Tag Archives: oral care

Do You Have Dragon Breath? | Oak Lawn Dentist

There is very little more off-putting than having to speak to someone that has bad breath. While you may think it is bad manners to tell them, it is difficult for someone to know they have bad breath without someone mentioning it. But why do we have bad breath in the first place? There are actually many factors and causes for bad breath, and it can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition.

Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath, but can be reduced or prevented if you follow these simple tips:

Oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, including the tongue. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.

Regular dental visits. See your dentist at least twice a year. This will be able to detect and treat any periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

Quit tobacco. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria by keeping your mouth moist. Chewing gum or candy containing xylitol also stimulates the production of saliva.

Healthy diets. Keep a log of the foods you eat and bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some drugs may play a role in creating mouth odors.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath, 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.

MythBusters: Porcelain Veneers Edition | Oak Lawn Dentist

There are plenty of ways your dentist can improve your smile flaws. Whitening can brighten it, dentures can fill in missing teeth, but veneers are like the superhero of the cosmetic dentistry world, especially for those patients that have suffered from dental trauma, excessive wear, tooth decay or discoloration over time. But there are many myths that surround porcelain veneers, making people question this wonderful dental treatment. Here are the most common:

Veneers are noticeable. Thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, veneers are much more natural-looking. The color, shape and thickness are all customized to blend in seamlessly with the patients surrounding teeth.

Veneers are aesthetic. While the primary purpose of veneers is for aesthetic reasons, they are also used to restore the function of a patient’s teeth. Veneers can rebuild molars, improve facial profiles and replace worn or misshapen teeth.

Veneers require your entire tooth to be filed down. While reshaping is usually required before adhering a porcelain veneer, most patients only need a minimal amount removed. Veneers are now made to be fingernail thin, so less prep work is required.

Veneers are for your front teeth. Although veneers are commonly placed on the six teeth located in the front of the mouth, veneers can be used anywhere. There are many patients that use them on their lower teeth and premolars to even out or widen their smiles.

Veneer placement is painful. Like any other dental procedure, patients will be put under a local anesthetic when veneers are placed, so there is no pain or discomfort.

If you would like to find out more about porcelain veneers, 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 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.

Do You Brush Your Night Guard Before Bed? | Oak Lawn Dentist

We all strive to get a good night’s sleep. And when we have an issue with grinding our teeth as we sleep, we are not only preventing a good night’s sleep, but also can cause harm to your teeth. This is where a night guard comes in. And although night guards are there to help, night guards need proper care and attention to make sure that you don’t just end up trading one dental problem for another. After all, bacteria can find a hiding place in our mouths very easily, and bacteria is what is causing all of our dental issues. Here are some essential night guard care tips that should come in handy:

Brush your night guard. Whenever you take out your night guard in the morning, brush it as you would your teeth. Use a different, soft toothbrush and clean with a liquid antibacterial soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Same as the night guard itself, you should always clean its storage case. Use liquid antibacterial soap with some hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case.

Take care of your teeth. Before you even think about putting your night guard in your mouth, make sure that you have practiced proper dental hygiene first.

Have your night guard checked. Be sure that you have your night guard at your dental appointments, so the dentist can clean it and examine it for wear and tear. Although very durable, these oral appliances are not invincible and will need to be replaced from time to time.

If you would like to find out more about night guards, 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.

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.

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.

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.