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Archive for March, 2012

The Causes of Dulling and Discoloration of Teeth

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Over time, and despite our best efforts, our teeth can become dull and discolored; this can lead us to perhaps feel self-conscious about our smile. However, your smile doesn’t have to lose its sparkle due to lesser than white teeth, and a cosmetic dentist can help in restoring your teeth to their natural color. 

Although there are several over-the-counter kits for at-home teeth whitening, a visit to our cosmetic dentist can deliver even better results.

There are several causes for the discoloration of teeth. Some common causes of tooth discoloration include:

  • Hot and cold beverages, such as tea and coffee and red wine
  • Smoking, which can lead to yellowing teeth
  • Using an abrasive toothpaste, which can damage tooth enamel
  • Certain foods, such as wholegrain products
  • Some medications can leave teeth with stains

Although there are several over-the-counter kits for at-home teeth whitening, a visit to our cosmetic dentist can deliver even better results. An at-home kit may require prolonged use in order for it to have the desired effect on your teeth, and some can even damage teeth further.

But treatments administered by a cosmetic dentist can deliver your smile back to its natural white much faster. On occasion, it may be possible to treat the discoloration at home, a treatment known as ‘tray-based whitening’. This treatment uses a custom-molded tray of the patient’s mouth and a prescribed formula to use which can be applied at home. The formula given to whiten the teeth will be determined by the dentist during a consultation.

Alternatively, the patient can undergo a teeth whitening procedure in the office. The dentist applies a whitening formula, which is then activated by light. The process is quick, easy and can have immediate results.

Another solution that the dentist may consider is dental veneers. These are thin shells that are custom-made to cover the front of the teeth and so improve their appearance. Also known as porcelain veneers, these shells are glued (bonded) to the front of the teeth and can be used not only to improve the color of the teeth, but also the shape, size and length.

A cosmetic dentist will prepare the teeth that will be bonded by removing a small amount of enamel from the teeth before taking a mold of the patient’s mouth. A dental laboratory will then make the shells according to the mold taken, and finally the dentist bonds the shells permanently to the teeth.

Whichever treatment you decide best fits your needs, it is possible to once again regain a dazzling smile, and after treatment a regular dental check and good dental hygiene can help prolong the dazzle for years to come.

Contact our Chicago office at 312-328-9007 and schedule your consultation to determine which treatment option is right for you.



Xerostomia Causes and Treatment

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

dentist ChicagoThe term ‘Xerostomia’ might not be a word that exists in many peoples’ vocabularies; but the term – also known as Dry Mouth – is a relatively common oral problem that can be successfully treated by your dentist.

Xerostomia refers to a lack of saliva in the patient’s mouth, and the causes for such are numerous. Saliva is a fluid produced by the salivary glands within the mouth and saliva helps in keeping the mouth clean and preventing infection.

A lack of saliva in the mouth can increase the chances of developing gum disease or tooth decay. The condition can also cause Halitosis (bad breath) and sufferers may experience difficulty in speech or eating.

Everyone experiences a dry mouth at some point, typically through stress, nerves or when we feel frightened. However, Xerostomia could also be caused by other existing issues, and could be asymptomatic of a more serious condition; so it is worth having a persistent bout of dry mouth checked by a dentist or doctor.

Some typical causes for Xerostomia include:

  • Dehydration caused by a lack of fluid intake by the body, perhaps through exercise;
  • A side-effect to existing medical treatment (such as chemotheraphy for cancer sufferers), or prescription or pain-killing drugs, such as antidepressants and anti-histamines;
  • Damage caused to the salivary glands;
  • Smoking tobacco;
  • Drinking alcohol;
  • Excessive breathing through the mouth;
  • Poor oral hygiene.

Contrary to belief, Xerostomia is not a natural by-product of the aging process, although it is more likely to afflict older people. This is partly due to the increased likelihood of older people taking medications, which can in turn lead to dry mouth.

To successfully treat Xerostomia, the root cause is normally identified by a dentist or doctor. If the cause is down to medication, a simple tweak of the patient’s prescription, either by altering the dosage or issuing an alternative drug may solve the problem.

However, if medication is not the cause or if the symptom persists despite a change in medication, then the next likely treatment is to look to stimulate the production of saliva. Your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva treatment designed to do this.

Simple lifestyle changes, such as avoiding sugary drinks or food, the use of non-alcohol based mouthwashes, and maintaining a good dental hygiene regime may also be recommended.

If you suffer from dry mouth, contact Ora Dental Studio in Chicago to learn how we can help.



Recognizing the Early Signs of Gingivitis

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Gingivitis is a term related to the early onset of gum disease. Typically, it manifests as red, swollen gums which often bleed when brushed.

Gingivitis is a common oral complaint, and people can have gingivitis without knowing. It is therefore important to know and understand the signs of gingivitis and if discovered, seek treatment early from your dentist

Gingivitis is a common oral complaint, and people can have gingivitis without knowing.

Typically, symptoms of Gingivitis include:

  • Swelling and redness of the gum tissue – are your gums tender to touch, or do they appear redder than normal?
  • Bleeding gums when brushing – your gums shouldn’t bleed when being brushed, so look to see whether your toothpaste and/or spit contains any blood during cleaning, or when expelling saliva.
  • Receding gums which expose more of the teeth’s’ enamel – your teeth will look longer than usual and you may notice small gaps between the teeth.
  • Bad breath (Halitosis) or a bad taste – do people recoil when you get too close, or do you notice a persistent bad taste in your mouth?
  • When biting, the fit of the teeth may alter or shift, and one or more teeth may feel loose.
  • Texturing of the gum tissue – your gums should look and feel smooth, so any texturing (stippling) of the gum should be checked.
  • Plaque on the teeth – do you use a regular mouthwash and/or floss as part of your daily dental hygiene regime?

In most cases, simply brushing the teeth won’t be enough to stop gingivitis, and professional care through a dentist is also required, in addition to adopting good dental hygiene habits, in order to successfully treat the affliction.

Treatments for gingivitis include the removal of plaque that can build up around the base of the teeth, regular flossing and using a good mouthwash after brushing to prevent the build-up of tartar. Some small lifestyle changes may also be necessary, such as cutting down on cigarettes or alcohol and avoiding sugary drinks and foods.

Sufferers may experience one or more of the symptoms of gingivitis during the early stages, but taking quick, preventative action and seeking early treatment can stop gingivitis developing into more serious conditions.

Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to severe gum disease or even Periodontitis and tooth loss, and can in some cases lead to more serious medical conditions.

If you suspect you may have gingivitis, please contact our experienced team at Ora Dental Studio, serving the Chicago IL 60610 area, at 312-328-9007 today.