Tag Archives: gum health

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.

What You Need to Know About Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

periodontal diseaseNearly 75% of Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. When you aren’t practicing proper oral hygiene, you’re allowing the bacteria in plaque to remain on your teeth, which will eventually infect your gums. Not only will periodontal disease affect your gums and teeth, but it can potentially affect your connective tissue and bone that supports your teeth as well.

Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, and can be noticed by inflamed gums, red or swollen gums, which is mainly caused by the plaque buildup. This stage of the disease can also cause your gums to bleed, which you may notice when brushing or flossing your teeth. This is the only stage of periodontal that is reversible with periodontal treatment.

Periodontitis. When gingivitis is left untreated it progresses to a more advanced stage, known as periodontitis. At this particular stage, the supporting bone and tissues will be irreversibly damaged. Your gums will also start to separate from your teeth, then form pockets below the gum line that become infected. With periodontal treatment and improved oral hygiene, you and your dentist can usually prevent any further damage.

Advanced periodontitis. This is the final stage of periodontal disease, not only has the infection affected your teeth, but it has also destroyed the fibers and bones that support your teeth. This can affect your bite and cause your teeth to shift, loosen and/or even fall out. If periodontal treatment can’t save your teeth, your dentist may have to remove them.

If you would like to find out more about gum disease, 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.

Treatment Options for Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you’ve recently been informed that you have gum disease, you’re not alone. Periodontal disease can range from inflamed gums to serious disease that can cause tooth loss. There are many signs and symptoms that come along with periodontal disease, but because it’s a painless disease, oftentimes people don’t even realize they have it. The following includes the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bad taste in mouth or persistent bad breath
  • Red or inflamed gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Gum recession or longer appearing teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

The primary purpose of periodontal treatment is to control the infection. Any type of periodontal treatment requires the patient to practice proper oral hygiene at home. Dentists may also suggest that the patient change certain habits, such as smoking, as a way to improve the overall outcome.

Deep cleaning. This periodontal treatment involves removing built-up plaque though a method called root planing and scaling. This gets rid of the rough spots on the patient’s teeth where germs accumulate, helping remove harmful bacteria that can contribute to periodontal disease.

Medications. In some cases, medication may be used with treatments that include root planing and scaling, but they can’t always take the place of oral surgery. Common medications used include antibiotic gels, oral antibiotics and prescription antimicrobial mouthwashes.

Oral surgery. The periodontal treatments that involve oral surgery include flap surgery, which helps further rid built-up tartar in deep pockets, bone and tissues grafts. Bone and tissue grafts help regenerate a bone and tissue that was lost.

If you would like to find out more about periodontal treatment, 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.

Gingivitis: Is It Really That Bad? | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you aren’t the most regimented patient with your daily dental hygiene, you may want to read this – because it 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 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. Here are the most common risk factors:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Cancer and cancer treatment
  • Stress
  • Mouth breathing
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake
  • Diabetes
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications

Preventative care is simple. Brushing and flossing twice a day is of utmost importance, as are regular dental visits.

If you would like to find out more about gingivitis, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.comfor additional information.

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

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.

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 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.

Root Planing and Scaling: Why Do I Need It? | Oak Lawn Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Hearing you have periodontal disease, is never great news to receive. Any sort of gum disease is going to be somewhat disheartening. Worry not, many adults currently have some form of the disease, or will have at some point in their lives. 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. Worst case scenario, the teeth will be lost. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends on how well you have been taking care for your teeth and gums on a daily basis.

Whether you believe it or not, your mouth is full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with saliva and food particles, constantly form a sticky colorless film, or plaque, on your teeth. Your brushing, paired with regular flossing, will help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar. Unfortunately, tartar cannot be removed by brushing. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Again, this is where your daily hygiene comes into play. If you neglect your teeth and it becomes excessive, your dentist will remove 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. Root planing and scaling cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the roots.  In some cases, a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar. Sounds intimidating, but this procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.

Root planing and scaling is done when gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have hard mineral deposits (tartar) on them. Gum recession is a pretty serious condition in and of itself. But if you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of gum disease should stop and your gums will heal and become firm and pink again.

But root planing and scaling does have its risks. The procedure 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.

All in all, root planing and scaling is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease. But it is important to realize that poor dental hygiene is what leads to gum disease. And that’s all up to you. Brush and floss regularly. See your dentist regularly. Proper oral hygiene is the key to avoiding dental pitfalls.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from a form of periodontal disease, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information regarding periodontal disease.

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

Gum Contouring: What Are The Benefits?

186932212When people think of enhancing or improving their smile they usually think of teeth whitening, veneers, or other cosmetic procedures. Most people never think about gum contouring when it comes to cosmetic procedures. However, there are many ways one can benefit from gum contouring.

People don’t typically consider their gums a part of their smile because most times gum tissue doesn’t show very much when one smiles, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. However, there are many people that have what’s considered a “gummy smile”, which is where your gums are far below your upper lip when you smile. Fortunately, gum contouring can help you out if you are unhappy with your “gummy smile”.

What is gum contouring?

Gum contouring is a dental treatment used in cosmetic dentistry. The primary purpose of gum contouring is to improve a patients gums that have become or are uneven or rest too low. Both of the two can either be a result of genetics, particular health problems or taking certain kinds of medication. Though this procedure is consider cosmetic, it is also recommended to patients that have suffer from gum recession. Gum recession may not technically be an aesthetic problem, but it can increase some health risks.

Benefits of Gum Contouring

There are many benefits that associated with gum contouring, some which include the following:

  • Makes a patient’s smile more symmetrical
  • Creates a more uniform and proportionate smile for patients
  • Helps patients whose teeth appear to be oddly shaped or small
  • Lengthen the appearance of a patient’s teeth
  • Even out a patient’s gum line
  • Help curb the effects of tooth decay and gum disease

Not only can gum contouring help improve a gummy smile, but as you can see, it can also help control and curb the side effects of certain dental problems.

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

What is Gum Contouring?

Dentist visitIt’s only natural to dream of having a sparkling, beautiful smile. After all, its impact on one’s self-esteem, confidence and mental health have long been made known to the general public. However, those who are born with uneven gums may find it hard to find a way to have that smile they’ve always wanted.

The good thing is that there are procedures that can help with that, namely 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. The former leaves the teeth exposed and vulnerable to bacteria, while the latter provides bacteria an ideal location to accumulate. While it’s mainly a medical procedure, gum contouring can also be used to help those who were born with gummy smiles.

How The Procedure Works 

Gum reshaping is a procedure performed only by qualified dentists and periodontists.

It 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.

Safe and Effective

While, at one time, dentists used scalpels to remove excess gingival tissue, that no longer is the case these days. Today’s dentists now make use of a soft tissue laser that’s able to remove tissue, while at the same, seal it off to prevent excess bleeding and at the same time, promote healing.

The use of the laser ensures that the results are instant, and that the procedure is quick and easy.

As mentioned earlier, a mild local anesthetic is used. Though, this is only to make sure that patients are as comfortable as possible throughout the whole procedure.

Aftercare Considerations

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 to avoid irritating any sensitive tissue. This also means that you should avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes.

If you haven’t been rinsing with mouthwash before, now may be the time that you start doing so. Though, you may want to ask your dentist to recommend a more gentle cleansing mouthwash as some do contain alcohol that may cause pain and a burning sensation due to your sensitive gums.

Modern dental science now offers a wide variety of possible treatments that’s both safe and effective when it comes to improve your appearance, as well as your health.

To find out if you’re a good candidate for gum contouring, contact Dr. Bartz at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for more information regarding gum contouring.