dental care

​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.

​Newborn Thrush vs Milk on Tongue: What's on My Baby's Tongue?

March 9th, 2017

Newborn Thrush

Noticing a white coating on your baby’s tongue can definitely be a cause for concern for many parents. Sometimes there’s a completely harmless reason, such as milk staining the tongue, or it can also be a symptom of newborn thrush.

In this post, we’ll examine what newborn thrush is and how you can tell if your child has it.

What is Newborn thrush?

Newborn thrush is caused by an over-abundance of yeast called Candida Albicans. This fungus normally lives in everyone’s mouth, but an overgrowth can result in an infection. The immune system usually controls this and stops illness from occurring. However, in babies, the immune system is still developing, which is why thrush in newborns is very common. In fact, the same type of infection can cause diaper rash, another common ailment on babies. Thankfully, yeast infections are usually harmless and are easily treatable.

Newborn Thrush vs Milk Coating

So how can you tell the difference between newborn thrush and milk coating?

We know that a baby’s main source of food is usually milk, which can leave a white coating in the mouth. This white coating may mirror the look of thrush on the tongue, and so it may be hard for new parents and caregivers to tell the difference.

When milk stains the tongue, it tends to be temporary, so it is always worth a look to see what your baby’s mouth looks like after a feed. Milk will wipe off easily, leaving a healthy pink tongue underneath.

Thrush, however, can result in white patches found on the tongue. It can look like cottage cheese or curdled milk, which is why it is sometimes hard to detect. These patches can be wiped away as well, but will often leave red, sore spots, and can sometimes result in bleeding. This does not always cause a baby to fuss but they may find it difficult to feed afterwards.

Preventing Newborn Thrush

Thrush in newborns is rarely serious and is easily treated. Sometimes the ailment can go away on its own, but it is always worth seeing your doctor for treatment.

Dentists suggest cleaning your baby’s mouth after each feed. You can do this with a sterile gauze or clean washcloth dipped in warm water, and then wipe away any milk residue.

Newborn thrush may look like a scary thing to new mothers, but it doesn’t have to be, as long as you know what to look for and how to differentiate between thrush and milk on the tongue. Seek appropriate treatment for both you and your baby if problems develop, but remember that thrush is a common issue that is usually harmless and easily treated.

If you have additional questions about thrush and how to prevent it, don’t be afraid to bring it up at your next dental appointment. Request an appointment with our dentists today!

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.

​Can Flossing Cause Gaps Between Your Teeth?

February 23rd, 2017

​Can Flossing Cause Gaps Between Your Teeth?

Flossing has become a controversial topic, thanks to the latest report from the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture. In its most recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, flossing is not included as part of a daily health regimen. However, the departments, alongside the American Dental Association (ADA), Center for Disease Control and others, reaffirmed that flossing helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

According to the ADA, interdental cleaners, such as floss, remove plaque and food debris that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas that a toothbrush can’t reach. The ADA recommends brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day as well as flossing to clean between teeth once a day.

Does Flossing Cause Teeth Gaps?

Flossing is often overlooked due to convenience (we know you’re busy!) or misinformation despite the recommendation to floss daily. In fact, some think that flossing can cause gaps between your teeth and skip flossing altogether.

While you can experience gaps in between your teeth when flossing, the gaps do not occur because flossing itself is harmful. Instead, gaps can occur due to flossing mistakes and improper flossing such as cutting your gums.

Common Flossing Mistakes That Can Lead to Teeth Gaps

You Cut Your Gums.

Forcing the floss in between the teeth causes the floss to snap down and cut your gums. Not only is this painful, but it can cause the gums to recede overtime and create—you guessed it—gaps in between your teeth.

You Stop Flossing When Your Gums Bleed.

Gums often bleed because plaque on the teeth irritate and inflame the gums. If your gums bleed when you floss, it is a sign you have built-up plaque that needs to be removed or have gum disease.

How to Properly Floss Your Teeth

If you are experiencing gaps between your teeth, you may just need to properly floss your teeth, in addition to your twice daily brushing and regular dentist office visits every six months.

Start by breaking a string about 18 inches of floss. Then, wind most of it around your middle fingers on both hands. Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and forefingers.

Now guide the floss gently between your teeth using a sawing motion. Remember to avoid snapping and forcing the floss into the gums, which can cause irritation, bleeding and even recessed gums and teeth gaps over time.

Bend the floss into a C-shape around the tooth when the floss reaches the gum line, allowing the floss to reach all the way to the base of the tooth.

Next, rub each side of the tooth gently using up and down motions as you move the floss away from the gums. This helps remove any built-up plaque or trapped food particles.

Keep moving to another tooth using a clean section of floss every time. Be sure to floss the very last teeth all the way in the back—just because there isn’t another tooth next to them doesn’t mean plaque and food particles like to hide there too.

Finally, rinse with water or mouthwash.

Flossing every day is essential to your oral health. Without flossing, built-up plaque can lead to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and even gaps in between the teeth.

If you continue to experience problems flossing or have any questions, visit Water Tower Dental Care or contact us to schedule an appointment. We can take a look at your teeth to see if there are any serious issues and teach you the proper way to floss.

​Why Does Water Hurt My Teeth? Tooth Sensitivity to Water

February 16th, 2017

​Why Does Water Hurt My Teeth? Tooth Sensitivity to Water

Have you ever taken a sip of water and felt a sharp pain in your teeth? This likely means that you have sensitive teeth, and that doing something simple, such as drinking a glass of water, or taking a deep breath through your mouth, can be painful.

So what causes this and how can you fix it?

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel on our teeth gets thinner, or when our gums recede. There are many reasons why this could be happening:

  • You might be brushing your teeth too hard. When you put too much pressure on your teeth while brushing, you can gradually start wearing down the protective layers of your teeth. When this occurs, the tubes or canals that lead to your nerves may become exposed, which can lead to pain or discomfort, especially when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Try using lighter strokes when brushing.
  • You could have cavities or loose fillings. Cavities are holes in your teeth that can grow bigger over time. The bigger the hole gets, the more sensitive your teeth can feel. If you think you might have a cavity, or one of your fillings may be loose, make sure to see your dentist right away.
  • You’re grinding your teeth. Grinding your teeth can wear down the protective enamel on your teeth, but many people may not even realize that they’re doing it. Oftentimes, people grind their teeth in their sleep.
  • You could have a cracked or broken tooth. A cracked or broken tooth can expose the tooth’s nerve, which can cause sensitivity or pain.
  • You may have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. If that plaque is not removed with brushing and flossing, it may harden and form “tartar,” which is then very difficult to remove. Teeth sensitivity can be a symptom of gum disease.
  • Your mouthwash or toothpaste could be causing it. Some teeth-whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes contain chemicals that your teeth may become sensitive to. Try switching to a mouthwash with less chemicals and a desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne.
  • The foods you’re eating might be too acidic. Excessive consumption of acidic foods or beverages can put your teeth at risk for tooth sensitivity.


Treatments For Sensitive Teeth

If you’re experiencing pain associated with sensitive teeth, there are a number of treatments a dentist can perform that may help, depending on the cause.

  • Desensitizing with Gluma is a dental treatment that can help your teeth become less sensitive by stopping by occluding (blocking) the microscopic tubules that compose dentin, thereby preventing the flow of fluid and decreasing sensitivity.
  • Gum Disease Treatment Therapy can help treat gum disease, a major contributor of teeth sensitivity, with targeted treatments designed just for you.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding can fix a broken tooth or decay that might be causing your teeth to be sensitive. Water Tower Dental Care is proud to offer porcelain crowns in just one visit with CEREC technology.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or have any questions about it, please contact Water Tower Dental Care today.

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.

Floss Picks vs. Traditional String Floss: Do Picks Work?​

January 19th, 2017

Floss Picks vs. Traditional String Floss: Do Picks Work?​

Flossing is a crucial component of a healthy mouth – the American Dental Association recommends cleaning between the teeth once a day – but it’s a commonly overlooked hygiene practice. With many types of interdental cleaning tools on the market, there’s no excuse to skip that part of the routine. But when it comes to flossing, what kind of floss works best?

Traditional String Floss

There are many different kinds of dental floss – waxed, unwaxed, dental tape – that come in plastic containers holding long spools of one continuous thread. To floss, one piece, typically about 18 inches long, is broken off and wound around the fingers, then worked gently in between the teeth as well between each tooth and the gumline. A new, clean segment of floss is generally used for each tooth.

Traditional floss can be tricky for some people to use properly. It requires dexterous fingers to unwrap a new section of floss for each tooth, and it can be difficult to reach the crevices between teeth in the back of the mouth. Some people also find traditional floss to be too harsh on their gums, causing pain and bleeding.

Floss Picks

Floss picks, or flosser picks, are small, plastic devices with a piece of dental floss pre-threaded through the opening. Floss picks should be worked gently in between the teeth the same way as traditional flossing, to help loosen and remove plaque and food particles.

Picks are a newer kind of interdental cleaner, and they’re popular because they’re easy to use. The plastic handle makes it easier to hold, eliminating the need to wind and unwind sections of floss around the fingers, which can be awkward and uncomfortable. It also allows for better access to the teeth further back in the mouth. Floss picks are also portable and easy to stash in a purse or desk drawer to take care of any unsightly food particles while at work or eating out.

But the same plastic design that makes floss picks easy to use also makes them somewhat less effective than standard dental floss. They can clean between the back teeth better, but the design makes it more challenging to use proper flossing technique throughout the mouth, working in between both sides of the tooth and under the gum line.

Using just a single pick to floss the entire mouth can also create an unhealthy oral environment by redistributing particles and bacteria from one part of the mouth to another. With traditional dental floss, a clean section of floss is typically used for each tooth, but with picks, the same very small segment of floss is re-used over and over.

Which is Better: Traditional Floss or Picks?

When it comes to dental floss, the tried and true traditional string floss is generally more effective. Using it with proper technique helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth, which prevents bad bacteria from growing. With many different varieties and even flavors, there’s a dental floss for nearly everyone, from children to those with sensitive gums.

Using floss picks is still better than simply forgoing flossing, however. For people who struggle to use traditional floss, like those with very large or arthritic hands, or those who can never seem to reach the very back teeth, floss picks are a great alternative.

Want more tips for healthy teeth? Contact Water Tower Dental Care today to learn more.

​Why Do Dentists Wear Masks?

January 12th, 2017

Why Do Dentists Wear Masks?

You may notice that your dentist, along with the rest of their staff, is always wearing a mask when you are inside the actual dental procedure room. If you've ever wondered why they do this, the answer is a fairly simple one – the mask helps control the spread of infectious particles, and other unwanted germs that reside inside the human mouth.

Wearing these masks is also part of the protocol established by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. Any dental employee who may come into contact with blood must take part in training on infection control, and understanding the importance of a proper mask is part of that training.

Protecting The Dental Practitioner

All doctors likely come into contact with germs and particles while they are working, and a dentist is no different. This can range from a basic cold or virus to a major blood-borne disease.

Your dentist and their colleagues are preventing themselves from many infections that can be transmitted, and they also cover themselves from transferring any type of particles from one patient to the next.

Does The Mask Protect Me?

Your dentist’s mask, along with other sanitation procedures, are all done with your health and safety in mind. The dentist's mask protects you from any germs he or she may have picked up from other patients and limits the transmission of those germs. Dental work is often performed with the doctor and the patient within very close proximity of one another. The mask allows, among other things, for the doctor to communicate freely with the patient without having to move away from their work area to do so.

What Are Other Safety Precautions My Dentist Takes?

One of the first things you may see a dentist do is to wash their hands. They then apply sterile gloves, along with the mask. He or she will also have their instruments completely sterilized, and ready to provide a safe, sterile environment for your dental work. Dentists are required to sterilize their instruments in line with CDC and ADA guidelines, and they often utilize special machines to do so. A simple wash is not enough to completely sterilize dental instruments.

Items such as needles and other single-use equipment are thrown away after each use and a new one is used for each patient. Any item that is disposable that comes into contact with blood of any kind is thrown away in a special receptacle immediately after use is complete.

There are items in a dental room that cannot be sterilized in the same fashion as the instruments. Things like the X-ray machine, the counters, and other heavy equipment are typically wiped down and thoroughly cleaned after each and every patient visit.

Conclusion

Whenever you visit a medical professional, you should have high expectations of a clean, safe and sterile environment. The mask your dentist wears is part of that, and you shouldn’t allow any dental office that doesn’t require its staff to wear masks during procedures to work on your mouth. With Water Tower Dental Care, your safety and comfortability is our top priority. Contact us today to book an appointment.

​Does Apple Cider Vinegar Whiten Teeth?

December 22nd, 2016

​Does Apple Cider Vinegar Whiten Teeth?Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a natural health remedy. It can aid digestion, help control blood sugar levels, alleviate sunburns, make hair shinier, and maybe even play a role in weight loss!

Another claim about the benefits of using apple cider vinegar is that it can act as a natural tooth whitener. Is the miracle cure apple cider vinegar really a whitening agent and, if so, how safe is it to use at home?

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Vinegar is a sour liquid made during a fermentation process that converts sugar to alcohols and then the alcohol into acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar, which has about 5% acidity, comes from apples and plain water. It’s used for marinades, salad dressings, pickling, and a wide variety of home remedies, including teeth whitening.

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has been reported to help remove plaque from teeth and remedy stains caused by smoking or drinking red wine or coffee. Apple cider vinegar is also touted for improving overall mouth health by killing “bad” bacteria and fostering healthy bacteria.

Nearly everyone wants brilliant white movie star teeth, and apple cider vinegar could be an easy, accessible way to get a little closer to that goal. Instead of making expensive, time-consuming teeth whitening products or in-office appointments, just reach in the pantry!

Mixed with water and used as a rinse or mouthwash, or combined with baking soda and rubbed directly onto the teeth as a paste, apple cider vinegar is getting recognition as an all-natural alternative to traditional whitening mouthwashes and toothpaste. But is it as great as some people say?

Potential Risks of Vinegar as a Whitening Agent

As with any “cure-all” treatment, there’s a catch. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, with a pH of 3.075, and using too much can damage the tooth enamel, which starts to erode at a pH of 5.5.

Enamel erosion will actually make the tooth surfaces appear darker as the shiny white outer layer breaks down. When the protective outer enamel becomes weakened from too much acidity, it can lead to tooth sensitivity.

Although sometimes ingested to help ward off minor illnesses like colds and sore throats, swallowing undiluted apple cider vinegar can also cause throat irritation.

The Best Way to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Whiten Teeth

To safely use apple cider vinegar as an organic, all-natural tooth-whitening agent, the key is to dilute and use sparingly. Create a rinse of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water, and gently swish around the mouth for about one minute.

To avoid damaging the enamel, be sure to dilute the vinegar before it comes in contact with the teeth. After rinsing, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing teeth. Even diluted, the vinegar can be abrasive, and applying a rough toothbrush to the tooth’s enamel surfaces right away can do more harm than good.

Apple cider vinegar as a whitening rinse won’t lead to immediately brighter, whiter teeth. Consistent use over time – making sure to dilute to avoid enamel erosion – can eventually lead to a whiter smile. Always be sure to consult a dentist first to make sure it’s the best choice. Often, manufactured mouthwashes and toothpaste can deliver visible results more quickly without the risks, although they typically are not all-natural products.

With careful use, apple cider vinegar may be a smart option for organic tooth whitening. As with any product, natural or manufactured, consult a health professional before use and use in moderation for the greatest benefit with minimal risk.

Want another option for whiter teeth? Water Tower Dental Care offers Zoom! Teeth Whitening. Zoom! is a leading teeth whitening system that brightens smiles up to eight shades in about an hour. For more information on Zoom! or other tips for a healthier, whiter smile, Contact us to learn more.

​5 Reasons Why Water Tower Dental Care Is Unique

December 15th, 2016

5 Unusual Tips to Keep Your Gums in Tip-Top Shape from Our DentistsFor the most gorgeous teeth in Chicago – or anywhere – Water Tower Dental Care is the best in general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. The practice boasts exceptional patient care using advanced technology in a luxurious office setting.

1 – Leading Technology

Water Tower Dental Care is proud to use cutting edge technology to deliver the best care for all patients. Intraoral cameras on a pen-sized wand project live imaging in the exam room, allowing patients to see what the dentist sees and develop a better standing of their individual oral health.

Digital radiography and 3D CBCT imaging produces detailed images for more accurate diagnoses while exposing patients to 90% less radiation, and DIAGNOdent laser technology facilitates early detection of areas of tooth decay for minimally invasive treatment.

Lasers, or concentrated light beams, allow the Water Tower dentists to perform procedures like gum recontouring, gum lightening, and bacterial reduction. Another light system, the VELscope, illuminates abnormal tissues that might be at risk for oral cancer but could go unseen by the naked eye.

T-scan Bite Analysis uses a digital system to measure the force of each person’s bite and identify issues with the alignment that could cause pain or problems later.

This advanced technology allows Water Tower Dental Care to quickly and accurately identify issues and address them proactively.

2 – World-Class Dentistry

Dr. Daniel Aneszkoand Dr. Rana Stino deliver high-quality, comprehensive care tailored to each patient for the best possible experience. Both hold advanced degrees from leading universities, are board-certified Doctors of Dental Surgery, and are members of multiple national dental organizations. Drs. Aneszko and Stino continue to pursue training in new technology and education in specialized dentistry each year to ensure they are delivering the most effective, world-class treatments to each patient.

3 – Specializes in Spectacular

A quality dentist can provide excellent oral health care, but Dr. Anesko and Dr. Stino specialize in making their patients’ teeth look gorgeous through cosmetic dentistry.

Enamel remineralization therapy evens out the enamel, creating a brighter, whiter smile with stronger, less sensitive teeth. Minimal prep or porcelain veneers mask stained or oddly shaped teeth for a dazzling smile. Zoom! Whitening Therapy can transform teeth up to 8 shades, from stained and yellowed to Hollywood white, in just over one hour of in-office treatment! For convenience, Zoom and Water Tower Dental Care also offer custom whitening trays for at-home treatments.

Invisalign clear braces help straighten teeth discretely, with clear trays that fit over teeth. An advanced 3-D scan helps map the teeth and create a treatment plan to straighten teeth in about 12 months.

4 – Top-Notch Customer Service

Water Tower Dental Care proudly offers customer service that rivals that of the Ritz-Carlton. Office patients are greeted with coffee, tea, or juice, a comfortable waiting area, and access to WIFI and iPads, and the office carries a selection of prescription products for conveniences. For patients who may be nervous about dental visits, the location boasts a relaxation room. TVs and noise-cancelling headphones are available for use during treatment.

For out of town patients, Water Tower Dental Care is happy to provide a luxury concierge service to arrange travel, accommodations, transportation around the city, and recommendations and reservations for restaurants, shows, shopping, and local attractions and entertainment.

5 – Location, location, location

Water Tower Dental Care is named after the iconic Chicago building where the office is located. The practice is in the heart of Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile, in the Water Tower Place Building at 845 North Michigan Avenue. The area is known for its shopping, dining, entertainment, and luxury condominiums.

If all this sounds good to you, please don't hesitate to make an appointment with Chicago's number one dentistry, Water Tower Dental Care, today! We're looking forward to serving you.

Proper Way to Use a Sonicare Electric Toothbrush

December 8th, 2016

Proper Way To Use A Sonicare ToothbrushThere are many ways to brush teeth, but some are much more effective than others. Using a Sonicare Electric Toothbrush, the number one brand recommended by dental professionals, delivers a superior clean for a healthier mouth. For optimal results, even this advanced toothbrush needs to be used properly.

How to Use a Sonicare Electric Toothbrush

Many people learn how to brush as kids using a circular motion with a manual toothbrush. With the Sonicare, the brush does the work for you, with a vibrating sweeping motion equal to more than 30,000 brush strokes per minute! Simply angle the brush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line, hit the “On” button, and hold the brush gently on both sides of each tooth for a few seconds. Many Sonicare brushes come equipped with timers that automatically stop the brush after two minutes, the recommended length of time for brushing.

The Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Advantage

Sonicare toothbrushes excel at removing plaque, whitening teeth, and promoting healthy gums. With proper use, these brushes can lead to healthier gums in just two weeks. Sonicare brushes use a “sonic” technology, which produces a sweeping motion to remove plaque and create microbubbles that can get deeper in between the teeth than other brushes. The motion is gentle, and with different cleaning modes, the brushes help reduce gum inflammation and sensitivity after only a few weeks of use. Sonicare brushes also have exceptional battery life, nearly three weeks for some models, for convenient travel use.

Different models have different features. There are up to five cleaning modes and even sensors that vibrate if you’re brushing with too much pressure. The DiamondClean comes with five cleaning modes, three brush heads, a USB charging case for travel, and a sleek charging glass. The Flexcare Platinum Connected brush features Bluetooth connectivity and an app that tracks your brushing habits, gives customized feedback through its Coaching App for the best clean possible, and notifies you when it’s time for a new brush head.

Common Electric Toothbrush Mistakes

The advantages of using an electric toothbrush, especially a Sonicare, rather than a manual brush are numerous, but an electric toothbrush won’t deliver a better clean unless it’s used properly!

One of the most common mistakes is brushing too aggressively with an electric toothbrush. Remember, the brush does all the work once it’s powered on. Instead of moving it back and forth or in circles over the teeth, electric toothbrushes simply need to be held gently against the tooth surface at the gum line to clean.

Before powering the brush on, apply just a small amount of toothpaste to the brush head, and hold off on hitting the power button until the brush is in your mouth to avoid toothpaste splatter all over your face and bathroom sink!

To prevent sensitivity and achieve the best clean, be sure to get the best fitting brush head for your mouth. People with smaller mouths may need smaller brush heads to brush comfortably. Those with sensitive gums should look for soft bristles and be careful not to apply too much pressure. If you have an electric brush with multiple settings, choose the one that best fits your needs, whether that’s whitening, deep clean, sensitive, or gum care.

If your teeth feel the cleanest they’ve ever felt after using a Sonicare Electric Toothbrush, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t need to brush as often! Consistency is key. Remember to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day to maintain a healthy mouth, teeth, and gums. Want more tips for healthy teeth? Contact us to learn more.

Is Baking Soda Actually Good for Your Teeth?

May 12th, 2016

Baking Soda for Brushing TeethIf you’re a fan of DIY dental care, you’ve probably heard of using baking soda to clean and whiten your teeth. Before you take on any DIY healthcare you read about online, it’s important to do your research. Using baking soda too regularly could cause irreversible damage to your enamel. However, that doesn’t mean you should never use baking soda on your teeth. Let’s explore if baking soda is actually good for your teeth now.

What is Baking Soda?

In many people’s homes, baking soda doesn’t leave the kitchen. But baking soda actually has a tremendous variety uses. From cleaning your bathroom to making your clothes smell better, it’s pretty amazing to see what baking soda can do.
Technically speaking, baking soda is a salt called sodium bicarbonate. It usually comes in the form of white powder, though it can also be seen as a small crystal. Along with a host of other uses, baking soda has become a popular ingredient for cleaning teeth

Why Do People Use Baking Soda On Their Teeth?

So why would people use a popular baking ingredient on their teeth? Well, baking soda has actually proven to provide some pretty great teeth cleaning benefits. According to the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, those who brushed their teeth with baking soda experienced significantly better plaque removal than those who brushed their teeth without baking soda.
Baking soda has also been found to effectively remove surface stains on teeth, making them look whiter. However, baking soda can only help with surface stains. For more severe stains, you will want to speak to your dentist about professional teeth whitening treatments. Finally, it can also make your breath smell better and it’s incredibly cheap - typically around $1 for a box that will last a while.
How does a simple household product provide all of these benefits? Baking soda is made up of a chemical compound that makes it a mild abrasive. Baking soda’s abrasiveness allows it to clean stains off of your teeth so well. Though the American Dental Association (ADA) has not approved brushing teeth with just baking soda, they have accepted toothpaste with baking soda in it.

How Can Baking Soda Be Bad For Your Teeth?

Just because baking soda has been found to be good for your teeth in some instances doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious with it. Overdoing it with baking soda can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. And, like we mentioned above, the ADA has not approved brushing your teeth with pure baking soda.
Since baking soda is abrasive, you can cause irreversible damage to your teeth’s enamel by eroding it if you continue to use it over time. This erosion can cause your teeth to become sensitive and makes you more vulnerable to cavities.
Baking soda also doesn’t contain fluoride, so you will need to use a regular toothpaste as well to ensure your teeth stay strong and to prevent cavities.
Finally, you will want to avoid using baking soda on your teeth if you wear braces or permanent retainers. Baking soda can soften the glue in braces and permanent retainers. The last thing you want to do is pay for new braces due to baking soda.
While baking soda can be an excellent way to keep your teeth looking and feeling healthy, you need to make sure you’re using it safely. At Water Tower Dental Care, we can recommend safe and effective dental care products that include baking soda to ensure that you are keeping your teeth as healthy as they can be. If you have more severe teeth staining than baking soda can help with, contact us to discuss professional teeth whitening. We can brighten your teeth up to eight shades in about one hour with Zoom! Teeth Whitening!

What Causes Receding Gums?

February 5th, 2015

What Causes Receding GumsReceding gums happen when the gum tissue that surrounds the lower ends of the teeth begin to wear away and pull back, thus exposing the tooth and possibly its root. Gaps between the teeth, also known as pockets, form, allowing bacteria to nestle inside the available space causing more harm, including inflammation, gum disease, and tooth loss. To help prevent your gums from receding, it helps to know what causes receding gums, and ultimately, how to prevent it.
There are a number of reasons for receding gums, some which are not in your control, and some which are. Here are the main causes of receding gums:

Periodontal or Gum Disease

While receding gums can often perpetuate and/or cause gum disease, it can also cause your gums to recede. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that destroys gum tissue, which first includes the areas around the teeth.

Brushing Too Hard

While you may think you’re doing a good job brushing, you may actually be causing more damage than good if you brush too aggressively. This can wear down the enamel of your teeth and push your gums down, causing them to recede.

Genes

Unfortunately, some people are more susceptible to receding gums and gum disease than others. If your family members have had problems with their gums, you may want to pay more attention to yours.

Hormones

Another uncontrollable factor, certain periods in a woman’s lifetime can cause hormonal changes that cause your gums to become more sensitive and more prone to gum disease and receding gums. This includes puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

Tobacco

Tobacco products tend to leave more plaque on your teeth, allowing more bacteria to build up and cause your gums to recede.

Lack of Dental Care

Along with brushing and flossing daily, visits to your dentist for cleanings and inspection will help keep your gums from receding. Ignoring both daily brushing and flossing as well as dental visits, will allow plaque and tartar to build up and your gums to recede.

Grinding Your Teeth

When you grind your teeth, you are often putting too much force on them, which can result in gums receding.
These are the main causes of receding gums, all, except for two, you are able to prevent. The good news is, that with proper care, you can improve the effects of receding gums and gum disease. If it’s a more serious case of gum disease, a visit to your dentist for a deep cleaning, and potentially a prescription for antibiotics to kill the bacteria, will be in order. In the worst cases, soft tissue grafts and pocket depth reduction procedures can help stop your gums from receding and build a better smile.
The best way to prevent receding gums is by daily brushing and flossing along with the use of a low-alcohol mouthwash. Dental check ups with an experienced dentist every six months are also a necessity. As well, avoid tobacco products and eat foods high in nutritional content such as fruits and vegetables.
While it may not be a concern now, receding gums and gum disease can lead to many more complications you will be happier without. Taking preventative measures and understanding the causes are the best way to keep that bright smile.

Should I Use Mouthwash Before or After Brushing My Teeth?

November 20th, 2014

Woman using mouthwash Using mouthwash correctly may not seem like a hard task, but if you are concerned with properly caring for your teeth and gums, it’s important to understand how to maximize the effectiveness of your mouthwash. One of the hardest questions to answer concerning mouthwash is if you should use it before or after brushing your teeth. Unfortunately there’s no definite answer, because it depends on what you’re aiming for with your mouthwash and how you want it to affect your mouth. That said, there is no wrong answer, if you use mouthwash before, after, or both you’re doing a much better job than not using mouthwash at all.

To decide if you want to use your mouthwash before or after your brushing, it’s first best to understand exactly what mouthwash can do for you. Its main purpose is to help kill bad bacteria in your mouth and loosen/flush out particles and plaque that are in the mouth.
When choosing a mouthwash, there’s not many you can go wrong with. Mouthwashes are often made very similarly, with the biggest difference being flavor and extra offerings, such as making your teeth whiter. However, many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which is less desirable than an alcohol-free mouthwash. Don’t get is wrong, a mouthwash with alcohol as an ingredient can still do wonders, however it can dry out your mouth. This can lower the production of saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense against bad bacteria.
We recommend finding a mouthwash that is free of alcohol. Or, if you have a mouthwash with alcohol, try diluting it with water. A 20 to 70 ratio of water to mouthwash can work just fine at helping lessen the effects of the alcohol without making your mouthwash less effective.
Choosing when to use your mouthwash, now that you have chosen the mouthwash for you, is again up to you.

Using Mouthwash Before Brushing

If you use your mouthwash before brushing, the mouthwash has a good chance of breaking up a lot of the plaque and particles in your mouth making it easier for your toothbrush to get to the harder spots of the mouth and teeth and really scrub away plaque. This is similar to how you might rinse off your dirty dishes after dinner before placing them in the dishwasher.

Using Mouthwash After Brushing

If before brushing is similar to rinsing your dishes, after brushing is similar to soaking your dishes in diluted bleach water after they’re clean. Your mouthwash is making sure all of the scrubbed off residue and plaque is out of the mouth. And, if you choose to not rinse out your mouth after, is helping disinfect for a longer amount of time.

Using Mouthwash Both Before and After Brushing

For the over-achievers, rinsing both before and after you brush your teeth might be the best option. You’re loosening particles and plaque before and making sure they’re completely free of particles after. All the while killing as much bacteria as possible.
It’s really up to you on how you choose to use your mouthwash. According to a BreathMD poll, most people like to choose after brushing to use their mouthwash. However, that doesn’t make either way right or wrong.
 

Electric Toothbrush Vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which is Better?

November 6th, 2014

Electric Toothbrush Vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which is Better?When it comes to choosing a toothbrush, you definitely have some options. A pharmacy often dedicates a whole aisle to toothbrushes, giving you a long list of choices. One of the hardest decisions when choosing a toothbrush can be between a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush. Many question between a manual and an electric toothbrush, which is better? However, the answer isn’t necessarily which is better, but which is right for you. Though electric toothbrushes technically clean your teeth more effectively, they may not be right for everyone.

For decades, the manual toothbrush was the common standard for oral healthcare. The modern manual toothbrush, made of nylon bristles, was developed and introduced in the 1930s by the DuPont Company. For most consumers, that is the toothbrush they have known their whole life. Though there may have been some advancements in the manual nylon toothbrush, the design has remained relatively the same since it was introduced.
In the 1990s, the electric toothbrush was introduced to the market. The head of the toothbrush is driven by motor to oscillate or rotate. This gives the brusher a consistent pressure against the teeth. Many electric toothbrushes also come with timers that stop after two minutes and pressure monitors: if you’re pressing too hard against your teeth, the toothbrush will stop. Both have advantages and disadvantages that we will categorize below.

Ease of Use

A Manual Toothbrush is quite simple to use and most of us have used one for our entire lives. With two minutes of brushing, you can effectively clean your teeth. If you do this at least twice a day, you should guarantee yourself a lifetime of bright smiles. However, it does take a little extra effort to brush properly and ensure you’re removing plaque off of all your teeth.
With an Electric Toothbrush, there is significantly less work in ensuring removal of plaque. You still need to brush for two minutes, at least twice a day, but the consistent pressure of the motorized bristles makes the electric toothbrush easier to use. Studies have pointed to showing that electric toothbrushes do a better job of removing plaque on the teeth. However, with that said, both a manual and electric are fine for getting the job done.

Toothbrush Variety

Manual toothbrushes come in a long list of varieties from soft bristles to angled necks to fun patterns on the handle. If you like to switch up the look of your toothbrush, it’s a simple way to do that.
An electric toothbrush is a little harder to switch up. Once you decide on a kind of toothbrush, you don’t want to go switching between other brands. You need to stick with what your electric toothbrush provides in the case of bristles, colors, etc.

Toothbrush Cost

Manual toothbrushes are much less expensive than electric toothbrushes. If you visit a dentist every six months, they often give you a free toothbrush at the end of your visit. You need to replace a toothbrush about every three months, but that is still much less expensive than an electric.
Electric toothbrushes cost about three times as much as a manual toothbrush. Along with that initial cost, you need to consider the cost of new bristle heads and the cost of charging the toothbrush. Whether that means plugging in a charger and using electricity or replacing batteries on the toothbrush every few months. The money adds up.

Travel

Manual toothbrushes are easy to travel with. They can easily fit into a toiletry bag and you won’t need to risk breaking them on your trip.
An electric toothbrush is a little harder to take around with you. They tend to be bulky. If you plan to bring the charger for the toothbrush with you, there’s a considerable amount of room being used to pack your toothbrush.

Toothbrush Durability

You probably won’t have to worry too much about breaking your manual toothbrush. They’re quite sturdy. Even if you do break it, it’s not too hard to replace one.
An electric toothbrush must be treated with care. If dropped, the mechanisms that make the bristles move can break and malfunction, making your electric toothbrush useless. Be careful when using one.

Conclusion: Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush

While both manual and electric toothbrushes have their pros and cons, it’s truly up to the consumer to decide which one is right for them. Some prefer the feel of a manual while others the electric. Some don’t have the money to spend on an electric toothbrush, especially when a manual toothbrush can sufficiently clean your teeth. An electric does do an overall better job at cleaning your teeth, but may not be the best option for a variety of reasons, including if you travel a lot.
If it’s convenient for you, we recommend investing in an electric toothbrush, as it has proven to clean your teeth better than a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are also great for kids because children tend to think they are fun to use and don’t have to put in much effort.
Whichever you choose, make it your goal to brush at least twice a day along with flossing and mouthwash. If you stay consistent, whatever toothbrush you choose will get the job done.
 
 

Common Dental Issues for Seniors and Tips to Help Prevent Them

October 9th, 2014

Common Dental Issues for Seniors and Tips to Help Prevent ThemAs a senior, it’s even more imperative to practice good oral hygiene. As the body ages, more issues can arise that create problems with the gums and teeth. However, by following some simple oral hygiene tips and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, seniors can help keep their teeth healthy for longer and shining bright.
There are a few problems that most seniors should be aware of and do their best to prevent.

Gum Disease

All seniors (and non-seniors) should be aware and ready to fight gum disease. As a senior, you have an even higher risk of developing gum disease when dentures or bridges are being used.

Darkened Teeth

Even with the best oral hygiene, a lifetime of consuming foods and beverages that can stain your teeth or harm your enamel will have a negative effect on your teeth. While there are preventative steps you can take, darkened teeth can be harder to battle when you are older. Aim to keep teeth white and clean for as long as possible.

Less Taste

Diseases, medications, and dentures can all attribute to a diminished sense of taste. This is something to talk to your dentist about if it becomes a concern.

Tooth Loss

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. If you are experiencing loose teeth, inflamed gums, or bleeding gums, consult your dentist immediately.

Dry Mouth

There are many cases of dry mouth with seniors. Much of this is due to medications with side effects that include dry mouth. This can cause bacteria and food particles to not be properly flushed out of the mouth.  If you are experiencing a dry mouth, drink plenty of water, apply lip moisturizer frequently, and avoid salty foods.

Stomatitis Induced by Dentures

If one uses ill-fitting dentures, a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans can cause inflamed tissue underneath the denture. Consult a dentist if you are experiencing this problem.

Root Decay

If gums recede and the bottom of your teeth is exposed to bacteria and acids, the root of the tooth can eventually become harmed and begin to decay. Often the solution is to crown that part of the tooth to help protect it from further damage.

Best Solutions to These Dental Issues for Seniors

Most importantly, to avoid all of these issues and more, the best solution is to practice good oral hygiene. For a senior that means:

Brushing at Least Twice a Day 

Seniors should brush in the morning and night along with trying to brush after meals. If you cannot brush after a certain meal, make sure to drink lots of water to help flush out any acids, bacteria, and food particles left in your mouth.

 Flossing Once a Day

The best defense against gum disease is proper flossing once a day. Flossing does not need to be done more than that as it can begin to harm the gums. Once a day is best for helping clear out the pockets within the gums of food and bacteria.

Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash

Use a mouthwash if you find your teeth sensitive or flossing very difficult. Non-alcoholic will keep the mouth from drying out as well.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

While it’s important to visit your dentist every six months, if you are having issues or concerns, it may be best to visit them more often. Prevention is the best way to have healthy teeth for a lifetime.
 
 

8 Tips for Taking Care of Your Mouth at Home After Wisdom Teeth Removal

September 25th, 2014

Tips for Taking Care of Your Mouth at Home After Wisdom Teeth RemovalIt’s important to take very good care of our mouth after your wisdom teeth are removed. The better care you give it, the faster your mouth can heal and the less risk there is of infection. Before you head home, your oral surgeon should help prepare you for the next few weeks of care with prescribed painkillers and extra gauze. Sometimes, antibiotics are prescribed.

Once home however, it is up to you and a friend or loved one to help you keep your teeth on the path to healing. Here are our tips for taking care of your mouth at home after your wisdom teeth are removed.

Add Gauze

First, make sure to have a large supply of gauze to help keep the sore area from bleeding. Gently remove gauze every 30 to 45 minutes, replacing it with a new piece of gauze until bleeding subsides. Although the blood should clot within the first 48 hours, sometimes the clot can break and you’ll need to re-apply gauze.

Stay Hygienic

It is important to avoid infection and keep your mouth clean. The night after surgery, try brushing your teeth softly. Avoid the surgical sites with your brush.

Salt Water Rinse

To help clean out the surgical site, use a saltwater rinse (1 tbsp of salt for 1 cup of warm water). Do not spit out water, as it can break clots, rather let it drip into the sink slowly. Try to rinse two to three times a day, especially after meals.

Take Care of Bleeding

Be aware that bleeding will occur, on and off, for up to 48 hours. While it may look like a lot of blood, keep in mind that most of the blood is mixing with your saliva, making it look much more severe than it actually is. Use gauze to prevent bleeding, apply pressure with gauze, and readjust if bleeding persists.

Minimize Swelling

Swelling will happen to help soften the pain. Your mouth will be most swollen around the two to three day mark. If you would like to minimize swelling, apply an ice pack on the outside of the cheek against the swollen area.

Use Prescribed Painkillers

With the removal of wisdom teeth, you should receive a prescription painkiller that will relieve most of the discomfort. It is advised to take the painkiller before the anesthetic wears off, this will help prevent pain before it starts.

Eat Right

Do your best to take in nutritional foods that are easy to eat. Soft foods such as yogurt, fruit smoothies, and mashed potatoes are best for the first few days. Do not use a straw the first few days as the suction can break blood clots. Slowly integrate simple solid foods into your diet, but avoid smaller foods such as rice, nuts, and popcorn, which can become lodged in the gum’s pockets.
It is important to eat three healthy meals a day after surgery. Your body needs the nourishment, and it will help you feel better and heal faster.

Communicate With Your Doctor

Stay in touch with your dentist if pain persists or you experience a high level of discomfort. Your doctor can either reassure you that this is the normal process, or help guide you to feeling better.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is no walk in the park, but it can drastically help lower your risk of gum disease and infection. If you would like any more information on wisdom teeth removal, contact your dentist.

How to Take Proper Care of Your Toothbrush

August 21st, 2014

How to Take Proper Care of ToothbrushWhen it comes to your toothbrush, keeping it clean, dry, and out of the mouths of others is very important. It’s almost as important as keeping your teeth clean. Not many know exactly how to care for their toothbrush. We’re here to answer a handful of common questions about storing, cleaning, and keeping your toothbrush hygienic.

How Long Should I Use My Toothbrush?

As much as you might love the feel of a certain brush, you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months, if not sooner. Over time, the bristles of a toothbrush can become worn and frayed. When that happens, they’re less effective at cleaning your teeth. Think of a sponge you use to clean dishes, or a broom you use to sweep the floor. Over time, they don’t work as well as they used to. Your toothbrush is just the same. If you want to do the best job possible of keeping plaque off of your teeth, replace your toothbrush when the time comes.

Where Should I Keep My Toothbrush?

It’s tricky to know exactly where you should place your toothbrush, but here are a few tips:

  • Avoid Keeping It In a Drawer/Cabinet
    When you place your toothbrush in a cabinet, it has a harder time drying out, allowing for bacteria to build. You should try to keep your toothbrush somewhere that has quality airflow.
  • Avoid Keeping It Near The Toilet or Sink
    When you flush a toilet, bacteria becomes airborne and can travel much farther than most think. To keep harmful bacteria from the sink and toilet from reaching your toothbrush, try to store them a safe distance away. Another safe tip is to always close the lid to your toilet before flushing. This will help keep the icky where it belongs!
  • A High Shelf
    If kept in your bathroom, try to put your toothbrush on a high shelf away from the toilet and sink, but still in the open air. Set it upright for to allow it to dry faster.

Can I Share My Toothbrush?

Though it may seem harmless, you should always avoid sharing your toothbrush with others. It is very easy to transfer germs, bacteria, and harmful illnesses such as the flu or hepatitis through your toothbrush.

How Should I Clean My Toothbrush?

The best way to clean your toothbrush is by rinsing it with water once you’ve finished brushing. Take it slow and make sure that all food and debris are cleared before putting your toothbrush away. Don’t try any experimental methods like putting your toothbrush in the dishwasher or microwave. This will only cause damage to the toothbrush and will not necessarily disinfect it.
Following these simple tips will help keep your toothbrush in great shape so that it can do its best job possible in keeping your teeth and gums clean for months. If you have more questions about how to care for your toothbrush or your teeth, contact Water Tower Dental. We’d be happy to help.
 
 

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste for You

July 17th, 2014

Choose the Right Toothpaste for YouThere are a few factors to consider when it comes to finding toothpaste that works for you. Mainly, does it have the effective ingredients to help fight plaque build-up and tooth decay? Once you have determined that, you will want to choose from a variety of toothpastes that can help in specific ways depending on what kind of cleaning you’re looking for.

Most toothpaste has a basic set of components that makes them what they are. First, abrasive agents that help remove food and bacteria from your teeth. These are typically ingredients such as calcium carbonate. Thickeners are added to tooth pastes to add a thicker volume to the paste, which helps maintain a consumer-expected texture. For moisture retention, humectants are added, which keep the toothpaste from drying out. Detergents help make your toothpaste foam when brushing by using ingredients like sodium laurel sulfate. And, of course, flavoring is added to toothpastes with artificial sweeteners to make brushing your teeth a more enjoyable experience.
You will most likely find some kind of variation of these basic ingredients in most toothpaste. They are the essential makeup that makes toothpaste what it is.
The most essential toothpaste ingredient, however, is fluoride. For the past 50 years, fluoride has helped to significantly lower tooth decay and cavities. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride helps protect your teeth by making your tooth enamel stronger and helping reverse the damage that occurs from bacteria acids breaking down teeth. It is essential to use toothpaste with fluoride, as it’s the number one ingredient to help protect your teeth.
Most toothpaste in the dental aisle of your local pharmacy or grocery store will contain these ingredients. But you’ve probably noticed dozens of different toothpastes in your pharmacy. That’s because many toothpastes offer additional help specific to a certain problem.
There is toothpaste that is specific to tartar control. This toothpaste helps remove the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed properly, it hardens and turns into tartar. These toothpastes use ingredients such as pyrophosphates and zinc citrate to break down plaque and tartar before it becomes a bigger issue.
There are also toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth. Many people have trouble with consuming hot or cold liquids and chewing hard foods. This is because they have nerve endings that are more sensitive than other mouths. With the help of potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, these toothpastes help by blocking pathways to the nerves that are attached to the teeth.
Whitening toothpastes are also available. These toothpastes offer additional abrasives that can help scrub away stains and bring your teeth back to their original whiteness.
When choosing toothpaste, you should always look for the ADA approval. The American Dental Association has been working hard for years to ensure that the toothpastes they approve are safe and contain ingredients that will protect your teeth.
If you have more questions about which toothpastes are best for your teeth, contact Water Tower Dental. With a simple checkup we can determine the key weakness to your oral hygiene and recommend several options to help bring your smile to its brightest potential.

Probiotics and Your Mouth

May 22nd, 2014

probiotics and your mouthProbiotics have grown in popularity over the last few years. First, as a helpful ingredient for digestive health, now they are showing promising attributes to your oral health. From new mouthwashes and gums, probiotics are being focused and improved to help prevent cavities and bad breath, along with keeping gingivitis at bay.
Probiotics are natural bacteria that help defend the body against more harmful bacteria. It helps by balancing any bad bacteria with the good bacteria found in probiotics. This will help stop bacteria that can cause cavities of gingivitis from thriving. It holds them back, allowing your teeth and gum to stay healthy.

Probiotics neutralize bad bacteria and their toxic substances that cause decay or help aid periodontal disease. The probiotics are able to prevent bad bacteria by, in a way, taking up residence in the place that the bad bacteria would. If the bad bacteria cannot find a home for itself, it is flushed out the body. While bad bacteria can weaken your body, probiotics help aid in good health while in your body. Basically, probiotics should get two thumbs up from everybody. Of course, probiotics don’t last forever; they age, weaken, and eventually are replaced. Whether bad or good bacteria take their spot is up to you.
We’ve reported a few times on this blog on how yogurt is a great solution for helping fight bad breath. That is because it’s basically one big probiotic. However, while yogurt can help, it doesn’t have the ability to fight bad bacteria in your mouth like it does for your stomach. So instead, companies are now coming out with oral care probiotics that contain bacteria proven to help oral health and stave off bad bacteria.
Many probiotics for oral care come in supplements or mouthwash. One specifically is a solution that you gargle. It contains S. salivarius K12 and M18, which are able to create BLIS proteins that are available to help prevent many oral problems including bad breath, cavities, and plaque.
Bad breath is created entirely by bad bacteria harboring in the back of your throat. The S. salivarius K12 strain is a great probiotic that can help stop the growth of these bacteria and keep your mouth from drying out.
S. salivarius M18 is able to help in preventing the S. mutans bacteria that is the main culprit of plaque build up and cavities. The probiotic actually helps convert the bacteria into ammonia with can then also neutralize the lactic acid in your mouth, which further reduce the risk of cavities.
What’s most important to understand about probiotics is that it shouldn’t be seen as a last effort on bad oral care. By adding probiotics to your normal routine for hygiene, you’re helping prevent future problems from occurring. Just like daily brushing and flossing, a small amount of effort everyday can help keep major medical issues from occurring.
If you have any more questions about probiotics, or would like to talk to our staff about your oral care, don’t hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental; we’d be happy to assist you.

Don’t Doubt the Power of a Smile: Even When No One is Looking

May 8th, 2014

power of a smileDid you know that when you smile while talking on the phone, the person on the other end can tell and will respond positively? It’s true. It seems wild that someone might be able to tell if you’re smiling over the phone, but is it really that far-fetched? Think of how many times you’ve answered the phone in a bad or angry mood. The other person on the other end will almost immediately ask you what’s wrong. So why wouldn’t they be able to tell when you’re in a good mood?

Though we may not realize, we are able to interpret the tone of someone voice and can detect if someone is smiling or not. And in turn, it can help send a positive mood to the person you’re talking to.
The trouble is, how do you remember to consciously smile all the time? It’s hard to  think about smiling while on the phone while talking, and probably doing other activities like typing, walking, or (if you’re a parent) wrangling up your children.
If you want to keep a positive smile on your face, while on the phone, or just throughout the day, you need to consciously work on smiling until it becomes a natural reflex. A great time to reinforce your smile is while you’re brushing and flossing your teeth. Give yourself a big smile in the mirror, and decide how you like to smile. Remember that natural feel you get and keep that smile up!
As well, to help keep a smile on your face, you need to have the confidence of a bright smile and white teeth. To do that, you must keep a consistent routine for oral hygiene which includes brushing at least twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day, and using a mouthwash to give you a fresh breath. When you feel confident about your smile and your teeth, you want to smile and show off those pearly whites.
If you feel self-conscious about crooked or discolored teeth, you can talk to Water Tower Dental about helping correct your smile for the better. Procedures including Invisalign and porcelain veneers can help give you the smile that will bring a new sense of confidence and self-esteem. Your smiles will look more natural and people will respond in a positive way, if they can see you or not.
Smiling while on the phone or in person will help people respond more positively to what you’re saying. However, people can tell the difference between a real and forced smile. That’s why confidence and a positive attitude is so important when it comes to a smile. You need to know that the smile you’re presenting is the face you want people to remember. Great oral hygiene and trusted dentists that can help you achieve the smile you want will help you succeed in your social life just as much as a good haircut and a clean pair of slacks.
Don’t doubt the power of a smile. For more information on how you can achieve your perfect smile, contact Water Tower Dental today, we’d be happy to help you get on your way to a more confident and positive look.

What's a Canker Sore? How to Get Relief

April 10th, 2014

what is a canker sore reliefPainful and intrusive, the canker sore is a annoyance that no person ever wants. Between the ages of 10 and 20, you have a high probability you’ll get a few canker sores a year that will last up to a week at a time. For adults, complex canker sores are always a possibility, though more rare. So what are canker sores, why do we get them, how do we find ourselves some relief?

Also known as apthous ulcers, cankers sores will appear on the inside of the mouth either on the tongue, soft palate, or inside your cheeks. Canker sores look like a shallow white and red bump which, after a day or two, can break and leave a white wound, similar to a blister. Though it can be an irritating situation, generally, a person with a canker sore will not receive any other symptoms.

How Do Canker Sores Happen?

There are several reasons scientists believe we get canker sores. Vitamin and nutritional deficiency is believed to be linked to canker sores. Reason being most trouble with the outermost layers of the skin in the human body is caused by vitamin deficiency. It is recommended that anyone who gets canker sores often should try to take more vitamins, especially B-12 which can help reduce soreness.
Stress and injury can also cause painful canker sores. If you may have eaten something that could burn or scrape against the lining of your mouth, or perhaps had an intense visit to the dentist, a canker sore can appear after the fact. Brushing too hard or using harsh mouthwashes can also cause stress in the mouth, which can lead to canker sores.
Though it’s good to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, sometimes a citric, highly acidic, fruit like a lemon or grapefruit can cause irritation that leads to a canker sore. Though fruits are not the actual cause of a sore, they can easily irritate and worsen an area, which can then cause the stress that leads to canker sores.
Last, a poor immune system can drastically affect the amount of time you have a canker sore. With a weak immune system, your body cannot repair the area of canker sore quickly. The more time the canker sore is an open wound, the more chance of irritating and elongating the sore.

Is There Any Relief?

Canker sores generally will last about a week with two of the days the most irritable then lessen for a few more days. Most canker sores will be gone within a week.
If a canker sore does not diminish and continues to irritate you, a dentist can prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse or ointment that can help reduce the pain. It’s also recommended to avoid acidic foods, consume more B-12 vitamins, and brush your teeth gently to keep pain to a minimum.
A natural remedy that often offers pain relief from sores is to apply a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water to the canker sore with a Q-tip. Then, use a small amount of milk of magnesia and cover the sore. This will soothe the painful area and help speed the healing process.
For the most part, canker sores are an inconvenient waiting game, and there is little to do about them. Much like a 24-hour flu, the best medicine is time.
If you have any more questions about canker sores, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental. We are more than happy to assist our patients with any of their questions.

What Is Oil Pulling?

April 3rd, 2014

what is oil pullingSometimes we find home remedies and new tricks to cleaning your teeth incredibly interesting, and potentially helpful. Oil pulling has been around for thousands of years, yet has only sparked the attention of many of our patients just recently. So what exactly is oil pulling and can it help keep your teeth is top health?

Oil pulling originally comes from Indian folk remedies to help clear the mouth of harmful bacteria. Not until the ‘90s did oil pulling start to emerge as a healthy practice in America. A medical doctor, Dr. F. Karach, was the first to introduce oil pulling to his patients in the United States. After finding the remedy a successful tool for lowering harmful bacteria levels, oil pulling began to grow in popularity.
As bacteria build up in your mouth, it creates plaque so it can adhere to your teeth and cause as much harm as it wants. Brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist all aim to remove the plaque that the bacteria are harboring on. Oils such as sesame, sunflower, and coconut oil, when used properly, can help pull these bacteria off of the teeth for a cleaner, healthier mouth.
It’s rather simple to do, just use a tablespoon of oil and swish it in your mouth like mouthwash for 20 minutes. Once the twenty minutes are complete, spit into a trash can. Twenty minutes is the instructed amount of time because it allows enough time for bacteria to be pulled off the teeth and into the oil without allowing them to be reabsorbed into the body.

Does Oil Pulling work?

There is much debate as to the effectiveness of oil pulling and what it actually can help. In a study conducted in 2008, 20 adolescent boys were instructed to either perform an oil pulling procedure, or to use Chlorhexidine to reduce the amount of streptococcus mutans- one of the main bacterias that can cause plaque build up and tooth decay. After two weeks, the boys who used oil pulling had significantly reduced the amount of streptococcus mutans in their mouth, however not as much as the patients using the Chlorhexidine. That does not mean oil pulling does not work, only that it is slightly less effective than the harsh chemicals of Chlorhexidine.
A similar study was conducted to test oil pulling’s effect against gingivitis causing bacteria alongside Chlorhexidine. In this study, both the oil pulling and mouthwash were equally effective against the bacteria.
And last, a final study showed that oil pulling is significantly effective in reducing bacteria that cause halitosis, or more commonly know as bad breath.
While oil pulling may not be recommended by every doctor, we find it to be a more natural way to help clean your teeth and keep your gums healthy.
If you have more questions about this home remedy or many others that are often discussed on this blog, please contact Water Tower Dental, would be happy to help answer any of your questions.

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!

Candy That’s Good For Your Teeth

February 20th, 2014

candy thats good for your teethWe’ve all been taught since a very young age that candy is the ultimate destroyer against teeth. However, new candies developed by scientists are turning that old story around. Now, there are several new candies (along with some older) that have beneficial attributes.
Scientists in Berlin have recently created candy that contains good bacteria that fights against certain cavity-building bacteria. The main bacteria that cultivate in your mouth and eats away at the surface of your teeth, dissolving enamel and creating cavities, is a bacterium called Mutans streptococci. Scientists have found that a different bacterium called Lactobacillus paracasei is able to fight against and reduce the levels of the bad bacteria in the mouth. In a study testing different levels of the good bacteria in pieces of candy compared to a control group with normal candy, scientists were able to reduce the levels of Mutans streptococci by 75% in the groups with good bacteria candy compared to the control. You can find the full study published in the Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins.

Though that candy might significantly help your teeth, you probably won’t find it in the sweets aisle anytime soon. However, there are other candies, available today, that are definitely better for your teeth than others. If you are to eat candy, here’s the kind we recommend.

ADA-approved Gums

While most chewing gums can hurt your teeth by allowing harmful sugars and acids to build in your mouth while consistently chewing, there are actually a few good chewing gums. Recently the ADA has approved certain gums for their beneficial elements to teeth. Most importantly, all ADA approved chewing gums are sugarless and sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sorbitol. These gums are able to increase the flow of saliva without creating a harmful environment for your teeth. In fact, the increased flow of saliva can help flush away previous acids and debris. Look for an ADA seal on the gum to be sure you’re chewing the right kind.

Sugar-free Lollipops

Similar to the ADA-approved chewing gum, sugar-free candies help increase the flow of saliva, which can actually flush out the mouth of bad bacteria and help prevent cavities. If you need a hard candy, we wouldn’t recommend anything other than sugar-free. However, be aware that these candies can still hurt your teeth if you bite down on them, so make sure to consume the candy slowly and save your teeth from unnecessary damage.

Dark Chocolate

Though dark chocolate is loaded with sugar, and not the best your teeth, enough studies have shown that the candy contains a rich amount of antioxidants that are good for the rest of your body, especially your heart. Sometimes it’s okay to sacrifice a minute of sugar in your mouth for the rest of your body. Just follow our advice as to how to consume sugar and you should be fine.
Of course, there are plenty of candies you can choose that are terrible for your teeth. Chewy candies and sour candies are definitely the worst as they can get caught in your teeth for days between the backs of molars. As well, they contain high levels of acid that can quickly break down tooth enamel and produce cavities. Avoid these candies at all costs.
Remember, the best defense to fight those bad bacteria and preventing cavities is practicing proper oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. You’ll find that a little piece of candy every so often won’t be the worst thing in the world. Just be careful, though Water Tower Dental loves to see all of our patients’ smiling faces as often as possible, but we hate when we have to inform them of cavities. Keep your teeth clean and your smile bright.

What Are Occlusal Adjustments?

February 6th, 2014

occlusal adjustmentsIf you are experiencing, headaches, ear problems, clicking or grating jaw, mouth discomfort, and looseness of teeth, or any combination of these symptoms, you may be having an issue with your TMJ. If that’s the case, your dentist might recommend occlusal adjustments. What are occlusal adjustments? It is a method to reshape the surface of your teeth to create an even and harmonious relationship between the top and bottom teeth. To understand why this needs to happen though, we must dig a little deeper.

As you may have read in our earlier blog post, we described the condition known as TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. This is a condition in which the TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint, is slightly displaced. This is a very delicate and complicated joint that helps move your jaw. When you stick your chin forward, or side-to-side, the mandible joint slides out of its socket. When your chin and jaw are centered and pulled back, the mandible sits in the sockets of the joint. the TMJ is designed to rest in the sockets of the joint rather than displaced forward or to the side. However, if your teeth are not aligned to the proper positions, then closing your mouth can cause a shift in the joint, which adds unnecessary stress to the mouth and jaw.
If your TMJ is misplaced, then the symptoms we mentioned earlier, plus more can begin to occur. You can wake up in the morning with headaches, pain behind the eyes, swollen throat, sore neck and more. Most telling, when you wake up, you might not be able to move your mouth or jaw and have trouble opening up your mouth to eat. If this sounds like a situation you have experienced before, you should consult a dentist immediately.
So what will happen at the dentist? If you do happen to have TMD, your dentist will want to make occlusal adjustments to better align your teeth so your mandible can rest correctly in its socket using Tek scan technology. This includes finding the teeth’s positions in the mouth and the proper areas to make the adjustment. Much like trimming your hair or fingernails, only very small amounts of the teeth are shaved down to create an evenly centric relation. With that, you should experience less teeth grinding and your jaw should sit more centered relieving any kind of discomfort.
occlusal adjustmentsWhile shaving down teeth can seem like an easy option, it’s an irreversible procedure, and if the adjustments aren’t made properly, you could find yourself in a troubling situation. At Water Tower Dental, we offer non-damaging therapy options that can help fix the TMD condition. Using a Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation, or TENS, unit, we are able to asses any neuromuscular problems. While many doctors focus on the misplacement of the jaw, scientific developments have revealed that some problems associated with teeth, mouth, and jaws are actually caused by improper functions of the muscles and nerves. Using the TENS unit, we are able to find ideal positioning of the jaw.
With the information gathered, we can begin properly adjusting the jaw to relieve discomfort. We recommend patients to wear an orthotic for three months, afterward, we can determine if the orthotic has alleviated the symptoms or if further adjustments are necessary.
Much of TMD is trial and error; all patients’ jaws and muscles react different to orthotics and natural adjustments. However, we do believe using non-damaging methods first is the best option. While occlusal adjustments may have worked in the past, there are too many cases in which damage has been done without proper results.
If you are having symptoms of TMD and would like to talk to Water Tower Dental on how you can fix the issue without irreversible procedures, contact us today.

Are Toothpicks Good for Your Teeth?

January 30th, 2014

are toothpicks good for your teethToothpicks have been one of the most widely used tools for hygiene in the world. These simple pieces of carved wood help us free those annoying food particles stuck between our teeth after a rousing meal. But are toothpicks good for your teeth? Doesn’t the act of poking and prodding at your teeth and gums seem slightly wrong? If you have that inclination, it’s because you’re right. While toothpicks can be a helpful tool, overuse can be harmful and should call alarm to a bigger concern.

Toothpicks are one of the oldest oral hygiene inventions dating back to 3,500 BC. A bronze pendant was worn around the neck and used as a toothpick in China, and over 2,900 years later, the Chinese initialized a law that their armies use toothpicks to control their horribly bad breath. Back then, it was instructed to use any splinter of wood lying around that could clean their teeth. These days, in the United States, most toothpicks come from “toothpick trees” or white birch trees. Billions of toothpicks are made every year, which makes them quite a handy tool, but they aren’t the best for your teeth and gums.
Toothpicks have been used throughout history for a very long time, there weren’t the medical advancements and helpful products that we have now on the market. Floss, toothbrushes, mouthwash and more all do a better job at what a toothpick can do without the potential of damaging your teeth and gums.
When using a toothpick, especially at frequent use, you’re poking and prodding at sensitive areas of your gums. The more you use a toothpick, the more times you’re irritating that one spot. Imagine poking the tip of your finger with a knife. It might give you a small cut or a tiny sore. One poke isn’t going to do much, but poke that same area twice a day, for a week. You’ll notice the sore will increase in size and sensitivity. That’s what you’re doing to the small areas of your gums that a toothpick is hitting.
Instead, employ the use of dental floss and a toothbrush to clear away all debris and food that is caught in your teeth. These tools are much more effective and safer for your mouth than a toothpick.
Of course we understand you might not have floss and a toothbrush in your pocket when going out on that special dinner date or after a big ribs and corn on the cob summer barbecue. At those moments, it’s okay to use a toothpick, just don’t rely on it as your number one tool for dental hygiene. You may run into problems then.
Furthermore, if you’re finding that food gets stuck in your teeth often, you may have more troubles than you think and a toothpick can’t help you. Though small particles (ones that a toothpick can’t reach) will always find their way between your teeth, larger food pieces should be rare. If you’re having issues with food sticking between your teeth, you could be experiencing a shift in teeth, improper fillings, or a hole in your tooth. All of these problems should be properly managed before it’s too late. Consult your dentist or set up an appointment with Water Tower Dental, Chicago’s #1 rated dental practice, today.
While toothpicks might be a helpful tool sometimes for your teeth, use them sparingly; we live in a day and age with advanced tools to help take care of our teeth. Use those instead and have a bright, beautiful smile for many years.

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

January 16th, 2014

stop grinding your teethClenching and grinding your teeth is a harmful and unhealthy habit to form. Unfortunately most people don’t even know they do it. Most teeth grinders do so in their sleep so they have no idea it’s happening. The result of clenching and grinding can cause serious damage to your teeth along with other symptoms. We’d like to show you how to stop grinding your teeth.

The medical term for teeth grinding is Bruxism. While most doctors believed teeth grinding occurred from uneven teeth or jaw, the main reason someone may grind their teeth is stress. Though uneven bite can cause bruxism, stress is far more likely. When the body is over-stressed, it cause muscles to contract and tighten unconsciously. In the case of bruxism, when a person becomes stressed, they will begin to clench their teeth harder and harder until grinding occurs.
Bruxism is a tough condition to self-diagnose as you mostly do it while asleep. It’s like trying to find out if you snore. However, there are a few telling signs that can lead you to the assumption that you grind your teeth:
When you fist wake up, do you have a dull yet constant headache? Does your jaw hurt as well? Are your teeth more sensitive in the morning when you’re brushing? Do you notice your gums are more inflamed in the morning or do you have wounds and swelling on the inside of the cheeks? If you answered yes to most of these, you may grind your teeth.
The leading cause of bruxism is stress, so if you find yourself grinding your teeth, or have a loved one that has heard you grinding your teeth (it’s an awful sound), it may be stress coming from other areas of your life. The best way to keep from grinding your teeth then is to reduce stress in your life:

  • Start by eliminating any source of stress that you can control. If you have a pesky roommate, or the sound of a TV blaring is making you crazy, get rid of those things.
  • Get on a regular sleep schedule that has you going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday. Your body craves that routine. The more it knows when sleep time occurs, the more time it has to restore the energy you need for the day.
  • Exercise regularly. It’s known that exercise can drastically reduce stress levels in a person’s body. Try working out at least every other day.
  • Have fun with friends and family. Take time to spend with others that is meant to unwind and let loose.
  • Eat Healthy. Make sure to eat well-balanced meals throughout the day and avoiding junk food. This will help you feel balanced and make your stomach less irritable at night.

There are plenty of other methods to help someone relieve stress. If you’re having a hard time finding what can help you, consult your physician who may have specific requests and suggestions.
Other methods that can help stop bruxism include:

  • Reduce your caffeine intake. The stimulant is really good at making muscles clench and jitter. Avoid coffee, sodas, and energy drinks especially at night.
  • Don’t chew on non-food stuff. Avoid biting down on a pen or the back of a pencil while at work. When your body uses biting as a stress reliever, it trains the jaw to clench down anytime you feel stress. If the habit forms and you don’t have a pen or your nails to bite on, that’s when teeth grinding starts.
  • Stick your tongue between your teeth. That might sound odd, but you need to train your jaw not to clench down. This is a great way to do that as no one likes biting their own tongue.

Last, before you hit the hay, make sure to relax as much as possible. Try listening to soothing music before bed and having a warm cup of non-caffeinated tea. Also, use a warm washcloth and place it against your cheek just in front of the earlobe. The warm sensation helps relax the jaw and its muscles.
If these methods do not work, it’s time to see a dental professional. Though most bruxism comes from stress, there are cases that are caused by uneven and crowded teeth. At Water Tower Dental we have a solid team of dentists and hygienists to help fix these issues. Water Tower Dental uses a low-frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation, or TENS unit, to relax the jaw muscle and find the ideal positioning. From that, we can locate the specific areas of the mouth that may cause bruxism, or if it is, in fact, stress induced. After which, we can make the proper adjustments using therapy options or by recommending a mouth guard along with further practices to reduce your teeth grinding. If you have any more questions or concerns with your own teeth, contact Water Tower Dental today, we’d be happy to help.

Start the New Year Right: 5 Tips for Better Teeth

January 9th, 2014

tips for better teethWhile listing out your New Years resolutions this time around, consider adding a few resolutions for your health, and specifically, your mouth. Keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue in good shape can help you in the years to come. Practicing good oral hygiene will help you look and feel good, along with allow you to avoid major dental surgeries and complications in the future. Here are 5 tips you can easily make into New Years resolutions for a better, healthier smile.

Brush for At Least Two Minutes Every Time

Though it may be simple to brush your teeth everyday, it’s a lot harder to do it for as long as it’s recommended. Two minutes is the least amount of time you should brush your teeth. Try singing a song in your head that’s at least that long, or keep a timer close to your toothbrush. You could also use an electric toothbrush, like SoniCare, which has a built in timer. Brushing is the most effective way of cleaning your teeth and keeping them as healthy as possible, but very little is done if you brush for under two minutes. Resolve to brush for at least two minutes every time you brush and you’ll notice a healthier, cleaner smile.

Avoid Sugary Drinks

One of the most harmful foods for your teeth are drinks that are high in sugar: sodas, fruit juices, Gatorade, and the like. These drinks eat away at the enamel of your teeth and feed the bacteria that lives in your mouth. Because it’s a liquid, these sugars are able to fit into every nook and cranny of your teeth and are tough to get out. Set a resolution this year to avoid these harmful drinks for the sake of your teeth. If you must have a soda every once in awhile though, try to drink a glass of water or brush after you consume it. This will help remove the sugars from your teeth and gums.

Floss Everyday

It’s incredibly important to floss once a day. The most harmful bacterias tend to colonize and reproduce under your teeth and in the crevices of your gums. Flossing helps remove the plaque and bacteria before it can reach those pockets. By removing the debris that’s between your teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach, you can lower your risk of dental complications such as periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease. For more information on flossing, check out this article.

Get a Tongue Scraper

In the New Year, find yourself a tongue scraper that works for you and use it. The main causes of bad breath don’t have to do with your teeth or gums, but rather your tongue. Bacteria builds up on the surface of your tongue, especially in the back area near your throat. A tongue scraper is a small instrument that you glide against the groove of your tongue to pull off any bacteria that has formed on the top of the surface. Tongue scrapers are a great way to keep your mouth clean while making your breath smell fresh.

Visit Your Dentist

This year, resolve to visit your dentist once every six months. Routine check ups are a great way to get a fresh cleaning and to detect any complications before they become a costly situation. Periodontitis and cavities can be easily detected in the early stages to help keep them from becoming a serious issue. As well, your dentist will talk to you about ways of cleaning your teeth better and how to have the healthiest smile possible. At Water Tower Dental, we want to make sure every patient of ours is getting the best treatment available. If you’d like to make an appointment with us, please contact us today. Good luck in the new year, here’s to healthier teeth!

Smart Practices for Healthier Teeth

December 12th, 2013

smart practices for healthier teethOf course it’s no question that the smartest practices for healthy teeth are brushing and flossing everyday. However, there are several more tips that can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy, and breath fresh. Today we’d like to discuss a few more smart practices for healthier teeth.

Drink Plenty of Water

This is a universal tip for a healthy lifestyle, however it’s extremely helpful for good teeth. Water is the simplest way to flush your mouth of food particles and harmful bacteria. The more water you drink, the better chances of removing waste from your mouth. We recommend 8 to 10 cups of water a day. Try drinking a glass an hour while at work; it’s a great way to get all of your water in for the day.

Eat Foods that are Good for Your Teeth

We’ve mentioned a few before, but that are plenty of foods that can actually help your teeth. Crunchy vegetables like broccoli and carrots, which contain essential minerals and vitamins, can help the mouth salivate and wash away debris and bacteria from the teeth and gums. Foods that are high in vitamin D are also very helpful for the teeth as it helps absorb any calcium that you’ve consumed, a major chemical in building strong teeth. Try consuming foods high in vitamin D such as salmon, oysters, and mushrooms.

Change Your Toothbrush

You might brush everyday, three times a day, but if you’re using an old, worn toothbrush, it may be doing more harm than good. It’s a smart practice to replace your brush every two to three months. Otherwise, bacteria can build up between the bristles, and you’ll end up brushing bacteria back into your mouth.

Eat Less Sugar

You may have read our previous post on how bad sugar really is for your teeth. Which may surprise you that we recommend now to eat less sugar. Basically, sugar is bad for your teeth when you allow it to be. If you rinse your mouth and brush your teeth after consuming sugar, then you’re fine. However, we understand, most people aren’t carrying a toothbrush around with them halfway through the workday when you need that mid-day sugar pick me up. Though it may seem like a good idea, consuming sugars can really hurt your teeth, so try to avoid it when you can. Rather than a sugary cupcake or candy bar, try an apple or an orange to perk you up.

Your Teeth Are Not a Tool

Make note, your teeth are for eating food and not much else. Don’t use your teeth to untie knots or open up bags of chips or crush ice. All of these uses and more are extremely detrimental to your teeth. You can end up chipping or cracking a tooth very easily when you use your teeth for things other than chewing food. If you need to open that bag of chips, use scissors, if you want to crush some ice, use a blender.

Drink Tea Everyday

Tea is a great source of flavonoids and catechins, which are most helpful in keeping harmful bacteria from sticking to your teeth. As well, they kill free radicals that can cause cancer. Drink green tea for the best benefits without staining your teeth.

Six-Month Check Ups

The last practice we strongly recommend is visiting your dentist once every six months for a routine cleaning and check up. The check ups tend to include a thorough examination of your teeth and gums to detect any signs of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. When visiting your dentist they can also recommend healthy practices that are specific to your needs.
If you’re in the Chicago-land area and are looking for the number one rated dentists in Chicago, come to Water Tower Dental Care for your next check up. With a professional team of dental experts we would be happy to start you on the path of a brighter, whiter, and healthier smile.

Can You Floss Too Much?

December 5th, 2013

can i floss too muchAn interesting question that arises in our office from time to time from concerned patients is if they can potentially floss too much and cause damage to their teeth. Flossing is one of the most important oral hygiene practices a person should perform. It helps clear out plaque and bacteria build up between the teeth and gums that a normal toothbrush cannot reach. It may be surprising to read that you can, in fact, floss too much. However, we encourage you to read further to understand exactly what that means.

Flossing is a simple practice that can keep your teeth in top shape for many years. Use a few inches of floss and work in between two teeth. In a saw-like motion scrap the sides of the teeth to remove plaque build up. Make sure to focus on each side of the tooth and use good amount of muscle to apply pressure. Make sure not to force the floss against the gums. The main purpose of the floss is to remove plaque on the side of the teeth. Most people believe it is to dig under the tooth into the gum, which we don’t recommend. If you floss once a day, the plaque build up will stay clear enough to stay out of the gums.
We recommend that you floss once a day because plaque that will build up between your teeth takes about 24 hours to form. Flossing once a day is more than enough to keep that area cleared. For whatever reason, if you find yourself needing a good floss after a serious meal of corn on the cob or maybe popcorn, it’s okay to floss twice or even three times in a day. However, we do not recommend that you make that a routine. A triple-floss day should be as rare as a solar eclipse.
If you feel like flossing once a day isn't enough for you, you may be flossing wrong. Find out if you're not flossing the right way by taking a look at these 5 common flossing mistakes.
You can floss too much. That’s right, and if you do you can seriously irritate and damage gum tissue. We imagine anyone who is over-flossing is probably overly-concerned with dental hygiene, however you’re doing more damage then good. The more you floss in a day, the more chance you’re allowing irritation to the gums. They can become sore and swollen and even start to bleed. If you continue to over-floss, you’ll begin to destroy your gum line and expose your tooth’s surface and its root. Once the root of your tooth is exposed, you can cause great damage that will lead to infection and potential root cavities (which are never fun).
As well, if you’re flossing too much, you’re wearing down the enamel on your tooth which is able to protect your teeth from cavities and damage. The more you wear away at that enamel, the higher chance you have of hurting your teeth and gums.
While there are exceptions to the rule, we really don’t recommend flossing more than once a day. However, we strongly encourage you continue to floss everyday. Flossing is one of the best practices you can perform to keep you teeth and gums healthy for a very long time. If you think you’re having trouble flossing, wearing at enamel, or would like to have a proper cleaning performed by the best dental practice in Chicago, call Water Tower Dental today. We would be happy to guide you through best oral hygiene practices while cleaning and preparing your teeth for a better, brighter smile.

How Bad is Sugar for Your Teeth?

November 21st, 2013

how bad is sugar for teethWe’ve all been taught from a very young age about the dangers of sugar. We’re told to avoid candy, and to eat your vegetables. And while that is good advice, it misses the point. Sugar is one of the easiest fermentable substances available, and found in hundreds of foods, not just candy, so why the stigma? Well, it’s not so much the sugar that’s bad for your teeth; it’s the bacteria that love the sugar just as much as you.
Let’s face it, sugar makes many foods delicious, it’s the added ingredient that turns a subtle flavor into something much bigger. So, really, how bad can sugar be for your teeth?

It’s not so much that sugar is directly bad to your teeth, but rather, bacteria known as streptococcus that lives and breeds in your mouth. Streptococcus loves sugar just as much as your taste buds. The bacteria go through a feeding frenzy when sugar is present in the mouth. The longer the sugar is in your teeth, the more time the bacteria have to feed. As it feeds, it begins to excrete acids that are the true culprits of tooth decay. They eat away at your enamel and cause cavities and other such problems.
While everyone’s teeth are different, and some are more susceptible to tooth decay, it is often the job of your saliva to add a buffer between the sugars and the bacteria that eat it. However, with large intake of sugar, such as candy, soft drinks, and sweets, it’s better to take steps to prevent cavities and tooth decay.
The best steps to warding off the harmful effects of sugar are to rinse and brush your teeth after you eat a considerable amount. This method flushes away any excess sugars that saliva did not get, and helps kill bacteria that still remain in the mouth. Use floss once a day to remove bacteria from the crevices of the teeth and gums, as they are much harder places to reach with a toothbrush.
Other methods to help clear your mouth of harmful sugars are by using topical fluorides and mouthwashes. There are some gums that are fortified with xylitol, which contains antibacterial elements and helps keep harmful tooth-decaying bacteria at bay.
So, the question, how bad is sugar for your teeth is not determined by just the sugar- but by the eater. Sugar is bad for your teeth if you decide to allow it to be. Proper oral hygiene along with conscious healthy practices can keep tooth decay from sugar at bay.
How much sugar should you consume then? In terms of the healthiness of your teeth, sky’s the limit, as long as you clean after. Though we don’t recommend you start eating pounds of jellybeans every day. However if you felt you overate one day, you shouldn’t worry as long as you keep your teeth clean. Although, for a proper diet, you shouldn’t consume more than about 150 calories of sugar per day, or about nine teaspoons.
If you stay consistent with your sugar intake and keep your teeth clean, then the stigma of sugar should vanish faster than Houdini. Of course, it’s also wise to schedule regular check ups with your dentist for routine cleanings and inspection of your teeth and gums. Contact Water Tower Dental today if you’re looking for professional dentists that can help you get on the track to a brighter, healthier smile.

Proper Mouthwash Practices

October 31st, 2013

proper mouthwash practiceMouthwash is an essential key to proper oral hygiene. However, many Americans misuse the product, either by using too much, too little, or often not using it for the right amount of time. To ensure that you’re using the proper mouthwash practices, we would like to offer you this simple guide to using mouthwash.
There are several kinds of mouthwashes to choose from, and knowing what you want your mouthwash to do for you can help you choose which is right. However, all mouthwashes do have a simple, yet main purpose: to help kill bacteria and flush away loose plaque in your mouth. Following the steps below, no matter what kind of mouthwash you use, will ensure that its main objective is completed.

Floss and Brush First
Many confuse this, but the proper way to practice good oral hygiene with mouthwash is by flossing, brushing, and then using your mouthwash. Flossing is your first step to loosen and remove bacteria and plaque from the hard to reach spaces between and under your teeth. Brushing removes that plaque along your gum line and on the top of your teeth. Mouthwash then sanitizes and kills any bacteria that may be left in the mouth that your toothbrush could not reach. Together, this tri-force of oral hygiene will make your mouth shine with cleanliness.
Use The Right Amount
After flossing and brushing, you need to make sure you use the right amount of mouthwash. You don’t want to use too much as you might swallow it, and if you use too little, you won’t feel the effects of the solution. While each mouthwash may recommend varying amounts (check the bottles directions), the standard is 20 mL of the solution. Some bottles have caps with measuring markers to determine the right amount. If you use Dixie cups, you’ll want to fill just less than a third of it with mouthwash.
Dilute If You Must
Some mouthwash companies recommend you dilute your mouthwash with water. Read your product’s directions to determine if you must dilute. If you have trouble using mouthwash, we suggest diluting just slightly. Adding too much water to your mouthwash can hurt your chances of killing all bacteria.
Time Yourself
It’s best to have a watch or clock to keep good time when cleaning your teeth. With flossing and brushing taking over 4 minutes, you might become impatient and cut your mouth-washing short. Unfortunately that can keep the mouthwash from working effectively. We recommend using your mouthwash for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the products’ directions. Most will recommend using mouthwash between that amount of time. We like to play it safe and always use it for a full minute.
Swish Right
When it comes to using the mouthwash, swish it back and forth in your mouth, and make sure to reach all areas from the top gums to lower front teeth. Just before spitting, gargle the solution for a few seconds making sure not to swallow it.
Spit It
Spit your mouthwash out and try to avoid rinsing your mouth with water. If you must, only rinse once. When finished, avoid eating anything for at least 30 minutes. We recommend using mouthwash once a day, preferably at nighttime so you avoid eating afterward.
It’s as simple as that. If you follow these directions, you’ll be well on your way to a great smile and fresh breath. And remember to visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and check ups. Call Water Tower Dental today if you’re looking for expert dentists that can help you revitalize your mouth and give you the smile you deserve.

Rebuilding Your Gums: Easy Tips for Healthy Gums

October 24th, 2013

rebuilding your gumsOver half of American adults have had or currently suffer from periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. There are many ways, however, that you can rebuild your gums including proper oral care and eating the right kinds of foods.
One out of every two American adults over the age of 30 has periodontal disease according to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The study does not hint that the disease is going away any time soon either. With fast food, sugary drinks, and chemical preservatives constantly causing damage to our gums and our lax take on dental hygiene; adult Americans can be in a good amount of trouble for some time.
There is plenty you can do about it though. With proper oral hygiene, eating the right foods, and visiting your dentist regularly, you can be on your way to kicking periodontal disease to the curb and having an overall healthier lifestyle.

Start With Proper Oral Hygiene

The best way to fight periodontal disease is to care for your teeth the right way. This includes:
Brushing your teeth 2 to 3 times a day. We recommend a good brush after every meal. However, it's not just brushing, but the way you brush. Brushing too hard can actually cause damage to your gums. Instead, use a soft toothbrush and brush away from the gums at a 35-degree angle.
Flossing once a day. We recommend flossing at night during your final brushing before bedtime. Floss before you brush, use a good amount of floss to free up any food and plaque stuck between your teeth and gums. If your gums begin to bleed, wash your mouth out with water and continue. Bleeding is a sign of damaged gums, however, if you continue to floss regularly, the bleeding will stop.

Next, Eat The Right Foods

Certain foods help promote gum health and growth. As well, foods with the right vitamins can also help protect your gums.
Raisins: Research shows that the antioxidants in raisins can help fight bacteria that cause gum disease. Though they may be sticky and sugary, they are great at protecting your gums. Just make sure to drink water to wash off any sticky remnants after you eat.
Green Tea: Both green and black teas have antioxidants known as catechins which are able to reduce inflammation in the gums. This is essential to preventing gum disease. Though black tea does have the same catechins, we recommend green, as it won't stain your teeth.
Whole Grains: Eating whole grains rather than refined carbohydrates is a great way to help reduce inflammation in the gums. Because whole grains are digested slower than refined carbohydrates they are able to keep blood glucose at a steady rise. This avoids spikes in blood sugar, which produce a inflammatory protein. Switching to whole grains is a smart way to help maintain healthy gums.
Vitamin C, D, and B9: Whatever way you can do to absorb the vitamins C, D, and B9 will help promote gum growth and stimulate your gums to protect themselves against bacteria. Whether through healthy foods (oranges, blueberries, oysters, asparagus, peanuts) or by supplement, make sure to get a good dose of these vitamins daily.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

No step is more important than visiting your dentist and making sure that your gums are properly cared for.  Your dentist can clean your teeth and your gums much better than a toothbrush and floss can.
If you do take care of your teeth regularly, but still have signs of periodontal disease, often a dentist's cleaning can be the final push to treat and rid your gums of this disease.
Call Water Tower Dental today if you're looking for a team of dentists that understand how to treat and care for patients with periodontal disease. We're happy to help and can set up an appointment for you right away.

Want Fresh Breath? Employ the Use of a Tongue Scraper

October 3rd, 2013

tongue scraperWhen it comes to oral hygiene, Water Tower Dental encourages daily brushing and flossing along with biannual dental cleanings and check ups. Clearing harmful bacteria out of the mouth will help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, but what about your breath? Although brushing a flossing can help keep the bacteria that cause bad breath away from your teeth and gums, there's still a chance you'll have bad breath. That's because many of the bacteria can camp out on your tongue. Cue the tongue scraper, a leading tool in keeping harmful bacteria off your tongue.

Ever wake up in the morning and take a good look at your tongue? You may notice a white or murky yellow build up near the throat. That is from the mouth having insufficient amount of water to flush bacteria out of your mouth over the long night. Those tiny ridges and bumps on the surface of the tongue are the perfect breeding ground for volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulfide: the main ingredients to bad breath. While mouthwash or using your toothbrush to scrub at the tongue can help, bacteria can still hide in the spongy gaps of your tongue. A tongue scraper however, is much more efficient.
before after tongue scraperThere are several different designs of a tongue scraper (also referred to as a tongue brush or tongue cleaner), but their objective is still the same. Tongue cleaners- unlike toothbrushes- are designed for the purpose of lifting and trapping the plaque coating and removing it from the tongue.
The user will reach as far back on the tongue as possible, place the scraper down, and pull forward. It is recommended to repeat several times.
A regular user of a tongue brush might not get the assurance of seeing the white or murky yellow plaque be scraped from their tongue. But rest assured that with each scrap, you're keeping a colony of bacteria out of your mouth. In a study by the NCBI, tongue scrapers showed a 75 percent reduction of volatile sulfur compounds compared to a 45 percent reduction with a toothbrush. That means is a tongue scraper can guarantee cleaner, fresher breath.
tongue scraperA tongue scraper will not just help your bad breath though. A tongue scraper helps remove ama from the tongue. Ama is sanskrit meaning anything that is undigested. Specifically for your mouth, undigested food. Old remnants of food, just like plaque, can build up along the tongue. The more build up you have, however, the less your taste buds can detect flavors of food. By using a tongue scraper, you can actually help your tongue taste food better. That's a great plus for anyone who loves a good meal.
As well, tongue scrapers are great for the overall hygiene of your mouth. By removing bacteria and plaque from your tongue you're limiting the amount of bacteria that can spread throughout your entire mouth. This will help with general oral hygiene.
If you're looking for the ultimate fighting tool against bad breath, after following the basic practices of oral hygiene, we recommend investing in a tongue scraper. They're a great way to keep bacteria and unwanted plaque out of the mouth for cleaner, fresher breath.

Common Causes for Chipped Teeth

September 26th, 2013

common causes chipped toothLast week we listed the solutions for fixing a chipped tooth. Today we'd like to get a little more in depth on some of the harmful foods and activities that can crack, chip, or fracture a tooth.
When the enamel of your tooth is worn down, or if your tooth is already fairly decayed, your teeth have much higher potential of chipping. To guarantee you are the least likely to chip a tooth, we recommend, first, to practice proper dental hygiene by brushing your teeth after meals, flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist for cleanings and check-ups on a regular basis.
However, even with proper care for your teeth, a chipped or cracked tooth is still possible. Here are some of the main causes for chipped teeth.

1. Dangerous Foods

While your teeth can often bite down on some tough meals, they're not an invincible force. Often, if you bite down too hard on the wrong food, you'll have to say goodbye to a piece of your tooth. Here are three of the biggest culprits:
Popcorn: Make sure to leave the last few kernels in that bowl of popcorn alone.
Hard Candies: We all find ourselves biting down on a hard candy much earlier than we hoped. Break the mistake by avoiding these dangerous treats.
Ice: Chewing on ice is bad news for teeth. Try switching to sugar-free gum, or better yet, carrots and celery.

2. Dangerous Habits

Nervous ticks and bad habits such as biting your nails or chewing on the back of your pencil can often harm the front of your teeth. Kick those nasty habits before its too late.

3. Grinding In Your Sleep

Many of our patients are doing everything to keep great oral hygiene yet see their tooth enamel wearing down. That is because, whether they know it or not, they are grinding their teeth in their sleep. Some do it when they have a lot of stress in their lives or during a scary dream; others do it for no reason at all. No matter why, it's a leading cause for tooth enamel wear down and potential cracked teeth.
If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, or a significant other has claimed you do, see a specialist that can fit you for a mouth guard that can help stop the problem before its too late.

4. Absent Mouth guard

Speaking of mouth guards, many sports players chip teeth when they don't wear their protective mouth gear. A mouth guard is a safe and easy way to keep your teeth intact. For any sport with physical contact, one should consider using a mouth guard.

5. Using Your Teeth Incorrectly

Ever try to open a bottle or a stubborn potato chip bag with your teeth? Unfortunately this is a very easy way to hurt yourself and crack a tooth. Using your teeth for unintended uses is highly discouraged. Rather, grab scissors, pliers, a knife, or the many other tools man has created to open those frustrating packages.

6. Crooked Teeth

Last, untreated, crooked teeth can cause harm to your teeth by kicking or damaging areas while chewing or other activities. We recommend braces or Invisalign to straighten teeth and ensure that a crooked tooth doesn't cause further damage to your teeth.
We can't encourage you enough to practice proper oral hygiene to save your teeth from becoming chipped, cracked, or fractured among other serious issues. While there's no one to completely guarantee the prevention of dental accidents, the healthier your teeth are, the stronger they are, and subsequently the better they are at fighting against damage.
If you recently chipped a tooth, refer to our post last week on how to repair everything from a small chip to a serious fracture. If you have any more questions, call Water Tower Dental, we're happy to help.

What do I do about a chipped tooth?

September 19th, 2013

chipped toothWhether you took a bite into something too hard for your tooth, or took a nasty spill, the potential to crack, fracture or chip your tooth is possible. Thankfully, there are several ways to fix a chipped tooth depending on the severity of the accident.
Chipped teeth come in all shapes and sizes. While the enamel on your tooth is one of the strongest tissues of the body, it still can be broken especially if a tooth already has a good amount of decay. While it's less likely for a tooth to chip from eating, harmful snacks like ice, chewy and hard candy, and popcorn can cause a break. However, it's much more likely you'd receive a chipped or fractured tooth from falling over, playing a sport without a mouth guard, or involving yourself in a rowdy bar fight- all of which we advise you to avoid.

If you do experience a chipped tooth, we recommend you call your dentist right away and get your tooth fixed as quickly as you can. Often a chipped tooth can escalate to further damage, infection, and serious injury.
After an appointment has been set, we recommend covering your chipped tooth with wax paraffin or sugar-free gum to keep the jagged ends from cutting your gums, lips, or cheeks. If the tooth is painful, take an over the counter pain reliever to help minimize the discomfort. A cold press can also help the area from swelling.

Treating Your Chipped Tooth

Fixing a chipped tooth is often a very simple procedure. There are several ways to treat a chipped tooth depending on the severity of the break. While a simple crack or chip can be fixed during an office visit, other cases may need several doctors visit to make sure the tooth is safe from infection and further damage.

Resin Bonding

If only a small chip or break is present on the tooth, resin bonding can be used to repair it. Bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin that fills the gap in the tooth.
This procedure is rather simple, using a flexible cement-like material; the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth then adds the bonding filler. The doctor then shapes the bonding to resemble the missing shape of the tooth. When just right, an ultraviolet light is used to adhere the bonding to the tooth and harden it enough to withstand the daily activities of a tooth.

Cap or Crown

For a more severe fracture, the dentist can choose to use a cap or crown to cover a tooth completely. First, the dentist will grind away a portion of the tooth. Next, they fit a tooth-shaped cap and adhere it to the remaining piece of tooth. If there is minimal tooth left, the dentist may place a post into the root of the tooth to build enough foundation for the cap to be placed on securely. Different materials can be used which usually depend on which tooth is being replaced. For less visible teeth, gold can be used, as it is a stronger material. Porcelain crowns can look much more similar to the original tooth which make them more useful for visible teeth.
In the past crowns could take several visits to complete. At Water Tower Dental Care they can now be completed in one visit with CEREC technology.

Veneers

Minimal Prep Veneers and Porcelain Veneers can be used for front chipped teeth. Similar to a cap, it is an exterior body resembling a tooth that is placed over your teeth. With veneers though, only a small amount of tooth enamel is filed down for the veneer to fit over the tooth. After filing the tooth, the dentist will make an impression of your teeth and color, then have veneers specially made. On a second visit, the veneers are cemented to your teeth.

Root Canals

In most severe cases, a tooth can fracture and expose the center of the tooth where nerves and blood vessels are. This area is known as the pulp and it is very sensitive. If exposed, the pulp can easily become infected. When this happens, the pulp must be extracted through a root canal procedure. The dentist removes the dead pulp and cleans out the emptied area. Next the canal is sealed to prevent future infection. Once sealed, a cap is placed over the remaining tooth.
Most chipped teeth happen from simple accidents. However, tooth decay can weaken a tooth to make it more likely to chip. Proper care and hygiene of your teeth is crucial. If you have any problems with a chipped tooth or would like to keep your teeth free of decay, contact Water Tower Dental to set up an appointment. We'd be happy to help.

Are Apples Good or Bad For Your Teeth?

August 29th, 2013

apples bad for your teethThere are a lot of conflicting opinions if apples are good for your teeth or not. Seems odd that it’s even a question. How could the fruit recommended to keep the doctor away hurt you? A few years back, the Toronto Star published some negative effects of an apple on your teeth. However, we don't believe this settles the case on if an apple is bad for your teeth or not. We think it's a tricky grey area, an apple can actually help your teeth and keep them healthy- just as long as you eat it right. These are the true food villains that are bad for your teeth.

How Is An Apple Good For Your Teeth

An apple helps both your teeth and your all-around oral hygiene. Think of it as a natural toothbrush. The fruit, that's rich in fleshy fiber, helps scrub your teeth, gums, and tongue. The skin of the apple especially, which is extremely high in fiber, can scrub against your teeth and help remove stains and fight plaque.
Furthermore, Apples are great for getting rid of bad breath. That natural fiber helps remove the traces of plaque and residue that harbor in the back of your tongue and throat that create the bad breath. The acidity of the apple helps kill any bad bacteria that may cause the bad breath as well.

How Is An Apple Bad For Your Teeth

The Toronto Star claims from a study published by UK's Journal of Dentistry, that an apple's acidic structure can be harmful to your teeth. This is true; foods high in acidity can damage the dentine in your mouth. Dentine is the layer of tooth just under the enamel. The acidity of an apple can eat away at your dentine and damage your teeth.
As well, apples have high sugar content, and we all know how bad sugar can be for your teeth. Furthermore, apple juice, along with most fruit juices, is highly acidic as well and can be harmful to that dentine.

Don't Stop Eating Apples!

apples bad for teethHowever, though apples can hurt your teeth, their benefits greatly outweigh the risk. Not only can apples help our teeth, they can help regulate our blood sugar, are low in calories and are a great source of dietary fiber. The negative effects of apples are easily preventable and mostly depend on your apple eating habits. If you want the good benefits of apples without the negative impact, follow these steps:
1. Eat your apple in a single sitting. Don't graze an apple. The longer the acidic elements are in your mouth, the more harm they can do.
2. Eat apples with other snacks. Munching on a piece of cheese, milk, or some bread can help neutralize the apple's acidity. Especially if its a food high in calcium.
3. When finished with an apple, swish your mouth with water. This will help release and flush away the acidic elements that are hiding between your teeth.
4. Wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating an apple. If you brush too soon after, the sugars from the apple will scrub off your enamel. Use water to flush as much out before brushing.
If you follow these steps, apples will never be harm to you. In most cases, no food will be of harm if you follow these steps. Proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing everyday will especially help. And, of course, a visit to your dentist for a special cleaning every six months will keep you safe from serious oral issues. Call Water Tower Dental Care today to set up an appointment.

How Does Invisalign Work?

August 21st, 2013

invisalignWhile braces are fine for children, they are often tough for an adult to commit to. Over a year of metal, cement and wires on your teeth is not the most attractive look, and with beauty playing a major role in one's social life and career, many cannot risk the commitment to braces.

However, many people don't realize the risk they take by not straightening their teeth. Misaligned teeth provide better areas for food particles, bacteria, and plaque to hide and grow. With that the risk of gum disease greatly increases. Even with proper brushing and flossing everyday, your risk of serious infection is much higher than someone with aligned teeth.
Furthermore, misaligned teeth can wear away at the tooth's structure causing even more trouble. A deep bite (or malocclusion), crossbite, edge-to-edge bite and excessive overjet can all leave you at risk of wearing away, chipping and flattening your teeth. These are problems that cannot be easily fixed once the damage is done.

Why Invisalign Braces?

invisalignWater Tower Dental Care recommends Invisalign for adults with crooked teeth. Unlike regular, metal braces, Invisalign are practically invisible to the human eye. These clear braces are made through a 3D modeling process that fits specifically to your teeth, each set slightly straighter than the previous ones.

The patient receives a set of customized, clear, acrylic Invisalign aligners that are molded to slowly straighten your teeth to a perfect position. Each set of aligners are worn for about two weeks, at which point, the patient switches to the next set of aligners. Slowly, the teeth are moved from their crooked position to a straight and healthy smile. There is minimal discomfort and the treatment takes about one year to completely straighten the teeth. The same amount of time metal and wire braces would take.

The Invisalign Method

The Invisalign method works by applying gentle pressure to your teeth, slowly realigning them throughout a span of time. As your teeth conform to a set of aligners, the patient switches to the next set. This happens usually within a two-week period, however it can take longer depending on the severity of your teeth. We ask that our patients visit the office every two months to check that the treatment is working according to plan and if adjustments need to be made.

Invisalign Before & After

 
invisalign before after
 

invisalign before afterInvisalign Food Restrictions

A patient doesn't have to worry about food restrictions because Invisalign aligners can be removed at any time. This allows you to eat whatever you like. Since the aligners can be removed, it's much easier to clean your teeth and the aligners.
Most importantly, if you have a meeting or a social affair you'd like to look your best at, you can remove your aligners and smile with confidence.
If you'd like to finally stop thinking about your misaligned teeth and start smiling with confidence, call Water Tower Dental Care today to set up an appointment for a set of Invisalign aligners just for you.

Are At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits Worth It?

July 10th, 2013

zoom teeth whiteningFor every great, reliable method for tooth care, there are dozens of imitators and "fast-acting" methods that try to cash in on new trends. The process of teeth whitening is one of the biggest victims of this pattern. While at-home whitening techniques can work, it's hard to sift through the many different products to find the ones guaranteed to do a good job. Many products can promise whiter teeth, but don't help fix the underlying problem. Others can take so long to show a difference that you forget what your teeth first looked like to even determine a change in color.
While you may continue to ask if at-home teeth whitening is worth it while trying dozens of new products, we believe it's our duty to help you choose the best teeth whitening kits, and to tell you which don't work.

First, what doesn't work?

Toothpastes: Though there are a lot of toothpastes claiming to whiten teeth, for the most part, they don't have much effect. Though some do offer a slight change in color, this is mostly from a chemical used in the toothpaste called blue covarine which, rather that scrubbing off stains to reach the white tooth, it stains the teeth white. In a way, this is counter-active. It would be like painting over the stains on your living room walls, though they might disappear for a little bit; the stain is still there and will slowly resurface with time.
Mouthwashes: Though a lot of guarantees are given with mouthwashes that whiten teeth, again, for the most part, they're not very effective. The reason being that the hydrogen peroxide present in mouth whitening mouthwashes is not strong enough to make a lasting impression. The chemical can remove surface stains from the teeth, but not much further. Unfortunately, surface stains are the ones that come back rather quickly (through drinking coffee, red wine, smoking, etc.).
Gels: Very similar to both mouthwashes and toothpastes, gels can show results, but many of those results won't appear for over six weeks. Though they do often garner better results than both mouthwashes and toothpastes, they still are mediocre at best. The chemical combinations are not custom to your teeth as well as usually not very strong.

What does work?

Over-the-Counter Kits: The best at-home teeth whitening remedy is obtained by visiting a dentist and allowing them to prepare a take home kit for you. These are similar to gels where you use them at home for a stretch of time to garner results. The difference is that the Dentist will make you a customized mouth tray and can guide you through the steps of proper whitening.
The chemical solutions are stronger than products you can purchase at a local pharmacy and only take about two weeks to show lasting results. On average, the trays are used for one hour a day for a total of two weeks. Follow-up appointments are necessary to advise future treatments.
Water Tower Dental Care provides a great at-home whitening surface that's guaranteed to make your smile brighter. Make an appointment today for more information.

Or, Get Out of the House

Though At-Home remedies can brighten your smile, if you really want lasting results, consider making an appointment with Water Tower Dental for a team of trained professionals to take your stained teeth and make them look brand new. Using the leading whitening system, Zoom!, Water Tower Dental Care can change your teeth's color eight shades in an hour. A specific pH balanced hydrogen peroxide is applied to your teeth while a low heat light activates the solution to penetrate down to the whitest layers of your teeth. Call today to talk to one of our dental care professionals to learn more about whitening your teeth.

5 Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

June 27th, 2013

Though there are plenty of foods that can harm your teeth such as candy, soda, and coffee, there are also many foods that are good for your teeth. If you want healthy teeth that fight bacteria, kill plaque, and build enamel, there are dozens of foods you can fit into your diet that will help. Today we'd like to tell you about five of the best foods (or food groups) for your teeth.

Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

DAIRY

MilkTeeth need a great deal of calcium to stay strong, there's almost no better food to get it than through dairy products. Milk and cheese especially are great for your teeth and jawbone. Calcium prevents tooth decay by protecting your teeth from periodontal disease, a form of gum disease, as well as maintaining healthy bone structure of the teeth and jaw. About one-third of your body's bones and teeth are made of calcium, so it's important to have a great deal of it in your system. Yogurt, tofu, and soy milk are also good sources of calcium.

SALMON

 
salmonAnother great food that’s rich in both calcium and Vitamin D is salmon. Without Vitamin D, your body cannot absorb and utilize the calcium that you've just consumed from your dairy products. Consuming food rich in Vitamin D is essential to healthy teeth. What better food to eat than salmon for your Vitamin D as it's also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help cognitive function, eye, cardiovascular, skin, and hair health.

CRUNCHY VEGGIES

 
broccoliThough mostly all vegetables are great for your teeth, there are many benefits to crunchier vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumber. Crunchy vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are all good for your health. Specifically to teeth, they contain Vitamin C, which helps prevent plaque and bacteria. As well, crunchy vegetables contain phosphorus, which is another major player in absorbing calcium. Last, crunchy vegetables promote and stimulate your salivary production. This is the body's natural way of washing debris and food from your teeth and gums while providing disease-fighting enzymes throughout your mouth to prevent infection.

ORANGES (CITRUS)

orangesWhile crunchy vegetables are a good source of Vitamin C, oranges and other citrus fruits are your ultimate source. Vitamin C is extremely important to the teeth because of its ability to strengthen blood vessels and connective tissues. This is vital to keeping your teeth connected to your jaw. As well, vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce and/or slow the progression of gingivitis.

ONIONS

onionsLast, onions are a great source for anti-bacterial sulphur compounds, which play a major role in killing a lot of the bacteria that breed on your teeth and gums. If you don't mind just a little stinky breath for a minute, it's best to eat the onions raw. This will help you get the best from the vegetable to help prevent a fair amount of tooth decay.
There are dozens of other foods that are great for your teeth, gums, and jaw. Most importantly, without question, water is number 1. We didn't mention it in our list because it seems so obvious, but it really helps, especially avoiding sugary, acidic sodas and soft drinks that can cause detrimental damage to your teeth.
If you'd like to know more about healthy teeth care, make an appointment with Water Tower Dental Care, Chicago's #1 Dentists to discuss what steps to take to be on your way to a healthy lifestyle and a brighter smile.

How Often Should I Floss My Teeth? Am I Flossing Too Much?

June 13th, 2013

am i flossing too muchFlossing is an important part of dental hygiene. One should consider it just as beneficial as brushing their teeth in the fight to prevent plaque, cavities, and gingivitis. However, from last week's post: How to Brush Your Teeth Properly, we learned it's not beneficial to brush your teeth more than three times a day and can potentially hurt your gums. Another question we though we could clear up is; "Can you floss too much?" (Too much being more than three times a day)
The simple answer is no. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort while flossing regularly, it's more likely that you're flossing incorrectly than flossing too much. We'll get to that issue in a moment. But more importantly, we would like to respond to the question by asking another, "Why would you want to floss that much?"

Why Is It Important to Floss?

To understand why we ask that question, it's good to know a little more about flossing. Flossing is a critical element to healthy gums. Its main purpose is to remove the plaque and bacteria that forms in between the teeth, where a toothbrush will have trouble reaching. Though its purpose is to mostly help the gums, the floss' focus should remain on the tooth. When plaque builds up, it will slowly work its way down into the gums. By removing it from the teeth, you're preventing any potential health issues with your gums.
So, here's why we ask the second question. Plaque and bacteria between your teeth does not produce as quickly as it might on the outside layer of your teeth. Most plaque and bacteria in between your teeth will take about 24 hours to form. So, if you floss once a day, there's not much reason to continue flossing. Of course, if you ate a messy meal and have food stuck between your teeth, you might find a second (or even third) flossing session in a day beneficial for your comfort, however, it's not a necessary action.
So back to those who do floss several times a day and are experiencing discomfort. Most likely, you're flossing incorrectly.

3 common flossing mistakes that you should avoid:

Not Working Each Side of the Tooth

When flossing, you should place the floss between your teeth and form a C shape around one side of a tooth and scrub. Then, you should reverse your C shape and scrub the opposite side. Often, many people will only scrub one side, or neither and just "saw" the floss between the teeth. This can result in neither plaque or bacteria being removed and ultimately causing gum damage.

Forcing The Floss Between the Teeth

Another common mistake happens when two teeth are very tightly pushed together. The proper way to move floss in between the teeth is so use a sawing motion to slowly enter the tight space. If you're forcing the floss between the teeth in a snapping motion, you can cause the floss to come down hard and cut the gums, which can result in bleeding and further damage.

Not Using New Floss

When you switch from one tooth to another, it's a good idea to move the floss in your hands to an un-used spot. Floss removes the plaque by scraping it off and catching most of it on the floss. If you're using the same area of floss for the next tooth, you're going to be adding plaque you already removed to a new area.

Flossing Without a Plan

Another issue that can cause discomfort, even if you are flossing numerous times a day, is missing entire sections of your teeth because you're not strategically flossing. If you're not focusing the floss between every tooth, your numerous flossing practices may not be working very well. You should start with a plan as to how you will work your way around your mouth to floss between every tooth.
Your plan is entirely up to you, but it's wise to stick to whatever that plan is. If you want to start at the very back of your lower teeth, work your way around and then do the same for the top, that's a great strategy. Whatever the plan is, just make sure to stick with it each time you floss, that way you're always sure you're cleaning every tooth.
If you avoid these common mistakes and keep a good schedule of flossing at least once a day, you'll be on your way to healthier gums and a brighter smile. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment with Water Tower Dental, Chicago's #1 Dental Office, contact us today, we'd be happy to talk to you more about proper dental techniques and make sure you're teeth are on their way to meet their full potential.

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

June 6th, 2013

how to properly brush your teethIt may seem elementary to you, but believe it or not, many people still don't brush their teeth correctly. Either they don't do it for long enough time, concentrate on the wrong areas, brush too hard, or just completely misuse the toothbrush. For our Water Tower Dental Care patients, and anyone else that has discovered our blog, we would like to provide you with the steps to properly brushing your teeth.

Common Brushing Mistakes

Timing

First, one of the most common mistakes made when brushing is not taking the amount of time needed to properly clean. To effectively brush your teeth, you should spend at least two minutes. If you need a good measure of time, sing the Beatles 'All My Loving,' or hum the Happy Birthday song eight times in a row. Seems like a long time, but in reality, you need to give your teeth this much focus every time you brush.

Frequency & Strength

Another common mistake is people often brush too many times and too hard. Rather than brushing five times a day, really quickly, with extreme force, take the two minutes to effectively brush your teeth two to three times a day with a soft yet efficient hand. Brushing too often and too hard can expose the root of the tooth and cause irritation. That can then cause pain in the gums. Brushing too hard can wear away at tooth enamel as well. Using an electric toothbrush, like the Pilips Sonicare, can help prevent any enamel wear.

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

So now you know the common mistakes of brushing, let's focus on how to properly brush.

wet toothbrush apply toothpasteWet the toothbrush and apply a thin strip of toothpaste. Although there is a plethora of toothbrushes to choose from, we don't recommend a specific design of brush, rather it's more important to find a brush that if manual is soft and if electric, ultrasonic. Richard H. Price, DMD and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association has been famously quoted saying, "It's not the toothbrush, it's the brusher."

However, selection in toothpaste can matter. It's important to choose a toothpaste that focuses on any issues you may have. With a wide variety of toothpastes available, you can find one specific to your conditions, perhaps a toothpaste that focuses on cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth, or sensitivity. For better help with toothpaste, make an appointment with Water Tower Dental Care to help decide what is best for you.
brush outer surfaceWhen using a manual soft toothbrush, start by brushing the outer surface of your upper teeth, then your lower. Keep the bristles at a 45-degree angle from your teeth and sweep or roll away from the gum line. Your gums are very sensitive and must be treated with care when brushing. Never brush up, into the gums, always away. When using an electric ultrasonic toothbrush, hold bristles at a 45-degree angle at gum line and slowly move brush across teeth.
brush inner surfaceAfter the outer surface, focus on the inner surface of the teeth, first the upper then lower teeth. Again, brush away from the gums at a 45-degree angle.
brush chewing surfacesClean the chewing surfaces of the teeth. You can be slightly more aggressive with the surface of the teeth, but nothing too hard. Pay extra attention to the hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings or crowns.
brush your tongueOnce you've finished on the teeth, give your tongue a gentle brush to remove any bacteria and to keep your breath fresh longer. We highly recommend using a tongue scraper as well.
 

You’re All Done!

That's all it takes to keep bright, clean teeth everyday. Make sure to floss before you brush. If you don't floss, we recommend you start.
Remember to replace your toothbrush, or brush head, about every three months or when there are visible signs of wear. If you recently had a cold or any other sickness, you should replace your toothbrush as soon as you're better. Often a toothbrush can collect the germs that cause the sickness and induce another infection.
If you have any more questions about brushing your teeth or proper dental care, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental Care, the number one dentist in Chicago, we would be happy to help with any of your needs.
 

What's the Difference between Minimal Prep Veneers & Porcelain Veneers?

May 16th, 2013

minimal prep veneers
At Water Tower Dental care, we accept patients everyday wanting to improve the look of their teeth by the use of veneers. From that, we receive a multitude of questions concerning the difference between porcelain veneers and minimal prep veneers. As we are always happy to answer our patient’s questions, we guide them through the steps it takes to distinguish the two and help them decide which is best for their teeth. We would like to take the opportunity on blog to help more than our patients and explain the biggest difference between minimal prep veneers and porcelain veneers.

What are porcelain veneers?

First, this isn't a chicken or the egg kind of question; porcelain veneers came first, invented by a California dentist named Charles Pincus. When first made, they were only popular with actor's to temporarily change the appearance of their teeth. As time moved forward, better technologies allowed veneers to be placed on patient’s teeth. The biggest advancements were the ability to etch the porcelain to fit a tooth and bond through composite resin that guaranteed a veneer would not come loose.
A porcelain veneer is composed of a thin layer of; you guessed it, porcelain that is placed over a tooth to improve the look and color. In some cases, it helps protect a tooth's surface from damage. While some patients only need one or two teeth covered due to a chip or discoloration, others can request an entire porcelain veneer set, a whole new look to improve their smile.

How veneers are applied

The process is simple, it starts by coming in for a consultation where we take digital photos of the patient’s teeth and alter the image to show them exactly how their porcelain veneers will look. Next, to help a patient feel comfortable with their new smile, the dentist creates a temporary acrylic mold made to mimic the look of the final veneers; we call this a trial smile. Once the patient feels confident that the veneers are exactly how they desire them, we start the process of adding the veneers to the teeth. Porcelain veneers are placed over the teeth like a cap, so to make sure the veneer fits snuggly, the dentist must remove a small amount of tooth enamel. This is a minimal pain procedure but local anesthesia can be administered to relieve the slight discomfort.
Once ready, the veneers are placed over the tooth using lightweight cement that hardens when struck with a special light beam. This allows the dentist to be sure that the veneers are placed, and will set correctly before the cement dries. After the veneers are set, a follow up visit may be required to ensure the veneers have adhered properly. Porcelain veneers can last up to 10 to 30 years, however potential cracking, chipping, discoloration, decay, and shrinkage of the gums may require repairing and maintenance before that time.

So what’s the difference?

The biggest difference between porcelain veneers and minimal prep veneers are not in the look, both are intended to improve a patient's smile by making them whiter with a more uniform look than their original set of teeth. The difference is in the procedure. Water Tower Dental Care offers DURAthin and Lumineer minimal prep veneers, which are paper-thin and designed to fit over your existing tooth structure. This means there is no need to shave tooth enamel down for the veneer to fit. Similar cement is used to align the minimal prep veneer over each tooth and, again, is set with a specialized light beam that dries the cement.

What are the benefits?

The most significant benefit to minimal prep veneers is the ability to keep the natural tooth structure intact. Minimal prep veneers typically require fewer visits to the dentist before applying the veneer. As well, no anesthesia required. In most cases, natural looking, minimal prep veneers can last up to 15 years. They are a great solution to a lasting, beautiful smile, just look at some of these Before and After photos.
Whichever procedure you might choose, it is best advised to come in to Water Tower Dental Care and discuss both options with our qualified team. While not often, some patients are not eligible for certain types of veneers, and it is our job to find the best options for your benefit.