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The Effects of Alcohol on Your Teeth

Clinking glasses of red wine in hands on rustic wooden planks backgroundMany adults enjoy an alcoholic beverage now and then. What you may not know, is that alcohol can have an adverse effect on your oral health. As with best things, it is best to consume alcohol in moderation or not at all, because this is how it can hurt your teeth:

Sugar Content – All forms of alcohol contain sugar because sugar is what facilitates fermentation. Like the bacteria that ferment alcohol, the bacteria in your mouth also lives on sugar. These sugary alcoholic drinks can lead to tooth decay. If you drink, stick to drinks with lower sugar content. Dry wine tends to have less sugar, so stick with that.

Dry Mouth – Drinking alcohol decreases the flow of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleaning agent and is responsible for flushing bacteria from your mouth. Instead of washing bacteria away, drinking alcohol causes it to cling to your teeth and damage your enamel. Be sure to drink plenty of water between drinks to replenish the saliva in your mouth, or chew sugar-free gum.

Stains – Dark-colored drinks like red wine can stain your teeth. Choose lighter colored drinks, or follow your drinks with water or sugar-free gum to prevent stains.

Keep your teeth as healthy as possible by scheduling regular visits with your dentist in Skokie and the surrounding areas.

Healthy Foods that Whiten Your Teeth

woman shopping for apples at the grocery store

We all know that eating certain foods will stain your teeth, but did you know that you can add foods to your diet that act as natural whiteners?

Strawberries – Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid that acts as a teeth whitener. Not only are these delicious berries a healthy and delicious snack, but they can also help you smile brighter!

Fibrous Foods – Crunchy, fibrous foods like apples, celery, and carrots can help remove stains from your teeth by activating saliva production. Saliva is your mouth’s built-in cleaning agent and helps remove bacteria from your teeth. Try finishing your lunch with one of these foods to keep your teeth fresh between brushings.

Tart Fruits – Tart fruits like pineapple and citrus also fight stains by increasing saliva production. Be careful, though – citrus is highly acidic and can cause tooth sensitivity if you indulge in too much.

Baking Soda – Toothpaste containing baking soda not only do a better job of removing plaque, but they also help whiten your teeth. While you can use baking soda directly on your teeth, it is more abrasive than your average toothpaste, so do this sparingly.

Dairy – Foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk contain lactic acid, which has been shown to fend off tooth decay. Some research indicates that proteins in yogurt bind to your teeth and protect them from acid. As for whitening, your best bet is to indulge in hard cheeses every now and again.

Do you want to whiten your smile safely and quickly? See your dentist! Contact Northwestern Dental Group for teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, IL, or one of our other four locations.

Bruxism: Symptoms and Treatment

woman sleepingDo you wake up in the morning with a headache, jaw pain, or even chipped teeth? You could be suffering from a sleep condition called bruxism.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition where the sufferer grinds their teeth at night. You may have it and not even be aware. If left untreated, bruxism can cause damage to your teeth and jaw. About 8% of adults are affected by this conditioning, and it is often first noticed by a partner or spouse awakened by the sound of grinding teeth.

Knowing the Signs

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, be on the lookout for the symptoms:

  • Worn down teeth
  • Jaw tenderness
  • Pain in the temples
  • Jaw muscle swelling
  • Morning headaches
  • Pain and tenderness when chewing

If left untreated, the symptoms will only become more severe, leading to things like:

  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Earaches
  • Ear congestion
  • Tinnitus
  • Sensitive, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Buzzing or hissing in the ear

Treatments

The best way to treat bruxism is to wear a mouth guard at night. Your dentist in Skokie can have one specially fitted to your mouth to prevent the damage from teeth grinding. This condition cannot be cured, but you can still protect your teeth from further damage

Dealing with Sensitive Teeth after a Whitening Treatment

woman at the dentistGetting your teeth whitened at the dentist is an effective way to remove discoloration and stains from teeth, but many people experience some tooth sensitivity afterward. Here is a quick guide to help you deal with tooth sensitivity after your teeth whitening in Arlington Heights.

Desensitizing Treatment – Your dentist can apply a desensitizing varnish to your teeth after your whitening treatment to help you manage sensitivity.

Gentle Brushing Technique – Brushing too aggressively isn’t good for anyone, but it can be painful after getting your teeth whitened. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and lukewarm water, and brush in gentle, circular motions.

Sensitivity Toothpaste – Use sensitivity toothpaste to help treat your sensitive teeth. You can have one prescribed to you, or pick one up from the store.

Dietary Changes – You may find that cold or hot foods cause sharp pain in your teeth. Try to avoid hot or cold foods for at least two days after your whitening treatment.

As always, we recommend having your teeth whitened safely in your dentist’s office, as it can be risky to do it yourself with an at-home treatment. You also want to make sure that your teeth can withstand the treatment before moving forward. Talk to your dentist about your tooth sensitivity problems, or about getting a whitening treatment today.

Common Questions about Dental Implants

smiling couple with nice teethDental implants are becoming an extremely popular choice for both health and cosmetic reasons. Because dental implants have the potential to completely change your smile, you probably have a lot of questions about them. Below, we have answered some of the most common questions about dental implants in Skokie, IL.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant consists of a titanium post that is inserted into your jaw bone which acts as a tooth root. Attached to this root is an abutment, which connects the implant to the replacement tooth, which is called a crown. This crown is custom made to match your natural teeth, so the results look like you never lost the tooth at all.

How do dental implants work?

The first step is placing the implant in your jaw bone. For a few weeks, you will allow the implant to heal and fuse with the surrounding bone, ensuring that it will not loosen or come out. Once this healing process is complete, the connector and the crown can be placed.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. You won’t need to worry about adhesives as you do with dentures because the implants are firmly attached to the bone. The implants can completely restore your smile and your confidence.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

If you are looking for natural-looking, low-maintenance way to replace missing teeth, then dental implants are right for you. Whether you need to replace one tooth or the whole row, your dentist can fit you with beautiful, custom implants. Make an appointment at Northwestern Dental Group to discuss your options.

How Veneers Are Applied

beautiful girl with white teethVeneers are great for those looking to correct imperfections in their teeth, from staining to uneven teeth, to gaps.  They consist of thin shells made from either porcelain or resin composite that are bonded to the surface of your teeth to correct shape, size, color, or even length. The result is a beautiful smile that you will be proud to show off.  Here’s how the process works:

Dental Consultation

The first thing you need to do when getting veneers in Skokie, IL, is make an appointment with your dentist for a consultation. The dentist will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for veneers. They will also take x-rays and take an impression of your mouth and teeth.

Preparation

To prepare for veneers to be installed, the dentist will need to remove some enamel from your teeth – approximately ½ millimeter. This is about the thickness of the veneer that will be placed on top. Once this is done, they will make an impression of your tooth.

The tooth model (or teeth if you are getting several veneers) is then sent to a lab where the veneers are constructed. This process can take 2-4 weeks.

Bonding

Before cementing the veneer to your teeth, the dentist will first ensure that the veneer fits properly, trimming it if necessary. Next, they will prepare your teeth by cleaning, polishing, and etching them. Just like attached two pieces of clay, etching roughs up the surface of the tooth so that veneer will form a stronger bond to your teeth.

The dentist will then apply the cement and fit the veneer over your tooth, adjusting as necessary. Once the veneers are perfectly placed, a curing light will be used to harden the cement. Once the dentist has examined the veneers, removed excess cement, and tested your bite, you’re good to go!

The Benefits of All-On-4 Dental Implants – Are You a Good Candidate?

woman looking at teeth in mirror at dental officeTooth loss is a major concern, especially when you lose all of the teeth on the top or bottom of your jaw. Usually, in those cases, the patient will be fitted with dentures. Northwestern Dental Group offers an amazing alternative called all-on-4 dental implants.

Requires Little Surgery

When you are missing an entire row of teeth, you may think that you need an individual implant for each missing tooth. With all-on-4 dental implants, you don’t need to worry about excessive surgery. With our all-on-4 dental implants in Skokie, IL we can replace an entire row of teeth with just four implants.

Kiss Dentures Goodbye

Dentures can be uncomfortable and difficult to care for, but many patients with significant tooth loss think that they are the only solution. When you receive all-on-4 dental implants from Northwestern Dental Group, you can kiss those dentures goodbye.

Restore Your Confidence with a Natural-Looking Smile

All-on-4 dental implants look like real teeth. We can help you trade your dentures for a smile that looks and feels natural. You take care of your implants just like natural teeth, so there is no need to buy special cleaning products and adhesive like you do with dentures. You can also eat and drink more comfortably.

Restore your confidence when you contact our dental office to schedule an appointment for all-on-4 dental implants today.

The 3 Warning Signs of Gum Disease

man flossing teethNearly half of the U.S. adult population suffers from gum disease. It is also a disease that has severe consequences for your dental health. The worst case scenario is the loss of infected teeth. To protect your teeth, watch our for the three most common signs of gum disease and visit a Niles dentist immediately if you suspect you have it.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it could be a sign that you do not brush or floss enough – but it could also be a sign of something more serious. As gum disease progresses, bleeding in your gums will get worse. You may notice that your gums swell and feel sore when you brush.

In advanced cases of gum disease, your gums may bleed with little to no stimulus at all.               

Gum Recession or Gum Pocketing

As gum disease progresses, your gums will recede, giving your teeth a longer appearance. In later stages, you may even notice “pockets” forming as your gums pull away from your teeth. Food debris can become stuck in the pockets and can be difficult to remove.

The loss of gums can result in loose and infected teeth, so it is essential to visit your dentist as soon as you notice your gums receding.

Tooth Sensitivity

Receding gums expose the sensitive roots of your teeth, which can lead to tooth pain when eating or drinking. Some people have naturally sensitive teeth, but if it begins to worsen, it can be a sign of gum disease.

If you suspect you may have gum disease, contact Northwestern Dental Group right away for treatment.

How to Take Care of Your Dental Implants

woman brushing teethYour implants restore functionality and make your smile more beautiful. For the most part, you care for your dental implants in Arlington Heights, IL, as you do your original teeth. However, dentists recommend a few areas of special care.

Brush, Water-Flossing, & Checkups

Whether made by nature or in a dental lab, your teeth require daily oral hygiene, as well as regular checkups and cleaning. Here are recommendations to keep all of your teeth looking and functioning as nature intended:

  • Brush and floss all of your teeth—natural and implants—daily with a minimum of twice for brushing and once for flossing.
  • Choose a non-abrasive toothpaste.
  • You can use a manual, electric, or sonic toothbrush for natural and implanted teeth. However, when using a manual toothbrush for implants, prevent damage by selecting one that is soft.
  • Along with a conventional brush, an Interdental toothbrush is recommended for dental implants in Arlington Heights, IL. Nylon-coated interdental brushes are great for cleaning those hard-to-reach areas without scratching.
  • When flossing, use a product that is made for implants or one that isn’t coated in wax.
  • Along with string floss, a water flosser is helpful in reducing plaque and inflammation.
  • Don’t wait for six months for a dental checkup. Make an appointment every three or four months to maintain optimal oral health.

If you are experiencing issues with your dental implants following surgery, do not hesitate to contact us.

Professional Teeth Whitening Vs. At-Home Treatments

teeth whitening arlington heights ilIt may seem like a good idea to pick up a tooth-whitening kit at the store and take care of the treatment yourself at home. While this type of kit does not cost you much money, does it really provide you with a whiter, brighter smile? Take a hard look at the facts to make a wise decision for your smile and pocketbook.

Professional Treatment Yield Results

Professional teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, Il, gets you the results you want.  Those in-store kits contain only a small amount of peroxide—usually about 3 percent, compared to about 35 percent in the whitening agent used at a dentist’s office. Professional whitening results in noticeable differences of up to 10 shades whiter from just one visit to the dentist.

In-Office Visits Protect Your Teeth & Gums
Performed incorrectly, whitening can damage your teeth and gums. Even in-store kits contain chemicals that must be applied carefully and for a short period. When you place teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, IL, in the hands of a dentist, you do not have to worry about the strength of products or length of time because your dentist is highly trained and can whiten your teeth safely and effectively.