Tag Archives: oral care

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.

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Veneers | Oak Lawn Dentist

It honestly doesn’t really matter what the reason is that caused the issue – when your smile has a flaw, it can make one feel subconscious about smiling. Not only can it cause issues speaking or chewing, but it can also cause your other teeth to move in order to fill in the space left by the dental issue. Luckily, there is a solution to teeth that can completely change the smile game – veneers.

Porcelain veneers is a cosmetic dental procedure that can create bright white smiles with beautifully-aligned, shapely teeth, but are also routinely used to fix teeth with the following dental issues:

  • Discoloration due to root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride, or resin fillings
  • Worn down, chipped or broken
  • Misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
  • Gaps

But that’s not all, there are even more advantages to choosing veneers over other cosmetic procedures, like dentures:

  • Natural tooth appearance
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant
  • The color of a porcelain veneer is selected to make darkened teeth whiter

Veneers not only offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape, but also don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, offering a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. Bonus feature is that they also do not require any special care. As long as you continue to follow good oral hygiene practices as you normally would, there shouldn’t be a reason you can’t have your veneers for a very long time as veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.

If you would like to find out more about 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, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Why Is My Mouth So Dry? | Oak Lawn Dentist

Sleeping soundly is not so easy – and if you wake up frequently at night with a dry mouth, or xerostomia, it makes things even worse. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but if it happens at night, you may snore. Sleeping with your mouth open allows air to freely enter and depart, leaving your mouth especially dry.

Because saliva not only washes away bacteria and food to keep your mouth clean, but it can cause your mouth to become red and irritated, putting you at a higher risk for developing bacterial infections, affecting the quality of your sleep even further. If you think you have this issue, seek medical advice from your dentist and try these:

Cut back on bad habits. Studies have shown that avoiding sugary or acidic foods can help decrease one’s risk for tooth decay, especially if one suffers from dry mouth. If you insist on munching on something sweet, you can chew on sugarless gum or hard candy to help satisfy your cravings and stimulate saliva flow.

Drink your water. It seems like more of a chore but drinking lots of water to maintain, or increase the production of saliva.

Keep your nightly dental routine. Before sleeping, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse can help keep your mouth from drying at night. Keep a glass of water next to your bed to sip on if you wake up with a dry mouth in the middle of the night.

Maintain enough air moisture. The air in your room may also be too dry. Use a humidifier.

If you would like to find out more about xerostomia, 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.