What’s with My Dragon Breath? | Oak Lawn Dentist

Fresh BreathBad breath is not something to take lightly and can easily put you in plenty of embarrassing social situations. But more of than not, it’s preventable and easy to cure. First, let’s take a look at what it is and reasons it occurs. Below are some of the most common causes of bad breath:

Eating certain types of food. While eating food and not brushing or flossing afterwards can cause bad breath due to bacterial growth, eating certain types of food can also affect your breath.  Garlic, onions and other types of spices can affect the smell of your breath while they travel through your body.

Smoking and chewing tobacco. Anything tobacco-based can lead to bad breath because of the distinct, foul odor that tobacco leaves in your mouth. Not only can tobacco products increase your risk for health complications, but they can also lead to bad breath.

Improper dental care. If you skip brushing and flossing your teeth for just one day, or even one meal, your breath is bound to smell bad. Your breath may also smell bad from improper care of any dental appliances in your mouth, such as retainers and dentures.

Dry mouth. If your mouth is dry, there’s not enough saliva to help clear away food particles, which can lead to bad breath. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water frequently.

Certain medical conditions. There are certain respiratory infections, liver and kidney diseases and other medical conditions have been known to cause bad breath.

If you would like to find out more about halitosis, 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 Night Guard Care | Oak Lawn Dentist

Custom Mouth GuardBruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding is a common habit that wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Although it’s a good thing that night guards are there to help, these custom-made oral appliances can help teeth from getting damaged or chipped. But night guards also need proper care and attention to prevent further dental issues.

Here are some essential night guard care tips:
Clean 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. Also, use warm water and be sure to dry it thoroughly before storing it in its respective case. Using hot water is not advisable because it can ruin the appliance.

This includes the case. Use liquid antibacterial soap and feel free to use hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case in any way. Store it in a place far from dust and other contaminants.

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. Otherwise, bacteria will transfer from your mouth to your night guard and allow them to grow through the night.

Have your night guard checked. Every time you visit your dentist, have your night guard with you. The dentist can examine it for wear and tear, as well as clean it. If you notice any damage, go to your dentist immediately and ask for proper advice.

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.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 Dry Mouth Haunting Your Sleep? | Oak Lawn Dentist

A sound sleep is important for good health, but sleeping in peace is not so easy if you wake up frequently with dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but if you snore while you sleep, or sleep with your mouth wide open, other 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. In 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. You can also benefit from refraining from smoking and tobacco use.

Drinking lots and lots of water during the day can also help, as frequent water intake can maintain, or increase the production of saliva. Before sleeping, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse as opposed to an alcohol-based mouthwash can help keep your mouth from drying at night. If the air in your room is too dry at night, try using a humidifier. Also, keeping a glass of water next to your bed is also handy.

In some cases, xerostomia may not be the biggest issue, but may only be a symptom of a worse medical condition. If you find that dry mouth is becoming an issue, see your dental professional as soon as possible.

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Crowns | Oak Lawn Dentist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Routine checkups and proper oral hygiene are designed to help patients maintain as many of their natural teeth as possible. If minor tooth decay were to occur, and caught early enough, will be treated with a quick filling. Unfortunately, some patients will find that simple fillings aren’t sufficient. Despite the cause, if severe tooth decay has developed, or a tooth breaks, dentists will occasionally need to recommend procedures involving dental crowns.

Dental crowns are synthetic caps placed on top of the tooth. They’re frequently recommended the tooth root and base is mostly intact, but a significant portion of the top of the tooth is removed. In cases of severe decay, simple fillings are insufficient. In these cases, the dentist will likely recommend a root canal, where the nerve-rich pulp is removed from the center of the tooth. Following the root canal, the removed material is replaced with synthetic resin, and capped with a dental crown.

Dental crowns may also be used when teeth are damaged, but the root structure remains sound. A crown may be used to hold the remaining part of the tooth intact and prevent further fractures. In addition, they’re typically less expensive than implants, and provide a strong, durable, but natural looking replacement for the normal tooth surface. While crowns are considered low-risk and have a high success rate, they do typically involve removing a significant amount of natural tooth material, so they are considered irreversible – once you have a crown installed, you will always need a crown on that tooth.

If you would like to find out more about dental crowns, 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.

Dental Veneers Will Give You that Celebrity Smile | Oak Lawn Dentist

Porcelain veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. But dental veneers can also be placed over the surfaces of your teeth to correct worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment, spacing, discoloration and chips or cracks.

Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement. You will need to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.

Veneers are routinely used to fix teeth that are:

  • Discoloration due to root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
  • Worn down
  • Chipped or broken
  • Misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
  • Gaps

Veneers offer the following advantages:

  • Natural (even whiter) appearance
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
  • Stain-resistant

Veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. Additionally, porcelain veneers do not require any special care. All that is required is that you follow good daily oral hygiene practices. Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years before they 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.

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.

How Dental Professionals Clean Their Instruments | Oak Lawn Dentist

skd284147sdcWhen you’re sitting in the dentist office waiting for your appointment, you notice all of the tools that may or may not end up in your mouth. Ever wonder how they sterilize them? The American Dental Association, working with the Centers for Disease Control, sets guidelines for dental tool sterilization. Each tool is listed in one of three categories and treated based on risk.

Critical tools. These are tools that may penetrate tissue or bone, such as scalpels, forceps, and scalers. Because they are used on sterile tissue, it’s crucial that these tools be sterilized after each and every use. The ADA requires that these tools be sterilized using steam under pressure, dry heat, or chemical heat. An autoclave is a pressure chamber used to carry out industrial processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure different to ambient air pressure. Autoclaves are used in medical applications to perform sterilization.

Semi-critical tools. Any tool that comes in contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin, mirrors and dental trays for impressions should also be sterilized after every use. However, it’s permissible for these tools to be disinfected with an EPA certified high-level disinfectant.

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

If you would like to find out more about 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.

 

Will Veneers Fix My Smile? | Oak Lawn Dentist

186932212Porcelain veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. But dental veneers can also be placed over the surfaces of your teeth to correct worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment, spacing, discoloration and chips or cracks.

Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.

Veneers are routinely used to fix:

  • Teeth that are discolored due to root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride, or resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
  • Teeth that are worn down, chipped or broken
  • Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
  • Teeth with gaps between them

Veneers offer the following advantages:

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant
  • The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter

Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. They also do not require any special care. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices as you normally would. 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 porcelain 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.

The Toothbrush: Your Mouth’s Best Friend | Oak Lawn Dentist

480320367While we’ve all heard about how important brushing and taking care of our teeth is, most of us know virtually nothing when it comes to that little instrument we use to keep our mouths healthy – the toothbrush. For starters, did you know that the toothbrush wasn’t invented by a dentist? They weren’t even kin the medical field! Instead, the first bristled toothbrush was invented in China in 1498. It was basically boar’s hair attached to bamboo or a bone. Who knew, right? In fact, we didn’t get the bristles we know today until 1938. There is also the theory that China’s invention was too primitive, so the modern invention was touted as made in 1780, by a guy named William Addis due to his boredom in prison. Using a bone and bristles from a stationed guard. The fact that Addis eventually made a fortune mass producing his invention further proves that statement. Here are some more interesting facts about your teeth’s best friend:

It’s been shown that the average American will have spent more than a thousand hours, or close to 38 days brushing their teeth by the time they die.

Speaking of time spent brushing teeth, the average person usually spends 48 seconds a day brushing their teeth. Yikes! That’s more than a minute short of the 2 or 3 minutes that dentists recommend. Two minute is the bare minimum to even get your teeth clean, so take your time!

On average, the typical toothbrush will contain around 2,500 bristles.

This one will cause friction in your home, but placing a cap back on your toothpaste is actually counterintuitive. This is because the moist environment created by placing a cap promotes the growth of bacteria.

In America alone, Americans are believed to throw away 25,000 tons of toothbrushes every year. This has led manufacturers to try and minimize the waste by selling toothbrushes made out of recyclable plastic, or with replaceable heads, so only the bristles are thrown away when the time comes.

Despite how “little” time people devote to brushing their teeth when you go by what’s recommended, a survey back in 2003 showed that the toothbrush was the #1 thing people couldn’t live without.

Whether you could live with your toothbrush or not, you shouldn’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once and gargle with mouthwash to prevent bacteria and plaque build-up. Also, make sure that you don’t forget to schedule a regular check-up and cleaning with your local dentist.

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

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