Tag Archives: cavities

What Is a Tooth? | Oak Lawn Dentist

They help us stay fed and make our photos look great. We may not always treat them the nicest, but all 32 of them love us nonetheless. Yes, our teeth are not only giving us a pretty smile, but they also are the first line of defense with our overall health. But have you ever stopped to think – what is a tooth anyway? Let’s take a look…

The visible surface of the tooth is known as enamel. A hard, mineral surface, the enamel is typically light yellow to white in color, but is semi translucent, so the actual color of your tooth is determined by both the enamel and the underlying dentin.

While enamel covers to outside of the tooth above the gum line, below the gum line the surface of the tooth is covered in a substance known as cementum. The primary purpose of cementum is to provide a surface to allow the periodontal ligaments in the gums to hold onto the tooth.

Below the enamel and cementum lies the dentin. Dentin is what is prone to decay, and severe cavities can cause significant dental problems if not treated rapidly.

Finally, within the dentin lies the tooth pulp. The pulp is soft tissue, filled with blood vessels and nerves that provide the tooth with oxygen, nutrients, and also the ability to transmit ‘senses’ such as temperature, pain, and pressure. The pulp also helps to form and repair dentin from within the tooth.

As you can see teeth are awesome little structures that deserve proper upkeep, regular cleanings and check-ups. You don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

If you would like to find out more about your teeth, 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.

There Is No Need to Panic When You Chip a Tooth | Oak Lawn Dentist

The saying holds true – accidents happen. And when they do, there is no cause for alarm. However, there is little more frustrating than chipping a tooth. Not only is it unappealing, but it could lead to future dental issues. A broken tooth will also be exposed to things that can cause more issues, like bacteria. Regardless of the reason, when you chip a tooth, it’s definitely time to visit the dentist.

If your chipped tooth is a typical case, your dentist can repair minor chips with a dental bonding. For larger chips, could lead to structure loss in the tooth and a more complicated remedy may be required, such as a root canal or dental crown.

Unfortunately, many patients will forgo getting a chipped tooth repaired if it doesn’t make a huge difference or cause a toothache. However, when a cracked tooth goes unchecked you’re opening your mouth up to the risk of developing an abscess. What is an abscess? When a break (or cavity) in a tooth exposes a nerve, the nerve then eventually dies and causes the cells inside of the tissue to die and release their contents. This creates a backup of gases and purulent exudate, something more commonly known as pus. Left untreated, this could lead to the loss of the tooth in its entirety, not to mention severe pain, cost and time off from work.

A chipped or broken tooth may not hurt but it can potentially be a big problem. If you notice you’re your tooth is broken, make it a point to see a dentist as soon as possible.

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

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.

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.

Toothaches | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

jaw pain-tmjMost 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. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth may help minimize the pain, but a visit to the dentist can help treat serious problems (especially if it’s caused by decay or a cracked tooth).

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.

The best thing to do if you feel pain is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. The brief list above may give you an idea of what the problem may be, but it’s impossible to diagnose the problem without looking at your teeth – your dentist will need to see your teeth in person to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause, and in many cases the problem will get worse if left untreated.

For more information on oral health, contact Dr. Bartz at (708) 430-4440 or visit our website at  bartzandbartzdental.com.

Dr. Bartz also welcomes patients from Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank and Palos Hills.