Posts for: May, 2016

By River Forest Dental Studio
May 26, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

As a parent you’re always on the lookout for dangers to your toddler’s well-being: sharp corners on furniture, uneven walks or the occasional stomach bug. But a situation could be brewing in their mouth you might not be aware of until it’s become a full-blown problem.

The silent danger is tooth decay, which could be developing as early as infancy. Undiagnosed and untreated, it could ultimately cause premature loss of primary (“baby”) teeth with adverse effects on the eruption of incoming permanent teeth.

Tooth decay arises from certain strains of mouth bacteria, often passed down from parent to child. These bacteria produce acid as a byproduct after feeding on carbohydrates (especially sugars). The more food available, the more acid they produce. This wreaks havoc on tooth enamel, the teeth’s outer protective covering by softening and dissolving its mineral content. This gives decay an opening to infect the interior of a tooth.

Combine inadequate hygiene practices (especially brushing) with poor dietary habits, and you have the conditions for a perfect disease storm in your child’s mouth. That’s why you should begin oral hygiene as soon as you notice their first teeth. Wiping them with a clean, wet cloth is sufficient in the beginning, but you should start daily brushing (with fluoridated toothpaste to strengthen young enamel) by their first birthday.

You should also practice good dietary habits. For example, avoid giving an infant or toddler a bottle filled with juice, milk or formula to sleep with through the night — the constant sipping bathes the mouth in sugars bacteria feed on. Instead, use plain water. You should also focus on nutrition from the get-go to help build overall good health as well as strong teeth and gums.

As an added measure, begin regular dental visits by their first birthday. A checkup and cleaning every six months will help us detect early tooth decay and lessen its impact. We can also provide sealants and topical fluoride to give added protection against decay.

Catching and treating decay early before it gets too far is the best way to prevent early tooth loss. Your child’s future dental health might depend on it.

If you would like more information on your child’s dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Taking the Stress out of Dentistry for Kids.”

By River Forest Dental Studio
May 12, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

If you have imperfections in your teeth which you wish you could repair, dental veneers could be the answer to your problem. Veneers fix a variety of aesthetic dental issues and help you get the smile you love. Learn more about dental veneers with help from your River Forest, IL dentist.Veneers

How do veneers work? 
Veneers are usually made from porcelain. The super-thin shells fit over the front of a tooth to mask its imperfections and create an improved appearance. The procedure for veneers requires your River Forest, IL dentist to prepare your teeth. The process involves shaving a tiny amount of enamel, usually about half a millimeter, from the front of the teeth to make room for the veneer’s width and give the teeth a roughened surface. This helps the adhesive bond with the tooth. Since this preparation process removes some of the tooth itself, veneers are a non-reversible procedure. Luckily, your veneers will last upwards of 20 years with the proper care.

What can veneers do for me? 
Veneers are a versatile dental restoration, allowing your dentist to use it to correct a myriad of issues with your teeth. Some of those issues include:

  • chipped teeth
  • cracked teeth
  • slightly misaligned teeth
  • slightly overlapped (overcrowded) teeth
  • slightly gapped (under crowded) teeth
  • yellowed teeth
  • stained teeth

Though veneers do quite a bit to improve the appearance of your teeth, they cannot replace necessary procedures to remove decay or correct bite problems. Sometimes, more aggressive treatment than dental veneers, such as braces, is necessary.

Are there different kinds of veneers? 
Veneers are normally made from porcelain, which has the same light-reflecting qualities as natural teeth and is widely considered to be the most natural looking material for dental restorations. A dental laboratory creates the veneers in-lab and returns them to your dentist’s office for placement onto your teeth. Veneers can also be made from composite resin. Your dentist molds this type of veneer directly onto the teeth, eliminating the laboratory step. However, composite resin veneers may not be as natural looking or long-lasting as porcelain veneers. Your dentist can help you determine which option is best for you.

For more information on dental veneers, please contact Dr. Gina Piccioni, DMD and Dr. John G. Hartmann, DDS at River Forest Dental Studio in River Forest, IL. Call (708) 366-6760 to schedule your consultation for veneers today!

By River Forest Dental Studio
May 11, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

Gina Piccioni, D.M.D. and John G. Hartmann, D.D.S.

River Forest, IL Dentist

River Forest Dental Studio