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Archive for March, 2017

A Parent’s Guide to Infant and Toddler Dental Care

Monday, March 27th, 2017

dentist 60601As a parent, you likely recognize that the foundation for your child’s healthy smile is developed at a rather early age. However, you may have some questions about appropriate dental care for your child, both from professionals and at home. When should you begin brushing your child’s teeth? When should your child first see a dentist? Here is a list of tips that answer some of those questions to help you properly care for your child’s smile.

  • Children should have their first check-up with a dentist by their first birthday: The first few teeth have usually erupted within the first year of your child’s life, so this is a good time to get a professional exam to make sure that there are no dental developmental problems. Not only does establishing an early relationship with a dentist normalize this experience for your child, it also may save you money. According to a CDC report, costs for children who see a dentist by age 5 are nearly 40 percent lower than for those who don’t.
  • You can gently clean a baby’s gums using a damp washcloth after feedings and before bed. You may also want to do this in the morning. When the first teeth erupt, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use a tiny amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) until the child turns three, when you can increase to a pea-sized dollop. Make sure that you perform an oral hygiene routine daily with your child to get them habituated to that task.
  • Be cautious with what, when and how your child drinks. Putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice can give sugar an opportunity to hang around the mouth and fuel bacteria as your baby sleeps. You should also limit your child’s use of sippy cups for the same reason.
  • Parents should remove a child’s pacifier by age 2 or 3. Extended pacifier use can create orthodontic problems and even change the shape of the mouth.

Do you have other questions or concerns about making sure that your child’s smile stays healthy? Contact our office to speak to one of our knowledgeable professionals.

Most Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Friday, March 17th, 2017

cosmetic dentist ChicagoDingy, stained teeth are a drag on your smile’s appearance. When you recognize the most common causes of tooth discoloration, you can then take steps to reduce the impact of those factors on your smile and treat any stains that have already occurred. The most common causes of tooth discoloration are dark-colored foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea, red wine and berries), smoking, certain medications and excessive exposure to fluoride during childhood development.

Fortunately, if your smile suffers from stained teeth, a cosmetic dentist can offer interventions to brighten and whiten your smile. Teeth whitening treatments, such as Zoom! laser whitening, apply a bleaching gel to permeate the surface of the teeth and release the stains held beneath it. Zoom! works even faster than traditional teeth whitening treatments because the bleaching gel is activated by lasers to take effect more quickly. You can leave your dentist’s office in about an hour sporting a smile that’s up to 10 shades whiter.

It’s important to recognize that these teeth whitening treatments do not achieve permanent results. In order to have whiter teeth in the long term, you will need to have periodic touch-up treatments, which can be completed at home at your convenience or in the office with your cosmetic dentist.

In order to maintain your results as long as possible between touch-ups, you should restrict the habits that might have contributed to your tooth discoloration after you receive a teeth whitening treatment, such as limiting your consumption of coffee, switching to white wine or giving up smoking–which will give you countless other health benefits, by the way.

Some deep stains may not respond to bleaching agents, and in these cases, the cosmetic dentist may suggest porcelain veneers as an alternative. These tooth-shaped shells are bonded on top of your biological teeth and can be used to hide stains that remain despite attempts at teeth whitening. The porcelain material looks remarkably like biological tooth enamel, leaving this intervention with a lifelike appearance.

Don’t resign yourself to a stained smile. We offer a variety of treatments that can help to improve the appearance of discolored teeth. Call our team at Ora Dental Studio to schedule a consultation and learn about your options.

Why Oral Health Symptoms Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Monday, March 6th, 2017

dentist 60610You may think that mild symptoms such as slight tooth discomfort or light bleeding while brushing or flossing don’t warrant a trip to the dentist, but if you ignore such oral health symptoms, you may be doing so at your peril. Oral diseases, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can have significant consequences for both your smile and your general well-being.

First of all, if you consult with your dentist as soon as you notice a signal that something is amiss with your smile, the treatment for the issue is likely to be less invasive and more effective. For example, a small cavity can be restored with a dental filling, while extensive decay may warrant a crown or even put the tooth in jeopardy for extraction. Similarly, early stage gum disease often responds well to a thorough professional cleaning, while more advanced stages may require gum surgery, or if tooth loss has occurred, dental implant placement.

If you do delay seeing your dentist until more severe symptoms develop, you may increase your risk of tooth extraction. The cascade of outcomes following that type of procedure include impaired nutrition and jawbone atrophy, which can have wide-ranging effects on your appearance and your health.

It’s important to consider the implications of your oral health for your systemic health, as well. Gum disease doesn’t merely contribute to an unattractive smile. Research has suggested some sort of connection between gum disease and other conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as pregnancy complications. So, attending to early stage symptoms of oral diseases in a timely fashion may help you to limit the effects of those systemic issues as well.

Additionally, if you schedule exams and cleanings every six months as recommended, we will have additional opportunities to address mild oral health symptoms when they arise. So, don’t slack on this essential element of your dental care.

Even if you’re experiencing mild symptoms of oral health problems, we encourage you to call our office so that you can see what types of treatment options might be recommended and schedule an appointment if necessary. Don’t postpone treatment, or your smile (and your body) may pay a high price.