Posts for: March, 2018

By River Forest Dental Studio
March 28, 2018
Category: Oral Health

If you’re facing cancer treatment, we wish you the best outcome possible. Treating this disease has advanced tremendously in recent decades, but the available options are still often challenging to endure. It will be your primary focus for the foreseeable future.

As a dental provider we also want you to be aware how the two main treatments, chemotherapy and radiation, could adversely affect your teeth and gums, especially if you’re receiving radiation therapy near the head and neck. The aim of cancer treatment is to attack and destroy cancer cells to prevent their growth. Unfortunately, it can also destroy neighboring healthy cells and lead to harmful consequences in different parts of the body, including the mouth.

Salivary glands, for example, are especially vulnerable to damage during cancer treatment. This could create a situation where the mouth no longer produces adequate saliva flow, leading to a condition called xerostomia or dry mouth. Besides a lot of discomfort, restricted saliva flow can also increase your risk of tooth decay and other dental diseases. This is because saliva is the body’s acid neutralizer (acid can erode tooth enamel) and its first line of defense against microbial infection.

To guard against this, it’s important to support salivary flow as much as possible if you experience dry mouth symptoms during treatment (as well as beyond—it’s possible the damage to these glands could be permanent). Since some medications also contribute to dry mouth, you should speak with your physician about the prescriptions you’re taking: if any have dry mouth side effects ask if there’s an alternative drug without these side effects. You should also drink more water during the day and especially when taking medications. And consider substances like xylitol gum that can help boost saliva flow.

Unfortunately, it may not be possible to fully avoid the effects of these treatments on your teeth and gums. So, be sure you keep up daily brushing and flossing and see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If necessary, there are a number of restoration options to restore your smile after you’ve completed your treatment.

If you would like more information on dental care during cancer treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By River Forest Dental Studio
March 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Would you like to improve your smile but aren't sure which cosmetic dentistry procedure will help you achieve your goals? Our River cosmetic dentistryForest, IL, dentists, Dr. Gina Piccioni and Dr. John Hartmann of River Forest Dental Studio, discuss several procedures that can transform your smile.

Cosmetic bonding

Bonding allows your dentist to change the shape or length of your teeth or hide imperfections by applying flexible composite resin, which is then hardened with a curing light. In addition to lengthening teeth, cosmetic bonding can also make crooked or twisted teeth look straight, hide discolorations, close gaps, and conceal chips, cracks, and other imperfections.

Teeth whitening

A dull smile can detract from your appearance and also make you look older. Fortunately, it only takes about an hour to whiten your smile with professional whitening treatment. Whitening generally lightens teeth by about three to eight shades. Results usually last several years and can be easily maintained with at-home whitening kits offered by our River Forest office.


Veneers provide an alternative to teeth whitening treatment. Because they're available in many shades of white, you can choose just how white you want your smile to be. The tooth-shaped porcelain shells are applied to the fronts of your teeth. Veneers are also used to hide small flaws, such as chips and cracks, and can change the shape and length of teeth and fill gaps. The restorations are highly resistant to stains and can be maintained simply by brushing and flossing your teeth.

Tooth-colored fillings

There's no hiding your dental history when you have silver amalgam fillings. Your dental work is on view every time you open your mouth. Tooth-colored fillings blend in with your teeth and actually help strengthen them. The fillings are made of composite resin tinted to match the color of your teeth.

Dental implants

Missing teeth can be permanently restored with dental implants. Implants may not look like your natural roots but they accomplish the same function. The titanium posts are implanted in your jawbone, where they begin to bond to the bone. Once they're firmly attached to the bone, they're topped with a crown, an artificial tooth that you'll use to bite and chew foods. Dental implants feel very much like real teeth, help keep your jawbone strong, and will probably never need to be replaced if you practice good oral hygiene.

Cosmetic dentistry procedures can help you look your best. Call our River Forest, IL, dentists, Dr. Piccioni and Dr. Hartmann of River Forest Dental Studio, at (708) 366-6760 to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options.

By River Forest Dental Studio
March 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

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

River Forest, IL Dentist

River Forest Dental Studio