Category Archives: Periodontal

Misconceptions About Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an estimate of approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, from gingivitis to periodontitis. This bacterial gum infection destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Though this disease has be highly publicized, many people still don’t take gum disease seriously because of certain myths and misconceptions that surround it. Let’s delve into these misconceptions a bit deeper…

Flossing my teeth isn’t important. On top of brushing your teeth twice a day, you should be flossing at least once a day as to prevent gum disease. Flossing your teeth is one of the best ways to prevent gingivitis, the beginning form of gum disease.

Bleeding gums is no big deal. Imagine your gum tissue is the same as your hands. If your hands bled every time you washed them, wouldn’t you worry? Red, swollen, or bleeding gums need to be looked at by a dentist. They will be able to suggest the best periodontal treatment.

Poor oral hygiene is the only way to develop gum disease. While poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of periodontal disease, there are other certain factors that can increase one’s risk. The use of tobacco products, poor diet, stress, pregnancy and genetics are all causes that can lead to gum disease.

Having gum disease means I’m going to lose my teeth. Developing gum disease doesn’t mean tooth loss. But the sooner it is caught, the better the odds you won’t lose them.

If you would like to find out more about gum disease prevention, 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 and all surrounding areas.

The ABCs of Periodontal Treatment | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you’ve recently been informed that you have periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, you’re not alone. There are many people in the U.S. that suffer from some form of periodontal disease. There are many signs and symptoms that come along with periodontal disease, however, some people don’t even realize they have it, due to it being a painless disease. It’s time to visit the dentist…

The primary purpose of periodontal treatment is to control the infection. The type of periodontal treatment varies on the how far the disease has progressed. Any type of periodontal treatment requires proper oral hygiene at home, and may involve changing 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, while helping to 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. It all depends on how far the gum disease has progressed. Common medications used include antibiotic gels, oral antibiotics and prescription antimicrobial mouthwashes.

Oral surgery. Your dentist may suggest that you have oral surgery to help control your periodontal disease. These options will include flap surgery, which helps further rid built-up tartar in deep pockets, and bone and tissues grafts. Bone and tissue grafts help regenerate any bone and tissue lost through periodontal disease.

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 and all surrounding areas.

Do You Have Dragon Breath? | Oak Lawn Dentist

There is very little more off-putting than having to speak to someone that has bad breath. While you may think it is bad manners to tell them, it is difficult for someone to know they have bad breath without someone mentioning it. But why do we have bad breath in the first place? There are actually many factors and causes for bad breath, and it can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition.

Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath, but can be reduced or prevented if you follow these simple tips:

Oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, including the tongue. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.

Regular dental visits. See your dentist at least twice a year. This will be able to detect and treat any periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

Quit tobacco. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria by keeping your mouth moist. Chewing gum or candy containing xylitol also stimulates the production of saliva.

Healthy diets. Keep a log of the foods you eat and bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some drugs may play a role in creating mouth odors.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath, 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 and all surrounding areas.

Protect Those Gums! | Oak Lawn Dentist

No one wants to know they have gum disease, but unfortunately, many adults currently have some form of it. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost. This is why your dental hygiene is so important.

Your mouth is full of bacteria constantly form a sticky, colorless film or plaque on teeth. Plaque can harden and form tartar that brushing doesn’t clean. Your dentist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line, cleaning between the gums and teeth down to the roots. In some cases, a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar, resulting in less bleeding, swelling and discomfort.

When gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have hard mineral deposits on them. If you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of gum disease should stop, and your gums will become firm and pink again. However, root planing and scaling can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. You may need to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for a severe infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you.

Root planing and scaling is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease, but be sure to brush and floss regularly afterward – proper oral hygiene is the key to avoiding dental pitfalls.

If you would like to find out more about root planing and scaling, 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.

Do You Have Tooth Sensitivity? | Oak Lawn Dentist

There is nothing worse than going to enjoy your favorite bowl of soup or ice cream, only to find out that your teeth no longer want to be involved. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects your teeth has gotten thinner, no longer providing the necessary protection to your tooth and root. Eating hot or cold foods will set it off, but the condition itself is caused by:

  • Gum disease
  • Brushing teeth too aggressively, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Wearing away of the enamel, which protects your teeth’s nerves
  • Exposure of the roots at the gum line, as well as tooth decay

If you feel that your tooth sensitivity is because of tooth decay, disease or infection, have it treated as soon as possible. If it’s caused by your habits or genetics, it is possible that you can treat sensitivity at home by doing the following:

Switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too aggressively can aggravate sensitive teeth, so switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may also want to change the way you brush your teeth and start doing it more gently from now on.

Avoiding certain types of food and beverages. Coffee, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, and even yogurt, can slowly wear away at your already worn-out tooth enamel. If you must partake, drink a glass of milk right after or wait fifteen minutes before brushing.

Start wearing a night guard. It is possible you’re grinding your teeth while sleeping. By wearing a night guard, your teeth and the enamel are protected from the constant grinding while you sleep.

If you would like to find out more about tooth sensitivity, 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.

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.

Gum Contouring: A Smile Secret Agent | Oak Lawn Dentist

Ask yourself – what is the physical feature you find most attractive? Chances are you said the smile. They come in all shapes and variations, but aren’t always what we think of is a pretty one. And when it comes to cosmetic procedures, our minds automatically go to things like bleaching, veneers and braces. But there is a procedure out there many don’t know about but wish they did. It’s called gum contouring.

You may not directly relate your smile to your gums, but they are the tools used to keep your teeth in place. Sometimes the gums cover too much of the teeth, giving the impression that their teeth are shorter than they really are. This is known as a gummy smile.

A gummy smile is perfectly acceptable for most people, and uneven gums are a fairly common problem. Some people are just born with it, while there are those whose gums become uneven as they grow older. These are other factors that may lead to developing a gummy smile:

  • Improper brushing and flossing techniques
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Frequent teeth grinding
  • Oral piercings
  • Sensitivity to certain chemicals
  • Shifting teeth
  • Periodontal disease

Gum contouring has long been around as a cosmetic procedure but has begun to gain in popularity since 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. This helps speed up the healing process, as well as to prevent any bleeding. So if you feel gum contouring can improve your smile, make a dental visit today!

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.

Is the Pain in Your Mouth a Toothache? | Oak Lawn Dentist

Nobody likes to have a toothache. 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:

If you feel sharp pains when you eat or drink hot or cold food, you may have a cavity. However, it could also be sensitivity from exposed dentin. Exposed dentin is caused by either thinning or breaks in your enamel, like 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 put pressure on nerves, causing intense pain.

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, and potentially causing loss of gum tissue.

In many cases, mouth pain 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 dental problems.

This may give you an idea of what your dental problem may be, but it’s impossible to diagnose and treat the problem without your dentist looking at your teeth in person. In many cases the problem will get worse if left untreated so make sure to make an appointment as soon as you begin to have any pain.

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.

Root Planing and Scaling: Why Do I Need It? | Oak Lawn Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Hearing you have periodontal disease, is never great news to receive. Any sort of gum disease is going to be somewhat disheartening. Worry not, many adults currently have some form of the disease, or will have at some point in their lives. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Worst case scenario, the teeth will be lost. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends on how well you have been taking care for your teeth and gums on a daily basis.

Whether you believe it or not, your mouth is full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with saliva and food particles, constantly form a sticky colorless film, or plaque, on your teeth. Your brushing, paired with regular flossing, will help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar. Unfortunately, tartar cannot be removed by brushing. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Again, this is where your daily hygiene comes into play. If you neglect your teeth and it becomes excessive, your dentist will remove the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing and scaling cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the roots.  In some cases, a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar. Sounds intimidating, but this procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.

Root planing and scaling is done when gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have hard mineral deposits (tartar) on them. Gum recession is a pretty serious condition in and of itself. But if you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of gum disease should stop and your gums will heal and become firm and pink again.

But root planing and scaling does have its risks. The procedure can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. You may need to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for a severe infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you.

All in all, root planing and scaling is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease. But it is important to realize that poor dental hygiene is what leads to gum disease. And that’s all up to you. Brush and floss regularly. See your dentist regularly. Proper oral hygiene is the key to avoiding dental pitfalls.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from a form of periodontal disease, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information regarding periodontal disease.

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