Tag Archives: gum health

Misconceptions About Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an estimate of approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, from gingivitis to periodontitis. This bacterial gum infection destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Though this disease has be highly publicized, many people still don’t take gum disease seriously because of certain myths and misconceptions that surround it. Let’s delve into these misconceptions a bit deeper…

Flossing my teeth isn’t important. On top of brushing your teeth twice a day, you should be flossing at least once a day as to prevent gum disease. Flossing your teeth is one of the best ways to prevent gingivitis, the beginning form of gum disease.

Bleeding gums is no big deal. Imagine your gum tissue is the same as your hands. If your hands bled every time you washed them, wouldn’t you worry? Red, swollen, or bleeding gums need to be looked at by a dentist. They will be able to suggest the best periodontal treatment.

Poor oral hygiene is the only way to develop gum disease. While poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of periodontal disease, there are other certain factors that can increase one’s risk. The use of tobacco products, poor diet, stress, pregnancy and genetics are all causes that can lead to gum disease.

Having gum disease means I’m going to lose my teeth. Developing gum disease doesn’t mean tooth loss. But the sooner it is caught, the better the odds you won’t lose them.

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

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.

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.