Kim K. Is the Queen of Contouring | Oak Lawn Dentist

While most people rarely think of their gums as part of their smiles, they are. And, in some cases, the gums or gingival tissue may be too far below the upper lips when smiling, causing them to show too much, and resulting in 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. 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”. While a natural occurrence, there are also other factors leading to people developing a “gummy smile”, such as:

  • Brushing too hard and improper flossing techniques
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Teeth grinding
  • Oral piercing
  • Chemical sensitivity
  • Teeth shifting
  • 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. This can 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. This makes it a very safe process that can be done in single visit, with immediate results.

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.

Your New Year’s Resolution May Backfire | Oak Lawn Dentist

Fresh BreathNow that we are in full-swing with our new year’s resolutions, we are in hyper-sensitive mode about our health & what we are putting into our mouths. When it comes to getting in shape, we all have a tough time finding the right combination of foods and exercise to keep us on pace. But what if your diet is giving you side effects? What if it was something as simple as bad breath?

By eliminating all sugar and most carbs, and eating foods high in fat and protein, your body becomes a fat-burning machine. However, by getting your energy from fat and protein rather than carbs, one of the common byproducts is intolerable breath. But why?

Atkins, the ketogenic diet, and most other low-carb eating plans all rely on getting your daily calories mostly from fat and protein, and very little from carbohydrates. If you keep your carb intake to less than 30 grams per day, your body eventually enters a metabolic state of ketosis. Instead of breaking down carbohydrates to create glucose for energy, your body instead breaks down stored fat, which release ketones in the body. They are also released in your breath, creating a distinct odor that some keto enthusiasts describe as rotten fruit, or even metallic.

Unfortunately, that also means ketosis breath can’t be extinguished with the typical handful of mints and swig of mouthwash. Natural remedies to try are drinking extra water, or chewing on fresh mint leaves, cloves, or fennel seeds, or grab a sugar-free gum made with xylitol.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath remedies, 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.

Everything You Need to Know About Veneers | Oak Lawn Dentist

It honestly doesn’t really matter what the reason is that caused the issue – when your smile has a flaw, it can make one feel subconscious about smiling. Not only can it cause issues speaking or chewing, but it can also cause your other teeth to move in order to fill in the space left by the dental issue. Luckily, there is a solution to teeth that can completely change the smile game – veneers.

Porcelain veneers is a cosmetic dental procedure that can create bright white smiles with beautifully-aligned, shapely teeth, but are also routinely used to fix teeth with the following dental issues:

  • Discoloration due to root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride, or resin fillings
  • Worn down, chipped or broken
  • Misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
  • Gaps

But that’s not all, there are even more advantages to choosing veneers over other cosmetic procedures, like dentures:

  • Natural tooth appearance
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant
  • The color of a porcelain veneer is selected to make darkened teeth whiter

Veneers not only offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape, but also don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, offering a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. Bonus feature is that they also do not require any special care. As long as you continue to follow good oral hygiene practices as you normally would, there shouldn’t be a reason you can’t have your veneers for a very long time as veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.

If you would like to find out more about veneers, 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.

Why Is My Mouth So Dry? | Oak Lawn Dentist

Sleeping soundly is not so easy – and if you wake up frequently at night with a dry mouth, or xerostomia, it makes things even worse. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but if it happens at night, you may snore. Sleeping with your mouth open allows air to freely enter and depart, leaving your mouth especially dry.

Because saliva not only washes away bacteria and food to keep your mouth clean, but it can cause your mouth to become red and irritated, putting you at a higher risk for developing bacterial infections, affecting the quality of your sleep even further. If you think you have this issue, seek medical advice from your dentist and try these:

Cut back on bad habits. Studies have shown that avoiding sugary or acidic foods can help decrease 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.

Drink your water. It seems like more of a chore but drinking lots of water to maintain, or increase the production of saliva.

Keep your nightly dental routine. Before sleeping, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse can help keep your mouth from drying at night. Keep a glass of water next to your bed to sip on if you wake up with a dry mouth in the middle of the night.

Maintain enough air moisture. The air in your room may also be too dry. Use a humidifier.

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.com for additional information.

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

Did You Wash Your Hands? A Guide to Dental Sterilization | Oak Lawn Dentist

When you’re waiting for the dentist to begin your check-up, have you ever looked around at all of the equipment lying around? It’s kind of crazy how much stuff has the potential to enter your mouth at some point in the visit. But it isn’t crazy to wonder how each tool is sterilized.

The American Dental Association sets guidelines for dental tool sterilization. Various tools are broken down into three distinct categories, each of which is treated differently based on risk.

Critical tools. These are tools that may penetrate tissue or bone, such as scalpels, forceps, and scalers. Because they’re penetrating into sterile tissue, it’s absolutely crucial that these tools be sterilized regularly – after each and every use. The ADA requires that these tools be sterilized using steam under pressure, dry heat, or chemical heat in an autoclave.

Semi-critical tools. Those tools that come in contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin, like mirrors and dental trays for impressions, should also be sterilized after every use. However, in some cases where sterilization isn’t practical, it’s permissible for these tools to be disinfected with an EPA certified high-level disinfectant.

Non-critical tools. Tools that only come in contact with skin, such as x-ray components and blood pressure cuffs, have a relatively low risk of transmitting infection. However, they are still cleaned between patients with a medium-level or low-level disinfectant, suitable for hospital use.

If you have any concerns, do not be afraid to ask Dr. Bartz about the tools and cleaning process next time you’re in the office.

If you would like to find out more about instrument sterilization practices, 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.

 

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.