Why the Pain in Your Mouth May Not Be a Toothache | Oak Lawn Dentist

Nothing is worse than a toothache. The pain felt within your skull can become overwhelming. Most people feel pain in their mouth and assume they have a cavity. While decay can certainly cause pain, not all toothaches are caused by decay or cavities. Here’s a quick guide on what may cause the pain – but keep in mind that if your mouth hurts, you probably need a dentist.

If you feel sharp pains when you eat or drink hot or cold food, it could be caused by a cavity, but it could also be sensitivity brought on by exposed dentin. Exposed dentin is typically caused by either thinning enamel, breaks in enamel (such as cracked or chipped teeth), or receding gums.

A cracked tooth may cause pain deep in your jaw or gums when you bite down. The pressure of biting can cause the cracked tooth to spread, putting pressure on nerves, and causing an intense pain localized to a single tooth.

Throbbing pain, especially on one side of the mouth, may be caused by an infection below the tooth, often related to periodontal disease or dental abscess. Left untreated, the infection may spread to the bone, jeopardizing one or more teeth, and potentially causing loss of gum tissue.

In many cases, pain in the mouth may not be related to dental problems at all – sinus issues and problems of the TMJ (jaw/skull joint) can both cause pain in the mouth and face, but aren’t necessarily problems your dentist can solve – you may be referred to a specialist.

If you would like to find out more about toothaches, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Too Much Gums? Contour Them | Oak Lawn Dentist

Our smile is very important to us. And when people think of how they can achieve the smile they’ve always dreamed of, they think of procedures such as tooth bleaching, veneers, braces, and a bunch of other cosmetic procedures. But there is one procedure you may not know about that can help – gum contouring.

When it comes to smiles, the amount of gum and teeth showing should be balanced. If not, and too much gum is showing, a smile. then becomes what’s known as a “gummy smile”. A gummy smile is a term used to describe people whose gums cover too much of their teeth when smiling, giving the impression that their teeth are much shorter. And, in such cases, gum contouring may just be the answer. Here are some factors that may cause a “gummy smile”:

  • Brushing too hard and improper brushing, as well as flossing techniques
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Teeth grinding
  • Oral piercings
  • Sensitivity to certain chemicals
  • The shifting of teeth (very common among adults)
  • Periodontal disease

Gum contouring has long been around as a cosmetic procedure. Though, it was only recently that it became popular with plenty of people. It could directly be attributed to the fact that modern dental medicine now allows dental practitioners to completely bypass the use of scalpels. Instead, soft tissue lasers are used to slowly and gently scalp the gums, while at the same time, the tissue is sealed to help speed up the healing process, as well as to prevent any bleeding.

If you would like to find out more about gum contouring, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

What You Need to Know About Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

periodontal diseaseNearly 75% of Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. When you aren’t practicing proper oral hygiene, you’re allowing the bacteria in plaque to remain on your teeth, which will eventually infect your gums. Not only will periodontal disease affect your gums and teeth, but it can potentially affect your connective tissue and bone that supports your teeth as well.

Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, and can be noticed by inflamed gums, red or swollen gums, which is mainly caused by the plaque buildup. This stage of the disease can also cause your gums to bleed, which you may notice when brushing or flossing your teeth. This is the only stage of periodontal that is reversible with periodontal treatment.

Periodontitis. When gingivitis is left untreated it progresses to a more advanced stage, known as periodontitis. At this particular stage, the supporting bone and tissues will be irreversibly damaged. Your gums will also start to separate from your teeth, then form pockets below the gum line that become infected. With periodontal treatment and improved oral hygiene, you and your dentist can usually prevent any further damage.

Advanced periodontitis. This is the final stage of periodontal disease, not only has the infection affected your teeth, but it has also destroyed the fibers and bones that support your teeth. This can affect your bite and cause your teeth to shift, loosen and/or even fall out. If periodontal treatment can’t save your teeth, your dentist may have to remove them.

If you would like to find out more about gum disease, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Will Anyone Notice My Dental Filling? | Oak Lawn Dentist

We all have a bit of hesitation when it comes to having dental procedures done. The good thing is that dental technology has changed significantly in the past few decades, making procedures both easier and less painful for their patients. One of the most common dental procedures is a simple filling, and even those have benefited from advances in dental technology.

Traditional fillings were typically made of metal – usually an amalgam of tin, zinc, copper, and silver placed into the cavities. These fillings could last 30 to 40 years without further maintenance. Today, dentists have far more flexibility in their choice of materials to use to fill cavities. While traditional metal amalgam is still an option for back teeth – where its low cost and high durability make it a viable option, many dentists favor composite resin – a mixture of synthetic materials such as plastic and fine glass particles. While composite resin is more expensive and requires more effort for the dentist to properly install, composite fillings can very closely match the look and feel of your natural teeth, allowing its use for front teeth and in places where traditional fillings may be too visible. In many cases, dentists may use glass ionomer – an acrylic resin set with a bright blue light, which seals and permanently bonds it to your teeth.

It’s likely that your dentist will choose one or more of the types of fillings above. If you’re curious about which your dentist will use, ask your dentist questions – they’ll be more than happy to explain which they’re using, and why they’ve selected that option.

If you would like to find out more about dental fillings, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

When You Don’t Have a Toothbrush Handy | Oak Lawn Dentist

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, there are several foods that can naturally cleanse and brighten your teeth, while also defending against bad bacteria that could potentially harm your teeth or gums. If you’d like to achieve a healthier and whiter smile, try munching on these healthy foods:

Apples. Apples acts as a natural abrasive that can scrub away leftover food particles and stains. Apples contain a high concentration of malic acid, which is natural astringent that acts as a bleaching agent to whiten teeth.

Broccoli. When eaten raw, broccoli acts as natural abrasive that can scrub away leftover food particles and stains. Think of it like a natural toothbrush. Broccoli is high in fiber, great for preventing gum disease.

Celery. Veggies are low in calories and high in water content, which can help stimulate saliva production. Saliva is our mouths way of natural cleansing. And like broccoli, celery is like a form of floss.

Cheese. Cheese is rich in calcium and phosphorus, which helps provide your teeth with necessary nutrition to keep your enamel healthy and strong.

Garlic and onions. Eating both garlic and onions raw releases a bacteria-reducing compound called thiosulfinate, which promotes healthier teeth by reducing the production of plaque.

Pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural stain remover that can help remove plaque buildup from the surface of your teeth, while also preventing tooth erosion and cavities from forming.

Strawberries. Like apples, strawberries contain malic acid and vitamin C, which can also aid in plaque removal.

If you would like to find out more about teeth whitening foods, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Treatment Options for Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you’ve recently been informed that you have gum disease, you’re not alone. Periodontal disease can range from inflamed gums to serious disease that can cause tooth loss. There are many signs and symptoms that come along with periodontal disease, but because it’s a painless disease, oftentimes people don’t even realize they have it. The following includes the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bad taste in mouth or persistent bad breath
  • Red or inflamed gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Gum recession or longer appearing teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

The primary purpose of periodontal treatment is to control the infection. Any type of periodontal treatment requires the patient to practice proper oral hygiene at home. Dentists may also suggest that the patient change certain habits, such as smoking, as a way to improve the overall outcome.

Deep cleaning. This periodontal treatment involves removing built-up plaque though a method called root planing and scaling. This gets rid of the rough spots on the patient’s teeth where germs accumulate, helping remove harmful bacteria that can contribute to periodontal disease.

Medications. In some cases, medication may be used with treatments that include root planing and scaling, but they can’t always take the place of oral surgery. Common medications used include antibiotic gels, oral antibiotics and prescription antimicrobial mouthwashes.

Oral surgery. The periodontal treatments that involve oral surgery include flap surgery, which helps further rid built-up tartar in deep pockets, bone and tissues grafts. Bone and tissue grafts help regenerate a bone and tissue that was lost.

If you would like to find out more about periodontal treatment, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Dry Mouth While Sleeping Can Be Cured | Oak Lawn Dentist

A sound sleep is important for good health, but sleeping in peace is not so easy if you wake up frequently at night with a dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but it’s most likely because you snore or sleep with your mouth wide open. Factors such as stress and medication may also play a factor. The first step in having your dry mouth treated is to talk to your dentist and ask for advice. However, for the meantime, there are some things that you can do to make it a bit less uncomfortable for you.

One thing that you can do is to cut back on beverages such as caffeine, soda and alcohol. Studies have also shown that avoiding sugary or acidic foods can help in that avoiding consumption of such food items can increase one’s risk for tooth decay, especially if one suffers from dry mouth. If you insist on munching on something sweet, you can chew on sugarless gum or hard candy to help satisfy your cravings and stimulate saliva flow. Before sleeping, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse. The air in your room may also be too dry at night, in which case, you’ll want to use a humidifier. Also, keeping a glass of water next to your bed can help so you can immediately sip on it if you wake up with a dry mouth in the middle of the night.

If you would like to find out more about xerostomia, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.comfor additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Why Custom Whitening Trays Are a Great Choice | Oak Lawn Dentist

Do you avoid flashing your smile due to having stained or yellow teeth? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that there are many teeth whitening options to choose from that can safely and effectively brighten your smile.

One common dental treatment that’s done to whiten teeth is a bleaching procedure using custom teeth whiten trays. This specific whitening option is effective and most of all, it cost significantly less compared to alternative teeth whitening treatments.

While there are several over-the–counter teeth whitening treatments that can be used, like whitening strips or trays, they won’t work quite as effectively as custom whitening trays. One of the risks that come along with using over-the-counter teeth whitening products is that the bleach can leak from the tray or strip. This can cause your gums to become irritated or sensitive. Custom whitening trays are made to fit your teeth perfectly.

The process starts off with your dentist taking an impression of your teeth, then using the mold your dentist can create the custom trays. Once your custom whitening trays are complete and your go in for your second visit, your dentist will give you instructions to properly use them.

During the whitening process, you should start to notice a difference in the shades of your teeth as they begin to whiten. Once this short process is over, you should be able to enjoy flashing your significantly whiter teeth. To maintain the appearance of your pearly whites you may want to get treatments done every now and then.

If you would like to find out more about custom whitening trays, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.comfor additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

A Night Guard Can Help You Get Some Sleep | Oak Lawn Dentist

Custom Mouth GuardBruxism, or night time teeth grinding is a very common habit that can also be very destructive to your teeth and gums. Although it’s a good thing that night guards are there to help, as these custom-made oral appliances can help teeth from getting damaged or chipped from the constant grinding. While helpful, night guards need proper care and attention to make sure that you don’t just end up trading one dental problem for another.

Here are some essential night guard care tips that should come in handy:

Brush your night guard. Whenever you take out your night guard in the morning, brush it as you would your teeth. Preferably, use a different, soft toothbrush and a liquid antibacterial soap.

Use the case and keep it clean. You should always clean the storage case for your mouth guard as well. Use liquid antibacterial soap and feel free to use hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case in any way.

Take care of your teeth. Before you even think about putting your night guard in your mouth, make sure that you have brushed and floss first.

Have your night guard checked at your dental appointments. Every time you visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings, be sure that you have your night guard with you so the dentist can examine it for wear and tear, as well as clean it. Although very durable, these oral appliances are not invincible and will need to be pleased eventually.

If you would like to find out more about night guards, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.comfor additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Gingivitis: Is It Really That Bad? | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you aren’t the most regimented patient with your daily dental hygiene, you may want to read this – because it can lead to severe, and costly, dental problems. Problems like gingivitis.

Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.

Both dental plaque and tartar are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out. Here are the most common risk factors:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Cancer and cancer treatment
  • Stress
  • Mouth breathing
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake
  • Diabetes
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications

Preventative care is simple. Brushing and flossing twice a day is of utmost importance, as are regular dental visits.

If you would like to find out more about gingivitis, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.comfor additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.