Dental Care Grayslake, IL

How Scraping Your Tongue Improves Your Life

Dental Care Grayslake, ILAt Advanced Dental Arts, we pride ourselves on providing patients with personal dental care that gets the job done (the job being oral health). There’s more to dentistry than carrying out specific cleaning and restorative tasks, though. Our team is also interested in creating a partnership with each patient. Doing so increases the results of our joint effort. As your partner in oral health, we want to go beyond the dental office. Here, we do that by offering valuable information on how you can improve your oral health at home using a tongue scraper.

Scraping your tongue may not sound very appealing. It may even sound downright uncomfortable! Trust us, when you do it right, there is no discomfort in the process. In fact, patients who develop this habit often express that they don’t know how they ever got by without it. This may be why . . .

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

Before we dive into the benefits of this practice, we should explain exactly what it is. Tongue scraping is an ancient practice that originated in India. For centuries, it has been regarded as a physical and spiritual practice. To scrape your tongue, you need a tongue scraper, a curved, non-sharp instrument that you can easily (and gently!) move across the surface of your tongue. Using your toothbrush doesn’t count! A scraper will remove much more debris and can be easily cleaned, whereas your toothbrush may hold on to bacteria and reintroduce it to your mouth.

Daily tongue-scraping can take place at the end of your oral care routine. All it takes is a minute or two to move the scraper from the back of your tongue to the front, rinsing in between if you wish.

Why would you do this? Here’s what the research says:

  • Oral health improves when debris and bacteria are removed from the back of the tongue. Without this practice, it’s possible for plaque to form in this part of the mouth. Yuck!
  • Breath improves after tongue-scraping. A coating on the back of the tongue means that toxins are front and center in the mouth. Often, the back of the tongue is the starting point of halitosis.
  • Food tastes better! Many people have testified to this theory, and it makes perfect sense. A film of debris and bacteria on any part of the tongue means that taste buds are obstructed. Therefore, a clean tongue houses fully functional taste buds.
  • Improved sense of taste aids in healthy digestion. When we fully taste the foods we eat, the body responds with a digestive action, which improves the efficiency of digestion.

Are you ready for a strong dentist-patient partnership to manage your oral health? Call our Grayslake office at (847) 223-5200 to schedule your visit.

Preventative Dental Care Grayslake, IL

Seeing Your Dentist is Good for Your Health

Preventative Dental Care Grayslake, ILHospitalization or necessary medical treatment due to poor oral health? This isn’t an idea that we would normally consider as fact. However, research indicates that as many as 6,000 hospitalizations occur for that very reason. Even more medical care is provided to treat complications of conditions like diabetes. The question that we ask is whether or not the two could be related.

The state of your oral health can, in fact, affect your body. The same is true in contrast. If you have a general health condition like diabetes, your oral health may be something that you struggle to manage. When we provide care to patients of our Spring Lake office, support for general health and wellness is at the forefront of our minds.

Connections You Need to Know

Scientific studies have concluded that oral health is directly impactful of general health, and related to a number of potentially serious conditions. These include:

  • Studies have demonstrated a prevalence of gum disease in individuals with diabetes. There is also evidence that gum disease is an instigating factor in the development or worsening of diabetes and the symptoms of this condition. The common thread between declining oral health and diabetes is sugar. Because blood glucose levels may fluctuate in instances of diabetes, conditions are primed for oral bacteria to thrive.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Gum disease is an inflammatory condition, and also a condition caused by bacteria. Bacteria are living, breathing, moving microorganisms that aren’t limited to your mouth. They can pass into the blood and land directly in the vessels of the heart where they play a significant role in the narrowing of the arteries.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease. A recent study suggests that individuals with chronic periodontitis, or gum disease, have a 70% greater chance of developing some form of dementia later in life. This is a significant finding because previous studies were conducted on individuals who had already been diagnosed with dementia.

You Know What to Do

You know that your mouth stays healthier when you brush your teeth morning and night, and when you floss every single day before bed. Experts also suggest that oral health benefits when we avoid alcohol consumption and tobacco use.

If you have questions about the best way to care for your mouth, we’re here to help. Schedule a consultation and cleaning at (847) 223-5200.

Teeth Whitening Grayslake, IL

Why is My Tongue White?

Teeth Whitening Grayslake, ILLooking into the mirror before or after brushing our teeth is a normal thing that a lot of people do. We can understand that the appearance of your tongue could be an alarming surprise if you don’t see what you expect. The tongue is something that we normally expect to be nice and pink, with uniform texture made by taste buds. If your tongue turns white, your stomach may somersault. Not to worry, we know what might be the cause of this color-change, and we can help you restore the rightful hue to your tongue with proper care.

Why Your Tongue May be White

It Could be What You’re Eating

A white film on the tongue could be instigated by some things that are going into the mouth – and even what isn’t. For example, research has demonstrated a connection between alcohol consumption and, now, even meat consumption, to a white film. Additionally, smokers are more prone to have a white tongue. Finally, dehydration, which is a problem for a lot of people, can lead to the overaccumulation of plaque on the tongue.

You May Need to Ramp Up Your Oral Hygiene

The way that we take care of our teeth and gums is also relevant to tongue health. A white film on the tongue doesn’t mean your actual tongue is unhealthy; it means your mouth may be unhealthy. In one Swiss study, researchers concluded that 60- to 80% of the bacteria in the mouth accumulate on the tongue. Knowing this, we can extend our oral hygiene to this area in addition to the teeth and the gums.

How to Solve a White Tongue Problem

If you’re concerned about a white film on your tongue, there are steps you can take to diminish this problem. Alongside film reduction, 9 out of 10 people who follow these steps also notice fresher breath and better oral health.

  1. Make sure that you are flossing your teeth. It is in between teeth that plaque and bacteria accumulate most easily because there is ample space to hide. By flossing, you reduce the prevalence of bacteria overall in your mouth.
  2. Clean your tongue. Tongue-scraping is an efficient way to promote a healthy mouth and to directly remove the white film. Go at this very gently, or your tongue will become irritated. Before you brush your teeth in the morning and at night, gently run a tongue-scraper from the back of your tongue to the front.
  3. Top off your oral hygiene practice with a swish of anti-bacterial mouthwash.

A white film on your tongue is not a huge cause for alarm. However, if this problem persists, schedule a consultation with us so we can develop a suitable plan of action. Call (847) 223-5200 for assistance.

Teeth Restoration Grayslake, IL

Dental Fillings: When is it Time for Replacement?

Teeth Restoration Grayslake, ILDental fillings have been some of the most commonly performed treatments in dentistry. This restorative technique is more than 150 years old at this point, and a few changes have occurred since the early days of practice. One of the most significant has been the transition from gold fillings to amalgam fillings (also called silver fillings) to tooth-colored fillings. One of the aspects of treatment that hasn’t changed much is the perception patients have of fillings being permanent restorations. Here, we discuss the reasons why a filling may need to be replaced and the benefits of doing so sooner rather than later.

Indications for Replacement

Often, there is an idea that a filling may need to be replaced if a tooth becomes symptomatic. In most cases, even this comes as a surprise to the patient; going back to the idea of fillings being permanent. In reality, many fillings fail long before tooth sensitivity or pain develops. For this reason, every routine dental examination involves close observation of fillings and other restorations. What are we looking for?

  • Cracks or chips around the filling. This is especially relevant with amalgam fillings, due to the inclusion of metal in filling material. The composite metal in amalgam expands and contracts when we chew and when we consume hot and cold foods. Natural enamel does this as well, but not at the same rate. Therefore, separation eventually occurs between the margins of the filling and natural tooth structure. This is also referred to as a leaky filling.
  • Routine exams include x-rays that provide us with the closest observation of the entire tooth structure. Decay around the filling or on another area of a tooth that has a filling usually involves a repair process that removes the existing restoration and replaces it with an updated, larger restoration. In this situation, an onlay or crown may be the most appropriate treatment.
  • Just like enamel can erode, so can fillings. This is true of both tooth-colored fillings and of amalgam fillings. When a filling wears down severely, its ability to prevent further damage is significantly diminished.

There are numerous reasons to replace old fillings, including a desire to remove amalgam from the mouth. To learn more about the process of filling replacement, call our Grayslake office at (847) 223-5200.

Dental Care Grayslake, IL

White Spots? Here’s What it May be About!

Dental Care Grayslake, ILWhen you look at your smile, what you would like to see are shiny, healthy-looking teeth. If you’re a large percentage of the modern generations, you would also like it if your teeth were radiant white. What we look for is an all-over white, a shade that reflects youth and vitality. Bright white spots are usually more of a nuisance than a feature we appreciate. Here, we point out what those spots are and what can be done to improve the appearance of your smile.

When Fluoride Equals Fluorosis

The American Dental Association recommends that we all obtain a moderate dose of fluoride on a regular basis. Fluoride is the mineral that has been recognized the most for its anti-cavity protection. This is why fluoride is added to most public sources of drinking water, and why most toothpaste products contain it. In most cases, the addition of fluoride is advantageous. However, some people are either susceptible to fluoride exposure or get a little too much.

Fluorosis develops on teeth that are still growing; the teeth that are still hidden beneath the gums. Once a tooth erupts from the gums, this cosmetic condition cannot occur. Knowing this, dentists provide tips for the use of fluoride in children aged 8 and younger. If you are concerned about the risk of fluorosis for your child, contact our office for personal assistance.

What to do about Fluorosis

When teeth are discolored in any way, there is usually an assumption that teeth whitening is the most appropriate method of correction. In most cases, this is correct, but not when we are dealing with white spots caused by fluoride. These spots are permanent and will not improve if teeth are whitened. The way that whitening may work on mild fluorosis is by lightening the enamel around small areas of discoloration.

A more reliable treatment for the correction of fluorosis is to cover the tooth. A convenient and long-term cosmetic treatment that is often considered is porcelain veneers. This treatment is performed over two office visits and can hide discoloration in addition to other concerns, such as gaps between teeth or disproportionate size and shape. In some cases, dentists recommend porcelain crowns. We are careful to propose treatment and do so only after a thorough consultation and examination of your teeth.

Find the solution to fluorosis at Advanced Dental Arts in Grayslake. Call (847) 223-5200 to schedule your visit.

Dental Care

Treat Your Heart Well with Good Oral Care

Dental CareMany adults are interested in finding ways to support a healthy heart as they traverse their aging process. To do so means to eat well and exercise regularly in a way that suits individual preferences. It also means to take really good care of teeth and gums. Several research studies have made the correlation between poor oral health and heart problems. This may sound like bad news, but it’s not. Understanding that oral health affects the heart, we have one more way to sustain optimal wellness!

The Connection: Where and What?

It may be enough for some people to know that the mouth affects the heart, and that’s that. However, we’re going to take a look at this connection a little more closely for those who like details.

What research has discovered is that there are millions of microorganisms that live in the mouth. Living critters that we often call oral bacteria. It is bacterium that cause inflammation in the gums and cavities in teeth. When they get out of control, they can enter the blood through any opening in tissue, of which there are many. Bacteria are swallowed. Some may be inhaled. Others head straight into the blood, and where does that go? To the heart.

Then what?

Once bacteria from the mouth flow along with the blood and reach the heart, they can adhere to the tissue in this organ, where inflammation may result in:

  • Heart attack. Severe gum disease is a major risk factor for heart attacks. The direct cause in many cases is cardiovascular disease . . .
  • Cardiovascular disease. This heart condition occurs when the arteries that carry blood narrow. The reason that narrowing often occurs is plaque buildup. Another reason is inflammation. This inflammation may originate with or be exacerbated by the bacteria that have traveled from the mouth to the walls of arteries.
  • Endocarditis. This condition is actual infection in the endocardium tissue that lines the inner chambers and valves of the heart. This infection is caused by bacteria and has been directly related to the same bacterium that live in the mouth that has been infected with gum disease. Endocarditis may be treatable, but it can also permanently damage the valves of the heart, inhibiting adequate blood circulation.

Brilliant Smile, Happy Heart

Taking good care of your teeth is easy. That is something to smile about. When teeth and gums are healthy, they look better. More reason to smile! Perhaps the best advantage of good oral health is the marked decrease in the risk of potentially serious heart problems.

If you’ve got questions about what your teeth and gums really need to stay healthy, call our Grayslake office. We’re happy to schedule an exam and cleaning to jump start your forward progress.

Preventative Dental Care Grayslake, IL

What Could Cause You to Lose a Tooth?

Preventative Dental Care Grayslake, ILA study published by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that approximately two-thirds of adults in the 20 – 39-year-old age group have all of their natural teeth. After the age of 40, this statistic drops by a third. Now, this is a far cry from the days when our ancestors were used to being toothless. The statistics reported today are more related to the loss of one or two teeth, not all teeth in the mouth. Also, today, we’ve got some ways to restore the look and function of the smile if a tooth or teeth are lost. This may be to our benefit, but we must also remember that prevention is the best medicine.

It is possible that you might significantly reduce your risk of losing natural teeth? Can this problem be entirely preventable? In many cases, yes. To reduce risks, though, we’ve got to know what we’re up against.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss

There are several reasons why a person may lose a tooth, including injury. Most cases revolve around one of a few common conditions:

  • Periodontal disease. Inflammation of the soft tissue around teeth is one thing. We call this gingivitis. Most people with gingivitis suffer frustrating but relatively minor concerns like chronic bad breath. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is different. This is an infectious condition that has reached deeper into the connective tissue around the roots of teeth. The presence of bacteria and inflammation in the gums and periodontal ligament degrade tissue, even bone, creating instability around teeth and, if not treated, tooth loss.
  • A cavity is a pretty minor problem. When the subtle tooth pain that indicates a cavity is treated, we cheer and call it a god day. Letting this problem go on for any length of time means that dental caries, or oral bacteria, will continually eat away at the enamel, then soft tissue, then nerves and the tooth root. This can cause the tooth to die in the mouth.
  • Root canal infection. There are between one and four canals that connect a tooth to the substructure. Each canal contains dental pulp, highly-sensitive and nutrient-dense tissue that support tooth health. Contamination of the pulp needs to be treated properly to prevent death and the need for extraction.

There is a reason the American Dental Association encourages twice-yearly dental visits for people of all ages. The combination of in-office exams and cleanings and good daily care can mean keeping your teeth for life. And, guess what? It’s never too late to start taking excellent care of your smile. We’re here to help you. Call our Grayslake office at (847) 223-5200.

Dental Bonding Grayslake, IL

The Beauty of Dental Bonding

Dental Bonding Grayslake, ILUsually, when we talk about the veneer process, it is porcelain veneers that come up. The longevity and lifelike qualities of porcelain veneers make this cosmetic treatment ideal for some situations. However, there is another veneer process that doesn’t get nearly as much attention. For many of the complaints patients of our Grayslake office have, dental bonding may be a great solution.

What is dental bonding?

A good way to describe dental bonding is a direct veneer. A veneer is a covering that changes the appearance of a surface. So, bonding is a type of veneer that we refer to as “direct” because this process takes place almost entirely in the tooth. Porcelain veneers are referred to as “indirect” because they are fabricated off the tooth using a model as a guide.

A patient may choose dental bonding to disguise smaller areas of concern, such as a localized stain on a tooth, a small gap, or a chip or crack. Dental bonding is also the process of repairing a small cavity with a composite resin material. The treatment process involves etching the tooth with a mild chemical solution. This enables the composite material to adhere to enamel. After the composite is color-matched and shaped, it is cured using light. Hardened against enamel, the bond should last for several years.

Which treatment is right for you?

You may have noticed that dental bonding shares some of the capabilities of porcelain veneers. The two treatments overlap in some of the issues they can disguise. Why, then, might you choose dental bonding with composite resin instead of a porcelain veneer? A leading benefit of bonding is the expedited timing of results. When we bond a tooth, you see the difference immediately; no second visit is needed. Also, bonding requires slight tooth etching, not actual reduction. This means treatment is reversible and does not require lifelong maintenance.

Do you have cosmetic concerns that are keeping you from your best smile? We would love to help you resolve them. Contact our office at (847) 223-5200 for friendly service and convenient scheduling.

Dental Implants Grayslake, IL

Tooth Replacement: It’s Not All About Your Teeth

Dental Implants Grayslake, ILTooth loss is not a new problem by any means. In fact, we’ve come a long way in recognizing the role we play in the longevity of our teeth. In the past century alone, humans have discovered the reasons why teeth may fail, and also what can be done to minimize the effects of tooth failure if it does occur. Advances in dental science have led to innovative treatment options like dental implants. We are pleased to serve our patients’ needs with this high standard of care.

Important Changes in Tooth Replacement

Something very important happened when the use of dental implants became common: we harnessed the ability to reinstate natural oral structure. You see, before dental implants, all we could do to help a person who had lost one or more teeth was replace that missing tooth structure, the crown of the tooth. Affixing a bridge or denture over the gums did (and does) provide some beneficial improvement. At the same time, the mouth needs more. We need roots to our teeth. By replacing them, we reestablish:

  • Expected permanence. Natural teeth are supposed to be permanent fixtures in the mouth. Whether a result of injury or poor dental health, the loss of a tooth or teeth has the potential to create a life of anxiety related to oral function. It doesn’t have to. When titanium posts are positioned into the jawbone, they become set in place, where they should stay for many, many years.
  • Optimal function. Our understanding of, and ability to restore, tooth stability has only recently come together in the form of a reliable treatment option. Chewing with loose dentures is uncomfortable, at best. Teeth should not move when we bite into food, nor when we smile or speak. The stability of teeth is guaranteed through the use of well-placed dental implants.
  • When we have our natural teeth, the general guidelines for care are well established. We know that we need to brush and floss and see the dentist. In the ideal situation, replacement teeth will require nothing more than what we have always done. What is needed to sustain dental implants is a consistent brushing routine that inhibits oral bacteria from causing inflammation in the gums.

We would love to see you in our Grayslake office to support your healthiest smile. Call (847) 223-5200 for your visit.

Cosmetic Dentistry Grayslake, IL

Cosmetic Dentistry for the Older Generation

Cosmetic Dentistry Grayslake, ILThere may be quite a few people who don’t like being categorized as being a part of the older generation referred to as the Baby Boomers. We think there is a lot to be proud of whatever generation you may be in. The fact is, life provides us with ample opportunity for growth and the attainment of knowledge and success. The older we get, the more we know; it’s pretty simple. On the flip side of the benefits of aging, we can understand the very clear challenges that come with the cosmetic changes that occur with the passage of time. Here, we want to discuss why men and women in mid-life and beyond are still able to benefit significantly from cosmetic dental treatments.

No Expiration Date on Success

The fact that we get older does not change the fact that we want to feel good about the contribution we are making to the world. This could be through valued work in a chosen career, or it could be volunteer work provided to a passion-project. What we see today more than ever is the clear indication that older individuals are not ready to slow down. As such, these men and women want to – and deserve to – feel confident in their appearance.

Anti-aging treatments such as injectables, laser treatments, and cosmetic facial surgeries are trending among men and women from their 40’s to their 80’s, and for a good reason. We propose that a smile makeover, which need not be overly dramatic or complicated, could have a powerful effect on the face. The smile is the first thing that people notice. When it is bright and straight, we are portrayed in a positive light. Research has suggested and then confirmed, the immense value of an attractive smile, both in the workplace and in social situations. This value does not expire, regardless of age.

At Advanced Dental Arts, we enjoy helping patients of all ages sustain healthy teeth and gums, and enhance beauty with innovative cosmetic dentistry treatments. From teeth whitening to porcelain crowns and veneers to dental implants, our services are performed with compassion and commitment to the best possible outcome.

Call (847) 223-5200 to schedule your appointment in our Grayslake office.