All posts by bartzadmin

Is that Clean?

We all know dental checkups are the best. You sit in a comfy chair, staring down all those shiny metal instruments. You know that you aren’t the only patient who has been in today, so are these tools clean?

The American Dental Association, working with the Centers for Disease Control, sets guidelines for dental tool sterilization. Various tools are broken down into three distinct categories, each of which is treated differently based on risk.

Critical tools. These are tools that may penetrate tissue or bone, such as scalpels, forceps, and scalers. All the scary ones, if we may be so blunt. Because they’re penetrating into sterile tissue, it’s absolutely crucial that these tools be sterilized after each and every use by using steam under pressure, dry heat, or chemical heat.

Semi-critical tools. These are the other instruments you see in the office that don’t poke of prod you – mirrors and dental trays for impressions. While sterilization after every use is nice, an EPA certified high-level disinfectant will work as well.

Non-critical tools. Only coming in contact with skin, such as x-ray components and blood pressure cuffs, have a relatively low risk of transmitting infection, but still cleaned between patients with a medium-level or low-level disinfectant, suitable for hospital use.

Proper safety procedures greatly reduce patient risk, and your dentist happily complies with the most recent ADA guidelines for managing tools in a safe manner. If you have any concerns, do not be afraid to ask about the tools & cleaning processes next time you’re in the office. But there is honestly nothing to fret – dental instruments have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

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

Dental Pain? It May Not Be a Toothache

There is nothing more annoying than waking up to tooth pain. Because our mouths are basically a mystery, any pain we have is assumed to be a cavity. And if the pain can be dealt with, we find no need to visit the dentist. Unfortunately, not all toothaches are caused by decay or cavities. So, let’s break down your dental pain. You may need to make that dental visit sooner than you think…

If you enjoy anything hot or cold and feel sharp pains, it may be a cavity, but it could be tooth sensitivity brought on by exposed dentin from thin enamel 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 on one side of the mouth may be caused by an infection below the tooth, often related to periodontal disease or dental abscess. This is when it gets rather urgent. Left untreated, the infection may spread to the bone, jeopardizing one or more teeth, and potentially causing loss of gum tissue.

You may be surprised, but there are some mouth pains that have nothing to do with your teeth. 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.

Mouth pain is nothing to ignore. The sooner you seek professional help, the less likely you will need major dental procedures done to fix your ails.
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 for additional information.

The ABCs of Gingivitis

If we aren’t constantly on top of our daily routines, it is easy for our dental health to take a turn for the worse. Not only are dental issues headaches, but they can also be quite costly. One such dental issue easy to develop if we aren’t careful is gingivitis.

Like any dental issue, gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity as it progresses through the gum disease stages. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out. Here is a list of reasons you may have developed gingivitis:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from healing
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause cause the blood vessels in the gums to become more susceptible
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease

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 for additional information.

When You Need to Get a Filling

When we go to our regular dental visits, we know that not only will we get a nice deep cleaning, but we will also find out if our dental hygiene habits are keeping our smile healthy and bright. When we find out that we have developed a cavity, we have to take a moment to realize what we are doing and how we can prevent it from happening in the future. This will also require a filling.

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.

However, things have changed in recent years and the metal filling is no longer required. While traditional metal amalgam is still an option for back teeth due to its low cost and durability, but for more visible areas, many dentists favor composite resin – a mixture of synthetic materials such as plastic and fine glass particles. Composite resin is more expensive and requires more effort, but they can very closely match the look and feel of your natural teeth, making it a discreet option. There is also the 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.

So, if you need a filling, know that you have options. 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 filling options, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit for additional information.

Misconceptions About Gum Disease

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an estimate of approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, from gingivitis to periodontitis. This bacterial gum infection destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Though this disease has be highly publicized, many people still don’t take gum disease seriously because of certain myths and misconceptions that surround it. Let’s delve into these misconceptions a bit deeper…

Flossing my teeth isn’t important. On top of brushing your teeth twice a day, you should be flossing at least once a day as to prevent gum disease. Flossing your teeth is one of the best ways to prevent gingivitis, the beginning form of gum disease.

Bleeding gums is no big deal. Imagine your gum tissue is the same as your hands. If your hands bled every time you washed them, wouldn’t you worry? Red, swollen, or bleeding gums need to be looked at by a dentist. They will be able to suggest the best periodontal treatment.

Poor oral hygiene is the only way to develop gum disease. While poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of periodontal disease, there are other certain factors that can increase one’s risk. The use of tobacco products, poor diet, stress, pregnancy and genetics are all causes that can lead to gum disease.
Having gum disease means I’m going to lose my teeth. Developing gum disease doesn’t mean tooth loss. But the sooner it is caught, the better the odds you won’t lose them.

If you would like to find out more about gum disease prevention, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit for additional information.

The ABCs of Periodontal Treatment | Oak Lawn Dentist

If you’ve recently been informed that you have periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, you’re not alone. There are many people in the U.S. that suffer from some form of periodontal disease. There are many signs and symptoms that come along with periodontal disease, however, some people don’t even realize they have it, due to it being a painless disease. It’s time to visit the dentist…

The primary purpose of periodontal treatment is to control the infection. The type of periodontal treatment varies on the how far the disease has progressed. Any type of periodontal treatment requires proper oral hygiene at home, and may involve changing certain habits, such as smoking, as a way to improve the overall outcome.

Deep cleaning. This periodontal treatment involves removing built-up plaque though a method called root planing and scaling. This gets rid of the rough spots on the patient’s teeth where germs accumulate, while helping to remove harmful bacteria that can contribute to periodontal disease.

Medications. In some cases, medication may be used with treatments that include root planing and scaling, but they can’t always take the place of oral surgery. It all depends on how far the gum disease has progressed. Common medications used include antibiotic gels, oral antibiotics and prescription antimicrobial mouthwashes.

Oral surgery. Your dentist may suggest that you have oral surgery to help control your periodontal disease. These options will include flap surgery, which helps further rid built-up tartar in deep pockets, and bone and tissues grafts. Bone and tissue grafts help regenerate any bone and tissue lost through periodontal disease.

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

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

Do You Have Dragon Breath? | Oak Lawn Dentist

There is very little more off-putting than having to speak to someone that has bad breath. While you may think it is bad manners to tell them, it is difficult for someone to know they have bad breath without someone mentioning it. But why do we have bad breath in the first place? There are actually many factors and causes for bad breath, and it can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition.

Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath, but can be reduced or prevented if you follow these simple tips:

Oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, including the tongue. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.

Regular dental visits. See your dentist at least twice a year. This will be able to detect and treat any periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

Quit tobacco. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria by keeping your mouth moist. Chewing gum or candy containing xylitol also stimulates the production of saliva.

Healthy diets. Keep a log of the foods you eat and 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.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

MythBusters: Porcelain Veneers Edition | Oak Lawn Dentist

There are plenty of ways your dentist can improve your smile flaws. Whitening can brighten it, dentures can fill in missing teeth, but veneers are like the superhero of the cosmetic dentistry world, especially for those patients that have suffered from dental trauma, excessive wear, tooth decay or discoloration over time. But there are many myths that surround porcelain veneers, making people question this wonderful dental treatment. Here are the most common:

Veneers are noticeable. Thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, veneers are much more natural-looking. The color, shape and thickness are all customized to blend in seamlessly with the patients surrounding teeth.

Veneers are aesthetic. While the primary purpose of veneers is for aesthetic reasons, they are also used to restore the function of a patient’s teeth. Veneers can rebuild molars, improve facial profiles and replace worn or misshapen teeth.

Veneers require your entire tooth to be filed down. While reshaping is usually required before adhering a porcelain veneer, most patients only need a minimal amount removed. Veneers are now made to be fingernail thin, so less prep work is required.

Veneers are for your front teeth. Although veneers are commonly placed on the six teeth located in the front of the mouth, veneers can be used anywhere. There are many patients that use them on their lower teeth and premolars to even out or widen their smiles.

Veneer placement is painful. Like any other dental procedure, patients will be put under a local anesthetic when veneers are placed, so there is no pain or discomfort.

If you would like to find out more about porcelain veneers, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

What Is a Tooth? | Oak Lawn Dentist

They help us stay fed and make our photos look great. We may not always treat them the nicest, but all 32 of them love us nonetheless. Yes, our teeth are not only giving us a pretty smile, but they also are the first line of defense with our overall health. But have you ever stopped to think – what is a tooth anyway? Let’s take a look…

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.

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. 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 what is 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.

As you can see teeth are awesome little structures that deserve proper upkeep, regular cleanings and check-ups. You don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

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

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

Do You Brush Your Night Guard Before Bed? | Oak Lawn Dentist

We all strive to get a good night’s sleep. And when we have an issue with grinding our teeth as we sleep, we are not only preventing a good night’s sleep, but also can cause harm to your teeth. This is where a night guard comes in. And although night guards are there to help, night guards need proper care and attention to make sure that you don’t just end up trading one dental problem for another. After all, bacteria can find a hiding place in our mouths very easily, and bacteria is what is causing all of our dental issues. 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. Use a different, soft toothbrush and clean with a liquid antibacterial soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Same as the night guard itself, you should always clean its storage case. Use liquid antibacterial soap with some hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case.

Take care of your teeth. Before you even think about putting your night guard in your mouth, make sure that you have practiced proper dental hygiene first.

Have your night guard checked. Be sure that you have your night guard at your dental appointments, so the dentist can clean it and examine it for wear and tear. Although very durable, these oral appliances are not invincible and will need to be replaced from time to time.

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 for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.