Tag Archives: Chicago Dentist

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.

Essential Night Guard Care Tips

Custom Mouth GuardBruxism, or night time teeth grinding is a very common habit that can also be very destructive to your teeth and gums. Although it’s a good thing that night guards are there to help, as these custom-made oral appliances can help teeth from getting damaged or chipped from the constant grinding.

While helpful, night guards need proper care and attention to make sure that you don’t just end up trading one dental problem for another.

Here are some essential night guard care tips that should come in handy:

  1. Brush 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. Although, if you want to keep things safe, you can ask your dentist to recommend you a soaking solution. Also, if you do decide to wash the appliance, 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.
  1. Use the case and keep it clean. You should always clean the storage case for your mouth guard as well. Use liquid antibacterial soap and feel free to use hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case in any way. Also, be sure to actually use the case and store it in a place far from dust and other contaminants.
  1. 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. If not, you’ll only transfer the bacteria from your mouth to your night guard and allow them to grow through the night while you’re wearing it.
  1. Have your night guard checked and cleaned along with your teeth and gums. Every time you visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings, be sure that you have your night guard with you. This is so that the dentist can examine it for wear and tear, as well as clean it. Also, if you notice any damage, make sure that you go to your dentist immediately and ask for proper advice. Although very durable, these oral appliances are not invincible and will need to be pleased eventually.

NOTE: For a better-fitting mouth guard, experts recommend a custom-made night guard. Unlike other types of mouth guards, these night guards are made specifically to fit in your own mouth. This ensures proper fit and comfort throughout the night while you sleep. To know more about custom-made night guard, be sure to ask your dentist about it.

Making sure that your mouth guard lasts for a long time and does not cause any damage to your gums and teeth is no easy work. It’s like having another set of teeth to take care of. But hey, the extra care and maintenance is far better than the possible damage resulting from the constant grinding of your teeth while you sleep.

Besides, by taking proper care of your mouth and night guard, you free yourself of any worries of infections resulting from the night guard, as well as any contamination, odor or discoloration.

If you feel that you would benefit from a custom night guard, contact Dr. Bartz at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information regarding night guards.

 

The Link Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease | Oak Lawn, IL Dentist

Healthy food in heart and cholesterol diet concept

Diabetes is a serious health complication that, in much simpler terms, means that you have too much sugar or glucose in your blood. There are two types of diabetes, but regardless of which of the two you have, you’re basically facing a lifelong bout with diabetes medication.

Diabetes affects the whole body, including your mouth and gums. Though, to what extent depends on how well you’re able to discipline yourself in terms of controlling your blood sugar.

If kept under control, diabetes should have little to no effect on oral health. But, if left unchecked, the effects of diabetes on the mouth and gums can be dramatic.

Those with diabetes are susceptible to the following:

  • Increasingly progressive gum disease
  • Gingivitis
  • Xerostomia, or dry mouth, which can also lead to periodontal disease
  • Poor healing in the mouth
  • Thrush or oral candidiasis
  • Burning sensation in the mouth and/or tongue

Diabetes, if left unchecked, can significantly affect your body’s white blood cells, making your body much weaker against infections. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, which is why those with uncontrolled diabetes are more susceptible to it and also why those with diabetes, in general, tend to suffer from worse cases of gum disease.

If you’re suffering from both diabetes and periodontal disease, it’s important to get treatment. Successful treatment of gum disease can help keep diabetes under control, as any type of infection can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Once the infection is treated, your blood sugar levels may go back down to normal, making it easier to keep your diabetes in check without always having to rely on medication.

Going to the Dentist

The first step in keeping your diabetes under control is to inform your dentist about the history of your condition. Your dentist should know about when it started, when you started taking medication and what sort of medication you are on. Basically, be honest with your dentist because this kind of information will help him or her decide what course of treatment is best for you.

One reason why you want to tell your dentist about the history of your diabetes is because they may accidentally prescribe you medicine that may interfere with your diabetes medication.

Because of your diabetes, your wounds tend to heal much more slowly and you’re more prone to infection. So, as far as dental treatments and recovery goes, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations to the letter.

Now, while going to the dentist is a significant step when it comes to having gum disease treated and keeping your diabetes under control, equally as important is the follow-up home care. If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, your diabetes will only get worse and this will only make it harder to control your diabetes.

Brush twice a day and floss once to prevent decay. If you’re suffering from dry mouth, ask our dentist or physician about other means of moistening your mouth. You should also rinse with fluoride mouthwash or gels to further prevent decay.

Minimizing The Risk for Gum Disease

Those with diabetes are more at risk for gum disease than those who are not, due to a combination of many factors. As a result, they have special needs.

Should you be suffering from diabetes, be sure to keep your glucose levels in check at all times and practice proper oral care at home. You should also visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning, as well as make sure that your dentist is well-informed about the history of your disease.

By making sure that you do all those things, you suffering from diabetes should not be synonymous to you also suffering from gum disease.

If you’re have diabetes and would like more information on periodontal disease, contact Dr. Bartz at 708-430-4440 or visit our website at www.bartzandbartzdental.com to learn more.

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

How are Dental Tools Sterilized? | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

Close-up of dental toolsWhen you’re sitting in the chair, waiting for the your dentist, you may notice all those dental tools laid out on the table. It’s reasonable for a patient who sees tools that will be going into their mouth to wonder how each tool is sterilized. So, you’re not alone!

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

The first category is 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. Also called autoclaving: 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.

For semi-critical tools that still come in contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin – such as mirrors and dental trays for impressions – the ADA recommends that these, too, should 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.

Finally, non-critical tools that only come in contact 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.

Dr. Bartz is very aware of the risk that non-sterilized instruments pose to your oral health, and work diligently to keep a safe and sterile workspace, which includes safe and sterile tools. Proper safety procedures greatly reduce patient risk, and your dentist happily complies with the most recent ADA guidelines for managing tools in a safe manner.

You can also find dozens of ‘how it’s done’ videos on YouTube. Try searching for autoclave or dental instrument sterilization.

If you have any concerns, do not be afraid to ask Dr. Bartz about the tools & process next time you’re in the office. However, have not fear! The instruments they will be using on you have been throughly cleaned and disinfected!

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.

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.

Avoiding Gingivitis | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

Young woman at the dentist

If you’ve been slacking on your at home oral care, you may want to read this. Not having a daily and thorough oral care routine can lead to severe, and costly, dental problems. Problems like gingivitis.

Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.

Both dental plaque and tartar are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

There are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)

Of course with proper care one can prevent gingivitis entirely! The preventative care is simple. Of course brushing and flossing twice a day is of utmost importance. Regular visits to Dr. Bartz for a check up and cleanings. A well balanced diet helps maintain oral health as well as bone health. Finally, do not smoke or use any form of tobacco.

For more information on oral health and gingivitis, 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.

Are Veneers Right for You? | Oak Lawn Dentist

close up smile red lipstickThe perfect, white smile is something desired by many of us. There’s a few cosmetic ways to go about obtaining such a look, the most common way? Veneers.

Dental veneers are a commonly proposed solution to a wide range of problems. The basic concept is simple: the outer layer of the tooth is removed, and a new, hard, shiny shell is installed in its place.

Veneers typically utilize porcelain, which is well tolerated by gum tissue, and provides a strong, natural looking surface that matches nearby teeth. However, patients considering veneers should consult their dentist to discuss the possible downsides, such as the fact that they are non-reversible, difficult to repair, and may not be a good choice for patients who have existing dental problems.

The description sounds simple, but the flexibility provided by this basic procedure makes it a viable option for a number of potential problems. When teeth are discolored, a veneer can provide a bright white surface. When teeth are worn down, cracked, or chipped, veneers can provide a strong, intact surface to repair the patient’s bite and smile. When teeth are misaligned or unusually shaped, veneers can provide a strong, well-shaped surface to match the other teeth in the patient’s mouth.  When gaps exist between two teeth, veneers can be used to narrow the gap and provide a more natural looking smile.

Talk to Dr. Bartz to discuss whether veneers are right for you.

For more information on veneers 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.

 

Dental Implants | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

Dental implants, crown with pin isolated on white

Despite the prevalence of dentists and dental care, it’s still quite common for patients of all ages to suffer tooth loss of one or more teeth. Whether it be from injury, decay, or gum disease, once a tooth root is damaged, it becomes very difficult to save the tooth, or to artificially cap it with a synthetic cap such as a crown. Because crowns rely on the tooth’s root to provide strength, a damaged root often means that the full tooth must be removed.

In cases where the tooth must be removed, patients are typically left with a handful of options: either create fake teeth that cover the area (such as with dental bridges or dentures), or replace the tooth with a combination of synthetic root and crown using a dental implant.

While dentures and bridges have their advantages and disadvantages, implants are often recommended by dentists for a variety of reasons:
– They very closely match the appearance of natural teeth
– They allow for natural eating, drinking, and speaking
– They’re typically very comfortable, with most patients feeling the implant to be nearly indistinguishable from a normal tooth
– Implants are quite durable, often lasting decades

The actual implant procedure typically takes a number of visits. Typically a small titanium post is implanted into the bone socket where the tooth was removed, and the jawbone is allowed to heal around it. Six to twelve weeks later, a small post is attached to that titanium root, and the dentist creates a model for a crown to be placed onto that second post. That crown, once attached, will provide a nearly permanent replacement tooth, allowing the patient to brush, floss, eat, drink, and speak normally, without worrying about dentures coming loose, or requiring the extra hygiene procedures associated with dental bridges.

If you have a missing or damaged tooth, and you feel an implant may be an appropriate solution, speak with a dentist. While the procedure does take a number of visits, it has a high success rate and can provide the patient with a great experience for many decades.

For more information on dental implants 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.

Caring for your Teeth | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

176997237We all have them, teeth! Teeth pull their fair share in the body and often times put up with a lot of abuse from us. You may not even be thanking your teeth with proper oral care twice daily. Chances are, you’ve never really thought about what a tooth is actually made up of.

So, what IS a tooth? Most of us have 32 teeth – hard, calcified white objects we use to chew, cut, crush, and swallow food.

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. Made of a crystalized calcium phosphate known as hydroxyapatite, the enamel is both incredibly strong and incredibly brittle.

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. A yellowish substance, it contains less than half of the mineral content as enamel, making it much softer. 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 a combination of mineralized hydroxyapatite, organic material and water, and is both much softer than enamel and much less brittle. However, it’s also more 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.

By protecting the enamel with proper brushing, and treating cavities formed by decay before they damage the dentin or pulp, dental care will focus on providing a patient with healthy teeth – from pulp to enamel – well into old age.

As you can see teeth are awesome little structures. They deserve proper upkeep, regular cleanings and check-ups! So take the very best care of your teeth to get a lifetime of thanks in return.

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.

Is Chipping a Tooth Really That Big of a Deal? | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

Healthy teeth concept

It can be so frustrating to chip a tooth. Perhaps you sustained an injury or maybe bit in to that hard candy at just the right time. Fortunately for you, your dentist has an easy fix.

When you chip a tooth is it important to see your dentist right away for restoration. If you don’t you could risk more damage to the tooth or even lose it entirely. A broken tooth can also be exposed to all sorts of things, specifically bacteria. Bacteria and an open tooth do not mix.

Your dentist can usually repair minor chips with a dental bonding. For larger chips, however, you could have experienced structure loss in the tooth and a more complicated remedy may be required, such as a root canal or crown.

What can cause a tooth to chip or break? Any number of things, including:

  • Falling and hitting your mouth
  • Biting on a hard object or food, such as a hard candy or a bone
  • Cavities which can weaken the teeth and predispose you to a chipped tooth
  • Suffering trauma to the face from a sports injury or accident(crest.com)

In some cases an abscess can form. When a cracked tooth goes unchecked you’re opening your mouth up to the risk of developing an abscess. What is an abscess? Well, 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, you may known as pus. Gross! Left untreated this could lead to the loss of the tooth in its entirety. Not to mention severe pain and cost.

Watch this short video from ‘The Doctors’ to learn why it is imperative to see your dentist immediately if you’ve broken a tooth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S-MAYuTNJM (YouTube)

A chipped or broken tooth may not hurt but it can potentially be a big problem. Always have your dentist inspect a fractured tooth.

For more information on chipped teeth 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.