Posts for: February, 2021

By River Forest Dental Studio
February 25, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
6SignsYourChildCouldBeDevelopingaPoorBite

If your child has seen the dentist regularly, and brushed and flossed daily, there's a good chance they've avoided advanced tooth decay. But another problem might already be growing right under your nose—a poor dental bite (malocclusion).

A dental bite refers to the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. In a normal bite the teeth are in straight alignment, and the upper teeth slightly extend in front of and over the lower when the jaws are shut. But permanent teeth erupting out of position or a jaw developing abnormally can set the stage for a malocclusion.

Although the full effects of a malocclusion may not manifest until later, there may be signs of its development as early as age 6. If so, it may be possible to identify a budding bite problem and “intercept” it before it goes too far, correcting it or reducing its severity.

Here are 6 signs your school-age child could be developing a malocclusion.

Excessive spacing. If the spacing between teeth seems too wide, it could mean the size of your child's teeth are out of proportion with their jaw.

Underbite. Rather than the normal upper front teeth covering the lower, the lower teeth extend out and over the upper teeth.

Open bite. There's a space or gap between the upper and lower teeth even when the jaws are shut.

Crowding. Due to a lack of space on the jaw, incoming teeth don't have enough room to erupt and may come in misaligned or “crooked.”

Crossbites. Some of the lower teeth, either in front or back of the jaw, overlap the upper teeth, while the rest of the upper teeth overlap normally.

Protrusion or retrusion. This occurs if the upper front teeth or jaw appear too far forward (protrusion) or the lower teeth or jaw are positioned too far back (retrusion).

Besides watching out for the preceding signs yourself, it's also a good idea to have your child undergo a comprehensive bite evaluation with an orthodontist around age 6. If that does reveal something amiss with their bite, intervention now could correct or lessen the problem and future treatment efforts later.

If you would like more information on children's bite development, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By River Forest Dental Studio
February 24, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental crowns  

Find out if a porcelain crown is what you need to revive a damaged tooth.

Accidents happen, even to your smile! When problems arise such as a broken or damaged tooth, it’s important that you act fast and turn to our River Forest, IL, dentists Dr. Gina Piccioni and Dr. John Hartmann for immediate care. There are many reasons a dentist may recommend a dental crown. It’s one of the most commonly placed dental restorations. A crown can improve the health, strength, and longevity of your smile.

What is a dental crown?

In order to understand what a dental crown does it’s important to know what it is, first. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is custom-made by our River Forest, IL, general dentist to look like the natural crown of a tooth.

This dental cap is hollow, which allows it to fit over and cover the remaining structure of a tooth. The crowns that we place here in our practice are made from porcelain, which ensures that they mimic the look of real tooth enamel.

What is the purpose of a dental crown?

A crown serves many purposes. Some of these purposes include:

  • To protect a tooth that is decayed, cracked, broken, or injured by direct trauma
  • To restore and preserve what’s left of a healthy natural tooth structure
  • To strengthen a tooth after injury or damage to restore chewing and biting
  • To protect a tooth after a root canal
  • To hide stains and discolorations
  • To improve the shape and size of a tooth
  • To replace a large filling to better support the tooth’s structure
  • To stabilize and hold a dental bridge into place
  • To cover a dental implant

How do you care for a dental crown?

Once you get your dental crown, you want to do your part to ensure that it lasts. A crown can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, and there are ways to improve the longevity of your dental restoration. Here are some ways to care for your crown:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Rinse several times a day with an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in sugars and starches
  • Quit or avoid smoking and tobacco products
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups
  • Treat teeth grinding and jaw clenching to protect your crown and teeth from wear

Our River Forest, IL, family dentists want to make sure that you get the restorative dentistry you need to turn that smile around and improve your oral health. If you are dealing with a damaged tooth, call River Forest Dental Studio right away at (708) 366-6760.


By River Forest Dental Studio
February 15, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
HowYouCanHelpYourSmileStayAttractiveasYouGetOlder

We can't stop getting older or completely avoid many of the consequences that come with aging. Even so, there are things we can do to age more gracefully.

That includes your smile, which can also suffer the ravages of time. Teeth naturally wear and yellow over the years. We're also more susceptible to both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease as we age.

You can help slow some of these age-related dental problems by simply caring for your teeth and gums. This includes not only brushing and flossing every day to remove dental plaque (which can cause disease and dull your smile), but also seeing a dentist every few months for more thorough cleanings.

You can also take advantage of certain cosmetic enhancements to address some of the age-related issues that could keep you from having a more youthful smile.

Discolored teeth. Teeth tend to get darker over time, the combination of stain-causing foods and beverages, habits like smoking and age-related changes in tooth structure. You may be able to temporarily attain a brighter smile with teeth whitening. For a more permanent effect, we can cover stained teeth with porcelain veneers, dental bonding or dental crowns.

Worn teeth. After decades of chewing and biting, teeth tend to wear, with habits like teeth grinding accelerating it. This can cause teeth to appear abnormally small with hard, sharpened edges in contrast to the soft, rounded contours of younger teeth. In some cases, we can restore softer tooth edges with enamel contouring and reshaping. For more severe wearing, veneers or crowns could once again provide a solution.

Recessed gums. Because of gum disease, over-aggressive brushing or a genetic disposition to thinner gums, gums can shrink back or “recede” from normal teeth coverage. This not only exposes vulnerable areas of the teeth to harmful bacteria, it can also make teeth appear longer than normal (hence the aging description, “long in the tooth”). We can address recession by treating any gum disease present and, in extreme cases, perform grafting surgery to help rebuild lost tissue.

Losing your attractive smile isn't inevitable as you get older. We can help you make sure your smile ages gracefully along with the rest of you.

If you would like more information on keeping a youthful smile, 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 “How Your Dentist Can Help You Look Younger.”


By River Forest Dental Studio
February 05, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  
HeresWhyGumDiseaseCouldBeLurkinginYourMouthEvenNow

If you think periodontal (gum) disease is something that only happens to the other guy (or gal), you might want to reconsider. Roughly half of adults over age 30—and nearly three-quarters over 65—have had some form of gum disease.

Gum disease isn't some minor inconvenience: If not treated early, a gum infection could lead to bone and tooth loss. Because it's inflammatory in nature, it may also impact the rest of your health, making you more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

Gum disease mainly begins with dental plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces. Plaque's most notable feature, though, is as a haven for oral bacteria that can infect the gums. These bacteria use plaque as a food source, which in turn fuels their multiplication. So, the greater the plaque buildup, the higher your risk for a gum infection.

The best way to lower that risk is to reduce the population of bacteria that cause gum disease. You can do this by keeping plaque from building up by brushing and flossing every day. It's important for this to be a daily habit—missing a few days of brushing and flossing is enough for an infection to occur.

You can further reduce your disease risk by having us clean your teeth regularly. Even if you're highly proficient with daily hygiene, it's still possible to miss some plaque deposits, which can calcify over time and turn into a hardened form called tartar (or calculus). Tartar is nearly impossible to remove with brushing and flossing, but can be with special dental tools and techniques.

Even with the most diligent care, there's still a minimal risk for gum disease, especially as you get older. So, always be on the lookout for red, swollen or bleeding gums. If you see anything abnormal like this, see us as soon as possible. The sooner we diagnose and begin treating a gum infection, the better your chances it won't ultimately harm your dental health.

If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of gum disease, 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 “How Gum Disease Gets Started.”




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

River Forest, IL Dentist

River Forest Dental Studio

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