Tag Archives: oral health

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.

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.

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.

Your New Year’s Resolution May Backfire | Oak Lawn Dentist

Fresh BreathNow that we are in full-swing with our new year’s resolutions, we are in hyper-sensitive mode about our health & what we are putting into our mouths. When it comes to getting in shape, we all have a tough time finding the right combination of foods and exercise to keep us on pace. But what if your diet is giving you side effects? What if it was something as simple as bad breath?

By eliminating all sugar and most carbs, and eating foods high in fat and protein, your body becomes a fat-burning machine. However, by getting your energy from fat and protein rather than carbs, one of the common byproducts is intolerable breath. But why?

Atkins, the ketogenic diet, and most other low-carb eating plans all rely on getting your daily calories mostly from fat and protein, and very little from carbohydrates. If you keep your carb intake to less than 30 grams per day, your body eventually enters a metabolic state of ketosis. Instead of breaking down carbohydrates to create glucose for energy, your body instead breaks down stored fat, which release ketones in the body. They are also released in your breath, creating a distinct odor that some keto enthusiasts describe as rotten fruit, or even metallic.

Unfortunately, that also means ketosis breath can’t be extinguished with the typical handful of mints and swig of mouthwash. Natural remedies to try are drinking extra water, or chewing on fresh mint leaves, cloves, or fennel seeds, or grab a sugar-free gum made with xylitol.

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

Will Anyone Notice My Dental Filling? | Oak Lawn Dentist

We all have a bit of hesitation when it comes to having dental procedures done. The good thing is that dental technology has changed significantly in the past few decades, making procedures both easier and less painful for their patients. One of the most common dental procedures is a simple filling, and even those have benefited from advances in dental technology.

Traditional fillings were typically made of metal – usually an amalgam of tin, zinc, copper, and silver placed into the cavities. These fillings could last 30 to 40 years without further maintenance. Today, dentists have far more flexibility in their choice of materials to use to fill cavities. While traditional metal amalgam is still an option for back teeth – where its low cost and high durability make it a viable option, many dentists favor composite resin – a mixture of synthetic materials such as plastic and fine glass particles. While composite resin is more expensive and requires more effort for the dentist to properly install, composite fillings can very closely match the look and feel of your natural teeth, allowing its use for front teeth and in places where traditional fillings may be too visible. In many cases, dentists may use glass ionomer – an acrylic resin set with a bright blue light, which seals and permanently bonds it to your teeth.

It’s likely that your dentist will choose one or more of the types of fillings above. If you’re curious about which your dentist will use, ask your dentist questions – they’ll be more than happy to explain which they’re using, and why they’ve selected that option.

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