Cosmetic Dentist Chicago

Questions About Family or Cosmetic Dentistry?

Below is a list of some of the questions we get asked most frequently from our patients. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give our Chicago, IL dental practice a call and we'll be happy to assist you.
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before them get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.
When should I bring my child to the Dentist?

Start bringing your child in before the age of 2. They can accompany you to your appointment. Let the child watch you get your check-up or your teeth cleaned. They learn that this is a non-threatening environment and can help eliminate any fears. If you have a fear of the dentist try not to share it with your child. Try to make their first visit to the dental office as enjoyable as possible.

What is the best time of day for my child's appointment?

We find the best time of day to treat children is early morning. Try to avoid nap time and mealtime. In the morning the child is well rested.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well.
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly.

1.Firstly, make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

2. Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.

3. Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth.

4. Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

5. Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

6. Finally, don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.
What is the proper way to floss?
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.

1. Take 18" of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand .You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning.

2. Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.

3. As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gumline as well. Repeat this for the other tooth.

4. Repeat this process for all of your teeth.

What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is periodontal (gum) disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occures when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:

  • gums that bleed while brushing
  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • bad breath that doesn't go away
  • pus between your teeth and gums
  • loose teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting you dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
Teeth Whitening
Why do our teeth turn yellow?
While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.
What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today.

In-office teeth whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in short amount of time, usally within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist's office applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.

Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.

Over the counter whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleachin and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
What is Tooth Whitening?

 

Tooth whitening is a procedure that unveils a whiter smile. The Dentist can offer you type of procedures.

 

1. A take home system. We fabricate molds of your teeth made out of a thin plastic material. The whitening paste is placed in these custom trays. The patient can elect to wear these day or night. Check with your Dentist to see which system will work best for you.

 

2. In office bleaching is also available. Ask your Dentist.

Who responds to tooth whitening?

See your Dentist and let them make the decision. The best results are typically seen in patients with healthy gums and supporting structures. The patient should also be cavity free. Enamel stains of yellow, orange and brown respond well to whitening. 

What do I have to do?

First contact your Dentist and schedule an appointment. You have to be in good oral health before you can whiten your teeth.

How safe is tooth whitening?

The tooth whitening systems available to your Dentist are very safe. In our office we only use systems that carry the American Dental Association seal of Acceptance. Meaning they have been clinically proven to be safe and effective.

Can I expect side effects?

The most common side effect reported has been gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. Any side effects should be reported to your Dentist. 

How often do I need to whiten my teeth?

In our opinion diet effects how often you will need to repeat your treatments. Obviously someone who drinks coffee and tea would need to repeat the process sooner than one who doesn't. We recommend over the counter toothpastes by Crest and Colgate that are effective in maintaining the appearance of whitened teeth.

How long does teeth whitening last?
Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.
Other Common Questions
What can I do about bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to elminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups to the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.
What are sealants?

A sealant is either a clear or tooth colored material applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. They are applied where deep crevices and grooves exist. They are used to block our disease causing bacteria. Sealants may need to be replaced every few years. We recommend sealants highly for children. No anesthetic is required for this procedure.

What is bonding?

Bonding simply put is using materials that are tooth colored and attaching them to the tooth surface, by means of chemical and mechanical retention. These materials are incredible. They are life like in appearance. There are different types of bonding. The first type of bonding is what we would call direct bonding. This requires one visit to the dental office. The second type of bonding we call indirect bonding. Typically requires two visits. The first visit we prepare the tooth to receive the restoration. The second visit is to bond the restoration to the tooth. Discuss your options with your Dentist.

Can I see the Dentist if I am pregnant?

Yes you can. We recommend treatment if needed, during the second trimester. We will check with your obstetrician before any treatment is initiated. 

What is pregnancy gingivitis?

Pregnancy Gingivitis is a condition where plaque that is not removed from your teeth can irritate the gums. They become swollen, red, tender and bleed easily. It is more exasperated due to an increase in hormone levels. The best advice is floss and brush daily to keep your teeth clean.