Tag Archives: preventative dentistry

A Night Guard Can Help You Get Some Sleep | Oak Lawn Dentist

Custom Mouth GuardBruxism, or night time teeth grinding is a very common habit that can also be very destructive to your teeth and gums. Although it’s a good thing that night guards are there to help, as these custom-made oral appliances can help teeth from getting damaged or chipped from the constant grinding. While helpful, night guards need proper care and attention to make sure that you don’t just end up trading one dental problem for another.

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. Preferably, use a different, soft toothbrush and a liquid antibacterial soap.

Use the case and keep it clean. You should always clean the storage case for your mouth guard as well. Use liquid antibacterial soap and feel free to use hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case in any way.

Take care of your teeth. Before you even think about putting your night guard in your mouth, make sure that you have brushed and floss first.

Have your night guard checked at your dental appointments. Every time you visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings, be sure that you have your night guard with you so the dentist can examine it for wear and tear, as well as clean it. Although very durable, these oral appliances are not invincible and will need to be pleased eventually.

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.comfor 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.

Is Dry Mouth Haunting Your Sleep? | Oak Lawn Dentist

A sound sleep is important for good health, but sleeping in peace is not so easy if you wake up frequently with dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but if you snore while you sleep, or sleep with your mouth wide open, other factors, such as stress and medication, may also play a factor.

The first step in having your dry mouth treated is to talk to your dentist and ask for advice. In the meantime, there are some things that you can do to make it a bit less uncomfortable for you. One thing that you can do is to cut back on beverages such as caffeine, soda and alcohol. You can also benefit from refraining from smoking and tobacco use.

Drinking lots and lots of water during the day can also help, as frequent water intake can maintain, or increase the production of saliva. Before sleeping, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse as opposed to an alcohol-based mouthwash can help keep your mouth from drying at night. If the air in your room is too dry at night, try using a humidifier. Also, keeping a glass of water next to your bed is also handy.

In some cases, xerostomia may not be the biggest issue, but may only be a symptom of a worse medical condition. If you find that dry mouth is becoming an issue, see your dental professional as soon as possible.

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.

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.

How Dry I Am…How to Treat Dry Mouth | Oak Lawn Dentist

wake up

A sound sleep is important for good health. The sleep we get, the better our health will remain. But it isn’t just about the amount of hours you are sleeping – it also has to do with the condition of your sleep. Sleeping soundly is not so easy, and if you wake up frequently at night with a dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia, it makes things even worse. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but if it happens at night, it is happening because you snore. Sleeping with your mouth open allows air to freely enter and depart, leaving your mouth especially dry. Factors such as stress and medication may also play a factor.

Regardless of what caused it, it’s important that you have it checked by a healthcare professional to get proper treatment. Because saliva not only washes away bacteria and food to keep your mouth clean, but it’s also important for your mouth while you sleep. 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.

So how is it treated? The first step is seeking medical advice from your dentist. However, in the meantime, there are some things that you can do to make it a bit less uncomfortable for you:

Cut back on bad habits. Cut back on beverages such as caffeine, soda and alcohol. You can also benefit from refraining from smoking and tobacco use. Studies have also shown that avoiding sugary or acidic foods can help in that avoiding consumption of such food items can increase 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, as opposed to an alcohol-based mouthwash, can help keep your mouth from drying at night. Alcohol is known to dehydrate. 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.

The only person who can tell if your dry mouth is caused by something more serious is a dental or health professional. If you’ve been finding yourself waking up at night with a dry mouth frequently, make an appointment to get checked.

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

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

The Link Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease | Oak Lawn, IL Dentist

Healthy food in heart and cholesterol diet concept

Diabetes is a serious health complication that, in much simpler terms, means that you have too much sugar or glucose in your blood. There are two types of diabetes, but regardless of which of the two you have, you’re basically facing a lifelong bout with diabetes medication.

Diabetes affects the whole body, including your mouth and gums. Though, to what extent depends on how well you’re able to discipline yourself in terms of controlling your blood sugar.

If kept under control, diabetes should have little to no effect on oral health. But, if left unchecked, the effects of diabetes on the mouth and gums can be dramatic.

Those with diabetes are susceptible to the following:

  • Increasingly progressive gum disease
  • Gingivitis
  • Xerostomia, or dry mouth, which can also lead to periodontal disease
  • Poor healing in the mouth
  • Thrush or oral candidiasis
  • Burning sensation in the mouth and/or tongue

Diabetes, if left unchecked, can significantly affect your body’s white blood cells, making your body much weaker against infections. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, which is why those with uncontrolled diabetes are more susceptible to it and also why those with diabetes, in general, tend to suffer from worse cases of gum disease.

If you’re suffering from both diabetes and periodontal disease, it’s important to get treatment. Successful treatment of gum disease can help keep diabetes under control, as any type of infection can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Once the infection is treated, your blood sugar levels may go back down to normal, making it easier to keep your diabetes in check without always having to rely on medication.

Going to the Dentist

The first step in keeping your diabetes under control is to inform your dentist about the history of your condition. Your dentist should know about when it started, when you started taking medication and what sort of medication you are on. Basically, be honest with your dentist because this kind of information will help him or her decide what course of treatment is best for you.

One reason why you want to tell your dentist about the history of your diabetes is because they may accidentally prescribe you medicine that may interfere with your diabetes medication.

Because of your diabetes, your wounds tend to heal much more slowly and you’re more prone to infection. So, as far as dental treatments and recovery goes, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations to the letter.

Now, while going to the dentist is a significant step when it comes to having gum disease treated and keeping your diabetes under control, equally as important is the follow-up home care. If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, your diabetes will only get worse and this will only make it harder to control your diabetes.

Brush twice a day and floss once to prevent decay. If you’re suffering from dry mouth, ask our dentist or physician about other means of moistening your mouth. You should also rinse with fluoride mouthwash or gels to further prevent decay.

Minimizing The Risk for Gum Disease

Those with diabetes are more at risk for gum disease than those who are not, due to a combination of many factors. As a result, they have special needs.

Should you be suffering from diabetes, be sure to keep your glucose levels in check at all times and practice proper oral care at home. You should also visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning, as well as make sure that your dentist is well-informed about the history of your disease.

By making sure that you do all those things, you suffering from diabetes should not be synonymous to you also suffering from gum disease.

If you’re have diabetes and would like more information on periodontal disease, contact Dr. Bartz at 708-430-4440 or visit our website at www.bartzandbartzdental.com to learn more.

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

Toothaches | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

jaw pain-tmjMost 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. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth may help minimize the pain, but a visit to the dentist can help treat serious problems (especially if it’s caused by decay or a cracked tooth).

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.

The best thing to do if you feel pain is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. The brief list above may give you an idea of what the problem may be, but it’s impossible to diagnose the problem without looking at your teeth – your dentist will need to see your teeth in person to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause, and in many cases the problem will get worse if left untreated.

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.

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.