Tag Archives: General Dentistry

Does My Teeth Whitening Need to Be Custom? | Oak Lawn Dentist

Do you avoid flashing your smile due to having stained or yellow teeth? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that there are many teeth whitening options to choose from that can safely and effectively brighten your smile. While many choose to have a professional do the dirty work, there are many options that put you in the driver’s seat. But is a customized treatment the best option for you?

While there are several over-the–counter teeth whitening treatments that can be used, like whitening strips or trays, they won’t work as effectively as custom whitening trays because they don’t give you that made for you treatment. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products can leak bleach from the tray or strip, causing your gums to become irritated or sensitive.

If you decide to get custom teeth whitening trays, your dentist will begin with a professional teeth cleaning and correct any existing dental problems you may have. Once your dentist is finished, he or she can proceed to fabricate your custom tray based on your mouth’s exact measurements via a mold.

Once your custom whitening trays are complete and your go in for your second visit, your dentist will give you instructions to properly use them. This typically involves you wearing the trays up to four hours a day for a couple of weeks, using very little bleaching solution to achieve optimal results. Once this short process is over, you should be able to enjoy flashing your significantly whiter teeth.

So, while there is no correct way to whiten your smile, customized treatment alleviates a lot of human error.

If you would like to find out more about teeth whitening options, 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 Dental Bridges | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you have missing teeth, chances are you’ve experienced trouble eating, speaking clearly and even biting down correctly. When you do have a missing tooth, it’s important to visit your dentist immediately to discuss tooth replacement options, as having missing teeth can lead to further dental problems.

A dental bridge may be one of the options your dentist may give you to replace your missing tooth or teeth because they fill the space where the teeth are missing. Dental bridges can last up to 15 years, though how long they last ultimately depends on how well you take care of them. Practicing proper oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist on a regular basis for routine checkups and professional cleanings will ensure that your bridge lasts for years to come.

Caring for your dental bridge is no different than taking care of your very own natural teeth. However, there are certain things that you should consider avoiding, such as chewing on ice and biting your nails, as both of these habits can cause damage to your dental restoration. If you grind or clench your teeth while you’re asleep, you should ask your dentist for night guard for added protection.

Your overall oral health is key to having your dental restoration last. To ensure the longevity of your dental bridge, brush twice a day for two minutes each session, floss at least once a day and use mouthwash. And, of course, be sure to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

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

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.

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.

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.

Take Care of Your Mouthguard | Oak Lawn Dentist

Believe it or not, bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding is a common habit that will eventually wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. If this is the case, it is likely that a mouthguard will be recommended. These custom-made oral appliances can help teeth from getting damaged or chipped while you sleep. And like all things that you use on a daily, maintenance is required. Here are some essential night guard care tips:

Keep it clean. 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.

Don’t forget the case. Use liquid antibacterial soap and feel free to use hot water – it won’t ruin the case. 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 flossed beforehand. Otherwise, bacteria will transfer from your mouth to your night guard and allow them to grow through the night.

Bring It to Exams. Every time you visit your dentist, have your night guard with you so it can be examined for wear and tear, as well as give it a good cleaning. If you notice any damage, go to your dentist immediately and ask for proper advice.

If you would like to find out more about mouthguard maintenance, 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 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.

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.