Treatments for Missing Teeth

dental implantMissing teeth affect more than just your confidence. They can cause the nearby teeth to shift out of alignment, cause your jawbone to recede, and can change the structure of your face. Here are three ways that dentists treat missing teeth:

Dentures – If you are missing many teeth, or the teeth you have remaining are severely decayed or damaged, you may receive a set of dentures. When you get dentures, all of your remaining teeth are extracted, and a custom dental appliance is made for you. You can choose to get implant-retained dentures or the traditional removable dentures.

Bridges – Dental bridges can be used to replace one or more teeth. A bridge uses the surrounding teeth, also known as abutment teeth, as support for the replacement tooth. A replacement tooth is attached to two crowns, which are fitted over the surrounding teeth.

Dental Implants – Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth or many teeth. It works by placing a screw into your jawbone and allowing it to heal. Then, the replacement tooth is screwed into the implant. If you are missing all of the teeth on your upper or lower jaw, you can get what are called “all-on-4” implants, which replace all the teeth on your upper or lower jaw with just four implants.

Are you missing teeth and considering dentures, bridges, or dental implants in Arlington Heights, IL? Contact Northwestern Dental Group today to schedule your consultation.

Whiten Your Teeth for Your Wedding

teeth whitening Arlington heights ilEvery bride or groom wants to look amazing on their wedding day, but many feel held back by a smile that is less than perfect. As you count down to your big day, you may consider whitening your teeth. But how do you go about doing it? Over-the-counter treatments like whitening toothpaste and whitening strips can take forever to work and may do damage to your teeth, so we recommend a visit to your dentist.

Plan to Have a Cleaning First

When you go to schedule your teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, IL, schedule a cleaning right before that. The teeth cleaning will remove surface stains from your teeth so that the whitening treatment can get rid of deeper staining. A cleaning beforehand will ensure that your whitening treatment gives you the best results possible.

Use Sensitivity Toothpaste

Some people will experience tooth sensitivity for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after treatment. This is not a cause for concern, but purchasing sensitivity toothpaste to use in the weeks following procedure can help relieve the pain.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

After your whitening treatment, it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene and try to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth like red wine, coffee, and sugary treats. After all, you want your beautiful new smile to last long after you say your vows.

Contact Northwestern Dental Group today and say “I do” to a safe, effective whitening treatment from our experienced dentists.

What Happens When You’re Missing Teeth?

dental implants Arlington heights ilWhen children lose their baby teeth, they look adorable with their little gap-toothed smiles, but what happens when you’re an adult with missing teeth? While it is normal for your kids to lose teeth, missing adult teeth can create many problems:

Self-Esteem – If you are missing teeth you may notice yourself smiling less, or covering your mouth when you laugh. Missing teeth can take a significant hit to your self-esteem and your confidence.

Tooth Movement – While your teeth are anchored to your jawbone, they can still move. When you have a gap in your smile, the adjacent teeth can shift into the open space, making your teeth crooked. This can create difficulties when cleaning your teeth, putting you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

Difficulty Eating – Depending on which teeth you are missing, certain foods may be difficult to eat. Some people wind up changing their whole diet just because they cannot chew their food properly. This can create digestive issues because the food is not chewed well enough.

Speech Issues – Speaking properly requires teeth. If you are missing your front teeth, you may notice that it is difficult to pronounce certain words, and you find yourself spitting when you talk. When you speak, your tongue presses against your front teeth, and if those teeth aren’t there, it can drastically affect the way you sound.

Facial Structure – When you are missing teeth, the structure of your face changes. When you are missing teeth, your jawbone is no longer receiving stimulation from chewing and will begin to shrink. This can disrupt the surrounding teeth and cause them to fall out.

Losing teeth is not always avoidable, but there is a solution. Replacing teeth with dental implants in Arlington Heights, IL, can help you maintain your smile. Dental implants can give you the confidence to smile, and help you avoid the adverse effects of tooth loss.

Avoid These Foods if You Have Sensitive Teeth

two chocolate ice cream conesMany Americans struggle with tooth sensitivity every day. Do you feel pain in your teeth when you eat or drink anything hot, cold, sugary, or acidic? You’re not alone. There are a few things you can do to relieve tooth sensitivity, like brushing with sensitivity toothpaste and avoiding the following foods and beverages:

Soda – Sugar and acid are both substances that erode the enamel on your teeth and cause sensitivity, and soda contains both. Choose sparkling water if you need the carbonation.

Ice Cream – Biting into cold ice cream can be a trigger for tooth sensitivity pain, and it also contains a lot of sugar which can make your teeth even more sensitive.

Hot Coffee – Hot foods and beverages can also cause your teeth to hurt, and the acidity in coffee can also do some damage to your enamel. If you must drink coffee, try reducing or eliminating sugar and adding milk to cut the acidity and lower the temperature.

Hard or Sticky Candy – Not only is candy full of sugar that can lead to tooth sensitivity, but it can also chip or break your teeth. Sticky foods can bind to your teeth and stimulate the nerves, causing pain.

Citrus – Acidic food wears away your tooth enamel, so eating or drinking citrus can increase your tooth sensitivity. It is best to avoid foods like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and pineapples.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes contain many great nutrients, but people with sensitive teeth should avoid them. The acid in tomatoes, both raw and cooked in a sauce, can make your teeth sensitive.

If you are having issues with tooth sensitivity, call a Niles dentist at 847-423-2488, or contact one of our other four locations. We serve patients in Niles, Arlington Heights, Gurnee, Skokie, and Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Three Easy Habits that Keep Teeth White

young woman wearing sunglasses with white teethWhen it comes to whitening your teeth, there are many products out there. However, many of the whitening products advertised do not work or are not appropriate for everyone. The best way to get your teeth white and keep them maintained is to follow these tips.

Brush – Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is essential to keeping your smile white. It doesn’t matter how many whitening strips you use; you can’t whiten without brushing correctly. Use toothpaste with fluoride in it that can help you fight cavities. Some whitening toothpastes can also produce results when used properly.

Floss – Flossing helps you clean hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and is another essential habit that you need to keep your teeth white. You should be flossing at least once a day to maintain optimum oral health.

Rinse – Antimicrobial mouthwash can help keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay and keep your smile bright.

When it comes to keeping your smile bright, the best solution is to keep your hygiene routine solid. Necessary brushing, flossing, and rinsing should be all you need to keep your teeth white if the only thing staining your teeth is food and beverages.

If you have years of stains from smoking, food, and beverages, or for any reason, our dentist can provide teeth whitening in Arlington Heights and the surrounding areas.

Dental Issues that Arise During Pregnancy

pregnant womanMany changes take place in your body during pregnancy, including changes to your dental health. The increase of hormone levels in your body can alter your dental health, leaving you more susceptible to bacteria and plaque.

Gingivitis – Some women may develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis” during the first trimester. The symptoms of this condition include swollen, bleeding, red, and tender gums. Advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, so it is essential to monitor your dental health during pregnancy.

Plaque – When your hormone levels change during pregnancy it can make your body less resistant to plaque and cavity-causing bacteria. Schedule regular cleanings with your Niles dentist so that you can avoid declining dental health during pregnancy.

Enamel Erosion – If you suffer from morning sickness, you are also at risk for enamel erosion. Morning sickness increases the acidity in your mouth, which can wear down tooth enamel. Before brushing your teeth, rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to neutralize the acid and minimize erosion.

To maintain your oral health during pregnancy, we recommend scheduling regular teeth cleanings, continuing to brush and floss twice a day, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Contact our dentist today to schedule an appointment.

How to Manage Anxiety at the Dentist

women at the dentistOne of the most common fears among adults is going to the dentist, and many of us do feel at least a little bit of anxiety at our dental appointments. Luckily, there are ways that you can manage your stress while at the dentist so that you can take care of your smile.

  1. Talk it Out – Your Niles dentist and the staff have your best interests in mind. If you’re feeling anxious, tell them! They will go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. They see patients every day who deal with dental anxiety, so they will know how to help.
  2. Breathing Exercises – When we’re nervous, we sometimes forget to breathe. Focus on slow regular breathing to reduce stress levels and take your mind off of the exam.
  3. Jam Out – If you are undergoing a procedure and can’t handle the sound of the drill, bring a pair of headphones and listen to music.
  4. Avoid Caffeine – Caffeine, and high-sugar foods can increase your anxiety, so take care to avoid them before an appointment. Before coming to the dentist, eat some high-protein food, which can produce a calming effect.
  5. Hand Signals – Sometimes anxiety is caused by feeling helpless. When the dentist is working in your mouth, it can be hard to communicate. Before beginning the exam or procedure, agree on a set of hand signals with your dentist so that you can let them know you want them to ease off or stop what they are doing. This can make you feel more empowered and help you get through your visit.
  6. Choose a Good Time – Feeling rushed can heighten feelings of anxiety, so choose an appointment time that won’t stress you out. Don’t make an appointment you have to rush to attend or one where you have to be somewhere directly after the appointment. Early morning or Saturday appointments may be more relaxing for you.

Make an appointment with our dentist today. We serve patients in Niles, Skokie, Gurnee, Arlington Heights, and Vernon Hills, IL.

Fun Ways to Encourage Healthy Dental Habits in Kids

little boy at the dentistTeaching your kids proper oral hygiene habits early on will set them up for a lifetime of great dental exams. Regular visits to our dentist in Niles and supervised brushing are great ways to set the foundation, but sometimes kids have a difficult time sustaining interest in oral health. That is where this guide comes in. We will show you some helpful tips to make oral hygiene fun.

Experiments – Hands-on learning is a great way for kids to absorb information. There are a few dental experiments that you can do with your kids to encourage them to brush and floss, including the egg test. Submerge a hardboiled egg in a glass of dark soda for 10 minutes. When you remove it, you will see that the drink has stained the egg. Then, give your kids a toothbrush and toothpaste and have them brush the egg, returning it to its former whiteness. This not only shows kids the dangers of drinking soda, but it also teaches them how brushing can improve their smile.

Brushing Charts – A toothbrushing chart works a lot like a chore chart and can help forgetful kids remember to brush and floss. Every time they remember, they get to put a sticker on their chart. Kids will feel accomplished when they fill their chart for the week with stickers, and will encourage them to continue brushing and flossing every day.

Dental Books – Many kids are afraid of dental visits, but reading dental books with them can help ease anxieties. Choose books where characters visit the dentist or learn about oral health. Some great titles include “Arthur’s Tooth,” “Clarabella’s Teeth,” and “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist.”

Do You Believe These Dental Health Myths? – Pt. 2

woman thinkingIn our last post, we debunked four dangerous dental health myths. Here are five more myths you may have believed:

Sugar is primary cause of cavities. In reality, all carbohydrates contain sugar that can break down your teeth. Starchy foods like crackers and chips are just as bad for your teeth as sugary candy.

You get sensitive teeth when your enamel wears away. While enamel erosion does cause tooth sensitivity, it can also be caused by a host of other problems like gum recession and even the use of certain whitening products. If you are experiencing sensitivity, you should talk to your dentist about possible solutions.

Gum disease is only a dental issue. Gum disease can be a sign of other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and even some cancers. It is best to look into all of the possibilities when seeking treatment.

Whiter teeth are healthier teeth. While it is true that unhealthy things like smoking or junk food can stain your teeth, there are plenty of totally normal ways our teeth can become discolored. Certain medications, the natural process of aging, and even healthy foods and drinks can darken your teeth. Luckily, teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, IL, can be a great cosmetic fix.

If your teeth feel healthy, you don’t need a checkup. A lot of dental issues can only be spotted by a trained professional in the early stages. You might not even notice anything wrong, but your dentist can catch an issue before it becomes painful and expensive to fix. Visit your dentist for an exam and cleaning every six months to ensure that your smile in the best condition possible.

Do You Believe These Dental Health Myths? – Pt. 1

a woman with question marks over her headThere are many misconceptions out there when it comes to caring for your teeth. In the quest for good oral health, we’re here to set the record straight on these dental health myths.

The harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth. The reality is that excessive brushing is just as bad as not brushing enough. Use a soft-bristled brush and a gentle brushing motion to avoid wearing away the enamel on your teeth.

Sugar-free gum is the same as brushing. While sugar-free gum is good for your teeth, it cannot replace brushing. Chew sugar-free gum between meals to protect your teeth, but make sure you are brushing twice a day to avoid tooth decay.

If your gums bleed when you floss, leave them alone. Bleeding gums are caused by inflammation of the gums. This inflammation is caused when bacteria builds up in the places where you brush doesn’t reach. If you floss on a regular basis, the inflammation with go down, and the bleeding will stop over time.

Your dentist won’t know you’ve been slacking on brushing if you brush well before your appointment. Unfortunately, your dentist can see if you’ve been neglecting your oral health no matter how well you brush before the appointment. You can’t undo the damage you’ve done to your teeth by ignoring your dental health.

These are just a few of the dental health myths that have been circulating over the years. In our next post, we’ll debunk some more myths. In the meantime, be sure to schedule your appointment with our dentist in Skokie or one of our other locations.