Teeth Technology

​Are Dental X-Rays Safe While Pregnant?

November 8th, 2018

pregnant at dentistThere are a lot of things that a pregnant woman shouldn’t do, such as smoke, drink, or engage in heavy physical work. The health and well-being of the baby are dependent upon the choices that Mom makes while she is pregnant.

When it comes to dental X-rays and pregnancy, many women are naturally concerned about radiation and whether it could harm their baby. While it’s ideal to forgo any unnecessary medical treatments/diagnostics until the baby has been delivered, sometimes emergencies will arise, and plans will need to change accordingly.

We’re going to look at traditional and digital X-rays and whether or not they’re safe for pregnant women and their unborn children.

Traditional X-rays

Since the late 1800’s, X-rays have been used by doctors as an invaluable diagnostic tool. When they were first invented, scientists weren’t aware of how dangerous X-rays were, and some early pioneers died from radiation poisoning.

As the decades went by, traditional X-rays became safer and safer such that a person would get a higher dose of radiation from flying from Los Angeles to Boston than they would with a single dental X-ray.

If a pregnant woman were to have a traditional dental X-ray, the beams would be focused on her jawbone area, not her belly. This, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is very low-risk. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t some form of risk with a traditional dental X-ray and pregnant women.

Digital X-rays and Pregnancy

If the FDA has stated that traditional X-rays are safe for pregnant women, then digital X-rays are even more reliable because they emit but a fraction of the radiation that traditional ones do.

Traditional X-rays require a higher dosage of radiation because they use old-school film that needs to be developed after it has been taken. Digital X-rays operate in the same mannerism as the camera on your cell phone. Instead of a film being used to create the X-ray picture, a digital image is stored on a computer.

When Not to Get a Dental X-ray?

Women who are in their third trimester might find it difficult to lay down for a dental X-ray. Other than that, there is no reason for a pregnant woman not to get a dental X-ray if her dentist advises it.

Dentists are keenly aware of the potential risks to unborn fetuses and will go out of their way to avoid any unnecessary procedures or surgeries until the baby is delivered.

This isn’t to say that pregnant women shouldn’t keep their dentist appointments. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women pay close attention to their oral health when pregnant. This means making and keeping all dental appointments.

When a pregnant woman has bad oral health, all of the bacteria in her mouth can easily be transmitted to the baby through her bloodstream. This can cause issues such as low birth weight and other complications. It’s safe to say that the rewards of getting teeth cleaned while pregnant far outweigh the risks.

What to Do if You’re Pregnant and Need Dental Work?

You should always tell your dentist if you’re pregnant or you think you might be pregnant. Even if it turns out that you’re not pregnant, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

When being led into the X-ray room, it couldn’t hurt to remind the dental assistant who is setting up the machine that you’re pregnant. If you have any concerns, now is the time to express them.

Conclusion

As a pregnant woman, the choice whether to get an X-ray is ultimately up to you. There is a lot of misinformation out there on the internet regarding X-rays. Medical advice should not be taken from well-meaning friends and family members on Facebook.

Listen to your dentist and take his advice seriously. If he recommends a teeth cleaning or other procedure, it’s in you and your baby’s best interests to follow through and get it done.

Dental X-rays are beamed at the mouth and facial area. A lead vest is placed upon the chest of the patient to prevent any errant radiation from entering other parts of the body. The chances of a fetus getting even a slight dose of radiation are very slim. If the dental office is using a digital X-ray machine, the chances are even slimmer than a traditional X-ray.

Safe Dental Work for Pregnant Women in Chicago

At Water Tower Dental Care, we use state-of-the-art digital X-ray machines which put out 80% less radiation than a standard X-ray machine. Our dentists have decades of experience and know how to give oral care to pregnant women such that both they and their unborn child are entirely safe.

If you’re pregnant or think you might be, give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an appointment on our website. Our caring and gentle doctors will work hard to ensure that you have the very best oral care for both you and your baby!

​Digital X-Rays vs. Traditional X-Rays

September 27th, 2018

digital x-rays vs traditional The very first X-ray machine was invented in 1895 by a German physicist named Wilhelm Röntgen. The medical community immediately saw the benefits and started using X-rays to diagnose and treat their patients.

The only problem was that back in those days medical science didn’t quite understand just how dangerous X-rays were. Many people died or suffered as a result of being accidentally given too high a dosage of radiation.

As the decades passed, X-ray technology grew in leaps and bounds and became much safer. In fact, many dentists are fond of reminding their patients that they will get a higher dose of radiation flying from Los Angeles to New York than they would with a single chest X-ray.

Nowadays many doctors and dentists are using a technology called “digital X-rays.” We’re going to look at a traditional and digital X-ray and see which one is better and offers more value for the comfort and safety of the patient.

Traditional X-Rays

This form of an X-ray machine has been in use for many decades. The process to take a conventional X-ray is very similar to the old cameras that used film (instead of memory cards like they do nowadays).

The dental assistant will place a lead vest over the chest of the patient and then point the X-ray machine at a specific spot in their mouth. A film-like material will be placed in the area in the mouth that the dentist wants to get a look at.

Once everything is set up, the assistant will temporarily leave the room and press a button that sends X-ray waves through the person’s jaw, which are captured on the film inside their mouth. The entire process is painless and happens in a fraction of a second.

The assistant will then remove the film and take it to a processing room. It will take several minutes for the X-ray film to process and be developed. At this point the dentist will take the X-ray picture and put it on a backlit board which enables him to see inside your teeth/jaw.

Digital X-rays

If traditional X-rays can be compared to an old 35mm camera from the 1990’s, then a digital X-ray can be likened to a digital camera from today.

The general process to take a digital X-ray is still the same as the traditional way, but instead of film that needs to be developed, the X-ray image is captured digitally and sent to a computer where it will immediately be able to be viewed.

You won’t have to wait 15 or so minutes for the film to process because there is no film, to begin with.

The Processing Difference – Digital X-rays don’t require processing time. The images are immediately available to be viewed on a computer screen once the X-ray is taken. This not only saves time but money as well.

Traditional X-rays require expensive photo processing equipment that contains caustic and hazardous chemicals that are needed to develop the picture.

By going digital, dental offices are also helping to save the environment because digital X-rays don’t require dangerous chemicals.

The Radiation Difference – Less radiation is required to create a digital X-ray than a traditional one. Patients will be getting 70% less radiation exposure with digital versus conventional. While traditional X-rays are still safe, the less radiation you’re exposed to annually, the better.

Storage – It’s cost prohibitive for the dentist to make more than one copy of a traditional X-ray. If you lose or accidentally damage the picture, you’ll need to have another one taken. With digital X-rays, images are stored inside a computer.

This means that if your dentist refers you to a specialist, the X-ray images can be digitally emailed to their office. No need to lug around delicate photos that could be damaged or smudged.

Image Quality – Digital X-rays show 256 shades of grey whereas traditional ones only show 16- 25 shades of grey. This means that the dentist will have a much clearer image to look at because it’s higher definition than the traditional one. This means that there is little chance of the dentist misdiagnosing because of a low-resolution image.

The digital image can also be enhanced (contrast and brightness) so that the dentist can clearly see what he’s looking at. Traditional X-rays can be fuzzy at times and in some cases, more X-rays will need to be taken because the image quality isn’t that great.

Cost – The only drawback to digital X-rays is the initial cost of the machine as most dental offices cannot afford it. Over time, the machine saves both time and money and is way more environmentally friendly than the traditional one.

Dental Office in Chicago

At Water Tower Dental Care, we have state-of-the-art digital X-ray machines that make taking dental X-rays safe and easy. Our dentists can instantly show you the X-ray on an overhead monitor and point out areas of interest. If you are in need of a dentist, give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or contact us via our website.

​What Do Dental X-Rays Tell the Dentist?

August 2nd, 2018

dental x-raysDental X-Rays can tell a dentist a lot about your teeth and any underlying conditions that you might be suffering from. It gives them a clear picture of what’s going on inside your mouth without the need for a surgical incision.

What’s the Purpose of an X-Ray?

X-rays give the dentist the ability to see inside your mouth and jaw without making a surgical incision. It’s the only way they can know for sure what is wrong. It also allows them to treat you precisely.

In the years before the invention of the X-ray machine, dentistry was an educated guessing game, at best. Nowadays, some dentists have advanced imaging machines that give a 3D image of your head, which allows them to view your jaw and teeth at different angles.

Are X-Rays Safe?

Dental X-ray machines have been in use for decades and are perfectly safe. Some people are fearful of the radiation that an X-ray machine puts out.

They have nothing to fear as the amount of radiation they get from a dental X-ray is so low, they would get more exposure if they were to stand out in their backyard for 24 hours.

There are, however, some small risks to getting an X-ray. Some people have super-sensitive skin and might break out in a small rash. You should also tell your dentist if you’re pregnant as any radiation that goes into your body will also be absorbed by your unborn baby as well.

How Are Dental X-Rays Taken?

When the dentist wants an X-ray of your mouth, you’re led from the office into the X-ray room. The dental assistant will sit you down in the reclining chair and place a lightweight lead vest over your chest. They will insert a kind of “camera film” (aka “Bitewings”) into your mouth around the area the dentist wants to see inside.

Once the dental assistant is satisfied that the bitewings are in the proper place, they will leave the room and press the X-ray button. The X-ray will be taken in a fraction of a second. The dental assistant will then remove the bitewings from your mouth and the lead vest from your chest.

A few minutes will go by, and the dental X-ray will be placed on a small back-lit board. The dentist will then come into the room, look at the X-rays and be able to determine what exactly is going on. They can even show you where the trouble spots are.

What Does the Dentist Look for in an X-Ray?

Since X-rays are a critical part of any dental treatment plan. They give the dentist a high-resolution image of your teeth, jawbone, and tissues of the mouth. The dentist will use them to look for problem areas or pinpoint and diagnose the exact area where you’re feeling tooth pain.

There are also several types of X-rays such as periapical, panoramic, and occlusal. Each X-ray allows the dentist to have a different view of your teeth and jaws, which will help him find exactly what he’s looking for.

X-rays allow dentists to:

  • Monitor tooth health as part of a yearly annual examination.
  • Check the health of the jawbone
  • Look at tooth roots
  • Locate cavities
  • Locate the source of tooth pain.
  • See the progression of developing teeth
  • Look for the extent of periodontal disease

Dental Emergency – If you’ve suffered from a dental emergency such as a knocked-out tooth or broken jaw, the X-ray can tell the dentist exactly where the injury is located.

Pain-Related Issue – Dental X-Rays are most commonly used to solve pain-related issues such as TMJ or toothaches. When you have a tooth infection, you can only point out the general area of pain to the dentist. An X-ray can pinpoint precisely where the problem is and give the dentist a good idea of the severity of the infection and whether it has started to spread.

Surgery-Related – Before getting a tooth extraction, dental implants, or other surgical procedure, the dentist will often need an X-ray to give them a good idea of what they’re going to find once they make the first incision. It also allows them to know exactly where to cut without having to play the guessing game.

Yearly X-Rays – Dentists will often require an X-ray for an annual visit. It helps them locate cavities and potential trouble spots that would need dental work to prevent the situation from deteriorating any further.

Annual Dental Checkups in Chicago

If you haven’t had a dental checkup in over a year, there’s no better time than now to schedule one. It can help prevent major (and costly) dental issues that might crop up in a few months to a few years from now.

At Water Tower Dental Care, we can help improve your dental health via our annual dental checkups. Give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an appointment. Be sure to ask about our new patient dental exam special!

​What is Tooth Contouring and Reshaping?

July 5th, 2018

tooth contouringDo you avoid smiling because you have an uneven or chipped front tooth? Are your canine teeth too sharp-looking, or are your front two teeth too long?

If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people have minor imperfections in their front teeth which makes them self-conscious and too embarrassed to smile.

If you consciously avoid smiling due to chipped or uneven teeth, there is an easy and affordable solution that will help you regain the confidence you once had.

What is Tooth Contouring?

Tooth contouring (AKA “dental reshaping”) is the process by which a skilled dentist will remove a tiny bit of tooth enamel with a dental drill to manually sculpt a more aesthetically pleasing tooth.

After the tooth has been sculpted, it will be polished for a smooth look and finish. Typically, tooth contouring is only performed on the front teeth because these are the most visible teeth when you smile or open your mouth.

Chipped Teeth

For chipped teeth, the dentist will apply a bonding material and cure it with UV light. Once the material has cured, the dentist will then reshape the tooth to make it look completely natural.

The entire process will take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how many teeth will have work done to them. Before the dentist starts the procedure, the dental assistant will give you a shot of Lidocaine to numb the area they’re working on.

Prior to undergoing the procedure, the dentist will take an X-ray of your mouth to ensure that there won’t be any bite issues after the tooth is bonded or contoured. If the dentist has concerns that the bite will be affected, several other viable procedures will be recommended instead of dental contouring.

Why Get Tooth Contouring?

Tooth contouring can solve a lot of minor aesthetic dental imperfections such as:

  • Uneven tooth/teeth
  • Small chips
  • Small overlaps
  • Tooth edges that are too pointy (canines) or flat

In some cases, contouring can also correct minor bite issues that occur when the teeth unevenly touch during contact. The contouring process can sometimes act as a substitute for braces as it can eliminate minor overlapping and make the teeth look straighter.

Dental contouring can also improve the health of the teeth. By removing imperfections and minor overlaps, plaque and tartar have fewer places to build up. This, in turn, will lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

How Much Does It Cost?

The final cost will be contingent upon the procedure that the dentist recommends. Tooth bonding will cost different than tooth contouring. The number of teeth that will need to be worked on will also affect the cost.

It’s best to make an appointment with a dentist so you can tell them your concerns about your front teeth. They will then make a recommendation based upon what is possible and what you’re trying to achieve.

Dental contouring is relatively inexpensive compared to other aesthetic dental procedures. In some cases, dental insurance may cover a portion of the procedure.

Recovery Time

The procedure is done in an outpatient setting. After it’s done, you can proceed with your normal daily activities. The dentist might give you some aftercare instructions, such as avoiding certain hard foods or activities that could lead to the tooth re-chipping.

If you had dental contouring performed, the Lidocaine shot(s) should wear off 30 minutes to an hour after the procedure is finished. You may experience some minor discomfort or residual numbness for a few hours afterward. Your dentist can recommend over-the-counter medications to help ease any pain issues.

Is Dental Contouring Right for Me?

Dental contouring works best for people who need minor aesthetic corrections to repair the look or feel of their teeth. If you have unhealthy or decaying teeth or need a root canal, then dental contouring is not for you.

If you plan to get veneers, crown lengthening, or teeth whitening later down the road, you can get your teeth contoured months or years before you proceed with the more expensive dental work. The contouring process is much cheaper and can significantly improve the look of your mouth and your self-confidence.

Dental Contouring in Chicago

If dental reshaping/contouring sounds like it’s more art than science, it’s because it is.

For best results, this procedure should only be performed by experienced dentists, such as Dr. Aneszko or Dr. Stino at Water Tower Dental Care. It takes a skilled hand and gentle touch to make a chipped or uneven tooth look perfectly normal again.

Both Dr. Aneszko and Dr. Stino routinely undergo ongoing esthetic dental education so that they can provide the highest level of care to their patients.

If you have a chipped or uneven tooth, give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an appointment to learn more how dental contouring can give you back the confidence to smile!

​What is Sedation Dentistry? Is it Right for Me?

May 31st, 2018

sedation dentistryDoes the thought of going to the dentist stress you out so much that you’ve been putting off getting that much-needed work done?

If so, you’re not alone. Around 40% of Americans admit to having some level of fear or apprehension when going to the dentist. Symptoms can range from an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach all the way to a major panic attack.

Odontophobia is the medical term given to people who suffer from fear of the dentist. It’s a severe condition that can lead a person to prolong or entirely avoid visiting the dentist altogether. The longer that person waits, the worse off their dental problems become.

Fortunately, there is a solution that can benefit many people who suffer from fear of the dentist. It’s called Sedation Dentistry and has helped millions of people get the dental work they need.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is used to make people feel more comfortable when going to the dentist. It is comprised of different types (or levels) of sedation that a dentist might use to help their patients feel more comfortable. The end goal is to prevent anxiety and make you feel relaxed – as if you were sitting on your living room couch.

Levels of Oral Sedation Dentistry

There are varying degrees and levels of sedation dentistry that can be used to help you feel more relaxed during your procedure or surgery.

Nitrous Oxide – This is the lowest level of oral sedation dentistry. It’s mainly used to calm your nerves and give you an overall sense of general well-being. Nitrous is a safe gas that is administered to you via a small mask that’s placed over your mouth or nostrils.

Sometimes called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide only works when you inhale it. It helps to relax your mind and calm you down. You might feel a bit giggly or very slightly groggy. It won’t put you to sleep, and your dentist can control the exact amount that you’re receiving. Once the dentist turns the gas off, the effects will wear off quickly, and you’ll be 100% sober and safe to drive yourself home.

Oral Sedatives – The next step up from nitrous oxide are oral sedatives. Oral sedatives are usually taken in the form of a pill an hour or so before your dental procedure. While each dentist is different, most dentists will prescribe a type of anti-anxiety medication such as: Triazolam, Xanax, or Valium. They’re generally used for such procedures as root canals, fillings, or other general dentistry work.

When taking oral sedatives to help relieve anxiety about the dentist, you must make sure that you do not drive yourself to your dental appointment. These prescription medications will cause you to feel intoxicated, sleepy, and render you unable to drive. You will also need a ride home as the effects can last for a few hours after your procedure is finished.

Intravenous Sedatives – IV sedation is the highest level of sedation dentistry. An IV is inserted into your arm, and powerful sleeping drugs are administered. You will be completely asleep during the procedure and wake up a short while afterward. There are also various levels of IV sedation – some that will put you in a deep sleep, and others that will put you in what’s known as a “twilight sleep,” which will result in semi-consciousness.

Risks of Sedation Dentistry

As with any sedation procedures when undergoing surgery, there exists a slight chance of medical complications. Very young, very old, and people with pre-existing medical conditions can be susceptible to the risks of sedation dentistry. It’s essential to let your dentist know of any health conditions you might have before being sedated.

The overall risk is lessened when you undergo sedation dentistry in the office of a qualified dentist. If you travel out of the country to get dental work done to save money, you could be putting your life at risk. Other countries don’t have the same medical standards as we do here in America.

How Much Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?

The overall cost will depend on what kind of sedation dentistry you get. For example, nitrous and oral sedatives are usually the least expensive. Sometimes your health or dental insurance will cover the cost of the oral sedatives. IV sedation is often the costliest, because a trained and licensed anesthesiologist will need to be present during the procedure.

Some dental offices might not offer all of the above sedation procedures. This could be due to personal preference of the dentist, or insurance reasons. It’s best to call the dental office first and see what sedation options are available. The receptionist can also give you an estimated cost over the phone.

Sedation Dentistry in Chicago

The good news is that the techniques used in dental procedures nowadays are far more advanced than what they were 20 short years ago. On average, patients experience less pain and less discomfort due to the advanced techniques and medical instruments that the dentists and oral surgeons use.

However, if you still feel anxious or nervous about visiting the dentist, give us a call at (312) 787-2131. At Water Tower Dental Care, we cater to self-proclaimed “dental chickens.” We want you to feel just as relaxed in our dental chair as you would if you were sitting on your living room couch. Contact us to learn more about the various sedation options available to you.

​Using Botox to Help with TMJ

May 3rd, 2018

botox tmjTemporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a condition that affects the jaw, muscles that control jaw movement, and jaw joints. It is often characterized by noticeable pain and discomfort in those who suffer from it. The good news is that TMJ can be treated in a wide variety of ways, including Botox. We’re going to look at exactly what TMJ is, the causes, and how Botox can help relieve pain and suffering.

What is TMJ?

Your jaw is connected to your skull at two points via a joint called the temporomandibular. There is one joint on each side of your jaw for a total of two joints. TMJ occurs when you feel pain in and around this general area. It can cause a grating sensation or clicking sound when you move your mouth or chew.

TMJ is almost always characterized by pain or discomfort – so if you’re hearing a clicking noise and not experiencing any pain or discomfort then you probably don’t require treatment for TMJ. However, if the clicking noise is persistent, it’s usually best to see a qualified dentist who can confirm the presence of TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ

The main symptom of TMJ is pain on or near the jaw joint. However, those who suffer from TMJ often report the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Sore or still jaw muscles
  • Inability to close the jaw/mouth all the way
  • Popping sounds in ears
  • Jaw clicking and popping
  • Ear aches

Causes of TMJ

Medical science does not currently completely understand why TMJ happens. What is known is that there are several suspected causes of TMJ that affect a wide variety of people:

  • Complications from dental surgery
  • Genetic
  • Hormonal
  • Environmental
  • Physical injury
  • Arthritis

It is also suspected that women tend to suffer from TMJ more than men. It’s not completely understood why, but some doctors think that the female hormone estrogen might play some role.

Home Remedies

People who suffer from TMJ are somewhat fortunate in that it sometimes responds very well to home made remedies such as ice packs on the joint, OTC anti-inflammatory drugs, massages or gentle stretching of the jaw and neck, and avoiding chewing gum.

While the home remedies work for some people, they are not a complete cure and oftentimes only offer a few hours respite from the pain and discomfort. This is why many people seek out medical treatment from a qualified dental office. The TMJ therapy for pain relief solutions offered by a dentist are far superior to popping a couple of Advil and hoping for the best.

Botox as a Solution to TMJ

Botox is a toxin that’s been rendered 100% safe in a medical laboratory. Its primary use is cosmetic - to treat fine lines and wrinkles on people’s faces. Botox paralyzes the facial muscles that are responsible for wrinkles – giving a more youthful appearance and tighter looking skin. In recent years, many dentists have begun using Botox as a solution to treat TMJ.

Many people have found relief when injected with Botox in order to treat the pain, discomfort, and other symptoms associated with TMJ. The dentist will inject Botox directly into the chewing muscles which in turn will relax them. While Botox has not been specifically FDA approved for treatment of TMJ, it has been FDA approved for painful conditions that are usually associated with TMJ. Multiple studies have been published in various medical journals that have found that Botox offers promising results.

How Does BOTOX treat TMJ?

Botox injections paralyze the jaw muscles and prevent them from unconsciously moving about. When they are unable to move, they can no longer grind or clench. This can alleviate severe tension headaches as well as sharp pain in the jaw area. As the muscles are no longer able to be over worked, they enter into a rest phase which allows them to heal and repair themselves. This is when the symptoms of TMJ are relieved.

How long does Botox Treatment Take?

The treatment itself is quick and relatively painless. A sterile surgical needle that contains Botox is injected into the chewing muscles. The length of the procedure will be determined by how many injections the dentist feels are necessary to eliminate pain and discomfort. It will vary from person to person. The average time is anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

What to Expect After the Botox Treatment?

Most TMJ patients who are treated with Botox describe the needle prick as a “quick pinch.” Botox goes to work almost immediately although it can take several days to a week for the patient to experience full relief. There is no downtime and patients can return to their normal everyday activities after leaving the dental office.

Muscle tenderness should start to disappear almost immediately. It may take 24 to 48 hours before you start to see wrinkles around the injection areas start to lessen and disappear as well. It can take upwards of 1 week for the full results to be noticed.

Some patients experience bruising, slight swelling, or temporary numbness around the injection areas. This is completely normal and should diminish within a day or two.

Botox for TMJ in Chicago

If you suffer from TMJ and are looking for relief, schedule an appointment to be seen by one of our highly trained TMJ specialists. At Water Tower Dental Care, we have helped countless TMJ sufferers find relief through Botox injections. Give us a call today to learn more how we can help stop the pain and suffering.

Could it be Possible to Regrow Teeth?​

February 22nd, 2018

regrow teethThere are very few people in life who have absolutely perfect teeth. For the rest of us, we have to suffer through cavities, embarrassing dental checkups, and the occasional root canal. While genetics play an important role in who wins the dental lottery, regular maintenance such as brushing and flossing play an even bigger role in preventing tooth decay, cavities, and extractions.

Currently, the methods that most dentists use to help people with missing, broken, or diseased teeth are somewhat artificial in the sense that such materials as amalgam (the substance dentists use to perform a filling) are not natural. These non-natural substances can erode or wear down over time. Crowns, bridges, dentures, and even dental implants are all artificial means of making our teeth look normal.

What Happens When Teeth Decay?

Human teeth are surprisingly complex. The hard outer layer that you brush with a tooth brush is called the enamel. It is harder than your bones and contains living tissue. This tissue is referred to as dentin and it resides underneath the enamel. It accounts for a big percentage of the structure of your tooth and can easily be negatively affected by bacteria.

The bacteria eat the dentin (dentin is like prime rib to bacteria) and that causes tooth sensitivity problems and cavities. Left unchecked over the course of many years and it can lead to tooth decay or tooth loss.

The other major difference between human teeth and human bones is that unlike bones, human teeth cannot grow back or regenerate naturally. This means when it comes time for a dentist to help alleviate the pain from a toothache or perform a root canal, the techniques they use aren’t exactly natural and as such can be prone to failure due to time or stress.

What Currently Can and Can’t Grow Back?

If you’ve been holding out on deciding to get that dental implant you need…you should probably go ahead and get it anyways. Currently dentists cannot grow teeth back. Scientists and researchers are exploring new ways to encourage teeth, dentin, and pulp regrowth from a natural perspective. If they are one day successful, it will revolutionize dentistry and forgo the need for artificial materials that are prone to break down over time.

Laser Lights to Regrow Teeth? – Scientists are currently testing low-power lasers that are designed to stimulate and encourage dental stem cells to regrow dentin. Preliminary tests in laboratory mice have shown great promise.

This process cannot grow new enamel, so growing new teeth with lasers will most likely not happen in the future. However, if the technique is perfected and clinical trials on human beings are successful, it holds the promise to completely eliminate the need for root canals!

Tideglusib – This is a drug that is normally used to treat such conditions are autism and Alzheimer’s. Scientists found that it can be used to stimulate stem cells in the pulp of the tooth. This in turn creates more dentin and eliminates the need for a root canal. The drug is currently being tested on lab rats and if successful will move to clinical trials on human beings.

What Does the Future Hold?

As the years go by, dental science is improving by leaps and bounds. Long gone are many of the antiquated and very painful dental techniques that were employed just 25 short years ago. Scientists are currently working on ways to completely regrow teeth, which would eliminate even more painful and invasive dental fixes that are currently in use today.

For example, scientists have already regrown teeth in mice. They created a “baby tooth” and implanted it into the mouth of a mouse. The teeth grew to adult hood in just 49 days! Imagine going to the dentist and having them remove your decayed or broken teeth and then implanting brand new baby teeth that they grew in a petri dish. In just a few short months you’d have perfect adult teeth and as long as you take care of them, they will last you a lifetime!

Advanced Dentistry Procedures in Chicago

Let’s face it. There are many of us who have an unnatural fear of the dentist. The drills, the smells, the uncomfortable positions we have to endure while the dentist does his job aren’t exactly considered to be fun. Perhaps some day in the future our great-grandchildren will look at the dentistry practices of today as barbaric and something best relegated to the stone age.

Until that day comes, there are many new dental technologies that are designed to make dental procedures less painful, invasive, and even more pleasant!

At Water Tower Dental Care, we have many new and exciting technologies that can make your dental office visit a pleasant experience. Give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an online appointment to learn more about the exciting innovative technologies we offer that will have you smiling from ear to ear!

​Cleidocranial Dysplasia - Dental Treatment

January 18th, 2018

cleidocranial dysplasiaCleidocranial Dysplasia was a relatively unknown condition in popular culture until one of the stars of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things went public. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays the character “Dustin”, recently came out and said he suffers from Cleidocranial Dysplasi (CCD).

CCD is a condition which affects the development of teeth and bones. Gaten stated in a recent interview that he does not have a collarbone and still has his baby teeth, which gives him a distinct lisp when he speaks. He’s also forced to wear false teeth in the front of his mouth for aesthetic reasons.

Gaten originally found it very hard to land acting jobs in Hollywood due to his false teeth and lisp. When he was cast in Stranger Things, the writers decided to write his condition into the script, so the character he plays suffers from CCD as well. Since he went public with his condition, many people who have CCD sent him emails thanking him for his awareness campaign.

What is Cleidocranial Dysplasia?

Cleidocranial Dysplasia is a somewhat rare congenital skeletal disorder that affects 1 in every 1 million people. It is characterized by babies being born with noticeable “soft spots” on the top of their head, underdeveloped or no collarbone, along with teeth and bones that don’t fully mature. Characteristics of this condition can include:

  • Short stature
  • Scoliosis
  • Wide nasal bridge
  • Protruding jaw and brow bones
  • Premature closing on coronal suture
  • Delayed closure of the space between the bones of the skull.
  • Dentures would be put in place over unerupted teeth for aesthetic and speech reasons.
  • Teeth need to be manually removed by a dentist as they erupt from the gums. This means multiple visits to the dentist chair as very little bone structure would be left if the unerupted teeth were extracted all at once.
  • There is some disagreement amongst doctors regarding the removal of primary or supernumerary teeth. Some doctors feel that if those teeth are removed, it will not promote eruption or unerupted permanent teeth. They also feel that permanent teeth might be challenging to extract because of the roots being malformed.

For many people who suffer from CCD, the most difficult part is the multiple oral surgeries that they will need to undergo. In some cases, baby teeth do not fall out naturally and they must be manually pulled by the dentist. The costs of the dental treatments can be staggering. Medical and dental insurance won’t cover the cost of the treatments either.

Currently, medical science does not recognize any link between what the mother did during her pregnancy and the onset of CCD in the child. It is thought to be transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait – in other words, it’s completely genetic. Scientists also think that if both parents are unaffected by the condition, then a spontaneous genetic mutation must have occurred for the child to be born with it. However, someone with CCD has a 50% chance of passing it onto their children.

What Can Be Done to Help?

Dental problems are usually the most significant and noticeable aspects of CCD. As such, it’s critical that patients get proper dental treatment as they grow older. There are a few suggested treatment options that can help improve both the quality of life and condition of the sufferer:

The biggest barrier to successful treatment is the overall cost of all the dental procedures that are required. Insurance will cover very little if any of the treatment procedures. Many families cannot afford such huge medical bills and are resorting to having their children live with the condition as best they can. Fortunately, there is an online support community in the form of Facebook groups, forums, and websites that are dedicated to people who suffer from CCD.

As time goes by, new advances in procedures to treat CCD are being developed. Thanks to Gaten from Stranger Things bringing this condition to the forefront of popular culture, research and breakthroughs should speed up and improve as time goes by. A charitable organization in Utah was set up to financially help people who suffer from this condition.

How to Seek Help?

While insurance companies may not foot the bill for dental treatments, there are still a wide variety of economical options available to CCD patients. There are reasonable payment options available that will allow you to begin treatment immediately and pay for it over time with payments that fit your monthly budget.

If you have any questions regarding Cleidocranial Dysplasia or how Water Tower Dental Care can help, contact us today at (312) 787-2131 to set up a consultation appointment with one of our qualified dentists. Together we can help you or your child regain their smile and confidence!

Using Botox in Dental Procedures

November 16th, 2017

dental botoxWater Tower Dental Care is pleased to announce that we’re offering Botox solutions to help with certain dental issues.

You read that right: Botox for dental issues.

For many years, people have associated Botox with plastic surgeons and the removal of wrinkles and fine lines from the face. What many people don’t know is that Botox has been medically approved for many different therapeutic uses, including dentistry.

Botox is a neurotoxin otherwise known as “bacterium clostridium botulinm”. Basically, it’s a naturally occurring toxin that has been rendered completely safe to use on human beings. In plastic surgery applications, the botulinm toxin paralyzes muscles and wrinkles, thereby removing them and giving the face a more youthful appearance.

For dental applications, Botox has been shown to give very promising results in managing certain dental conditions such as TMJ, gummy smiles, and headaches. Many aesthetic dental conditions can also be treated.

Here are just some of the conditions that our new Botox application can help treat:

Gummy Smiles

For those people whose gums show rather prominently when they smile, Botox can help treat this embarrassing issue. It is injected into the upper lip so that it covers your gums when you smile. The entire process takes around 20 minutes and does not require any recovery time. The best part of this procedure is that it doesn’t take many vials of Botox, so the cost is rather low.

Gummy smiles in and of themselves do not indicate that something is medically wrong. The main reason people look to get them treated is because a gummy smile has been linked to low self-confidence, and detrimental effects upon a person’s social and professional life.

There are no side effects from this procedure. It can take up to 7 days for the full results to appear. This is due to how Botox works – it takes time for it to work itself completely into the muscles and relax them.

TMJ Issues

For those people who suffer from TMJ issues, Botox can help relieve the pain. The dentist will inject Botox directly into the chewing muscles to relax them. This helps soften the pain that people with TMJ experience. Only the muscles that cause TMJ will be injected – no other part of your body will be affected by the Botox.

The headaches associated with TMJ are also relieve in many patients. If you suffer from severe stress, Botox can even help minimize lock jaw. It can also relieve soreness and discomfort caused by facial muscles as well as relieve jaw tension for many patients.

The only downside is that most insurance companies will not cover Botox for TMJ issues. However, this could change in the future as Botox has been medically shown to help prevent damage to the teeth and gums that is caused by excessive jaw grinding.

Headaches/Neck Pain

Botox has also been found to help relieve the pain from migraine headaches and muscle pains in the neck area. Some people who suffer from TMJ also suffer from migraines, headaches, and neck pains. This procedure consists of 31 injections in 7 key areas. This may sound like a lot, but the results are well worth it. The FDA has approved Botox to reduce or completely eliminate headaches and migraines.

Since Botox works on muscles, it’s very important for you/the dentist to figure out exactly what the source of the pain is. This way they can treat the right muscles that are causing the pain.

Botox can also be used as a diagnostic tool. If the pain still persists after Botox is administered, then most likely the muscles that were treated are not the original source of the pain. In this case your dentist can investigate other potential causes or areas of concern.

Cosmetic Purposes

Botox is also used for smoothing out wrinkles on the face. It can shave anywhere from 5-10 years off a person’s face. Generally speaking, men sometimes need more Botox than women when it comes to removing wrinkles from the face. This is because men tend to have more wrinkles and “age lines” than women do. As such the cost for a male will sometimes be slightly higher than a female.

It can also help remove or lessen the crow’s feet that appear around the eyes. Wrinkles on the jowls and forehead also disappear when injected.

Botox for Dental Issues in Chicago

At Water Tower Dental Care, we have the latest and greatest dental technology that is designed to help you look and feel your very best. Our doctors are highly trained and skilled in the usage and application of Botox for your dental issues.

The entire process takes a short period of time, and there are no associated risks. Due to the nature of how Botox works, it can take several days to a week or so before you will notice the full results.

Give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an appointment to learn more about how Botox can help improve the quality of your life by treating certain dental issues that you may suffer from!

​Dental Implants vs Dentures

November 9th, 2017

dentures vs dental implantsThe American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) reports that 69% of adults from age 35-44 have lost at least one tooth due to decay, bad root canal, gum disease or accident. This accounts for the annual 100k-300k dental implant procedures performed every year.

With so many Americans missing at least one permanent tooth in their mouth, it’s no wonder that many people are interested in getting an implant. The problem with implants is that not everyone can afford them, so they sometimes turn to the next best thing: dentures.

Dentures

Dentures are removeable teeth that are placed inside your mouth. They are made by dental laboratories from impressions of your mouth taken by your dentist. They fit over your gums and the base of the upper denture covers the roof of your mouth. The lower one is shaped like a horseshoe so that your tongue can rest comfortably.

The look, feel, and installation of dentures have come a long way since George Washington wooden dentures days. However, it still doesn’t mean they have been perfected. Teeth were not meant to be removed from the mouth, and as such dentures go against what our bodies want most: to keep our teeth permanently in our mouths.

Healing Time

Overall healing time can take upwards of several months – due in whole to the dentist having to remove all your teeth. After the tissue in your mouth has healed, then you can receive your dentures. As time goes by, the shape of your gums could change, and this will result in the need to have new dentures created.

Complications

Many people who get dentures don’t realize that there can be complications after the fact. For example, dentures can move inside your mouth, especially when you eat or talk. Food can get caught underneath and special care needs to be taken with brushing, flossing, and hygiene. The jawbone itself can atrophy due to it not being used (as a function of how dentures work).

They also carry a social stigma – In this day and age it can sometimes be embarrassing for an adult to admit they have dentures, or for someone to suspect that they do. However, due to cost of implants and the number of teeth that need to be replaced, sometimes it’s the only option available – outside of doing nothing at all.

Cost

The main reason people tend to opt for dentures over implants is due to cost. A single dental implant can cost thousands of dollars and take multiple visits to the dentist office to complete. Dentures can cost just a fraction of what implants cost.

Dentures are not made to be permanent. After a few years they must be replaced or remade due to wear and tear. This can increase the cost of the denture over time and actually make it more expensive than if you were to have gotten a dental implant from the get-go.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are meant to be permanent replacements for missing teeth. They look, feel, and operate just like a normal tooth would. Assuming the dentist gets the shading correct, it can be extremely hard, if not impossible, to determine that someone has had a dental implant.

Implants are made from titanium and will last a literal life time if properly taken care of. If they are not taken care of properly, then they will need to be removed at some point in time – or worse yet they will just fall out on their own. This is why it is critical that teeth are brushed/flossed on a regular basis and dental checkups/cleanings are made on a regular basis.

Healing Time

The overall process for getting an implant can take many months to complete. Especially when a bone graft is needed. Sometimes the area where a tooth is missing is not strong enough to be the foundation of an implant. In this case, the dentist will perform a surgical bone graft procedure where bone is encouraged to grow so that the area can support the implant.

Despite their scary-sounding name, bone grafts are routine. They do take time to heal up and this adds to the overall time-frame for an implant procedure to be fully completed. It can also significantly add to the cost of the implant.

Recovery from implants can take multiple months. During this time your dentist will ask you to religiously brush and floss while the surgical area heals up. When it finally comes time to getting your implant installed, you’ll be amazed at how well your new teeth look and feel.

Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there can be complications. The good news is that implants do not carry a huge risk of complications. The biggest complication that patients face is the requirement of a bone graft in order for the implant procedure to be successful. Provided that good oral hygiene is followed, there shouldn’t be any major complications.

Cost

Implants tend to cost a lot more than dentures in the short run. A single tooth can run upwards of a thousand or more dollars. While this may seem like a lot of money up-front, the reality is that implants are meant to last your entire lifetime. So aside from regularly scheduled routine dental checkups and cleanings, there is no added cost. With dentures you will need to replace or repair them every 7-10 years, which over time can cost you more than had you gone with an implant.

Dental Implants and Dentures in the Chicago area

Millions of Americans are living with missing teeth. This can cause eventual health issues as well as lowered self-confidence. Dental technology has advanced to a point where it is now possible to get that missing tooth or teeth replaced so that you can live a fuller life.

If you have been debating on getting an implant vs. dentures, give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or contact us. At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in helping people fix their missing teeth which translates to a higher quality of life and more self-confidence.

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces​

October 26th, 2017

invisalign vs traditional bracesWhen your dentist informs you that you might benefit from an orthodontic treatment, a whole host of questions can arise. What are my options? What is the cost? What will be the most effective?

When it comes time to choose a method to straighten teeth, most people have to choose from Invisalign and traditional braces. Both have their pros and cons. They also are two very different methods which can produce the desired straight teeth that you’re looking for.

Ultimately which method you choose is going to be entirely dependent upon varying factors such as cost and length of treatment. Most importantly, you’re going to want to choose the one that’s going to give you the longest lasting results.

Invisalign

Invisalign is the brand name of a product that is designed to straighten your teeth. Before getting the treatment, your dentist will advise you if Invisalign is right for you. A 3D computer is used to envision your entire treatment plan, including total length of time it will take to straighten your teeth.

If Invisalign is right for you, and you opt to go this route, your dentist will make a custom thermoplastic material mold of your teeth using the 3D computer. The plastic is soft and won’t cause irritation or harm to your mouth.

This mold is turned into a tray that is transparent and fits snugly over your teeth. Your dentist will help make any arrangements so that the tray grips your teeth firmly. It is also removeable, so you can eat whatever it is that you want (just be sure to brush your teeth before you put the tray back in your mouth).

You will need to wear the tray for 20 to 22 hours a day, removing it only to brush your teeth, eat, or floss.

There are two major selling points for Invisalign.

  • If you are a suitable candidate for this procedure, the length of time it takes to straighten your teeth can be dramatically reduced. On average it will take anywhere from 6 to 18 months for your teeth to be fully straightened. Compare this to an average of 2-3 years for metal braces.
  • Invisalign is made from a clear material. This means it will be near-impossible for people to tell that you’re wearing braces. The ugly metal braces look is completely gone and so is the pain that’s associated with wearing wire braces. Many people opt for Invisalign for this reason alone.

Over the course of your treatment, you will be required to change your aligner tray every 2 weeks. Your dentist will use the 3D printer to custom print a 4 to 6-week supply of trays. You will be required to visit your dentist every month or so in order for them to check up on the progress of your teeth straightening.

There are some people whom Invisalign is NOT ideal for. Those who have:

  • Bridgework
  • Certain bite issues with the back teeth
  • Requirement to move certain teeth such as canines
  • Requirement to move teeth vertically to achieve straightening
  • Those who lack the discipline to keep trays in their mouth for ~22 hours daily.

In order to fully determine if Invisalign is right for you, you’ll need to sit down with a dentist and they will give you an examination and let you know if this is a viable option. Keep in mind that Invisalign also costs quite a bit more than traditional metal braces. If cost is an issue, some dental insurance companies will cover anywhere from $500 to $2000 of the Invisalign procedure. Check with your dental insurance company to see if you’re covered.

Metal Braces

Metal braces as a form of teeth straightening have been around for decades. Back when they first came out, the patient had to wear an ugly and complicated metal headgear device. As time went on, orthodontists figured out how to forgo using the headgear and just use wire braces that were placed inside the mouth, as opposed on top of the head.

Unlike Invisalign, metal braces are not removable, nor are the invisible. They are designed to stay on your teeth anywhere from 18 months up to 3 years. People who get metal braces generally have complex teeth issues that Invisalign cannot solve.

The good news about metal braces is that after a relatively short period of time of getting them put in your mouth, the patient will notice an improved difference. This tends to help out their self-confidence tremendously.

Maintenance can be a bit more complicated than Invisalign. With the latter, all you need to do is take the tray out of your mouth when you’re eating food. After you’re done brushing and flossing your teeth, you can put it back in. With metal braces, you have to be cognizant of brackets, wires, and bands when you brush your teeth. You can’t remove the metal braces to perform oral hygiene, and it does require a bit more skill and attention.

You will also need to avoid certain foods when you have metal braces in your mouth. Such fun treats as popcorn, gum, apples, and anything sticky or too crunchy needs to be avoided. Follow up visits to the dental office will be anywhere from 4-6 weeks so your dentist can make adjustments and check up on your progress.

The good news about these appointments is that the only take ~30 minutes and are usually painless. If your dentist changes out a rubber band (a part of the brace mechanism) or if they tighten them down a bit, you may notice a little soreness in your mouth for a day or two afterwards.

The cost of metal braces is significantly lower than Invisalign in most cases. It all depends on how much work is needed to straighten your teeth. In some cases, metal braces can cost as much as Invisalign if the patient requires a tremendous amount of work.

Summary

When it comes time to decide between Invisalign and metal braces, there are many things you need to keep in mind. Cost, length of time of treatment, and the aesthetics are just a few things that can cause you to choose one over the other.

At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in fixing teeth with orthodontic braces. We offer both Invisalign and metal braces as treatment options. In order to know which is right for you, give us a call (312) 787-2131 to schedule an appointment and have our expert dentists examine your teeth and let you know which option would work best.

​Dental Anesthesia - Making You More Comfortable at the Dentist

September 14th, 2017

dental anesthesiaYour mouth contains thousands of nerve endings which makes it sensitive to pain. If you ever have had a toothache, you know how excruciating it can get. This is why dentists like to numb the part of your mouth they’re about to work on. Numbing agents prevent the nerve endings from sending pain signals to the brain. Done properly and you won’t feel a thing while getting a root canal, extraction or other dental work.

Dentistry has come a long way since the wild wild west days. Back in the 1800’s, you’d have to visit a barber if you want a painful tooth extracted. There were no numbing agents, just a couple of swigs of whisky and the barber telling you to “be a man” while he places his foot on your chest for leverage and yanks out the tooth with a pair of pliers.

Nowadays dentists use all sorts of techniques and numbing agents to help their patients feel comfortable. In most cases people feel zero pain. It’s only after the numbing agent wears off does the pain start to kick in, and that can easily be managed with over-the-counter Ibuprofen. We’re going to look at the various numbing options out there, what type of procedure they’re generally used for, potential reactions you may have, and any benefits from a comfort standpoint.

Novocain / Lidocaine

Novocain was invented by a German chemist in 1905. It is injected by a needle into the area in your mouth the dentist wants to numb. It’s considered to be a local anesthetic as it won’t put you to sleep or make you groggy.

Over the years, most dentists have switched to a product called “Lidocaine” which is faster acting and lasts longer than Novocain.

The dentist determines the proper dosage and then sticks the needle into your mouth. A skilled dentist can minimize or almost eliminate the tiny sting of the needle by gentle vibrating the area to be injected.

Lidocaine/Novocain are generally considered to be safe. As with anything medical, there are people out there who might experience an allergic reaction. Chest pain, dizziness, nausea or shaking have all been reporting by people who suffer from an allergic reaction. It’s not known if this form of anesthetic is harmful to unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, be sure to let your dentist know.

Laughing Gas / Nitrous Oxide

Most dental offices are equipped with nitrous oxide. The purpose of it is to lightly sedate the patient without putting them to sleep completely. You will be able to hear and respond to any verbal directions your dentist may give you while under the effects of nitrous.

Nitrous is administered through a small plastic mask that is placed over your nose. It’s mixed with oxygen to render it completely safe. It may take several minutes for the effects of the gas to take hold.

You will most likely feel a deep sense of calm which can alleviate the nervousness that some people suffer from when sitting in the dental chair. You could feel light-headed or have a small tingling sensation in your arms and legs. The effects of nitrous wear off shortly after the mask is removed from your face.

Nitrous is sometimes used in conjunction with Lidocaine and other injectable numbing agents. It helps alleviate the nervousness that people sometimes suffer from when it comes to dentists and needles.

As with any medical procedure, a small portion of the population might experience side effects such as nausea, headache, increased sleepiness or excessive sweating. Be sure to inform your dentist if you start to feel any side effects.

Numbing Jelly

Numbing jelly acts the same was as Lidocaine, with one major difference: No needles. The dentist simply dips a Q-tip into a small tub of numbing jelly and then gently applies it to the area he will be working on. The numbing effect starts in as little as 90 seconds.

Most numbing jellies contain gluten, so if you have a gluten sensitivity, let your dentist know beforehand.

Triazolam

Triazolam is a little blue pill you take on an empty stomach 1 hour prior to your dental appointment. It has the same calming effect as nitrous oxide, with one additional benefit.

Triazolam is from the Valium family and is a prescribed narcotic. Prior to your dental appointment your dentist might write you a prescription for it. Fill the prescription and take the pill and by the time the dentist is working inside your mouth, you’ll feel worry-free.

Triazolam does not stop the pain of dental work by itself. Dentists will still use injectable numbing agents such as Lidocaine. It is merely to help provide comfort and peace of mind to the patient while they’re getting dental work done.

The benefit that Triazolam has over nitrous oxide is that there is a slight amnesia effect. A few hours after your dental procedure, you might find it hard to recall exactly what happened. This is a good thing for people who are scared of dentists or have to undergo major dental work.

As with any narcotic, you might feel some side-effects. You could feel dizzy, tired, nervous, excited or even get a headache. It should be noted that Triazolam will render you legally unable to drive a car. You will need to find a ride to and from the dental office as the drug lasts anywhere from 3-5 hours.

Sedation

For some people, numbing agents and little blue pills aren’t enough. They want to be put to sleep for the entire dental procedure. Sedation is only normally done in such cases as a severely impacted wisdom tooth or other complication which requires the services of an oral surgeon. Sedation could be administered by inhalation, injection or orally.

If the patient requests sedation, a trained dental anesthesiologist must be hired to put you to sleep. This adds a significant cost to the procedure and could negatively impact the quality of the dentistry. The dental anesthesiologist will only allow you to be asleep for so long, then safety protocols dictate you be woken up. This puts additional strain and pressure on the dentist and could potentially compromise the quality of the work done.

While dental anesthesiology is considered safe, there are always risks when you get put to sleep. It’s advised that you forgo being completely sedated for minor dental procedures. Numbing agents, nitrous and even Triazolam work extremely well for helping you mentally cope with the dental visit.

Compounded Topical Anesthetic

There are products on the market that combine tetracaine, lidocaine, and prilocaine in order to form a kind of super numbing gel. These compounds are usually made by local dental pharmacies. There are several medical benefits to using these gels – the biggest one being no needle is required.

The risks are minimal and if you were to experience side effects it would be the same side effects experienced with Lidocaine or other numbing agents. If you’re pregnant, be sure to advise your dentist prior to receiving the numbing gel.

Vibraject™ / DentalVibe™

These devices are relatively new. Their aim is to make injections less painful. They accomplish this by attaching to a conventional dental syringe. The battery cap is twisted, thereby providing power to the small device. It vibrates the area in the mouth where the syringe will be injected. The vibration prevents the nerves in the injection area from sending pain signals to the brain, thereby making the injection area painless.

Which Method is Right for Me?

The only way you’ll know for sure is to sit down with your dentist and discuss the options along with their pros and cons. Be sure to let your dentist know of any pre-existing health conditions, allergies and any other potential complications (such as pregnancy).

At Water Tower Dental Care, we pay special attention to the comfort of our patients. There are a wide variety of options available to help make your dental visit a pleasant one. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and Dr. Aneszko or Dr. Stino will go over your options and discuss which one is right for you.

​Dental Bridge vs. Dental Implant

August 31st, 2017

dental bridge vs implantDentistry has come a long way over the past 50 years. A set of removable dentures used to be the only option for replacing missing teeth. They looked fake and you had to take them out of your mouth when eating certain foods. Both dentists and denture recipients were not happy with the end results.

Modern dentistry has come up with two perfectly viable options to removable dentures: dental bridges and dental implants. Both options will help fill in the gap in your mouth, but only one stands out as a preferred method.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are designed to “bridge” the gap between missing teeth. The bridge itself is made up of ceramic or porcelain which is then fused to metal. The teeth that anchor the bridge are called abutments.

Dentists have been performing dental bridge procedures longer than dental implants. This isn’t to say that dental implants are bad, just that the technology has only recently been perfected to where implants are now the preferred method for a variety of reasons.

Dental insurance plans will also cover the cost of most of the bridgework more often than the cost of implants.

Pros:

There are a few pros to opting for a dental bridge. It’s a simple procedure in which surgery is not required (unlike implants). This makes getting a bridge a lot less painful than an implant. It’s also a relatively quick procedure. Multiple dental visits may be required as the anchoring teeth sometimes need to be prepared. The average time length between dental office visits is usually around a 1-3 weeks for bridges and in some cases with CEREC technology can be done in one day!

The overall cost of a bridge is more affordable than an implant, yet that shouldn’t be an indication of quality.

Cons:

There are also a few cons to getting a bridge. They usually only last 5-7 years, or 10 years if you take very good care of them. This means there will be a continual additional cost to the bridges every few years. Taking how much implants cost into account, the overall cost of a bridge in your lifetime can actually wind up costing more than an implant procedure.

Bridges are not as natural looking as implants are. There are some dentists out there who are whizzes with making a bridge work look natural, but at the end of the day there are some minor giveaways that they are not your natural teeth. One of those giveaways is the color. It is sometimes challenging to get your bridge the same color and shade as the other teeth in your mouth. This contrast of color can be easily noticed by people at first glance.

Bridges also damage natural teeth. The adjacent teeth that are used to anchor the bridge need prep work (meaning they need to be filed down so that the bridge will rest comfortably on them).

Dental Implants

Unlike dental bridges, dental implants are designed to completely replace the missing tooth. They tend to look completely natural and it is very hard, if not impossible for anyone to tell that they’re not real. Implants have been around for almost 44 years and over that time period the dental industry has perfected the procedure.

Most people tend to opt for implants over bridges, despite the initial cost. Over time the costs will even out, and implants could wind up costing less.

People who have lost teeth or a tooth to periodontal disease or an injury are great candidates for an implant. Those who wish to “set it and forget it” are also another ideal group. If you opt for high quality implants, they can last a literal lifetime.

Pros:

Implants require little to no maintenance vs. a dental bridge. With a bridge, there will be a tiny gap that food particles can get inside. This requires extra brushing and oral care to prevent issues. If the implants are high quality, they can literally last a life time.

They are also look natural. It has been said that telling the difference between a good dental implant and a normal tooth is impossible. There is one small caveat: implants are part science and part art. You shouldn’t choose a dentist/surgeon based on how much they charge. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for.

Bridges are just that. A bridge between two teeth. Underneath the bridge is no tooth structure. It’s completely hollowed out. This means the jawbone area immediately below the bridge can be put at risk for deterioration. Much like a muscle in the human body, if the jawbone is not used on a regular basis, it can atrophy and become weak. Implants on the other hand stimulate the area and act like a normal tooth, thereby preventing the chance of jawbone decay.

There is also no strain on the surrounding teeth. An implant stands on its own two proverbial feet, while a bridge requires physical support from neighboring teeth.

Cons:

There are a few minor cons to implants. First off, they require surgery. This means that it will be a bit more painful than getting a bridge. Sometimes patients require a bone graft, which can add a few months onto the overall time it takes to get the implant.

Time is another concern. A bridge only takes a few weeks, while an implant can take multiple months, sometimes longer. On the fast side of things, you’re probably looking at 3 months total time. This assumes there are no complications, everything heals and works as intended.

Cost is also an issue. Due to the surgery, you’re going to wind up paying more money initially for the implant. However, considering that a bridge must be replaced every 5-7 years, the more time goes by, the more cost effective your implant becomes. If you continually have to replace your bridge every 5-7 years, there will come a time when it will wind up costing more money than if you had gotten implants.

Conclusion

When it comes to implants vs. bridges there are pros and cons with both procedures. Implants cost more and time and money. They require a great deal of surgery and skill from the surgeon. However, they tend to look more natural and can last a lifetime if you opt for high quality implants.

Bridges on the other hand are for those people who can’t afford the initial cost of an implant. Most dental insurance companies will cover the cost of bridges, and if taken care of properly, they have been known to last upwards of 10 years. However, 5-7 years is the usual lifespan of a bridge. They won’t look as natural as an implant would, as the colors and shading of your natural teeth might not match up.

If you’re considering a dental implant in the Chicago area, contact us to schedule a no-obligation appointment. One of our expert dentists will give you an examination and let you know what your best options are. At Water Tower Dental Care, Dr. Daniel Aneszko and Dr. Rana Stino will help you get that million-dollar smile that you’ll be proud to show off.

​Are You A Candidate For Dental Implants?

May 4th, 2017

dental implants chicagoOne of the most popular solutions to missing teeth is dental implants, which have come a long way in terms of reliability since they were first introduced. We are pleased to welcome our newest dentist Dr. Karateew, who is an expert in this particular field of dentistry. At Water Tower Dental Care, we can now perform a dental implant on our qualifying patients in house, so you never have to leave the office.

What is Implant Dentistry?

If this term still sounds new to you, it may make you a little nervous. Dental implants are artificial teeth that are attached to posts that are surgically inserted into your jaw, and over time mesh together as one. They've grown popular due to their extreme durability, which makes them a permanent fix to missing teeth. You can eat with them, clean them regularly, and treat them the same way you would a normal tooth.

Dental implants can be used to replace one or more teeth, and can even replace an entire row or several teeth together in a line. They typically come in 3 pieces and are considered permanent. Because of this, they are much more popular than dentures or other solutions to replacing missing or excessively damaged teeth.

Am I A Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Missing teeth? Considering asking your dentist about a dental implant? Maybe you're sick of dentures, or have several areas to fill in. No matter what your story is, looking into implant dentistry is a great idea. Like any sort of dental surgery, there are a few things that you need to meet in order to qualify for the implants.

You can use these common requirements to evaluate yourself and your health before talking to your dentist about the procedure. A few of the reasons you may not be considered a good candidate for dental implants could be:

  • You do not have good general health.
  • You suffer from gum disease, cancer, or diabetes, which can cause additional complications.
  • You smoke regularly or have in the past.
  • You do not have enough bone density to support the implants.
  • Your insurance does cover the procedure.

Like most things, there are always exceptions to the rule, so even if you find yourself falling into one or more of these categories, there may still options for you. The most important things we look for in our patients needing implant dentistry due to missing teeth is good health in other areas, and healthy habits when it comes to eating, drinking, and cleaning their pearly whites.

The reason we look for good health in our patients is due to their ability to endure and recover quickly from the procedure. Conditions such as diabetes may alter your bone formation and increase the risk of complications during the healing process. When it comes to health issues that cannot be avoided, we may be more lenient depending on the nature or severity of the condition.

If gum disease is already present in the patient, it can increase the risks of rejection, causing pain and swelling until the implant is removed from the jaw. Patients who do not suffer any sort of pre-existing health or periodontal conditions are the ideal patients to undergo the procedure.

Many insurances will only cover a fraction, if any, of the cost of dental implants. While more and more are accepting the procedure as the best option available, several agencies still consider other, cheaper methods to be more suitable, and will only pay out a certain amount to cover an implant. Talking with your insurance providers can help you get a better idea of what their policy is for implant dentistry.

The Benefits of Implant Dentistry

Missing teeth or chronic dental problems can do a lot of harm to your oral and general health. Weak or loose, damaged, or missing teeth can restrict your diet and cause discomfort. Having a tooth missing for long periods of time can also hurt the bone in your jaw causing it to erode, and increases the possibility of losing other teeth.

A dental implant is inserted into the bone in your jaw and will mesh with one another, so they are attached, like an anchor. Because of this, it will help support your jaw and the bone, causing it to not deteriorate and fail. This helps to avoid a sinking, sagging appearance as old age sets in, too.

The longevity of implant dentistry is the main benefit you'll find. Unlike other methods, you don't need to have them re-done several times, nor do you have to take extra care with them such as purchasing specific cleaners or sealants. They are designed to be as strong and rooted into your jaw as a normal tooth, so it won't slide or affect your eating in any way.

You'll only pay for the teeth you need, which makes dental implants an ideal choice for when just one or two teeth are missing from your gums. If you are in good health and do not suffer from any of the previously mentioned problems and want a solution for your missing teeth, come in and visit us at Water Tower Dental Care in Chicago today! Our dental professional can explain the procedure to you more in depth. Contact us to set an appointment.

​AcceleDent for Invisalign: Cutting Treatment Time in Half

March 16th, 2017

​AcceleDent for Invisalign: Cutting Treatment Time in Half

Let’s face it – No one wants to wear braces, even if they are virtually undetectable. But what if we told you that we can potentially cut the amount of time you have to wear them in half by using a combination of Invisalign with AcceleDent Aura?

Invisalign is used to straighten teeth, adjust overbites, and close gaps using plastic trays that are nowhere near as noticeable as traditional braces. Invisalign trays are designed to be changed every two weeks until you achieve the results you desire. People choose Invisalign because of their effectiveness, and because they are difficult to detect. When used in combination with AcceleDent Aura, Invisalign can be one of the most effective treatments used to realign teeth.

What Is AcceleDent Aura?

AcceleDent Aura is a simple-to-use, hands-free device that was designed to accelerate orthodontic treatment. There are two notable advantages to using AcceleDent Aura – it cuts your treatment time in half and it reduces discomfort.

AcceleDent Aura comes with an Activator, a mouthpiece, and a USB extension cable, which can be plugged directly into a computer to view patient usage history.

Using AcceleDent Aura is easy. By inserting the mouthpiece, which is fitted around your existing Invisalign aligners, and turning on the Activator for 20 minutes every day, AcceleDent Aura will speed up your teeth movement. This technology, known as SoftPulse Technology®, emits vibrations – micropulses – that are even more gentle than an electric toothbrush. These pulses help your teeth move into the correct position up to 50% faster, while keeping your teeth and bone structure strong.

Using both Invisalign and AcceleDent Aura together is the perfect method for busy people to realign their teeth to provide natural looking and long lasting results. This allows you to achieve the perfect smile you’re looking for without having to wait as long as you would with traditional procedures.

Why Dentists Love It

Since its production in 2009, many dentists have been prescribing AcceleDent Aura as a way to effectively help move teeth. Dentists tend to like prescribing it for their patients because it’s faster, FDA-cleared, and virtually painless – many patients say they experienced little to no pain when using AcceleDent Aura.

AcceleDent Aura is one of the most effective tools available for your realignment treatment in order to safely speed up the process of your treatment.

If you have any questions about using AcceleDent Aura with Invisalign, or about your dental health, please contact us today to make an appointment.

The Benefits of ​CBCT Imaging

March 2nd, 2017

The Benefits of ​CBCT Imaging

Water Tower Dental Care proudly offers Cone Beam CT, or CBCT imaging, which allows us to take high-res 3-D scans of your mouth and teeth. These 3-D images help us better diagnose problem areas and give us a better view than a normal X-ray would.

But not many people know about all the benefits these compact machines can have.

What is CBCT imaging?

CBCT is a type of X-ray equipment we use when regular x-rays are not sufficient. It can create 3-D images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone, using a single scan.

During the imaging process, a cone-shaped X-ray beam rotates around the patient’s head, producing up to 200 2-D images. Using specialized computer software, these images are then converted into a 3-D image, which can help us fully diagnose, and then treat, the problem.

CBCT imaging can be extremely useful in complex cases such as:

  • Surgical planning for impacted teeth
  • Diagnosing TMJ or other oral disorders
  • Dental implant placement
  • Reconstructive surgery planning
  • Evaluation of the jaw, sinus cavities, nerves, and nasal cavity

Benefits of CBCT imaging

There are several benefits to using CBCT imaging, making it the preferred imaging method for not only Water Tower Dental Care, but for many dentists and orthodontists:

It gives us a better idea of what’s going on inside your mouth. By using CBCT imaging, we get accurate measurements and a variety of views and angles, which makes for a more complete evaluation.

It can image bone and soft tissue at the same time. Unlike a typical dental x-ray, CBCT images provide information on your teeth, bones, and soft tissue in a single scan.

It’s quick! The scan typically takes between 20 - 40 seconds for a full mouth X-ray, and less than 10 seconds for a scan of a specific area.

It’s generally less expensive than a CT scan. You read that right - CT scans typically cost more money than these more in-depth imaging scans.

A lower dose of radiation is used. There is less radiation used with a CBCT scan than with a regular CT scan.

The machine itself is small. Unlike those scary x-ray machines you may see in your typical doctor’s office, CBCT scanners are actually very compact.

Preparing For CBCT imaging

There is typically little to no preparation needed prior to your examination. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, and be sure to take off anything that may interfere with the imaging, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.

Let your dentist know if you are pregnant prior to having any sort of X-rays.

If you have any questions about CBCT imaging, or about your dental health, please contact us today to make an appointment.

How Invisalign Can Treat Teeth Crowding​

January 30th, 2017

How Invisalign Can Treat Teeth Crowding​

If your teeth appear crooked and feel painful, it could be the result of teeth crowding – when there’s not enough room within the jaw for your teeth to come in naturally. Teeth crowding can be uncomfortable and can lead to a range of severe dental issues, but with Invisalign, it can be treated discreetly and relatively quickly and painlessly.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a clear aligner system designed to treat the same issues as traditional metal braces – without the unsightly and often painful metal brackets. Invisalign uses a series of custom-fitted clear plastic trays, worn for 2 weeks (one week now when using AcceleDent) to gently shift and straighten the teeth into the desired position.

The nearly invisible plastic trays are generally more comfortable than metal braces, and they don’t impede most daily activities. Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign trays are removed for meals, making them easier to keep clean. The ease of use and inconspicuous design make them popular among adults eager to achieve a better smile.

The Dangers of Teeth Crowding

Teeth crowding occurs when the teeth don’t have enough space to fit in the jaw. Teeth that come in too close together can, over time, begin to twist or rotate and become severely crooked.

Crooked teeth can cause excessive pressure in certain parts of the mouth, leading to premature wear, including chipped or fractured teeth, or teeth with worn edges. Premature wear can, in turn, cause tooth sensitivity, recessed gum lines, and even tooth loss. Excessive pressure on the jaw itself, also a symptom of crooked teeth, can cause jaw pain and even severe headaches.

Teeth crowding can also lead to more severe issues such as tooth decay and increased risk of gum disease, because the tight spaces make it more difficult to sufficiently clean between the teeth.

How Can Invisalign Help?

If you’re concerned that your teeth might be crowded and think that Invisalign might be the solution for you, the first step is to make an appointment for a consultation to determine if you’re a candidate for the treatment.

To begin treatment, your provider will take x-rays and a 3-D scan of your teeth and use them to create a three-dimensional Invisalign profile of your mouth. This 3-D map of your mouth will help the provider determine the appropriate course of action. The 3-D imaging software allows them to show the projected changes for each tooth along each step of the process and provides a timeline for treatment – generally about a year for adults.

Based on the images and treatment plan, a series of custom-created clear plastic aligners will be created for your specific treatment, each designed to be worn for 20-22 hours a day, for approximately two weeks. At the end of each two-week stage, teeth should have shifted to fit the mold and will be ready to progress to the next aligner. Throughout the process, your provider should check about every six weeks to ensure the treatment is going as planned.

The Invisalign trays work to gently guide your teeth into a better position, so they bite and wear more evenly, which promotes stronger, longer-lasting teeth as well as overall dental health. They’re simple to clean, and because they’re not worn during meals, it’s easy to keep them, as well as your teeth, clean and healthy.

Tooth crowding might not seem like a serious issue but left untreated, it can cause a host of dental problems. For more information about Invisalign and to take the steps for a straighter, healthier smile, contact Dr. Aneszko or Dr. Stino today.

Invisalign Lisp: Does it Happen and Will it Go Away?

October 27th, 2016

Invisalign Lisp: Does it Happen and Will it Go Away?For teens and adults considering Invisalign, the nearly invisible aligner treatment is a big draw. But the fear of developing a lisp is enough to make many people reconsider. After all, what’s the point of investing in invisible orthodontic work if one of the potential side effects would quickly reveal the secret?

The good news for patients considering Invisalign treatments is that not everyone experiences a lisp, and in many cases, it’s extremely minor. Even those who experience more distinct lisps usually adjust quickly to resume normal speech, so the potential for a temporary speech difficulty shouldn’t be a deterrent when considering treatment.

Why do Some Invisalign Patients Experience Lisps?

A lisp is a speech defect that causes the –s and –z sounds to be pronounced “th.” Lisps are caused by improper tongue placement inside the mouth when speaking, which affects airflow and makes certain words sound different when spoken.

Some Invisalign patients, as well as patients with traditional braces, develop lisps because the aligners alter the space within the mouth. They also cause the tongue to move differently around the teeth, which can affect pronunciation. Invisalign aligners are made of very thin plastic, so the changes and effects are usually minimal. But some people may take longer to adjust.

Lisps due to Invisalign may also be caused ill-fitting Invisalign trays. Each tray is a clear plastic mold designed to fit snugly over the teeth, but because the goal is to change the tooth positioning, the molds are made to fit the desired tooth positioning for the end of that phase of treatment.

Typically, Invisalign patients do not develop lisps with each new set of aligners because they are similar enough in shape and thickness. But if a tray isn’t shaped quite right or is improperly placed, it can cause a lisp. This is why it’s important to receive Invisalign treatment from skilled and experienced dentists, like Dr. Aneszko and Dr. Stino. 

How Long Will It Last?

Every patient is different, but in general, any lisp due to Invisalign will go away after no more than a few weeks. Some people even adjust within a few hours! If a lisp occurs, it will fade and eventually disappear as the tongue get accustomed to the aligners and adjusts accordingly.

How to Prevent or Fix Invisalign Lisps

To prevent or fix a lisp due to Invisalign, keep talking! For someone with a lisp, the first instinct may be to talk less to hide the defect. But talking will actually help fix the issue sooner. Because the lisp is caused when the tongue adjusts to the orthodontia, the more a person talks, the more quickly the tongue will be able to learn how to maneuver around the aligners to form sounds, and the more quickly speech will return to normal.

To avoid speaking with a lisp at a major event or during an important meeting or phone call, just remove the aligners for that specific time. Unlike other dental work, Invisalign can be removed temporarily during treatment. The aligners must come out while eating, and they can also be taken out at other times as needed. (Just make sure to consistently wear them 20-22 hours a day to achieve results!)

If the lisp develops after beginning Invisalign treatment and doesn’t go away within a few weeks, contact the prescribing dentist or orthodontist. It’s normal to have a slight lisp during the adjustment period as the mouth and tongue re-learn how to make the proper shapes for each sound while wearing the aligners. If the issue is ongoing, however, there could be a problem with the fit or placement of the mold.

Interested in learning more about Invisalign? Contact Water Tower Dental Care today! We are Invisalign experts and would love to put you on a path to straighter teeth.

Sinus Lift Complications: Signs & How to Avoid

September 8th, 2016

Sinus Lift Complications: Signs & How to AvoidReplacing a lost tooth isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, you don’t have enough bone in your upper jaw to support an implant. That’s where a sinus lift comes in.
Sinus lifts are thought to be the best available solution for people who don’t have enough bone to support a dental implant. Even better, the surgery has a low risk of complications, according to a study published in the Implantologie Journal. That being said, it’s still important to discuss potential sinus lift complications so that you are fully informed before you choose to get surgery.

What is a sinus lift?

A sinus lift is a type of surgery that adds more bone to your upper jaw, where your molars or premolars should be. It is also known as sinus augmentation. Your sinus membrane needs to be lifted in order to fit additional bone between your jaw and your maxillary sinuses, which is why it’s called a “sinus lift”. Your maxillary sinuses are the largest of your sinuses and are located under your eyes and above your teeth.

Sinus lift complications

Thankfully, serious complications in sinus lift procedures are very rare. Like any surgery though, there is some risk of complications, which include the following:

  • Puncturing of the sinus membrane during surgery. This is by far the most common complication during a sinus lift. Your surgeon should be able to patch or stitch up the punctured membrane, which will repair it. If they can’t do this, they may stop the surgery and allow your membrane to heal before they redo the surgery.
  • Sinus infection. Like with any surgery, there is a risk of infection. However, getting a sinus infection due to a sinus lift is very rare. It’s usually caused by an infection of the materials used during surgery.
  • Wound drainage, also known as purulent exudate, may occur. You may know this type of drainage as pus. This isn’t a huge threat and can typically be taken care of with irrigation techniques and antibiotics.
  • You may experience discoloration under your eyes due to a collection of blood building up after surgery. This is usually caused by damage to blood vessels during surgery or improper care of the patient’s mouth after surgery. Hematoma generally occurs in older women and should clear up after two weeks. It presents no danger - it’s only an aesthetic issue.
  • Implant failure. On very rare occasions, your implant may not be able to connect with the bone material. This failure can also occur with your natural bone as well (without a sinus lift).

If you experience any of the following signs of sinus lift complications, you should contact your surgeon immediately:

  • Swelling or pain increases or does not decrease after two days.
  • A fever develops.
  • Bone-like material moves after you sneeze or blow your nose.
  • Bleeding continues after one or two days.
  • Bleeding becomes bright red and flows at a constant pace.

How to reduce your risk of complications

Sinus lifts have a low risk of complications in general. As long as you’re healthy, choose a good surgeon, and take proper care of yourself, you typically shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
While some uncontrollable factors may cause sinus lift complications, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. You should always choose a skilled and board-certified dental surgeon to perform your surgery. At Water Tower Dental Care, Dr. Daniel Aneszko and Dr. Rana Stino will refer you to a skilled, experienced and certified surgeon if you need a sinus lift. Experienced doctors should reduce your risk of infection and puncturing.
You also need to carefully follow your after-surgery care instructions. If you don’t properly care for your wound, you could run into infection, hematoma, or other problems.
Finally, keeping your mouth clean and avoiding smoking can greatly reduce your risk of developing issues post-surgery. Smoking in particular has been found to significantly increase the risk of dental implant failure.
Complications after a sinus lift are typically very low-risk. It would be rare for you to run into any serious problems after or during this surgery. If you would like to learn more about sinus lift surgery in Chicago, feel free to reach out to Chicago’s number one dentistry! We would be honored to put you on a path to a healthy, full smile.

Fixing Your Open Bite with Invisalign

July 14th, 2016

Fixing Your Open Bite with InvisalignOpen bites can be a real hassle. Not only can they make your smile look strange, but they can also lead to serious dental problems. Braces, bite blocks and headgear used to be your only option for treating dental open bites. But nowadays, we have a much more discreet and much less invasive way to fix open bites: Invisalign. Today, we’re going to discuss how Invisalign may be able to fix your open bite without braces or surgery.

What’s Wrong with Having an Open Bite?

If some of your teeth can’t make contact with the teeth directly below or above them, then you may have an open bite. Open bites can be caused by skeletal or dental issues. If you have a mild case of open bite, you might not need to make any changes to your mouth at all! But more serious open bites can cause long term issues.
Since open bites can create a gaping gap between your bottom and top teeth, it causes many people to be self-conscious of their smile. Open bites can also lead to dental issues down the line, including premature teeth wear, gum disease, speech problems, asymmetrical jaw development, and problems with chewing and biting. It can also lead to more severe issues, like TMJ, a painful jaw disorder.

Can Invisalign Correct an Open Bite?

Invisalign can help with certain cases of open bite. Since open bites are one of the most difficult dental issues to correct and they can vary drastically from person to person, you will need to visit a dentist to find out if Invisalign can help you. That being said, Invisalign has been used to effectively close open bites in many patients. You can see a few before and after pictures of patients who treated their open bite with Invisalign here.

How Exactly Does Invisalign Help?

The Invisalign treatment uses the latest technology to upgrade the open bite treatment. At Water Tower Dental Care, Dr. Aneszko and Dr. Stino first use a 3D scanner to outline the steps of your treatment from start to finish. They create a customized set of clear, acrylic and virtually invisible aligners based on your individual smile. You’ll wear these Invisalign aligners for 22 hours a day.
The Invisalign aligners will gently push your teeth into the correct position over time. If you have a more serious open bite case, you may need to use rubber bands in conjunction with your Invisalign aligners. We’ll check on your progress and replace your aligner with a new one to wear about every two weeks.

Benefits of Using Invisalign to Fix an Open Bite

You may be wondering why you should use Invisalign instead of traditional braces for correcting your open bite. Since Invisalign is a new treatment that uses advanced technology, there are a variety of benefits you will get from using Invisalign instead of braces.

  • Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible.
  • The aligners are comfortable and easy to wear.
  • They are removable, allowing you to easily take them off and put them in whenever you want. This, and the fact that they are BPA-free, makes Invisalign aligners extremely easy to keep clean.
  • You don’t have any food restrictions, since you can take the aligners out for a short period of time.
  • Treatment time is on par with traditional, metal braces (about 12 months for most patients).

What better place to receive Invisalign treatment for your open bite than at Chicago’s number one dentistry? If you’re interested in learning more about whether Invisalign can help your specific open bite, don’t hesitate to contact us today!
 
 

Invisalign for Crossbite: Does it Work?

June 16th, 2016

Invisalign for Crossbite: Does it Work?Do you notice that your top teeth bite down on the inside of your bottom teeth? If so, you might have a crossbite. Though crossbites don’t necessary cause direct pain right off the bat, they can lead to serious issues in the future. The only way to treat crossbite back in the day was with braces or expanders. Thankfully, there are less invasive ways to get your crossbite corrected today. We’re going to discuss how Invisalign can help align your crossbite.

What’s Wrong with Having a Crossbite?

Since crossbites don’t cause any immediate pain, you might not even realize you have one. Crossbites occur when your jaw isn’t properly aligned. They can form in one of two ways. First, some of your top teeth may bite down on the inside of your bottom teeth, making your top teeth closer to your tongue than your bottom teeth. A crossbite can also involve your bottom teeth biting down on the inside of your top teeth, meaning your bottom teeth are closer to your cheek than your top teeth.
While this doesn’t necessarily look bad, it’s important to get a crossbite corrected. Why? Because it can lead to serious dental issues over time. Crossbites can result in the following problems:

  • Worn down teeth at a faster pace than usual
  • Gum disease that can lead to bone loss
  • TMJ joint disorder
  • Trouble with chewing
  • Incorrect jaw development
  • An odd-looking smile

Can Invisalign Fix a Crossbite?

Braces and expanders used to tell everyone that you had a dental problem. Thankfully, Invisalign was introduced to save the day. Invisalign can fix most crossbites pretty much invisibly, so that nobody has to know that your teeth are being worked on.
So how does it work? You will receive a customized set of aligners that are molded to fit your teeth exactly. Typically, these invisible aligners are worn with inconspicuous elastic ware to correct crossbites. These elastics are hidden in the back of your mouth so nobody will see them.
Over time, the Invisalign aligners and elastics will work to painlessly shift your jaw into the correct position. You’ll come in to see your dentist about every two months to check your progress. During this time, you just let the aligners and elastic work their magic! We’ll let you know if anything needs to be changed when you visit us.

Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign has transformed the way crossbites are treated. Here are just a few reasons why Invisalign is a better option than traditional braces or expanders:

  • They are virtually invisible thanks to the clear aligners
  • They are also virtually painless, providing gentle pressure to move your teeth and jaw into their proper alignment
  • You can take out your Invisalign aligners whenever you need to clean your teeth or eat food that typically doesn’t react well with dental devices

Interested in learning more about how Invisalign may be able to cure your crossbite problems? Contact Water Tower Dental Care today! We are Invisalign experts. Just look at our Before and After Invisalign Gallery.
 
 

Getting Full-Mouth Reconstruction in Chicago

May 26th, 2016

Getting Full-Mouth Reconstruction in ChicagoDo you feel like your teeth are beyond repair? You’ve come to the right place. When you’ve suffered a serious trauma or have left teeth untreated for a long period of time, you might feel like giving up hope on your smile. But the reality is, getting a full-mouth reconstruction can leave your teeth looking as good as new!
Here at Water Tower Dental Care, we work hard to offer one of the best full-mouth reconstruction services in Chicago. You’ll never feel the need to hide your teeth again!

What Are Some of the Risks that Come with Damaged Teeth?

Whether your teeth have been broken due to injury or decayed thanks to years of hygienic neglect, dental damage can cause a variety of issues.
First, there’s the most obvious: psychological problems. “Bad teeth” have been found to reduce self-esteem and cause depression. According to research conducted by ICM Research, 31% of people surveyed said that having bad teeth made them less confident in public. Another 15% said their bad teeth made them feel depressed and 10% reported that they don’t speak as much because of their teeth. If you can’t be yourself because of your teeth, you definitely want to seek help.
Having bad teeth doesn’t only affect your social life and psychological well-being. It can also be detrimental to your physical health. Everything in your mouth is connected one way or another. If you leave a cavity untreated, it will get bigger and bigger, causing a lot of pain and eventually leading to tooth loss. Gum disease will also result in tooth loss if it’s not treated. And it doesn’t stop there.
If you lose one tooth, it affects all of your other teeth and the bone that supports your teeth. Without the stimulation from your lost tooth, your bone will begin to decrease in width, which in turn leads to your gum tissue decreasing. These changes make it difficult to chew and speak.
[caption id="attachment_2477" align="alignleft" width="608"]Full mouth reconstruction before and after Before and after getting full-mouth reconstruction at Water Tower Dental Care.[/caption]

What Does Full-Mouth Reconstruction Involve?

Hopefully you now see how important it is to get your teeth treated as soon as possible if you have severe dental damage. Dr. Aneszko and Dr. Stino take compromised mouths very seriously. Full-mouth reconstruction can restore the appearance and functionality of even the most damaged mouths.
Every full-mouth reconstruction is made up of a series of treatments. In order to find out the right full-mouth reconstruction plan for you, our dentists will discuss your concerns and goals and evaluate your needs. From there, we may suggest several general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry treatments. Here are a few treatments we commonly use when performing full-mouth reconstruction:

If you’re ready to stop hiding your teeth and start having a smile you’re proud of, contact us about getting full-mouth reconstruction in Chicago. We’re experts at full-mouth reconstruction. Just check out before and after pictures our patients who have received the treatment here! We would be honored to give you your pearly whites back.

Does Laser Gum Removal Treatment Hurt?

December 3rd, 2015

Does Laser Gum Removal Treatment Hurt?After you’ve worked so hard to make your teeth shine, the last thing you want is for your gums to cover them up. A gummy smile can make your teeth look stubby and short. But underneath those gums is a gorgeous set of pearly whites. Laser gum removal, also called laser gum recontouring, can reveal your complete smile. And best of all, it’s virtually painless, so you don’t have to worry about the laser gum removal treatment hurting.
Let’s take a deeper look at how exactly laser gum treatment can help your smile without hurting it.

How Does Laser Gum Treatment Work?

Back in the day, dentists used to use a scalpel to remove excess gum over the teeth. Needless to say, this was pretty painful and caused a fair amount of bleeding. Thankfully, laser technology has allowed cosmetic dentists to gently cut away and perfectly shape excess gums in a virtually painless treatment!
How does it do this? During the laser gum recontouring procedure, your dentist will numb your mouth with local anesthesic. This way, you won’t feel any discomfort. From there, your dentist will use the heat of a diode laser to remove excess gum tissue and shape a more uniform and smooth gum line that enhances the beauty of your smile. Lasers are incredibly precise and accurate, so the laser won’t target anything but the problem areas.
The treatment can be performed and completed in just one short visit to the dentists office.

Before and After Laser Gum Recontouring at Water Tower Dental Care in Chicago

What Are Laser Gum Recontouring Results Like?

After your laser gum recontouring treatment, your gums will be pulled back to a normal length and shaped to best compliment your teeth. Your smile should look better than ever! Take a look at our laser gum recontouring before and after pictures to see what Water Tower Dental Care’s results look like.

What’s Recovery Like?

Unlike scalpels, lasers cauterize, or burn, while they remove your excess gums. Though this might sound scary, it’s actually really good for your recovery! Cauterization means less bleeding and a massively reduced risk of infection.
Your gums may feel swollen or a little sore up to a week after your treatment. But this discomfort shouldn’t be too bad or interfere with your normal routine. Your dentist will give you a low-strength pain reliever to minimize discomfort. You’ll still be able to eat, work, drink and speak normally, but you’ll want to stick to eating soft food a few days after surgery.
Don’t wait to get the smile of your dreams. Laser gum removal can painlessly shape your gums to provide you with your most beautiful smile. If you’re in Chicago, look no further than Chicago’s #1 cosmetic dentistry for your laser treatment. Contact Water Tower Dental Care to set up an appointment with us today!

How to Repair a Chipped Tooth

March 26th, 2015

How to Repair a Chipped ToothRepairing a chipped tooth is usually not as hard as one would imagine. Through several different processes, depending on the severity of the chipped tooth, a dentist can make your smile look good as new.
It all starts with the chip. While enamel is the strongest mineralized tissue of the body, it can still be broken. You could be eating a hard candy or chewing ice, you could fall or take a blow to the face; whatever it is, it can damage your tooth and require immediate attention.

What To Do If You Chip Your Tooth

Before anything else, you should know what to do right after you chip your tooth:

  • First, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Chips and fractures can become a lot worse, either by fracturing more or developing an infection, if left unattended.
  • If the tooth causes you pain, use an over the counter pain reliever and rinse your mouth with salt water.
  • If the tooth has a sharp edge resulting from the fracture, use gum or a paraffin wax to cover the tooth and protect your gums.
  • Avoid hard foods, and if you must eat before your dentist appointment, choose soft foods: smoothies, mashed potatoes, and the like, to avoid biting down on your gums.

Treatment for a Broken Tooth

There are several types of treatment for a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the fracture. If it’s a small crack or chip, it usually takes one visit to the dentist to solve, while more severe fractures can take several visits.
For small cracks and chips, a procedure called “bonding” is performed. Bonding does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist will add a liquid or gel to prepare the tooth for the bonding material. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive and attaches the bonding material. The material is shaped to look like a natural tooth, then dried by applying an ultraviolet light to harden the material.
For larger fractures, a crown can be placed over the teeth. This requires filing down enough of the tooth to then place a cap over it and cement it down. This protects the exposed underside of the tooth while allowing you the ability to chew and smile normally. Crowns involve taking an X-ray and impressions of your teeth for a crown to be made. On a second visit, with a permanent crown made, your dentist will use a composite cement to permanently place the crown over your tooth.
If the fracture of the tooth is so large that it exposes the root or pulp of the tooth (the center which contains nerves and blood vessels), a root canal is needed. This treatment involves removing the remaining pieces of tooth along with the dead pulp. The dentist then cleans out the empty root canal and seals it to avoid infection.
There are many options for chipped, broken, and fractured teeth, but only a medical professional can determine the right solution for you. If you are experiencing pain from a chipped tooth, contact Water Tower Dental, Chicago’s #1 rated dentist office set the path for a better, brighter smile.

Cosmetic Dental Veneers: What They Are and How They Help

February 19th, 2015

Cosmetic Dental Veneers: What They Are and How They HelpWhen the word cosmetic is used, most people immediately think of vanity, and changing your appearance for aesthetic reasons, rather than functional ones. However, when it comes to cosmetic veneers, there are many helpful reasons why one would want them, other than cosmetic reasons. Here’s how cosmetic veneers can do more than give you a better-looking smile.

What Are Cosmetic Dental Veneers?

Veneers are paper-thin shells custom made to be placed over your teeth to improve their appearance. Depending on the condition of your teeth, this can add a variety of benefits.

What Do Cosmetic Dental Veneers Do?

They Can Close Spaces Between Teeth
When teeth are spaced too far apart, food and bacteria can easily stick between the teeth and wedge itself into the upper or lower gums, creating feeding areas and open pockets for bacteria to thrive. This is one of the main causes of gum disease. Cosmetic dental veneers can make it harder for food to find itself in between your teeth.
Before and After Cosmetic Dental VeneersThey Can Repair Chipped Teeth
While never an immediate problem, a chipped tooth can lead to more complicated issues. If the tooth chips and becomes jagged, it can cut the tongue or gums very easily. If the chip is more severe, it can make the tooth more prone to a fracture, which can seriously damage it. A chipped tooth is easily covered and protected with veneers.
They Can Protect from Discoloration
While this may sound like a cosmetic issue, often teeth are discolored because of a buildup of plaque or from the wearing away of enamel. Both reasons are bad for your teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease while loss of enamel can damage the under layer of a tooth known as dentin. Covering the teeth with veneers (after a thorough cleaning, of course) can help protect the teeth from these issues.
They Can Help with Minor Misalignment of Teeth
While extremely misaligned teeth may need braces, minimal misalignment with minor issues can often be fixed with veneers. When the dentist molds a custom set of veneers for your teeth, they can often work to correct the minor issues of misalignment. This is helpful because misalignment, even if minor, can often offer areas of exposed gums for food and bacteria to wedge themselves into, another cause of periodontal and gum disease.
All of these are helpful ways that veneers can help your teeth, not to mention they can change a faded smile into a fresh looking pearly whites.

How Do They Work?

Cosmetic dental veneers are actually quite simple and can be prepared and placed on a patient’s teeth in a matter of weeks. Digital photos are taken of the teeth and altered to show how veneers would look over them. A temporary acrylic mold is made to mimic the look of the veneers for the patient to wear. Once approved, a permanent version of the veneers are made from porcelain and placed on the patient’s teeth. Simple as that!
If you’re interested in porcelain cosmetic dental veneers for cosmetic or functional reasons, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental. We would be happy to have you in for a consultation that can help you get on the path to a better smile.

What is Laser Gum Recontouring?

January 15th, 2015

What is Laser Gum Recontouring?If you’ve ever noticed your own or your friend’s teeth appearing short and stubby, it may be from an excessive amount of gum tissue in the mouth. Heath-wise, an excess of gums is not good or bad, it simply is. Aesthetically, however, many people can feel self-conscious with the look of their smile. It can often make a person look as if they never lost their baby teeth, with their pearly whites looking too small for their mouth. A solution to remove excess gums from the mouth is by laser gum recontouring. This simple procedure can push back the amount of gums over the teeth and give a person an excellent smile.

Why Choose Laser Gum Recontouring?

Laser Gum Recontouring Before and After Picture
Many people find laser gum recontouring a simple way to relieve themselves from a gummy smile. This happens when a smile shows more gum than teeth. Often, this is caused by excess of gums, however it can also be caused by hyperactivity of the muscle that controls lip movement, or a misaligned bite. If it is caused by over-excess of gums, laser recontouring is the option that can help turn that gummy smile into a perfect smile.
It’s good to know that overcrowding of gums is not an unhealthy issue. The only time laser gum recontouring is recommended is when the gums are healthy enough to withstand the push back. Excess gums that are unhealthy gums are often caused by other issues, such as inflamed gums from bacteria or periodontal disease. At which point, other dental procedures and options are available.
For healthy gums that are overcrowding the teeth and creating a gummy smile, laser recontouring is the solution.

How Does Laser Gum Recontouring Work?

While laser gum recontouring may sound scary, it’s much safer and more efficient than the old way of recontouring, which included a scalpel and a long recovery time. Using a precise diode laser, the procedure is virtually painless. The process begins by using an anesthetic to numb the mouth. The dentist then uses the diode laser at specific points of the gums. The heat of the laser vaporizes the excess gum tissue instantly without any type of burning sensation. As well, as the laser removes the excess gums, it also seals the remaining tissue which prohibits bleeding and chance of infection.
Recovery from laser recontouring is quite simple. Depending on the amount of tissue removed, there will be a few days of swelling and discomfort. Often, the patient will eat softer foods for a few days as the healing process continues. However, for the most part, recovery is quick and results are immediate.
If you have questions about laser gum recontouring or are interested in the procedure for yourself, do no hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental. We can schedule an appointment to look at your gums and decide on a proper procedure to put your smile on the path to perfection. If that includes laser gum recontouring, we will walk you through the steps of the procedure and make certain that you are comfortable and ready for a great smile.
 

What Is Invisalign Treatment?

June 26th, 2014

Invisalign treatment Invisalign is one of the best dental advancements in the recent decades. By using a silicone-based mold to shape a person’s teeth, the use of traditional metal braces is no longer needed. This helps reduce unsightly and embarrassing moments with wire braces along with painful side effects. The aspects of Invisalign are quite simple, and with just a few visits to your dentist, you can start the process to a straighter smile.

Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable teeth aligners that slowly realign your teeth for a better, healthier smile. Crooked teeth are not only an aesthetic issue. Slanted teeth can promote bacteria buildup as it provides unique pockets within the gums. Straighter teeth help reduce the risk of periodontal disease and gingivitis. So choosing to straighten your teeth is a terrific idea, and with the help of Invisalign you’ll find it to be a simple process.
Invisalign works by first having your dentist take an Itero Digital 3D Scan of your teeth. Along with the scan, your doctor will take a series of photos and radiographs (x-rays). Both the photos and scan are emailed to an Invisalign manufacturing facility to be designed. Your dentist will communicate with an Invisalign technician to create a customized course of action. No two aligners are alike, and your aligners are for you and you alone. Because of this, your dentist will take careful measures to create aligners that will help shape a new smile you will love.
Once the aligners are designed, the Invisalign manufacturer creates a 3D ClinCheck video and sends it to your dentist. At this point, your dentist is able to guide you through the proposed plan for prospective results. Using 3D imaging, you’ll be able to see the aligners being used and how they will move your teeth for their optimal shape. Once all is approved, you are given your first set of aligners.
Invisalign Before and AfterInvisalign aligners are replaced every two weeks for approximately six months to a year. The aligners are recommended to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day and should only be removed for eating meals and when drinking any liquid that is not water.
Some patient’s teeth can require additional straightening depending on the severity of their teeth. For some cases, the lower premolars, with a rounded shape, can be difficult for the Invisalign mold to grasp. A bonded attachment made from a composite material can sometimes be required. Other patients may find that many of their teeth require a vertical movement. Invisalign works by applying pressure that moves teeth slowly throughout the six to twelve month period. However, some teeth may require a pulling or pushing technique to properly align. In these cases, different styles of composite attachments called buttons are used to help certain teeth.
As said before, all Invisalign aligners are unique to the patient. With that in mind, some patients might find traditional braces actually more efficient due to their specific issues. When preparing for Invisalign, this is something that both you and your doctor will discuss.
Invisalign is a simple and effective way to change a crooked smile into a straight and healthy one. If you or someone you know is interested in the Invisalign treatment, don’t hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental. We can help you get on the right track to a better smile.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0GuXsQEwv0

Process of a Dental Implant

June 19th, 2014

Dental ImplantLosing a tooth either by accident or through declining oral health can be a tough experience. It can affect your confidence and well-being along with your oral health. Dental implants are a great way to keep your smile looking great and prevent further damage to your mouth. Of course, dental implants aren’t as simple as one would hope and there are several aspects to receiving an implant. However, if you practice good oral hygiene and are in the hands of an experienced dentist, you should have no problem rebuilding an excellent smile.

A proper dental implant takes several weeks to resolve. The first step is to remove the infected, rotted tooth or to clean the area where a tooth has been lost. Next, if the gums are healthy, your dentist will surgically place a cylinder post made of titanium into your jawbone. This is known as the anchor and acts as the root of the tooth. It’s especially important, if you do lose a tooth, to try and receive the anchor as soon as possible so the bone can adhere properly to the post. This process is known as osseointegration. If the jawbone does not have a post to adhere to, it can naturally shrink back. Within a year of not having a tooth, a jawbone can shrink by 40% in the area of the missing tooth, and make it harder to place the anchor into the jaw.
Proccess of a Dental ImplantIt can take two weeks to a month for your jawbone to osseointegrate properly with the anchor. During that time, most patients are given a denture or temporary bridge to replace the missing tooth. Once the anchor is ready, the dentist will add a small connector to the anchor known as an abutment. The abutment connects the anchor to the replacement tooth
Just like a veneer for a chipped tooth, replacement teeth are measured and created to fit precisely in your mouth and to look as natural as possible. They are also color corrected to match the rest of your teeth to give a natural look that no one can tell the difference of.
Unlike replacing a vital organ, there is not much risk with the body “rejecting” the dental implant. As you adhere straight to bone without the need of tissue matching or blood typing, the risk is very minimal when it comes to a dental implant. Success is typically not measured by the implant accepting or rejecting bone, but placed more on the patient’s ability to practice good oral hygiene. Visiting your dentist after the procedure and making sure that gum tissue is healthy is the best way to keep your dental implant in top condition.
There are benefits to replacing a missing tooth as well. Most importantly it helps stop the loss of jawbone in your mouth and can help retain healthy bone structure that’s imperative for overall oral health. Infections in the area of the missing tooth can also occur more frequently than if a dental implant is secured to the area.
Candidates for dental implants are patients with healthy teeth and gums who practice proper oral hygiene. Typically if your teeth and gums are healthy enough to undergo bridgework or tooth extractions, they should be healthy enough to receive an implant. However, each patient's ability to receive implants and the time it will take for the jawbone to adhere to the anchor varies and an experienced dentist should know the exact steps needed to help you receive the best smile possible.
If you have any more questions about dental implants or are considering one for yourself, don’t hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental, Chicago’s highest rated dental office.
 
 
 

The Cosmetic and Health Benefits of Teeth Whitening

June 12th, 2014

Cosmetic and Health Benefits of Teeth WhiteningTeeth whitening isn’t just for aesthetic purposes anymore. Did you know it can actually have oral health benefits? While many patients come to our offices to receive safe and fast teeth whitening to make their smiles brighter and give themselves a great boost of confidence, many don’t realize that they are also helping control the pH level of their mouth. This is an important factor when it comes to controlling plaque, bacteria, and tooth decay.

The cosmetic benefits of teeth whitening are quite simple. Over time, even those with the most strict oral health practices can notice a change of color in their teeth. This comes from years of eating, drinking, and often smoking. Many common foods can drastically change the color to your teeth from a gleaming white, to a subtle off-white, yellow. Coffee, wine, tea, berries, pasta sauces, and cigarettes, and many more foods can discolor your teeth.
While you can prevent your teeth from becoming overly discolored by consistent oral hygiene, including brushing and mouthwash, discoloration can still occur. Whether you’re an actor, model, salesman, consultant, or just conscious of your looks, many professionals find it important to have a presentable, white smile. For this, many want to take advantage of teeth whitening products. The benefits of teeth whitening include a whiter, more confident smile. Many find discolored teeth an embarrassment and look to teeth whitening for a way of helping raise their self-esteem and give them that extra confidence to say hello to the beautiful woman standing at the other side of the cafe, or meeting their fiancé’s parents for the first time. A smile is a powerful tool.
Recently, research has observed that teeth whitening holds health benefits as well as cosmetic. The most effective teeth whitening products use a peroxide-based solution to whiten the teeth. These solutions can effectively remove plaque as well as control the pH level of the mouth.
The pH level of your mouth controls the environment of your mouth and can change a healthy mouth into a breeding ground for bacteria. When we eat or drink foods that are high in acidity, coffee, wine, citric fruits, etc, the pH level of our mouth becomes highly acidic. When the pH level of your mouth is too low, enamel begins to break down and bacteria can flourish.
When teeth whitening with peroxide-based solutions, an important byproduct known as urea can help control the pH level of the mouth. While a highly acidic mouth will have a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5, a more neutral level should rest around 7 and 8. Urea helps reduce plaque and prevent tooth decay by neutralizing the pH level of your mouth.  This is just one more reason to consider teeth whitening as not only a cosmetic benefit, but a health benefit as well.
When considering teeth whitening, look for products that are peroxide-based. Or, for the most effective teeth-whitening techniques, contact Water Tower Dental. We offer several methods to help whiten your teeth in due time. Whether it’s our Zoom! Whitening technique done in our office or the at-home kit that offers a personalized and private experience, you’ll find your teeth whiter and healthier within weeks. Contact us today, we’re happy to help!

The Benefits of Dental Digital X-Rays

June 5th, 2014

dentist digital x-raysDigital Radiography is the process of taking x-rays using digital components rather than film. There are many benefits to digital x-rays compared to the old, film versions of x-rays. Not only is it safer, it’s quicker, more efficient, and can help save your teeth from unseeable damage.

Prior to the digital age, x-rays required an expensive roll of film, that could not be exposed to light, and developed through a darkroom process with chemicals often harmful to the environment. The process took a considerable amount of time and money. And, if the photo did not capture your teeth perfectly, or missed a section the dentist wanted to specifically see, the process would have to be redone, starting from the beginning.

If the x-rays were taken correctly, there was still no way to zoom in, or manipulate the photo to enhance its view. This allowed dentists limited flexibility when it came to diagnosing with a film x-ray. And, when finished using an x-ray, they need to be stored in a safe and dry place for future use, often taking up much needed space in the dentist’s office.
Digital Radiography has changed all of that. Now, dentists are able to capture full x-rays of the mouth that are able to be viewed within seconds. If the dentist does not capture the exact area they are focused on, it’s a quick snap and only a few more seconds to confirm the proper x-ray. As well, it reduces the use of environmentally harmful chemicals that are needed to develop film.
Digital x-rays also allow for a good amount of manipulation and available processing. Zooming in on specific areas and changing the color or contrast of the image allows for better evaluation of the x-ray and your teeth. The more knowledge your dentist is able to receive, the better they will be at taking proper care of your teeth.
Further benefits include the ability to immediately share the x-rays with doctors in other facilities. For example, if your dentist wanted you to see and orthodontic surgeon, they could quickly forward the x-rays for inspection rather than making the orthodontist take additional x-rays. As well, if you wanted the x-rays for your own records, the dentist could easily forward to you through email.
When finished with the x-rays, your dentist is able to easily store the images, along with all patients on a digital hard drive. This allows for easy access without the need for physical storage.
Best of all, digital x-rays often use much less radiation to capture their images. In some cases, up to 70% less radiation than a film x-ray. This makes it safer for patients to receive x-rays and reduces the worry of over-exposure to radiation.
Digital radiography is a safer and more efficient process to taking x-rays of a patient’s mouth. Whether it be a periapical, bitewing, occlusal, or full mouth view, digital x-rays can help dentists get the most from their x-rays while saving much needed space, reducing use of harmful chemicals, and keeping radiation exposure to a minimum.
If you have more questions about the benefits digital radiography, or would like to talk to an experienced dentist about receiving x-rays for your teeth and a proper cleaning, contact Water Tower Dental today. We are happy to help!

What is CEREC and How Does it Work?

March 13th, 2014

CERECWater Tower Dental is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the field of dentistry. One of the most exciting advancements in the last few years has been the introduction and updates of the CEREC, a software innovation that allows dentists to digitally design all-ceramic crowns and porcelain veneers in just one visit.
CEREC offers a metal-free alternative to crowns. Rather, CEREC uses all-ceramic crowns to cover your tooth and protect it from more damage. The best yet - your crown can be completed in one day!

Why Would You Need CEREC and a Crown?

Before understanding what CEREC does, it’s best to understand why you would need a crown. Crowns come into play when an old filling or tooth becomes cracked or broken. When this happens, your dentist must remove the filling and compromised areas, and place a crown or cap over the tooth.
Crowns are typically made from a combination metal, porcelain, or ceramic. A crown procedure starts with your dentist shaving down your tooth so a crown could be placed atop of it. Next, they would take a wax molding of the shaved tooth and its surrounding neighbors that will help create a crown. Then, either the dentist or a separate lab would need to create the porcelain crown from the wax mold provided. Once it is created (which can take weeks) the crown is placed over your tooth and adhered tightly to protect your tooth from any further damage.
The trouble with this method can be the amount of time it takes from when your dentist prescribes a crown and when you actually receive the crown. The time in between can be uncomfortable, as well, as you have to make several visits to your dentist to finish the procedure. With CEREC you can avoid these inconveniences and receive a metal-free crown within one visit.

How Does CEREC Work?

CERECThe beginning of the crown process is the same. First, your dentist will shave down your tooth to prepare it for a crown. However, rather than a wax mold, your dentist is able to use the CEREC scanner to make a 3D image of your tooth and the surrounding area. The image is uploaded to a design unit with uses CAD/CAM software to create a 3D model of the new crown.
Once a crown is designed, your dentist will use an onsite-milling machine to create the crown from a block of high quality ceramic. Once it is made, your dentist will use polish and stain to make the color of the crown match that of your teeth. Once you and your dentist are happy with the look of the crown, it is placed over the shaven tooth and adhered with cement. Simple as that.
CEREC’s technology can be used for any crown or cap and is a great advancement within dentistry. Same-day technology is making it easier for patients and doctors alike. If you would like to more about this great technology, or are interested setting up an appointment with Water Tower Dental to help crown a tooth, contact us today, we’d be happy to help.

What is iTero and how can it help?

March 6th, 2014

itero chicago dental careDentistry has never been at a more exciting time when it comes to the rise of technology to help service the needs of the patient. One of the best technological developments is the iTero digital scanner. How does an iTero work, and how can it help you?
iTero enables doctors to take a 3D digital scan of a patient’s teeth and bite so adjustments can be made digitally for the use of several important dental procedures. Let’s first start with how it works.

With the use of a small, handheld scanner, a dentist scans your teeth and makes sure to capture every angle possible. In some cases, the doctor must scan the entire mouth, while in others, only a section of the teeth. Either case, the process is very similar with the handheld device scanning every angle of teeth.
Once completed, the images are sent to the computer and rendered to create the composite image, which combines all angles to create a 3D model of your teeth. Once the image has loaded, doctors can use this to create everything from an Invisalign mold to full tooth implants. Here’s what procedures iTero helps the most:

Invisalign:

With iTero, Invisalign has never been more accurate. With the 3D model of your teeth, doctors are able to manipulate your current teeth structure and bite to determine what will best help your teeth align. There’s no guessing when you can employ iTero to structure your teeth the way you would hope they looked. iTero will help create the several molds that would guide the patient through the teeth alignment process. Then, once approved, the digital files can be sent to a lab for mold creation. The process is faster for the doctor, the lab, but most importantly, the patient.

Restoration:

If a tooth is in bad shape and needs to be replaced or crowned, iTero is a great help. First, the doctor takes a scan of the tooth in question and the area around it. Once loaded, the doctor can review the scan and determine what would work as a solution. For a new tooth or crowns, the scan is sent to a lab where a model can be fabricated using the digital technology. Once created, the tooth is sent back to the office where the dentist is able to restore your tooth.
Even more interesting, doctors now have the capability of creating the restored tooth mold the same day with a chair side E4D Mill. First, a scan is made, then the doctor can design the new tooth mold on their computer and print the tooth in a very short amount of time. For implants, the process does take a little longer to complete and is needed to be sent to the lab. However for smaller needs, the E4D Mill is a great help.

Orthodontic and TMJ

Because the iTero is able to take a full scan of the teeth, it can be used to assist with orthodontic of TMJ issues. The full scan can be taken and reviewed by technicians to determine the alignment of your bite and if any steps need to be taken to help restore the functionality of your teeth and jaw.
Technology has come a long way since the start of dentistry. We’re excited for future advancements, and even more excited for the advancements happening today. With the use of iTero, we are able to help our patients get the service they need in a timely manner with exact precision. Here at Water Tower Dental, we use iTero specifically for Invisalign, but by taking advantage of another piece of technology we can help with Restoration, Orthodontic and TMJ. So if you're looking for more information on how we use technology in the office, and what it can do for your teeth, don't hesitate to contact us today!