Education

 THERE’S NOTHING BETTER than a swim in the pool to cool down during the hot summer months. Before we dive in, we should be aware of how our time in the pool can impact our oral health. That’s right: the chlorine in swimming pools doesn’t just cause dry skin and eye irritation, it can also have an effect on our teeth.

Chlorine Versus Our Teeth

The reason swimming pools contain chlorine is that it helps to decontaminate the water from microbes and other unpleasant things that could pose health and sanitation risks to swimmers. However, when chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid, and unless the pool’s pH isn’t carefully regulated, that acid can lead to a condition called swimmer’s calculus.

Swimmer’s calculus causes yellow and brown stains  to develop on teeth enamel after too much exposure to chlorine. It also makes our teeth feel more sensitive after swimming, because enamel erosion leaves the dentin underneath more vulnerable. When we have good oral health, our saliva works to keep our mouths as close to a neutral pH as possible, thus protecting our enamel from erosion, but acid exposure can harm enamel before the saliva can do its job.

This isn’t usually a problem for casual swimmers, but anyone who is a serious swimmer or participates in water sports should be aware of the possibility of developing swimmer’s calculus. The best ways to prevent chlorine damage to your teeth are to maintain a good oral health routine with daily brushing and flossing, drink plenty of fresh water to flush out the chlorine residue, and keep your mouth closed while swimming!

Check out this video to learn about other ways our teeth are exposed to acids:

Dental Concerns Of Scuba Diving

If swimming pools aren’t your thing but you love snorkeling and diving, your teeth will be safe from the effects of chlorine, but they may still face other problems. Barodontalgia, commonly called tooth squeeze, occurs when tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure. This pressure change can result in significant tooth pain and can even fracture teeth, and a good preventative measure is a dental appointment before diving season begins!

Most divers are familiar with how uncomfortable those “one size fits none” mouthpieces can be, but do you know they can be bad for your teeth? Divers with poorly-fitting mouthpieces have to clench to keep them in place, and this can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain and headaches and makes it uncomfortable to chew. If you’re a frequent diver, you might want to invest in a custom-fitted mouthpiece.

Let’s Get Those Teeth Ready For The Water!

We want all of our patients to have a wonderful summer enjoying their favorite water sports and activities without fear for the effects on their teeth. Schedule a dental appointment so that we can make sure your teeth are healthy and answer any of your questions about underwater tooth problems and how to avoid them!

Take time to cool off this summer! You deserve it!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

DO YOU GET a painful jolt through your teeth every time you try to enjoy a bite of ice cream or a sip of fresh coffee? If you do, then you’re familiar with the woes of tooth sensitivity, and you’re not alone. More than half of adults between the ages of 20 and 50 experience some degree of sensitivity in their teeth, and children can have sensitive teeth too.

So why does this happen? Well, to understand tooth sensitivity, it helps to know about the structure of a tooth and how the different layers function.

The Anatomy Of A Tooth

The crown of each tooth is covered in a thin layer of hard enamel. Beneath the enamel is dentin, a bony substance with thousands of microscopic tubules running through it. These tubules are how the nerves in the pulp at the core of each tooth can detect what’s going on at the surface.

Causes Of Sensitivity

Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel wears away, which could be the result of teeth grinding, erosion from acid, or even improper brushing. Without enamel, the tubules in the dentin become exposed. Once that happens, eating or drinking anything hot or cold — sometimes even sweet or sour — will give the tooth a nasty shock.

Another major cause of sensitivity is root exposure. Teeth roots don’t have that layer of enamel; their main defense is the gums. Gum recession, which can also be caused by teeth grinding or improper brushing, leaves the roots vulnerable. Other causes of sensitivity include cavities and having a chipped or fractured tooth.

 

 

How You Can Protect Your Teeth

If you do have sensitive teeth, there are several ways to fight back. First, start using a soft-bristled brush if you aren’t already, because hard bristles may further damage the enamel and gum tissue. You can also switch to a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Finally, avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks, particularly soft drinks.

What Our Practice Can Do

Make sure to come to us if you begin experiencing tooth sensitivity, even if your next regular appointment is months away. We can strengthen your teeth with a fluoride varnish, perform dental restoration work on areas with enamel loss, recommend a gum graft to cover exposed roots, or prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste. We’ll also make sure there aren’t any other problems with your teeth!

We’re here to make sure your smile stays healthy and strong!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

 

 

Have you noticed that your teeth are tighter together or that you have more spacing between your teeth than before? If so, it is possible that your teeth are shifting or moving, and that indicates it is time to see your dentist for an evaluation. There are many reasons why teeth can shift or move over time and your dentist can help!

Traumas or accidents can cause teeth to move dramatically within the jaw. These situations usually require emergency medical treatment and follow up care with a dentist, orthodontist, or an oral surgeon to correct the problem.

If your teeth are becoming misaligned or out of place, and an injury is not the cause, a dentist will be able to assist you in identifying the problem. In some cases, “mesial drift”, or the gradual shifting of teeth towards the center of your face, is the cause. This is common and poses no major dental or health concerns for patients or their dentist. However, as teeth crowd, or as gaps form, it can be more difficult to keep your teeth clean. In addition, the shift in your bite may change the aesthetic appearance of your smile. Orthodontic treatment such as braces, retainers, Invisalign, and Six Month Smiles are all possible options that can correct mesial drift and shifting teeth. Other times, a change in a patient’s bite can indicate an underlying issue. It is not uncommon for teeth to move or the occlusion (bite) to change in patients who are chronic grinders or who have gum disease.

Bruxism, or grinding and clenching, can subtly and painlessly displace teeth over time. The constant force of your jaws moving or pressing together can rock or shift teeth. Although it is difficult to completely stop grinding, special bruxism appliances such as night*guards can reduce the strain on your jaw and protect your teeth.

Gum disease or periodontal disease is also a suspected culprit when teeth shift and move. When patients have gum disease, they begin to lose jawbone and gum attachment. The loss of bone and this supporting attachment allows teeth to move or become loose. When patients notice larger gaps in between their teeth, or spaces that didn’t used to be present, gum disease is a likely cause. Periodontal disease cannot be cured, and bone loss is often permanent. However, seeing a dental hygienist and a periodontist for treatment and therapies can help preserve the bone that remains and stabilize the teeth.

It is important in any case that patients who notice shifting, moving, new gaps, wider spaces, or tighter teeth see their dentist. Your dental professional will perform a complete evaluation, review your medical and dental history, and take images to determine the cause of your changes. Once the origin of the problem is identified and treated, most patients will still have options available to them that can manage their bite concerns and aesthetic appearance. Orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry both offer services that can restore your smile to its original and desired look.

Should I still be flossing my teeth?

New guidelines released by the federal government earlier this month have removed flossing as a recommendation for Americans. The U.S. report focuses on dietary benefits for citizens and has historically included regular flossing as part of a healthy lifestyle. The latest report removed flossing due to “weak, very unreliable” evidence that flossing improved dental or overall health. 

Why did the recommendation change? There is some debate as to whether studies on the benefits of flossing are skewed or inaccurate. Dental governing bodies, such as the American Dental Association, state that the past studies on flossing show a decrease in inflammation and the removal of plaque and debris in between teeth. Other organizations cite that the studies are too small or short in duration to be of value. So what is a patient to do?

At Grand Dental Group, we strongly recommend that you ask your dentist or hygienist for his or her professional opinion. No one knows your mouth better than your own oral health care provider. Do not change your current oral home care routine based only on this recent guideline change. Talk to your dentist first.

Does flossing really work? Our providers know flossing is only as good as how often and how well it is performed. Flossing only on rare occasion likely isn’t making a difference in someone’s oral or overall health. The same holds true when flossing is performed incorrectly – which is very common! To say that flossing is ineffective in instances where it is performed sporadically or poorly is not a fair judgement. In addition, flossing well and flossing daily is not enough to overcome other health obstacles. Patients who have challenges such as uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, or who smoke are unlikely to see a health benefit from flossing only. In the opinions of the Grand Dental dentists, floss is a valuable tool, but flossing alone cannot combat overwhelming hurdles. It is no different than expecting a rinse to alone treat gum disease. Or expecting one single workout to combat a month of high calorie intake. But does that mean flossing isn’t helpful? Not at all.

The value of flossing is found when it is part of an entire oral health care regimen. In our clinical and professional experience, flossing is beneficial, regardless of the latest government recommendations. But, it must be performed effectively and frequently to make a difference. Occasional flossing certainly does the trick when trying to remove a popcorn hull, but for patients who want to see real oral health results, we have recommendations:

·         Brush effectively at least two times a day

·         Floss effectively once a day

·         Cease the use of tobacco products & smokeless tobacco

·         Reduce alcohol consumption

·         See your dentist or hygienist regularly for preventative care

·         Manage diabetes and heart disease

·         Eat a diet high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar

Flossing is not a cure for gum disease and doesn’t ensure a cavity-free mouth. But, when performed properly and routinely, it does remove bacteria and food debris from teeth. Since it is also an inexpensive and easy task, we still recommend it as part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

If you have questions about flossing please reach out to any of our Grand Dental locations, we proudly serve Aurora, Franklin Park, Channahon, Sycamore, Lake Zurich, & Wilmington, IL.

Do you want whiter teeth?

At Grand Dental Group, we know that our patients want that bright, white smile! Our team of dental professionals is happy to provide you with a list of whitening tips for keeping your pearly whites even whiter!

Before you change your diet, oral hygiene habits, or use whitening products or any kind, make sure that your dentist or medical doctor is aware. Although whiter teeth look youthful and healthy, whitening your teeth is best done when your mouth is free from decay or other dental infections.

How can you cure bad breath? Bad breath is an embarrassing, but common problem. If you suffer from bad breath, our dental specialists at Grand Dental Group are happy to provide you with tips to help! Halitosis, or foul breath, can be caused by several factors. Eliminating or reducing the cause of this odor can greatly improve your self-esteem and confidence, not to mention your social life! Consider these tips to cure your bad breath for good:

Regardless of what is causing your bad breath, there most certainly are options for treating or eliminating the source. Patients do not need to live with bad breath or mask it. It isn’t just a nuisance or a cosmetic issue. Underlying dental and medical problems can be causing your halitosis. Changing your diet, keeping your mouth clean, and visiting your dentist and medical doctor can help you fight bad breath for good!

Do you think you might need a root canal? Although root canals have long evoked fear in the minds of most adults, jokes and horror stories about them are vastly overstated. According to the American Association of Endodontics, over 15 million root canal procedures are done in America, annually. Root canal therapy, often referred to as a “root canal” is a common dental treatment used to remove infection in a diseased tooth. This increases the longevity of the tooth and reduces the likelihood that it may be removed or lost in the future. So how do you know if you need a root canal? Only a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist) can make the official diagnosis and treatment recommendation. However, there are a few signs that can alert you to a possible problem or indicate the need for root canal therapy:

There are several reasons why a patient may need a root canal. Trauma and injury, decay, and infection are just a few. In some cases, patients will have no symptoms and may not realize that their tooth is infected. For this reason, it is imperative that patients see their dentist regularly for routine check-ups and call their dentist immediately if they experience pain, sensitivity, or an injury. Facial or head injuries that cause dizziness or vomiting are emergencies and patients should seek assistance as a hospital emergency room. The possible need for a root canal on an injured tooth is superseded by the need to treat a possible concussion.

If your dentist or endodontist recommends a root canal, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Tooth infections, if left untreated, can lead to abscesses and systemic sepsis infections throughout the body. In rare cases, untreated diseased tooth infections caused untreated hospitalizations and even death.

Most root canal therapy procedures are painless and comfortable. Only in the rarest of situations, and generally in the presence of extreme infection or delayed treatment, are root canals a challenging experience for patients.  Moreover, tooth sensitivity doesn’t usually mean a root canal is needed.  And decay or cracks or chips can be restored with fillings or crowns only. So there is no need to fear a root canal. In fact, root canal therapy allows us to keep more of our teeth and longer! But, should your dentist or endodontist recommend a root canal, it is always best to treat them as soon as possible to avoid additional complications.

 

What are The Worst Drinks for Your Teeth?

At Grand Dental Group, our dentists and hygienists know that the drinks that taste the best can sometimes be the worst for your teeth. Let our dental professionals share with you some of the worst drinks you can have:

Energy Drinks

Pop and Soda

Coffee and tea

Alcoholic drinks

As with anything, moderation is key. All of these drinks above are usually fine in moderation and on occasion. Anything consumed too frequently or in large quantities can pose a cavity risk for your teeth. If you have concerns about your smile, talk to you dentist today for an evaluation and dietary consultation.

 

What toothpaste is best for me?

The toothpaste aisle in grocery and drug stores is very overwhelming. The shelves are lined with dozens of different brands, each claiming to be the best for your teeth and gums. Finding the best toothpaste for you and your family can be tricky. Toothpastes, technically called dentifrices by dental professionals, come in gels or pastes and a multitude of flavors and packaging meant to market to the consumer. Whether the cap is a screw off or snap on type or whether you use a stand up or lay down tube is of no matter to your dentist. Generally speaking, dentists and hygienists want you to use a toothpaste that you like and will use faithfully. The art of actually brushing your teeth well enough to remove plaque and food debris is more important than which paste you use.

However, we do have some tips for patients looking to find the right toothpaste for them:

Most toothpaste is marketed to appeal to the consumer in the form of size, design, shape, taste, etc. These features do not necessarily make the products good or bad in the eyes of your dentist or hygienist. Your dental team knows that efficient brushing and flossing is more important to overall oral hygiene that what paste you use. But, when it comes to what toothpaste is best for you, the answer is simple: Whatever toothpaste you like the best!

5 Tips to Treat your Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are no laughing matter. All of us have experienced a little sensitivity at some time, but many adults suffer from chronic tooth sensitivity and pain. In some cases, the discomfort is so significant that it can disrupt one’s ability to eat or drink and negatively affect the quality of a patient’s life. The good news is, patients don’t have to live with sensitive teeth. For the vast majority of patients, there are treatments to help with their comfort level. The dental specialists at Grand Dental Group have some tips for those that deal with this uncomfortable condition.

It is important first to ensure that your sensitivity doesn’t have an obvious pathologic or dental cause. A thorough exam by your dentist will determine this. Dental decay, tooth or gum infections, such as an abscess, can be possible causes of sensitive teeth. Periodontal disease in the form of gingivitis, bone loss, or gum recession can also contribute to tooth discomfort. More challenging diagnoses such as bruxism (or tooth grinding), TMJ disorders, or sinus infections are additional possibilities.

In these situations, treating the cause of the sensitivity is key to correcting the pain. Patients with new or worsening sensitivity, in particular, should seek the advice of their dentist.

For patients who have a more chronic, underlying sensitivity issue, our office offers some tips:

Before beginning home care treatments, Grand Dental Group dentists strongly recommend that patients seek the counsel of their family dentist first. It is important to eliminate disease or dental problems as a cause. However, when patients have sensitivity for unknown reasons or without the presence of disease, the above tips can be very effective.