Tag Archives: teeth

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.

When You Don’t Have a Toothbrush Handy | Oak Lawn Dentist

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, there are several foods that can naturally cleanse and brighten your teeth, while also defending against bad bacteria that could potentially harm your teeth or gums. If you’d like to achieve a healthier and whiter smile, try munching on these healthy foods:

Apples. Apples acts as a natural abrasive that can scrub away leftover food particles and stains. Apples contain a high concentration of malic acid, which is natural astringent that acts as a bleaching agent to whiten teeth.

Broccoli. When eaten raw, broccoli acts as natural abrasive that can scrub away leftover food particles and stains. Think of it like a natural toothbrush. Broccoli is high in fiber, great for preventing gum disease.

Celery. Veggies are low in calories and high in water content, which can help stimulate saliva production. Saliva is our mouths way of natural cleansing. And like broccoli, celery is like a form of floss.

Cheese. Cheese is rich in calcium and phosphorus, which helps provide your teeth with necessary nutrition to keep your enamel healthy and strong.

Garlic and onions. Eating both garlic and onions raw releases a bacteria-reducing compound called thiosulfinate, which promotes healthier teeth by reducing the production of plaque.

Pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural stain remover that can help remove plaque buildup from the surface of your teeth, while also preventing tooth erosion and cavities from forming.

Strawberries. Like apples, strawberries contain malic acid and vitamin C, which can also aid in plaque removal.

If you would like to find out more about teeth whitening foods, 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.

Dental Veneers Will Give You that Celebrity Smile | Oak Lawn Dentist

Porcelain veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. But dental veneers can also be placed over the surfaces of your teeth to correct worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment, spacing, discoloration and chips or cracks.

Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement. You will need to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.

Veneers are routinely used to fix teeth that are:

  • Discoloration due to root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
  • Worn down
  • Chipped or broken
  • Misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
  • Gaps

Veneers offer the following advantages:

  • Natural (even whiter) appearance
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
  • Stain-resistant

Veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative. Additionally, porcelain veneers do not require any special care. All that is required is that you follow good daily oral hygiene practices. Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years before they 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.

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.

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.

What You Need To Know Before Getting Porcelain Veneers

close up smile red lipstick

Having become increasingly popular over the past few years, it’s a sure thing that you’ve heard of porcelain veneers before. In fact, you may have even thought of getting the procedure done on yourself after hearing that it’s one of the best ways to whiten teeth out there. But, while porcelain veneers do help whiten teeth, can help you with more than that.

This simple, yet effective cosmetic dental procedure can do a lot for you. It can help you not just get a brighter smile, but the smile that you’ve always wanted.

How Porcelain Veneers Started

Porcelain veneers first started off as a temporary product in the film-making industry about a century ago. It was used then to improve the appearance of the actors’ teeth because permanent fixtures were not yet available.

In the last few years, however, modern dental medicine has made porcelain veneers look more natural and a lot more convenient to use. The newest types of porcelain reflect light in the same way that the natural enamel of your teeth does, and they’re also quite as strong.

Plenty of dental care experts today can easily perform porcelain veneer restorations to make sure that they match the exact shape and color of their patient’s teeth. Veneers may also be used in conjunction with other procedures, like dental crowns and teeth whitening treatments.

Porcelain Veneers and Your Smile

It’s true that you may have already known about how porcelain veneers can whiten your teeth. But what you may not know is that veneers can also help improve the appearance of your smile and teeth.

If you plan on getting porcelain veneers, you may want to know that they can correct more than just cosmetic issues. Veneers can also help with structural dental issues like such as: chipped teeth, cracked teeth, gaps in between your teeth, minor tooth misalignments and even tooth discoloration.

Porcelain veneers are also made out of different types of ceramic, including: stacked ceramic, pressed ceramic and lithium disilicate.

Veneers made from stacked ceramic material are more customized and more precise. Those made from pressed ceramic are much more durable, but are a bit thicker or bulkier and may not look as natural.

Veneers made from lithium disilicate are also very strong. They are so strong that this type of veneers may even be used by those suffering from bruxism, or the habitual grinding of teeth during sleep.

In any case, your dentist will be the one to determine which type of porcelain veneer material is best suited for your needs and of course, your budget.

Proper Care For Veneers

As durable as veneers are, it’s important to exercise extra care when you have them. Of course, proper oral hygiene is still necessary, but more than that, you have to avoid excessive biting or chewing as well. This is bad news for those who tend to bite down on hard objects like pencils or bones. This is because doing so can, in rare cases, shatter veneers.

Also, those who excessively grind or clench their teeth, even when not asleep, may want to wear a bite guard just in case.

It is also important to avoid food and drinks that may cause staining. While veneers are typically resistant to stain, the natural teeth around them are not. This may cause your veneers to stand out and appear brighter compared to your natural teeth.

If you want to have a better-looking smile, porcelain veneers may be the best cosmetic dental option for you. However, it is still important to check in with your dentist first to see if porcelain veneers are really the best option for you.



Are Veneers Right for You? | Oak Lawn Dentist

close up smile red lipstickThe perfect, white smile is something desired by many of us. There’s a few cosmetic ways to go about obtaining such a look, the most common way? Veneers.

Dental veneers are a commonly proposed solution to a wide range of problems. The basic concept is simple: the outer layer of the tooth is removed, and a new, hard, shiny shell is installed in its place.

Veneers typically utilize porcelain, which is well tolerated by gum tissue, and provides a strong, natural looking surface that matches nearby teeth. However, patients considering veneers should consult their dentist to discuss the possible downsides, such as the fact that they are non-reversible, difficult to repair, and may not be a good choice for patients who have existing dental problems.

The description sounds simple, but the flexibility provided by this basic procedure makes it a viable option for a number of potential problems. When teeth are discolored, a veneer can provide a bright white surface. When teeth are worn down, cracked, or chipped, veneers can provide a strong, intact surface to repair the patient’s bite and smile. When teeth are misaligned or unusually shaped, veneers can provide a strong, well-shaped surface to match the other teeth in the patient’s mouth.  When gaps exist between two teeth, veneers can be used to narrow the gap and provide a more natural looking smile.

Talk to Dr. Bartz to discuss whether veneers are right for you.

For more information on veneers 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.


How to Treat Bad Breath | Oak Lawn, Il Dentist

Fresh BreathThere are many factors and causes for bad breath. The definition of bad breath, or halitosis, is an unpleasant odor of the mouth. It can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition. It may be caused by foods a person eats, poor oral hygiene, medical conditions, or other factors. Bad breath can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety. It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight bad breath.

Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath. In many cases, you can improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene.

Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:

  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at work or school to brush after lunch). Don’t forget to brush the tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.
  • See your dentist regularly — at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning and will be able to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.
  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
  • Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best.
  • Keep a log of the foods you eat. If you think they may be causing bad breath, 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(Source: WebMD).

Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and scheduling regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath. Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss. Brush your tongue, too. If you’re constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist.

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.