making sure you spend adequate time brushing and flossing each day. It is the easiest and cheapest way to help keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy, and it helps decrease the likelihood of needing any costly restorative dental work, or emergency dental care.

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental checkups are the best way for your dentist to detect any small signs of disease, usually before they have caused any unpleasant symptoms. Small cavities are easily and cheaply filled, and the early signs of gums disease can soon be treated before there is any lasting damage to your gums. This type of regular maintenance can also provide peace of mind, as you are less likely suffer from toothache.
Your dentist will want to take dental x-rays at regular intervals, usually every two years, but this can vary according to your dental health. These x-rays show hidden areas of your mouth, such as the contact points between teeth that can often develop cavities.

Professional Dental Cleanings
Professional dental cleanings are carried out by a hygienist, and remove all the hardened plaque from your teeth. Hardened plaque is called tartar or calculus and contains bacteria that produce toxins. If tartar is not regularly removed then it will infect the gums, and will cause inflammation and gum disease. Regular cleanings help prevent this from happening, and keep your breath fresh. Your hygienist is also the best person to give advice on how to improve your brushing and flossing techniques, and can point out any areas of your mouth you might be missing during cleaning.

Once your teeth and gums are in reasonable condition, then regular preventative dental care can help keep them that way. This prolongs the life of your teeth, and will ensure your smile always looks its best.
Schedule your next dental checkup at our Bartlett, IL dental office.

What Makes a Good Pediatric Dentist?

kid_imageGeneral dentists treat kids, but not all of them specialize in this age group. Dentists who exclusively treat the unique oral health needs of children are called pediatric dentists. They focus on dentistry from infants through teens. Pediatric dentists receive specific training in children’s dentistry and have experience dealing with the challenges of this younger age group.

It is especially important to take children to the dentist during the formative years of their smile. You should schedule your child’s first appointment around the first birthday, and then maintain regular checkups every six months. This will allow the dentist to examine your child’s mouth for any issues, teach hygiene tasks, and professionally clean the teeth. However, one aspect of dental care should not be overlooked: you should ensure your child has a positive experience with the dentist so that there is less chance of fear and dental neglect. That’s when a good pediatric dentist comes in handy.

This dental specialist has the skills necessary to work with nervous kids who are often unable to sit still during a checkup, as well as handle anxious parents. Look for a pediatric dentist who is friendly, welcoming, fun, and interacts well with children. Pediatric dental offices are often filled with appealing art, colorful decorations, fun activities, rewards, and dental tools geared toward youngsters. These dentists know what it takes to keep kids interested and content during appointments. All of these things contribute to building a good rapport with the dentist, and having a successful lifelong attitude toward dental visits.


Kids dentist in Bartlett IL

Visiting an Endodontist for a Root Canal

There are a number of reasons you may find out you need root canal treatment. Some of the common issues that require treatment include severe tooth decay, chipped tooth, inflamed tooth pulp, oral swelling, severe cold or hot sensitivity, or a dying tooth that wasn’t treated sooner. If you experience any of these issues, a trip to your dentist is in order. You might then be referred to an endodontist for further treatment.

An endodontist is a specialist who has completed additional training after general dental school. This specialty area focuses on treating issues with the pulp of your teeth. Endodontists are trained to perform all aspects of root canal therapy, from routine procedures to the most complex. Sometimes this type of treatment is the only way to save your tooth, so it’s important to have it done correctly.

Root canal treatment means that the endodontist will remove the pulp portion of your tooth, which is in its interior, and then place a filling in your tooth. This procedure is necessary when the tooth can’t be restored any other way because of infection or decay that has reached the nerve of your tooth. It may take one or more visits to complete your root canal, depending on the severity of the problem. At your initial visit, the doctor will tell you what will be required to complete your treatment and if any preparation is needed such as taking antibiotics beforehand to treat infection.

During the procedure, local anesthetic will be used to numb your tooth. You also may need X-rays. Once your tooth is numb, the endodontist will drill to the center of your tooth and remove the pulp and any infected tissue. The tooth will then be dried and thoroughly cleaned. Finally a temporary or permanent filling will be placed, depending on your case. Although this treatment may sound scary and has a reputation of being painful, improvements in the procedure have made it comparable to having a regular cavity filled. Minimal discomfort and recovery time is usually the situation when you obtain proper treatment from an experienced endodontist.


Root canal treatment at our Bartlett dental office.

Improve your Oral Health with Dental Implants

oldercoupleOne of the best options today for replacing missing teeth is dental implants. They are made of strong material such as titanium, and are surgically inserted directly into your jaw bone. This means that they are a permanent solution to restoring your smile, and look and feel completely natural. Here are some specific areas in which dental implants can improve your life.

Since they are permanently fused with your jaw bones, implants look and feel very natural. They blend right in with the rest of your smile, restoring your smile’s function and appearance.

Having implants avoids the discomforts often associated with dentures. You can chew normally, and are able to maintain the same diet as with all your natural teeth.

Implants give you back the ability to smile confidently. There are no missing, decayed, or broken teeth negatively affecting your smile. With implants, you can rest assured that your teeth are secure and attractive.

All of your remaining teeth are left intact and unaffected by having implants, so your long term oral health is improved. Also, implants are permanent so you may brush and floss your teeth normally.

Unlike with other appliances, implants do not involve any messy adhesives or cause concerns that your teeth will slip or fall out. You don’t have to be inconvenienced by taking your restoration in and out for maintenance.

Your teeth play a role in how you speak, so improperly fitting dentures are known to affect the speech of patients. When dentures slip, you might stutter or whistle when you talk. Permanently attached implants don’t slip, so your speech remains the same.

Implants typically last from 10 to 15 years with proper care, or even longer. They have one of the highest success rates of all tooth replacement options.


We offer dental implants at our Bartlett, IL dental office – schedule your appointment today!

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