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Is chewing ice really bad for your teeth?

July 3rd, 2017

dentist 60616Your teeth were designed to chew a variety of foods, including hard and crunchy foods, such as nuts and fresh fruits and vegetables. In order to perform this task effectively, your teeth are very strong. In fact, the enamel is the strongest substance in the human body. Nonetheless, enamel is not indestructible. When you attempt to chew hard non-food items, such as ice cubes, you may potentially damage your teeth.

Chewing non-food items increases the possibility that you will break a tooth. If you do suffer that outcome, your dentist may need to restore the tooth with a crown or in more severe cases, perform a crown lengthening procedure to expose more enamel so that the tooth can be restored. This becomes necessary when so much tooth material is broken off that there’s not enough remaining on which to place a crown. If the pulp is exposed by the break, you may need to undergo a root canal treatment.

Your dentist urges you to give up these bad habits in order to protect your oral health. Sometimes, they can just be mindless activities, so the first step may be awareness that you are even engaging in the action. If you have habit such as biting your nails due to stress, some psychotherapy can help you substitute a healthier stress management strategy and ultimately benefit your smile.

If you do end up damaging your tooth from chewing on a non-food object, it’s important to see your dentist to repair the injury to the tooth as soon as possible. If you delay getting treatment, you may be more susceptible to issues such as infections and abscesses, which may require even more extensive treatment.

Chewing ice is a bad habit that can harm your teeth, as can other similar actions like biting your fingernails, chewing on pencils or attempting to use your teeth as tools. Limit your chewing to food, and you’ll reduce your risk of needing to pay a visit to our office for a restoration.

Contact our office if you have a broken tooth or just to get more healthy teeth tips!



How Teeth Change with Age

June 26th, 2017

dentist 60603As we get older, our bodies change in many ways and our teeth are no exception. Fortunately, if you prepare for these changes, take good care of your teeth at home and follow up with your dentist for routine care, you can maintain a healthy smile well into your golden years.

Your enamel wears down as the years pass, and this phenomenon has a couple of different consequences for your smile. First, as the enamel erodes, the underlying yellowing dentin is exposed, discoloring your teeth. Some patients may choose to undergo teeth whitening treatment in order to overcome this aesthetic deterioration in their smiles.

Weaker enamel is also more susceptible to decay and breakage, so you’ll want to take steps to prevent these outcomes. Brush twice each day for two minutes each time, and see your dentist every six months for routine exams that can diagnose cavities early when they can be treated conservatively. You may also want to consider getting periodic fluoride treatments from your dentist to strengthen your teeth even more.

Additionally, patients become more susceptible to gum disease as they get older, so keeping your gums healthy by flossing and getting professional cleanings at least every six months becomes even more important. Not only does gum disease have the potential to devastate your smile, it also appears to have some relationship with systemic issues like heart disease and diabetes, so gum disease may impact your overall well-being too.

Patients face a greater risk of tooth loss with age, due to the weaker enamel and increased risk of gum disease along with other factors, but that does not mean that you will eventually need to get dentures at some point. If you take good care of your teeth, you can keep your biological smile for your entire lifespan.

Be sure to get your routine dental care and maintain a thorough home oral hygiene regimen as you get older, and you’ll be taking positive steps toward preserving your smile. If it’s been more than six months since your last exam and cleaning, call our office to schedule an appointment.



Protect Your Teeth – and Wallet – With a Custom Mouthguard

June 15th, 2017

dentist 60602You may think that if you’re not an elite or professional athlete, you don’t need to bother with a mouthguard. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even recreational athletes need to take steps to protect their teeth from significant injuries that might require treatment by a dentist. Furthermore, your best choice is an appliance that is made specifically for your unique smile.

Of course, some sports – like football, boxing and basketball – pose the risk of a contact injury and obviously warrant a mouthguard. But people who participate in some other sports may benefit from this protective gear as well. For example, skateboarding can result in significant dental injuries. Even weightlifting can put your teeth at risk, as people often grit their teeth together while attempting to lift a heavy barbell.

While you can buy a boil-and-bite mouthguard at your local sporting goods store, these devices tend to fit poorly and do not offer adequate protection. However, when you get a custom-designed model from a dentist, it fits more securely and does a better job of safeguarding your teeth from injuries.

Custom-designed mouthguards do cost more initially, but because they offer more protection, patients who wear them may find that they are able to avoid expensive dental treatments, such as root canals or dental implants, that may be necessary following an injury to the teeth. Ultimately, a custom-designed mouthguard can end up saving you money, as those treatments often are not fully covered by dental insurance, if you have coverage at all.

The process of getting fitted for a custom-designed mouthguard is quite simple. You will have impressions of your smile taken, and then the mouthguard will be created according to those specifications.

If you want to protect your smile while playing sports, consider investing in a custom mouthguard. You may end up saving yourself from an involved and expensive intervention in the long run. Call our office at Ora Dental Studio to schedule your appointment to be fitted for your mouthguard.

 



4 Unexpected Ways Your Teeth Can Get Chipped

June 5th, 2017

dentist 60601A chipped tooth detracts from your smile, and it can be uncomfortable depending on the size and location of the chipped area. Here are four surprising ways that you might chip your teeth and require a visit to the dentist for a restoration.

  • Eating: Patients may chip a tooth while biting into a hard object, especially if it’s unexpected, such as a stone that was not picked out of a group of beans.  
  • Shivering: Your teeth click against each other when you shiver, and if the motion is severe enough, it can cause your tooth to get chipped.
  • From a tongue piercing: Tongue jewelry is hard and can easily chip a tooth that it contacts.
  • Being super stressed: Bruxism (teeth grinding) can result from excessive stress, and the strain that this condition puts on the teeth can make them weaker and more susceptible to being chipped.

Ideally, there are steps that you can take to prevent most of these causes of chipped teeth. But if you do suffer a chipped tooth, your dentist does offer a variety of treatments to restore your smile.

One option is applying dental bonding material to the area of the chip. This composite material looks much like biological tooth enamel and can conceal small defects in the teeth.

Your dentist might also suggest a porcelain veneer to restore your smile. These thin tooth-shaped shells can be bonded on top of the biological tooth to hide a variety of flaws, including chips as well as stains, cracks and other aesthetic issues.

If the chip in your tooth exposes the pulp, you may need to undergo a root canal treatment followed by a crown to give the treated tooth extra protection.

Have you experienced a chipped tooth? If so, contact our office to get started on restoring your smile.



Are Lumineers Permanent?

May 26th, 2017

Lumineers ChicagoLumineers are dental veneers; they provide a solution to a variety of dental cosmetic concerns. And unlike many porcelain veneers, these are placed without the need to remove dental enamel making the Lumineers procedure reversible.

Veneers are used to treat broken, chipped, or uneven dentition; to make unwanted gaps between teeth seem to close; and as a way to make stained or discolored teeth as bright as you wish.

And all of these treatments can be completed with this least invasive process that you can keep or change as you wish.

The Lumineer process is usually completed in two visits. The advantages of Lumineer veneers over other similar cosmetic enhancements are:

  • No enamel is removed from your dentition allowing your tooth structure to remain strong. And since no enamel is removed, there is no need for anesthetic.
  • Even though there will be a couple of weeks between visits, you will not require messy, uncomfortable temporaries because no enamel was removed from your teeth.

Lumineer veneers are durable even though they are ultra thin; their translucence gives them a more natural appearance. And with the proper dental care they can last decades!

Your cosmetic dentist will only need to make a mold of your teeth to get the process started. The Lumineers lab will fabricate the thin shells that ultimately be used to cover the teeth you wish to enhance.

You will work with your dentist on the shade or brightness of the veneers you wish – if you plan to whiten your teeth, it is always best to whiten before any cosmetic work is done. This will allow your cosmetic dentist to match untreated teeth to the teeth that will receive veneers giving you the most desirable appearance possible.

On the day you will have your Lumineers placed, your dentist will try them on to make sure they are absolutely correct in every way before cementation. When approved, they will be cemented on. No special care is required to keep them looking great.

You will be able to continue to eat all your favorite foods; and since no enamel was removed you won’t have any concerns about sensitivity. Lumineers are so thin, there is virtually no adjustment needed … your speech will not be affected. You will have renewed self-confidence with your new smile that with proper care will last for a long, long time.

Contact our office to find out more about Lumineers!



Congenitally Missing Teeth: Are dental implants an option?

May 15th, 2017

dental implants ChicagoA congenital disorder, also known as a congenital disease, deformity, birth defect, or anomaly, is a condition existing at or before birth regardless of cause. When it pertains to missing teeth, it basically means that the teeth never formed normally during pregnancy. Dental implants are certainly an option with many factors to address.

The patient may be dealing with the absence of one, several, or all missing teeth. Dental implants are normally not a recommended option until bone maturity has been reached. That is because an implant is surgically embedded in the jaw where a restoration is to be placed. The bone in the jaw is intended to fuse to the implant; in the case of a patient where bone growth is ongoing, the implant would be subject to instability preventing it from developing into a solid base correctly.

With dental implants, the dentist will perform a thorough dental exam including x-rays to determine bone  strength where the implants are needed. If insufficient bone has developed, there are options where  bone can be placed in the jaw with the intent that it will grow to be a substitute for lack of jawbone.

When ready for implantation, the titanium post(s) will be placed in the gum tissue. While healing commences it is intended for jaw bone to fuse to the implant – this process is known as osseointegration.

The patient will be encouraged to keep the implant area as clean as possible to prevent infection; tobacco use is off limits as smoking is a primary cause of implant failure. Once the implanted areas have healed, the implants will have become a permanent part of the dental anatomy.

When implant and bone have fused properly, your dentist can place the cosmetic restoration. It can be one tooth, a bridge, or an entire arch can be permanently affixed to the implants. The restoration has been made to match existing teeth; or in the case of all teeth being absent, your dentist will fashion teeth to compliment your features.

Once the restoration has been placed, the patient will be able to eat all the foods they wish; will be able to speak properly as the tongue will be able to work in tandem with all teeth as designed; and will be able to smile and laugh without embarrassment.

Contact our team at Ora Dental Studio today to discuss your implant options!



How Exactly Do Cavities Form?

May 4th, 2017

dentist 60610Dental decay occurs when bacteria produces acids that permeate the protective outer layer of enamel on teeth through to the next layer called dentin … when the nerve is exposed the patient feels discomfort that can become throbbing pain very quickly. A visit to the dentist right away is needed to treat the decay.

Everyone has bacteria in their mouth that lives on teeth. The sugar and carbs from the foods and beverages we consume add to the bacteria. Brushing and flossing can help to remove some of the bacteria, but if not eliminated before it can harden, it becomes plaque.

Plaque buildup contributes to cavity formation and can even escalate into gum disease. There are ways to help control plaque. Some of them are natural like saliva (sometimes called nature’s mouthwash) that helps to flush the mouth. When brushing is not practical, finishing off a meal or snack with a piece of sugar free candy or chewing sugar free gum will help to produce saliva for a natural rinse.

Cavity prevention is doable. There are many decay prevention tools available, but it’s reliant on the patient to do their part. Preventative measures include:

  • Twice daily brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste or gel.
  • Flossing every day to remove what your toothbrush missed.
  • Visiting your dentist every six months for cleaning to remove plaque buildup; and an exam to repair any dental problems that may be present.

Your dentist also offers fluoride treatments to strengthen dental enamel; and for teeth that have never been impacted by decay, sealants can be applied to chewing surfaces where decay often gets its start. Dental sealants are perfect for children, but can benefit adults as well; but this is a preventative option … once a cavity occurs, sealants for a treated tooth are no longer a useful tool.

Dental decay isn’t just inconvenient. Cavities can weaken the tooth’s structure. This can result in a broken tooth that will require additional treatment such as a crown. Or if infection occurs, root canal therapy may be needed to save the tooth.

Other ways to help prevent tooth decay are by watching what you eat and drink (sugary snacks and beverages should be limited); don’t use tobacco in any form; make sure you develop and stick to a daily oral health care regimen; and see your dentist every six months.

Ready to schedule a checkup or cleaning? Contact our team today!



Gum Disease: Not a Normal Part of Aging

April 24th, 2017

dentist 60611As patients get older, they may think that gum disease and subsequent tooth loss is an inevitable part of aging. However, that is not the case. While your risk of developing gum disease may increase as you get older, there are still steps that you can take to prevent this potentially devastating oral disease.

A solid home oral hygiene routine and regular routine preventive care from your dentist are the two primary pillars of gum disease prevention efforts, just as they are in younger patients. Your day-to-day oral hygiene habits help to keep the presence of oral bacteria in check, and additional professional care, such as cleanings from a dental hygienist, will eliminate any plaque and tartar that build up despite your regimen of brushing twice each day and flossing daily.

Furthermore, when a dentist is monitoring your teeth and gums at regular, relatively brief intervals, it’s easier to catch oral diseases in their earliest stages, when they are most likely to respond well to non-invasive treatment. For example, early stage gum disease (known as gingivitis) usually can be addressed with a thorough professional dental cleaning. However, advanced periodontitis may require gum surgery or even tooth replacement if the bone is compromised as well as the gums.

Many patients are keeping their biological teeth well into their 80s and 90s and beyond, and with proper care, there’s no reason you can’t join them. Just check with your dentist to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to protect your oral health as you age.

If you think that you don’t need to maintain a thorough oral hygiene regimen and see your dentist twice each year just because you’re over 60, think again. Gum disease and tooth loss are pathological process at any age. Make sure that you continue to follow up with your routine care every six months and continue to brush and floss as directed.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment if you need to get back on track with your oral health care.



Invisalign: The Clear Alternative for the Working Professional

April 14th, 2017

Invisalign clear braces ChicagoWorking professionals who want to realign their crooked smiles might understandably be reluctant to consider conventional braces that detract from their appearance, potentially interfering with their professional relationships. These individuals can get the results they desire with a method that is less intrusive on their smile’s appearance: Invisalign.

This innovative orthodontic treatment system uses clear plastic trays to reposition the teeth by applying forces to them in a similar fashion to standard brackets and wires. But clear braces such as Invisalign are barely noticeable to a casual observer. This treatment system should have no impact on your presentation as a professional.

Spending too much time in the office is another concern for orthodontic patients who are in the workforce. They don’t want to have to spend too much time away from their offices waiting for the dentist to make adjustments to their braces. With Invisalign clear braces, the patient does much of the work. You’ll swap out the trays according to the schedule provided by your dentist. Therefore, you’ll only need to schedule periodic appointments so that your provider can monitor your progress.

In addition to changing trays when indicated, you must also be conscientious about wearing the trays for the recommended amount of time each day, at least 22 hours. However, you can remove the trays at mealtime – meaning that you don’t have to worry about getting food stuck in your braces at that important business lunch – and when it’s time to brush and floss.

Invisalign is also more comfortable than conventional braces, because it lacks the sharp-edged brackets and wires that can injure the soft tissues of your mouth. While this benefit may not specifically relate to your professional life, it’s still a nice feature of the treatment.

Are you interested in improving your smile with clear braces, such as Invisalign? Schedule a consultation at our office to learn more about this treatment option and whether it might be suitable in your case.



4 Important Steps to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

April 3rd, 2017

dentist 60603Keeping your smile healthy and beautiful rewards you in multiple ways, both psychologically and physically. There are two main things that you need to prioritize in order to keep your teeth and gums in top-notch shape: performing a robust oral hygiene routine each day and seeing your dentist at least twice a year for routine check-ups and professional cleanings.

Your day-to-day oral hygiene regimen is the backbone of promoting your oral health. You should be brushing twice a day, for two minutes each session. The technique you use is also important. Be sure to pay close attention to the gumline as you brush, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle in order to most effectively remove plaque buildup in that area. Don’t brush too aggressively, as doing so can wear down your teeth and contribute to gum recession. You may want to consider using an electronic toothbrush with a built-in timer to give an extra boost to your routine. You should also be flossing daily in order to dislodge plaque and bacteria from the surfaces where teeth meet, which are hard to reach with your toothbrush alone.

Even if you are incredibly conscientious about your brushing and flossing maintenance, you still need to see your dentist for professional care at least every six months. When a hygienist cleans your teeth, he or she will have a better angle on some areas of your smile that are challenging for you to clean thoroughly. Additionally, the dentist can identify problems in their earliest stages if you have exams twice a year rather than at longer intervals.

In addition to the basics of home and professional dental care, a nutritious diet can go a long way to keeping your smile in good shape. A wide variety of nutrients is needed to protect the oral tissues, just as the rest of the body needs vitamins, minerals and other sources of nutrition from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources and dairy.

Another step that you can take to protect your smile is to quit smoking if you are a smoker. This habit may contribute to inflammation in your gum tissue (not to mention leaving a tell-tale yellow trace on your teeth). You’ll gain numerous health benefits when you give us your cigarettes.

Want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to preserve a healthy, attractive smile? Call our office to speak to one of our knowledgeable professionals for answers to your oral health questions.