Tag Archives: our teeth

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.

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.

The Toothbrush: Your Mouth’s Best Friend | Oak Lawn Dentist

480320367While we’ve all heard about how important brushing and taking care of our teeth is, most of us know virtually nothing when it comes to that little instrument we use to keep our mouths healthy – the toothbrush. For starters, did you know that the toothbrush wasn’t invented by a dentist? They weren’t even kin the medical field! Instead, the first bristled toothbrush was invented in China in 1498. It was basically boar’s hair attached to bamboo or a bone. Who knew, right? In fact, we didn’t get the bristles we know today until 1938. There is also the theory that China’s invention was too primitive, so the modern invention was touted as made in 1780, by a guy named William Addis due to his boredom in prison. Using a bone and bristles from a stationed guard. The fact that Addis eventually made a fortune mass producing his invention further proves that statement. Here are some more interesting facts about your teeth’s best friend:

It’s been shown that the average American will have spent more than a thousand hours, or close to 38 days brushing their teeth by the time they die.

Speaking of time spent brushing teeth, the average person usually spends 48 seconds a day brushing their teeth. Yikes! That’s more than a minute short of the 2 or 3 minutes that dentists recommend. Two minute is the bare minimum to even get your teeth clean, so take your time!

On average, the typical toothbrush will contain around 2,500 bristles.

This one will cause friction in your home, but placing a cap back on your toothpaste is actually counterintuitive. This is because the moist environment created by placing a cap promotes the growth of bacteria.

In America alone, Americans are believed to throw away 25,000 tons of toothbrushes every year. This has led manufacturers to try and minimize the waste by selling toothbrushes made out of recyclable plastic, or with replaceable heads, so only the bristles are thrown away when the time comes.

Despite how “little” time people devote to brushing their teeth when you go by what’s recommended, a survey back in 2003 showed that the toothbrush was the #1 thing people couldn’t live without.

Whether you could live with your toothbrush or not, you shouldn’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once and gargle with mouthwash to prevent bacteria and plaque build-up. Also, make sure that you don’t forget to schedule a regular check-up and cleaning with your local dentist.

If you would like to find out more about your dental hygiene, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information about toothbrush options.

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

Dental Crowns | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

Tooth and dental equipment on white background.Routine checkups and proper oral hygiene are designed to help patients maintain as many of their natural teeth as possible for as long as possible. By brushing and flossing to minimize plaque and tartar, patients can help reduce their likelihood of tooth decay significantly. Routine professional cleanings will also help remove any lingering plaque and tartar, and will also provide the dentist with an opportunity to check for any early signs of tooth decay. Hopefully, if caught early enough, minor tooth decay can be treated with a quick filling, where very little natural tooth material needs to be removed, and the likelihood of further problems is kept low.

Unfortunately, some patients will find that simple fillings aren’t sufficient. Whether it’s caused by insufficient oral hygiene leading to more severe tooth decay, or a tooth breaks due to injury or long term wear, dentists will occasionally need to recommend procedures involving dental crowns.

Dental crowns are synthetic, lab created caps placed on top of the patient’s natural tooth. They’re frequently recommended when the patient’s tooth root and base is mostly intact, but the removal of a significant portion of the top of the tooth is necessary for some reason. One of the common reasons that the top of the tooth needs to be removed is a root canal: in cases of severe decay, the decay may reach into the central, nerve-rich area of the tooth, where simple fillings are insufficient – in these cases, the dentist will likely recommend a root canal, where the nerve-rich pulp is removed from the center of the tooth. Following the root canal, your dentist will replace the removed material with synthetic resin, and then cap the tooth with a dental crown.

Dental crowns may also be used when teeth are damaged – in some cases, if a tooth is chipped or broken near the top of the tooth, but the root structure remains sound, a dentist may recommend a crown as a way to hold the remaining part of the tooth intact and prevent further fractures. In this case, the crown acts as a protective surfaces, holding the rest of the tooth together and providing strength.

Dental crowns have a number of advantages: they’re typically less expensive than implants, allow patients to maintain some of the existing natural tooth (which helps keep teeth aligned properly), and they provide a strong, durable, but natural looking replacement for the normal tooth surface.

While crowns are considered low risk and have a high success rate, they do typically involve removing a significant amount of natural tooth material, so they are considered irreversible – once you have a crown installed, you will always need a crown on that tooth. If you have a situation where your dentist recommends a crown, talk to your dentist about the types of materials available, the pros, cons, and alternative procedures that may be appropriate given the condition of your teeth.

For more information on dental crowns, contact Dr. Bartz at (708) 430-4440 or visit our website at  bartzandbartzdental.com.

Dr. Bartz also welcomes patients from Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank and Palos Hills.

Types of Dental Fillings | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Dentistry has changed significantly in the past few decades. As technology improves, dentists are able to take advantage of advances in techniques and materials to provide better solutions 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. Mixed together and placed into the cavities left after dentists removed decay, these fillings could last for a very long time – often 30 to 40 years – without further maintenance.

Modern 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. Glass ionomer is set with a bright blue light, which seals the resin and permanently bonds it to your teeth.

If you’re in need of dental work, 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.

For more information on dental fillings contact Dr. Bartz at (708) 430-4440 or visit our website at  bartzandbartzdental.com.

Dr. Bartz also welcomes patients from Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank and Palos Hills.

Caring for your Teeth | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

176997237We all have them, teeth! Teeth pull their fair share in the body and often times put up with a lot of abuse from us. You may not even be thanking your teeth with proper oral care twice daily. Chances are, you’ve never really thought about what a tooth is actually made up of.

So, what IS a tooth? Most of us have 32 teeth – hard, calcified white objects we use to chew, cut, crush, and swallow food.

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. Made of a crystalized calcium phosphate known as hydroxyapatite, the enamel is both incredibly strong and incredibly brittle.

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. A yellowish substance, it contains less than half of the mineral content as enamel, making it much softer. 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 a combination of mineralized hydroxyapatite, organic material and water, and is both much softer than enamel and much less brittle. However, it’s also more 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.

By protecting the enamel with proper brushing, and treating cavities formed by decay before they damage the dentin or pulp, dental care will focus on providing a patient with healthy teeth – from pulp to enamel – well into old age.

As you can see teeth are awesome little structures. They deserve proper upkeep, regular cleanings and check-ups! So take the very best care of your teeth to get a lifetime of thanks in return.

For more information on oral health contact Dr. Bartz at (708) 430-4440 or visit our website at  bartzandbartzdental.com.

Dr. Bartz also welcomes patients from Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank and Palos Hills.