Why You May Have Dragon Breath | Oak Lawn Dentist

Fresh BreathNo one wants to hear they have bad breath. In fact, we do anything we can to prevent it. Not only is it embarrassing, but if it is persistent, it could be an issue of greater magnitude. The good news is that bad breath, more of than not, is preventable and easy to cure. But what causes bad breath in the first place? Below are some of the most common causes of bad breath:

Certain types of food. Eating certain types of food like garlic, onions and other types of spices, they can affect the smell of your breath while they travel through your body.

Smoking and chewing tobacco. Anything that has to do with tobacco and your mouth can lead to bad breath. Tobacco products can increase your risk for a variety of health complications that can also lead to bad breath and other health issues.

Improper dental hygiene. If you skip brushing and flossing your teeth for just one day, your breath is bound to smell bad because of remaining food particles in your mouth and the bacterial breakdown of these remnants.

Dry mouth. If there’s not enough saliva to help clear away food particles, it can lead to the development of a foul odor in your mouth. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water frequently.

Certain medical conditions. Inflammation of the lungs, throat and sinuses can lead to bad breath, as well as certain respiratory infections. Diabetes, certain liver and kidney diseases and few other medical conditions have also been known to cause bad breath.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath 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, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

What to Expect from Gum Contouring | Oak Lawn Dentist

It’s only natural to dream of having a sparkling, beautiful smile. However, those who are born with uneven gums may find it hard to find a way to have that smile they’ve always wanted. Luckily, now there is gum contouring.

Gum contouring is a medical procedure that’s mainly used to treat problems such as receding gums and the occurrence of pockets in between teeth, which leaves the teeth exposed and vulnerable for bacteria to accumulate. While it’s mainly a medical procedure, gum contouring can also be used to help those who were born with gummy smiles.

The procedure is performed only by qualified dental professionals and involves the use of a mild local an aesthetic to numb the gums. Dentists then use a soft tissue laser for a variety of purposes. For those with gummy smiles, the laser is used to remove the excess gum tissue, resulting in the teeth looking longer and the smile looking much better. For those with whose gums have receded, the laser is used to help reshape and seal the tissue to create the ideal shape, as well as to prevent any excess bleeding. For those with pockets in between their teeth, the laser is used to seal off such hollows to prevent future bacterial infections.

Whether you had your gums reshaped for medical or aesthetic reasons, it’s important to emphasize good dental hygiene even more so the weeks following the procedure. Because the gums have yet to fully heal, you may want to brush much more gently than usual with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritation.

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.

When Teeth Whitening Doesn’t Work | Oak Lawn Dentist

Everyone wants a bright shiny smile. It isn’t the easiest thing to do alone, so we visit our dentist for a whitening treatment. Bleaching is often the go-to treatment option for whitening teeth, but not everyone is a candidate for bleaching.

Patients who’ve had tooth-colored filings in the past, as well as crowns and caps in their front teeth won’t benefit as much from bleaching because the color of the dental appliances will remain the same. This presents a notable aesthetic problem because bleaching can make the dental appliances stand out, virtually destroying the look of a newly whitened smile. So, what do you do to get your brightest smile? Opt for the two other possible treatment options – porcelain veneers and dental bonding.

Each treatment option presents a distinct set of advantages, as well as disadvantages, both of which will be discussed below to help you make an informed decision.

Porcelain veneers are custom-made for your teeth based on a mold sent to a dental laboratory, then fitted on your teeth. More expensive, but veneers bring a natural look while also fixing dental imperfections such as chips, cracks, and a few other problems.

Dental bonding is a dental procedure where composite resin is used to restore chipped and broken teeth. The treatment is also applicable for filling in gaps, reshaping and recoloring teeth.

While both treatment options require patients to make necessary dietary changes, such as avoiding chewing on and opening hard stuff using teeth, porcelain veneers are generally considered as easier to take care of. This is likely because veneers are more resistant to staining and are much more durable.

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

Getting to Know You: Toothbrush Edition | Oak Lawn Dentist

Woman brushing her teethWhile we’ve all heard about how important brushing and taking care of our teeth is, most of us know so little about the little instrument we use to do so – the toothbrush. I know it sounds silly, but how much do you know about it? For example, did you know that the toothbrush wasn’t invented by a dentist, but an entrepreneur who was also an inmate who came up with it out of boredom. It’s true! So, in honor of this little tool that brings us our pretty smiles, let’s take a look at some other interesting facts about your little ol’ toothbrush:

It’s been shown that the average American will have spent more than a thousand hours, or a day or two north of 38 days brushing their teeth by the time they die. While a surprising number, dentists believe that the average number is a couple of days short as it should be around 122 days.

Back in the 1800s, toothbrush bristles were made from the hair of cows. That’s a far cry from the nylon bristles used in toothbrush bristles today.

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

In America alone, Americans are believed to throw away 25,000 tons of toothbrushes every year.

A survey back in 2003 showed that the toothbrush was the #1 thing people couldn’t live without. Though, with the advent of smartphones and the fact that more people these days own or use a smartphone than they do a toothbrush, the 2003 survey could use a little updating.

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

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.