dental health

​World Oral Health Day Campaign

March 27th, 2017

​World Oral Health Day Campaign

Healthier mouths achieve happier lives — that’s the motto of the World Oral Health Day campaign. The year-long campaign is launched every year on March 20th as part of a movement to create more awareness about the importance of having good oral health. The goal is to bring together all members of communities — government, health associations, and the public, to work toward preventing oral disease and maintaining mouth health.

The History of The World Oral Health Day Campaign

Although March 20, 2013 was the first date the campaign was widely recognized, it had its roots further back to 2007. The campaign was started by FDI World Dental Federation, a worldwide organization of dental professionals representing over 135 countries. The first celebration had originally taken place in September, but was later moved to March 20 for two reasons – September conflicted with an important Dental Congress meeting of the organization, and the significance of the numbers “32” and “20” could be represented in the date March 20, or 3/20. (Adults should have 32 healthy natural teeth, and babies or seniors should have 20).

Each year, the campaign focuses on a specific theme to target awareness and improvement efforts in that area. Past themes have included:

2013: Healthy Teeth for a Healthy Life

2014: Celebrating Healthy Smiles

2015: Smile for Life!

2016: Healthy mouth, Healthy Body

Each theme is specific enough to spark focused action but broad enough to be able to include individuals from all walks of life within its significance. The first year’s theme in 2013, for example, focused on the recognition that oral health problems can be just as lethal as other risk factors for chronic disease. Last year’s theme, “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body” focused on a holistic view of oral health being one in the same as overall health.

Participating organizations get access to the campaign website, where they can get promotional materials such as posters, logos, and more to raise awareness of the celebration. Each year, the number of countries taking part in the campaign continues to increase, which shows that a growing number of world leaders are recognizing oral health to be important.

World Oral Health Day 2017 Campaign: Live Mouth Smart

This year’s theme is “Live Mouth Smart” — understanding that your oral health can affect your quality of life now and later on. This campaign focuses on four main points: safeguarding your oral health, avoiding risk factors, understanding that oral health is more than just a nice smile, and getting involved with the campaign’s activities. Major partners sponsor events all over the world to help spread the word. This year in Nigeria, for example, Pepsodent sponsored a “Health Walk,” which, as part of the “Brush Day and Night Campaign” will seek to educate millions of Nigerian families on best oral health practices.

The World Oral Health Day Campaign is also being celebrated widely on social media, with the hashtags #WOHD17 and #LiveMouthSmart. Premade headers are available on their website so people can show their support online. Posters and other pamphlets or resources are available for use on the website as well.

Although March 20, 2017, is the official launch date of this campaign, the message of fostering and sustaining good oral health goes on all year. The FDI World Dental Federation has already created a sense of urgency around the issue of oral health, and the campaign and movement will hopefully continue to grow and change habits and lives of many individuals around the world.

If you have any questions about how to take care of your teeth, or if you’d like to book an appointment with Chicago’s number one dentistry, Water Tower Dental Care, contact us today.

​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.

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.

​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.

Do CEREC One-Visit Crowns Actually Work?

July 31st, 2015

Do CEREC One-Visit Crowns Actually Work?Balancing work, friends, family, hobbies and relaxation time is hard enough. Trying to find the time to squeeze in a dentist appointment to fix your broken tooth before it gets worse may seem impossible. You need to fix your broken tooth before your nerves are exposed to dangerous bacteria that can cause serious infection, but you can’t seem to find the time to get around to making multiple visits to the dentist. That’s where CEREC One-Visit Crowns come in. 
In the past, having a porcelain crown created and placed took at least two visits to the dentist. With our CEREC technology, it only takes one hour to perfectly fit, craft and place your crown, inlay or onlay. Sound too good to be true? We’ll take a look at how exactly CEREC One-Visit Crowns work at Water Tower Dental Care in Chicago so that you get the full picture.
Doubting if CEREC One-Visit Crowns work? Here’s a review from one of Water Tower Dental Care’s CEREC patients: “The tooth feels like it’s my old tooth, so there’s no difference. And of course, the thing that’s really cool about it is it looks like your teeth, so no one really knows that I’ve got a crown in my mouth.”

How CEREC Creates and Places the Perfect Crown in One Hour

CEREC One-Visit Crown machineYou’re probably wondering how exactly CEREC One-Visit Crowns work so well after being created and placed in just one hour. Traditionally, you have to have your dentist make an impression of your tooth, send that impression to a dental lab, receive a temporary crown, wait weeks for your final crown to get crafted, hope that the fit and color are right, and, if so, finally get the crown placed. As you can see, this is a long and drawn-out process that leaves lots of room for human error.
At Water Tower Dental Care, we’ve replaced this traditional way of doing things with the latest dental crown technology, making our process much more precise and accurate. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  • First, our Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) machine creates a 3D image of your teeth and oral structures using a special camera.
  • It then designs the crown, inlay or onlay with 3D modeling, determining the size and shape for a perfect fit for your teeth.
  • The images are then sent to Water Tower Dental Care’s in-house milling unit, which carves the crown, inlay or onlay out of a porcelain block.
  • After the computers have built the perfect porcelain restoration, our doctors take over, custom coloring, polishing and placing the crown, inlay or onlay and having you ready to go within the hour.

The Perfect Crown and Fit Every Time

Since almost every step of the process is completed by accurate computerized technology, there’s virtually no room for human error. This means you won’t have to come back into the office for another fitting or correction. Your CEREC One-Visit Crowns are custom colored and polished during your visit to accurately match the rest of your teeth. Nobody will be able to notice that you’re wearing a crown. You also won’t have to deal with temporary crowns falling out, additional injections or unsightly metal in your teeth. Best of all, if you’re unhappy with your current crowns or fillings, we can use CEREC One-Visit Crowns to immediately replace them.
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If you want to learn more about CEREC One-Visit Crowns, feel free to give us a call at (312) 787-2131. We would love to help you find the easiest way to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best!

5 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Teeth and Mouth

June 18th, 2015

5 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Teeth and MouthWhen you’re sipping on a glass of red wine while relaxing in front of the TV after work, you’re probably not thinking about the way the alcohol is affecting your mouth. If you drink too much alcohol on a regular basis, you may be severely damaging your mouth.
Let’s take a look at six of the most common ways alcohol affects your teeth and mouth so you can make sure you aren’t causing any permanent damage with your drink of choice.

  1. Tooth Decay

You may want to lay off of the margaritas, piña coladas and sweet cocktails after reading this. Many delicious alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar. And we’re not the only ones enjoying it. Bacteria love sugar just as much as we do, feeding off of it and producing acid as they munch. Combine these acid-releasing bacteria with acidic alcoholic beverages and your teeth are on a path to decaying.
Solution: While you’re out for the evening, try to avoid sugary cocktails. Choose beer, wine or a coconut water and vodka cocktail instead. If you can’t end the night without your favorite sweet cocktail, use a straw so that the sugars skip past the majority of your teeth. Finally, always make sure to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after you’ve consumed alcohol. Any sooner and you may further erode your enamel by brushing it.

  1. Oral Cancer

Alcohol isn’t all fun and games. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), alcohol abuse is the second largest risk factor for developing oral cancer. Alcohol can cause your gums, cheeks and skin to corrode, leading to mouth and throat cancer. When combined with smoking, a heavy drinker has an especially high risk of developing the disease. The OCF notes that alcohol dehydrates the cell walls, which allows tobacco carcinogens to spread throughout your mouth more easily. Heavy drinking can also lead to nutritional deficiencies that lower your body’s ability to fight off cancer.
Solution: As long as you aren’t a heavy drinker, you shouldn’t run into this problem. Try to keep your drinking to moderate levels, which is defined as one drink a day if you’re a woman, and two drinks a day if you’re a man, according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  1. Enamel Erosion

Every time you drink alcohol, you’re usually exposing your teeth to highly acidic liquid. This causes enamel, the protective calcium coating on your skin, to erode. When your enamel wears away enough, you’ll notice your teeth are more sensitive and you’re more susceptible to cavities. Worst of all, enamel can’t naturally grow back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Solution: Try to avoid carbonated alcoholic drinks, as they are usually more acidic. Drinking water in between alcohol will also help to wash away the acids in your mouth.

  1. Dry Mouth

Instead of keeping your mouth wet, alcohol actually dries it out. You know how you have to take all those extra trips to the bathroom while you’re drinking? It’s because alcohol is a diuretic. In other words, it dehydrates you by making you urinate more than usual. Less liquid in your body means less saliva in your mouth. Since saliva fights off bacteria, your risk of gum disease and tooth decay increases while you’re drinking. You’ll also probably have pretty bad breath.
Solution: Try to drink at least one glass of water in between your alcoholic drinks. Mints and sugar-free gum can also help to increase your saliva production.

  1. Gum Disease

A couple of the ways that alcohol can increase your risk of developing gum disease have already been mentioned: bacteria feeding off of sugary drinks, nutritional deficiencies and lack of saliva. Additionally, alcohol has been found to irritate gum tissue and alcohol abusers tend to have poor dental hygiene habits, according to the Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia. All of this leads to a much higher risk of developing gum disease conditions, which can range from swollen gums to dangerous infections.
Solution: Avoid heavy drinking. If you do drink, make sure to brush practice good oral hygiene at least 30 minutes after drinking by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and correctly flossing.

How Invisalign Fixes Your Crooked Teeth

May 21st, 2015

How Invisalign Fixes Your Crooked Teeth Nobody likes having crooked teeth. They don’t give you the most beautiful smile in the world and they’re hard to take care of. Ironically, nobody really likes wearing braces to straighten their crooked teeth either, for pretty much the same reasons. At Water Tower Dental Care, we have a better solution to straighten your smile: Invisalign. Invisalign clear braces are easy to clean, effective and pretty much invisible to the eye.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign was designed to be as easy as possible. The invisible aligners, which look like teeth-whitening trays, are custom made for your teeth. As a result, they fit comfortably in your mouth. You’re given a series of these aligners throughout the treatment process - typically one every two weeks. Each aligner will gently reposition your teeth into their proper place. Your doctor controls the timing in which each tooth is moved and maps out exactly where your teeth should be.
Treatment time varies from patient to patient, but the average timeline to correct your teeth alignment with Invisalign is only about 12 months. During this time, you’ll want to wear the aligners for about 20 to 22 hours every day.
Invisalign for crooked teeth before and after pictures

Benefits of Invisalign Compared to Braces for Fixing Crooked Teeth

At Water Tower Dental Care, we’re big advocates of Invisalign. Here are just a few reasons why you might like Invisalign more than traditional braces.

  • Invisalign is virtually invisible, with no unsightly brackets or wires
  • It’s incredibly easy to clean. All you have to do is pop off your aligners and clean them with the Invisalign Cleaning system, which you can purchase at our office, or with lukewarm water and a brush.
  • Invisalign isn’t painful. Instead, it fits comfortably over your teeth and gently repositions them over time.
  • You’ll have no food restrictions. You can take off your Invisalign braces and chew all the gum you want!
  • Your teeth are easy to clean. It can be tough to clean all of your teeth with wires and brackets in the way. With Invisalign, you can remove the aligners in the morning and evening for easy access to your teeth.
  • Pop them off for big events. It’s best to wear your aligners as much as possible. But if you have a big event, you can always take off your aligners and put them back on later.
  • They work as fast as traditional braces. On average, treatment time for patients wearing Invisalign is only 12 months.

Health Problems Caused by Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth don’t only look bad. They also hurt your oral health, which Invisalign can help with. Here are a handful of problems caused by crooked teeth that you may not know about.

  • Gum Disease. When your teeth aren’t aligned well, your gums aren’t supporting them as securely as if they were straight. This means your gums are less healthy and strong, and more likely to develop periodontal disease.
  • Tooth Decay. Plaque can build up in spots that you can’t see when you have severely crooked teeth. Untouched plaque will lead to bacteria eating away at your teeth over time.
  • Harder to clean. It’s hard to properly floss and brush when you have crooked teeth. If you can’t reach your gums or specific places on your teeth while cleaning, you’re more likely to develop cavities, gum disease and other oral health problems.
  • Worse Health Overall. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy means keeping the rest of your body healthy as well. Oral infection and bad oral health may lead or contribute to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, endocarditis, and more, according to Mayo Clinic.

Interested in learning more about Invisalign? We here at Water Tower Dental Care are Invisalign experts. Feel free to contact us to learn more about this amazing treatment. We will be more than happy to help put you on a path to the straight smile of your dreams, without the hassle of traditional braces.

What Happens When Your Teeth Get Old?

April 2nd, 2015

What Happens When Your Teeth Get Old?Just as you might expect, as the rest of your body ages, your teeth age as well. So what exactly happens to your teeth as they get older and what can you do now to help them out?

The Biggest Threat to Your Teeth

From the first day a tooth pops out of your gums as a child to the last day you have them, the biggest threat to your teeth is acid erosion. This is caused by the sugars and carbohydrates in your mouth that provide food for the bacteria in your mouth. In turn, that bacteria produce acids that can easily wear away the enamel of your teeth. The result of this process is the tiny pits that can widen to become cavities.
As a kid, this might not seem like a big deal, but as you grow older, you’ll want to work at preserving your teeth as much as possible for old age.
While candy and its sugar is a top offender, beware of sweetened carbonated drinks and starchy carbohydrates. All of these foods can cause serious wear to the enamel of your teeth.

Preventing Chips and Cracks

Surprisingly, as you age, your teeth do not become more brittle. They stay as strong as ever. However, if something happens to your tooth that requires medical attention, it could take longer to heal. For example, you could accidentally crack your tooth by biting into ice. Replacing or capping an elderly person’s tooth can cause more pain for extended time compared to a younger person.
This doesn’t mean an older person should start eating mush. It just means they need to be careful and conscious of what they eat.

Keeping Teeth White

Some older patients experience stained teeth. This is mostly a cosmetic issue, though if enough organic compounds from the stain build up, it can cause enamel wear. It’s important to keep your teeth looking as white as possible, at least for their own protection. Make sure to avoid foods that can stain your teeth as much as possible along with using whitening toothpaste every so often. As well, you can visit your dentist for cleanings that will help with the color of your teeth.

Protect Your Gums

The biggest issue that can arise from older age is gum disease. It can happen at any age, but the older you get, the more likely it will happen. When you’re older, your gums are weakened, and there are often more pockets for bacteria to hide. Left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflamed gums and even bleeding. To prevent gum disease, make sure to floss once a day, brush at least twice, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and eat foods that are good for your gums.
Old age doesn’t mean your teeth are going to fall out and you’ll need dentures. Bad oral health care can lead to your teeth falling out. If you care for your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing, eating the right foods, avoiding sugars, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, you can have a healthy smile for your entire life.

Busting 9 Flossing Myths With Dental Facts

March 12th, 2015

Busting 9 Common Flossing Myths With Dental FactsMany people are reluctant to floss, for one reason or another. However one convinces themselves, the reasons one avoids flossing is probably wrong. There are many myths about flossing that can easily be busted with a simple explanation. These are nine myths that tend to keep people from flossing, but should stop no one.

1. If My Gums Bleed I Should Stop Flossing

This is a big myth that can keep many people from flossing everyday. They think that they are hurting themselves by flossing, causing their gums to bleed. In fact, it’s the opposite. Your gums bleed because the bacteria growing between your teeth have inflamed your gums. If you floss daily and visit a dentist for cleanings, your gums will bleed less and less until the bacteria is cleared out and they stop bleeding altogether.

2. Flossing Will Loosen Fillings

Flossing is necessary with any kind of dental work, including fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, and more. Dental work becomes necessary when one doesn’t floss enough. Any kind of dental work needs extra care. Flossing everyday is absolutely necessary.

3. I Cannot Floss With Braces

Though it may be harder to floss with braces, it is necessary. With braces, gums are more likely to become inflamed and infected.

4. I Cannot Floss Because My Teeth are Too Close Together

At Water Tower Dental Care, we can attest that we have never had a patient that has had teeth too close together to floss. Of course some teeth are closer than others and it can be difficult to floss. There is specific thinner floss that one can purchase to solve this issue, but from our experience, this is an excuse more than an actual problem.

5. Flossing Takes Too Much Time

Though some people may have busier mornings than others, there is always time to floss. You can floss in the morning, afternoon, or night—any time of the day. Proper flossing should take no more than two to three minutes. If someone doesn’t have two to three minutes to spare in their day, they may have bigger problems to deal with, though we doubt anyone is that busy.

6. A Waterpik Does the Same Job

Many think that a waterpik can take the place of flossing. Though a waterpik is a very useful tool, it cannot do as good of a job as floss. A waterpik should be used in conjunction with flossing, not as a replacement.

7. I Use Mouthwash Instead of Floss

Just like a waterpik, while mouthwash definitely helps, it is adjunct to floss. Mouthwash is better for loosening plaque, killing bacteria, and freshening breath, but it cannot take the place of floss.

8. There’s No Food In My Teeth, So I Don’t Need to Floss

First, food can be hard to detect in the far reaches of your teeth. Unless you have advanced mirror and lighting technologies to see far into the back reaches of your teeth, it is impossible to say if there’s food between your teeth. More importantly, floss does not just remove food from your teeth, it also helps remove plaque that is built up between them. This plaque is what can cause gum disease and cavities. It is the main reason you floss.

9. Flossing Is Not Fun

Though you may not find it fun at first, flossing will become a rewarding and pleasurable experience the more you do it. You will become more used to the process, and it will feel good to make the space between your teeth clean and smooth.

Dental Health Tips for the Holiday Season

December 18th, 2014

Dental Health Tips for the Holiday SeasonWe all love the holidays, but it’s important to be aware of your oral health during these festive times. Taking care of your teeth and gums during the holidays is simple. All it includes is avoiding a few nasty habits and being aware of the treats that can be most harmful to your teeth. Here are our four dental health tips for the holiday season.

Be Careful of the Sugary Treats

The holidays are often filled with candy canes, peanut brittle, sweet chocolate, and fruitcake. All of these treats can be very harmful for your teeth. Chewy and hard candy alike can get stuck in your teeth, pull out fillings, and even fracture more sensitive teeth. Most of these sweet treats are best avoided throughout the season.
Of course, we know that’s near impossible, so don’t fret. Just drink lots of water after eating any of these sugary sweets. Why? Well, the worst proponent of these snacks is the sugar. However, sugar is much less harmful when it’s not feeding the bacteria in your teeth. Washing out your mouth with water will help keep your teeth safe from sugar.

Let the Nutcrackers do their Job

Nothing is worse during the holiday season than a fractured tooth. It means you can’t eat all of those delicious meals, and because most dentists are off on holidays, you may not be able to receive medical attention for a day or two. With that in mind, never use your teeth to crack a nut. While grandpa might tell you, “that’s how they did it in the war,” you’re living in a townhouse in the suburbs. Your aunt’s collection of nutcrackers will do a much better job than your teeth, not to mention keep your teeth safe.

Keep Scissors Handy to Open Those Packages

Everyone receives a few gifts during the holidays. As excited as you are to see what your friends or family gave you, we suggest avoiding using your teeth to tear open that package. Instead employ a pair of scissors. They’re easier to use than your teeth, and will allow you to avoid the risk of chipping your front teeth or pulling on teeth that needn’t be pulled.

Avoid Stressful Situations

We understand that the holidays can get hectic. Family is visiting, there are a dozen things on your “To Do” list, and you’re always one hour short of time. That’s okay, it’s the holidays, and no one will be too upset if things go a little wrong. After all, you’re with people that love you.
Those who stress out do two things: they bite their nails and they grind their teeth. Both of these habits can wear down the enamel of your teeth and make you more prone to cavities. As well, biting your nails lets germs and bacteria that were stuck in your fingers into your mouth. This can harm your teeth more than you know. Instead, take a breath every so often. Enjoy a cup of tea (which can help the teeth), and remember, no matter what, things will be okay.
Remember, the holidays are about having fun and seeing friends and family. The best advice for the holidays is to make sure to brush and floss on your regular schedule. Drinks lots of water to wash out the food particles between meals, and have a great time!

5 Reasons Why Your Dentist Loves That You Drink Tea

December 4th, 2014

Girl with Great Teeth & Dental Health Drinking TeaYou may have heard of the many health benefits of tea, but did you know tea is really good for your teeth as well? Both black and green tea contain catechins, also known as antioxidants, which help remove harmful bacteria from your mouth.
However, tea does so much more than that. Next to water, it’s the most helpful liquid you can drink. Here are five ways tea is helping your oral health.

Tea Helps Your Gums

Tea is known to have anti-inflammatory elements that help control swelling, bleeding, and infection in your gums. By replacing bad bacteria with good bacteria in your mouth and helping prevent your gums from becoming inflamed, tea is a great way to help fight against periodontal disease.

It Helps Prevent Cavities

Along with clearing out bacteria, tea also helps lower the acidic levels of saliva and plaque in your mouth. Acidic elements are what eat away at the teeth to create cavities. When tea washes away this acidity, it’s harder for cavities to start.

It Keeps Your Teeth In Your Mouth

That’s right, not only can it keep your gums and teeth healthy, it can also help keep your teeth from falling out when you’re older. Studies have shown that men and women who drink one or more cups of tea a day hold onto their natural teeth for longer.

Tea Improves Your Breath

Bad breath derives from bacteria that grow in the far back of your throat, a place that’s hard to reach with a toothbrush. Without proper care, the bacteria breed enough to cause a foul smell. Tea helps by washing away and killing the bacteria, making it easy for your breath to smell fresh all day.

It Helps Prevent Oral Cancer

Antioxidants help every part of the body fight cellular damage and tumor growth. When you drink tea, you’re filling your mouth with antioxidants that are able to help keep your mouth from developing cancerous tumors.
To better help your teeth and mouth, you should know the best way to drink your tea. First, green and black tea are both good for you, but green is definitely better. Black tea is slightly more processed, which results in less antioxidants. And if you like white teeth, black tea is better avoided as it can stain those pearly whites.
To make tea correctly, boil water and pour the hot water over the tealeaves in a ceramic cup. Then, cover the cup with a saucer for 2 to 3 minutes as the tea steeps. This will help get the most out of every bag of tea.
Avoid adding sugar to your tea as bacteria loves to feed off of sugar. Also avoid bottled iced tea as it tends to have citric elements that can help raise the acidic levels of saliva.
If you have any more questions about how tea can help your teeth or if you would like to visit Chicago’s number one rated dentistry, contact Water Tower Dental today. We’re happy to help answer any questions and put you on the path to a better, brighter smile.

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.
 
 

6 Steps to Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Cavity Free

September 11th, 2014

Stepts to Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Cavity FreeCaring for your child’s teeth at an early age and following important guidelines can help prevent cavities. Even a child’s baby teeth can develop cavities, which can be a painful nuisance. Here are six simple ways to help prevent cavities from developing in your children’s teeth.

  1. Keep Their Fingers Out Of Their Mouth

Try to prevent your child from putting their fingers in their mouth when you can. After putting their hands on things such as the floor, toys, food and other children, a baby’s fingers can transmit unwanted bacteria into their mouths. Of course, completely keeping your child’s fingers out of their mouth is almost impossible to do, as younger children tend to put many things in their mouths. However, even a small amount of prevention can go a long way.

  1. Not Sharing is Caring

Try to avoid giving germs to your child by not sharing utensils, straws, cups, bites of food, toothbrushes and other items like these with them. An adult’s mouth can often have more germs than a child’s body has learned to fight. A young person’s mouth will experience harsher consequences as a result of the germs you may share with them. So try and stop the passing of bacteria by keeping your germs to yourself.

  1. Start Brushing Early

Once your child first begins developing teeth, it’s important to keep them clean by regularly brushing them. Purchase a Baby’s First Toothbrush, which is smaller and has softer bristles. Then, you can use a very small amount of children’s toothpaste and brush your child’s teeth after meals. This can go a long way in preventing cavities in baby teeth.

  1. Avoid Sugars

Try to keep your children away from sugary drinks and snacks that will feed the bacteria in their mouth. You can’t avoid all sugar, of course, so it’s good to know some helpful tips to reduce the risk that sugary food and drink will cause cavities. Try not to give your child a sugary drink or snack before a nap or bedtime. It’s best to give your child lots of water after a sugary snack as well to help wash away the sugars left in the mouth.

  1. Clean Right

Many parents wipe off their children’s pacifiers by using their own saliva or clean off a spoon by licking off the food. This is an easy way for bacteria to transfer from their mouth to their children’s. If you need to clean a utensil or pacifier, wash it under the faucet and use a sanitized towel before giving it back to your child.

  1. Visit the Dentist

You shouldn’t only visit your dentist when you need a tooth repaired. Dentists can also help to prevent any cavities and damage to the teeth that may be looming on the horizon, so it’s good to visit them regularly even if your child isn’t experiencing any problems. Bringing your child to the dentist at a young age will help keep their teeth clean and help keep cavities at bay.
By following these simple steps and taking action when needed, your child can grow up to have a healthy and bright smile. Most importantly, by practicing good oral hygiene, your child will learn the proper steps to take care of their teeth for years to come. And remember, leading by example is the best way to help show your child how to treat their teeth well.
If you have any more questions on how to prevent cavities in your child’s teeth, contact Water Tower Dental. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you need.
 

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.
 
 

Five Common Flossing Mistakes

July 24th, 2014

Five Common Flossing MistakesNext to brushing, flossing your teeth is the most important daily practice for great oral health. It helps scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth and remove harmful bacteria from your gums. However, many of us make common mistakes that keep us from doing the best floss job possible. Thankfully, all of these mistakes are easily fixable, and after a short read, you can better your technique and ensure healthy gums and shining teeth.

1. Flossing Too Much or Too Little

To be truly effective, flossing should be done daily. Plaque and tartar can build up quickly, and only flossing every few days will do very little in helping keep your teeth free of harmful particles and bacteria. However, there is such a thing as flossing too much. There’s no need to floss more than once a day. In fact, you can begin to harm your gums if you floss too much. Creating a simple routine that helps you floss only once a day (after you shower in the morning, or before you go to bed at night) and sticking to it will help guarantee you floss just the right amount.

2. Using the Wrong Motion

When flossing, your main objective is to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth. This is essential to keeping plaque and bacteria from moving inside pockets of your gums. In order to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth, you should be using an up and down motion. However, many use a front and back motion. Remember, you are not shining a shoe. Push against the side of the tooth with your floss and scrap down on the top teeth and up on the bottom.

3. Not Cleaning Both Sides of Your Teeth

When scraping the sides of your teeth, make sure that you scrape both sides. It’s not enough to slip the floss between your teeth then snap it back out. You need to consciously push against both sides of your teeth and push the plaque off. Start on one side, then move to the next.

4. Take Your Time

Many people don’t realize how much time they should realistically spend on each tooth. For the best results you should spend a few seconds on each side of a tooth, scraping about ten times. Plaque is hard to remove, and doing a quick once-over will not help much. You need to make sure you really scrape on each side of the tooth until you hear a squeak (that’s the sound of your teeth becoming squeaky clean).

5. Stopping When Your Gums Bleed

Sometimes, especially if you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums can start bleeding when flossing. Gum disease causes this. Your gums are inflamed and will start bleeding when becoming irritated. This is because you have too much plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Rather than stopping, you need to continue flossing. If you avoid the mistakes above and floss daily, the bleeding will subside over time and eventually stop.
Flossing is extremely important for great oral health. By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing great oral hygiene, you will have a bright smile for many years. If you have any questions, or would like to talk to a professional about your oral health, contact Water Tower Dental Care. We are happy to help.

Practices to Help Maintain Gums

July 14th, 2014

Practices to help maintain gumsOne of the toughest issues when it comes to oral care is keeping your gums healthy. Throughout the years, you may have noticed that your gums can start to recede, moving farther down and revealing more of your teeth. This can be due to genetics or harmful bacteria and plaque that build up and weaken your gums. It can also be a form of gum disease that will result in sore gums, redness, and eventually bleeding.
To help save your gums and keep them healthy, here a few practices that Water Tower Dental recommends:

Brushing and Flossing regularly

Believe it or not, this is the easiest way to help maintain gums. Try brushing after every meal and flossing once a day to help keep your mouth clear of plaque and unwanted food. But also realize that you can brush and floss too much. Your mouth needs time to balance its own natural chemistry, so keep to a good schedule and don’t overdo it. Flossing is not necessary more than once a day. And don’t think you need to brush after every time you eat food. It’s good to brush after larger meals, but small snacks throughout the day can be washed away with a glass of water and your body’s natural saliva distribution.

Use Mouthwash

Along with brushing and flossing, using a strong mouthwash once a day can also help kill unwanted bacteria and keep your mouth feeling fresh. Mouthwash is great for stopping plaque growth in areas where the toothbrush or even floss can’t reach.

Eat Probiotics

We reported before on how probiotics can help your teeth. Eating them a few times a month can actually help maintain your gums too. Probiotics are a collection of good bacteria. When you eat them, you replace areas where bad bacteria can live with bacteria that helps your mouth. Eating probiotics a few times a month will help keep your mouth’s chemistry regulated and healthy.

Keep Juices, Coffee, and Acidic Drinks to Meal Time

When trying to keep your gums at a strong level, you need to avoid some of the more harmful substances to your teeth. Acidic drinks, such as high-sugar juices, soda, and coffee, can ultimately do bad damage to your teeth and gums. However, they are most harmful when they’re consumed alone. This is the best time for the acidic elements to move around your mouth. During a mealtime though, much of your food can soak up the acidic juice and keep it from causing too much harm. Also, when you eat, your mouth naturally salivates, which helps wash away food bits and the juice

Take Vitamin C and D

Both vitamins are great for oral health. Vitamin C contains antioxidants that help replace connective tissues and accelerate bone regeneration. Vitamin D has been known to have anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce your gums’ chance of developing periodontal disease.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

And last, a terrific way to help keep your teeth clean and maintain your gums is by consulting and working with your dentist to find practices that will work for you. Also, an oral cleaning from the dentist is an amazing way to start a strong regiment against gum decay and periodontal disease.
If you’re having trouble with receding gums or suspect you have periodontal disease, do not hesitate to call Water Tower Dental. We can help you find the right track to a healthier lifestyle that will repair your gums and make your smile shine. For more questions, contact Water Tower Dental today.
 

The Effects of E-Cigarettes on Your Mouth

July 3rd, 2014

effects-of-e-cigarettes-on-your-mouthThere is a lot of stir about the introduction of e-cigarettes and unknown health issues that they may cause. For the mouth, e-cigarettes seem to have some positives and negatives. It is a better option than regular tobacco cigarettes, but worse than not smoking altogether. Here are a few of the effects of e-cigarettes on the mouth.

Unfortunately, research on e-cigarettes is still very minimal. Because they are a new product, research that can space several decades is still unavailable. However, there are several chemicals and clues that help determine what e-cigarettes can do to the teeth.
Just like any cigarette, the main purpose of an e-cigarette is to inhale nicotine. Studies have shown that nicotine can slow down the production of saliva in the mouth. The more nicotine you intake, the less saliva the body is able to produce. Saliva is a main deterrent to harmful bacteria and food particles in the mouth. Low saliva levels can cause quicker tooth decay, sore gums, and eventually a loosening of the teeth. One positive of smoking e-cigarettes verses normal cigarettes is that you can control the amount of nicotine the e-cigarette will release into the body. This will slow down the eventual effect of lowered saliva levels, at least.
Another effect of nicotine in an e-cigarette or a tobacco cigarette is it acts as a vasoconstrictor, which prohibits blood flow to the mouth. This results in a fewer number of white blood cells capable of fending off infections and bacteria that harm your gums. Fewer red blood cells are also sent to your mouth tissues, which lead to faster deterioration of the tissue and your teeth.
Another concern for e-cigarettes is that they contain diethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance. However, at the current point in research, scientists have not determined how much of the substance is needed to be considered harmful to the body, especially seeing e-cigarettes use a very low amount.
There are a few positives to using e-cigarettes, though they do not outweigh the negatives. For example, e-cigarettes use ingredients such as glycerin and propylene glycol. These are two chemicals are used in toothpaste to help prevent water loss in the paste. The chemicals in e-cigarettes can actually create a coating over the teeth’s surface that can prevent teeth from drying up as well as help kill certain bacteria in the mouth.

What E-Cigarettes Won’t Do (Verses Tobacco Cigarettes)

Compared to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes do have the upper hand. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t cause a few of the more unpleasant side effects that are caused by tobacco.
Tobacco cigarettes can cause yellowing of teeth. E-cigarettes, however, do not cause this problem. They do not include the harmful chemicals that cause the discoloring.
When your mouth is sore, either from biting your lip or a serious mouth surgery, smoking tobacco cigarettes causes healing to become a longer, more prolonged process. E-cigarettes do not have the same effect on the healing process, which makes it easier to smoke after a surgery or injury.
Also, e-cigarettes are made from water vapor and nicotine, so the usual after-smell and taste that comes with a tobacco cigarette is completely diminished. E-cigarettes are also sold in flavors such as vanilla and mint, which leave a pleasant after-taste for you and those you are close to.
While we don’t encourage any of our patients or readers to start using e-cigarettes, we do believe it may be a smart way to slowly wean off of and eventually quit smoking. While it is still harmful to your mouth, research so far has shown that it does not seem to be as harmful as tobacco cigarettes. However, as we said before, time will be the true determinant for the e-cigarette.
If you have more questions on e-cigarettes and the effect they have on your teeth and mouth, contact Water Tower Dental today. We would be happy to answer all of your questions.

The Benefits of Dental Digital X-Rays

June 5th, 2014

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

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

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

Periodontal Disease and Its Systemic Link

May 29th, 2014

periodontal disease systemic linkIf the thought alone of harmful bacteria colonizing inside your mouth and creating pockets in your gums that can lead to tooth decay, loose teeth, swelling, and bleeding doesn’t make you want to brush your teeth right away, this might. Research is showing periodontal disease, or gum disease, has a systemic link to several other diseases. Both the bacteria and the inflammation that is associated with periodontal disease are responsible for the links. So if bleeding gums doesn’t motivate you to practice proper oral care, helping managing a list of other disease might. Here are a few of those diseases:

Heart Disease

Research has shown that periodontal disease can increase your risk of heart disease. While the direct relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease has yet to be proven, many scientists believe that the inflammation that periodontal disease causes may hold responsibility for the association. As well, along with heart disease, periodontal disease can exacerbate other heart conditions. If you are being treated for periodontal disease, make sure to inform your dentist and physician to help determine if you condition requires specific attention.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that patients with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. As a result, the disease can raise blood sugar and have an increased effect on diabetic complication. Patients with diabetes are more likely to contract infections including periodontal disease. Many doctors consider periodontal disease a complication of diabetes.
Patients unaware of their diabetes or those who do not have their condition under control are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. As well, not taking proper care of your gums can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. If you or someone you know has diabetes, it is extremely important to keep a stringent schedule to oral care.

Pregnancy/ Preterm Birth

Many studies have associated periodontal disease with preterm birth. One study showed women with periodontal disease, compared to those without, were more likely to deliver babies that were preterm or had a low birth weight. While more studies must be conducted to understand the relationship and determine the exact causes, we encourage all expecting mothers to be as healthy as they can be and to keep a strict eye on their gums, among other areas of the body.

Respiratory Infection

Last, research has shown that the bacteria found in the gums and mouth from periodontal disease can find its way into the lungs to assist in causing respiratory diseases.
While studies are still very new to finding the association between periodontal disease and other complications, the important message to understand is that proper oral hygiene including brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can only help you. Lack of proper care can result in periodontal disease, which in turn can create other complications throughout your body. If you believe you might be developing periodontal disease or are experiencing swollen/sore gums, contact Water Tower Dental today. We can help set you on the right track to better oral hygiene and all-around better health.

Pregnancy and Oral Health

May 15th, 2014

pregnancy and dental healthThere are many side effects to pregnancy. We all have heard of morning sickness or the late night cravings that some women can get. However, pregnancies can also bring another change in a woman’s body: a heightened risk of gingivitis.
Some women will notice between the second and eighth month of pregnancy that their gums can become inflamed, redder, and bleed when brushing their teeth. This is often referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis” and typically settles down after the mother gives birth.

There are several reasons why pregnant women may experience an upsurge of gingivitis symptoms. One reason is that pregnant women receive an increased level of the hormone progesterone, a hormone specific to helping gestation. This hormone, however, can enhance the growth of bacteria that can cause gingivitis. Secondly, because the woman’s body is experiencing so many changes, the immune system has to recalibrate and focus on new concerns with the body. Much of that concern is taken away from the gums and the bacteria that can cause gingivitis.
To avoid irritated and inflamed gums from gingivitis, Water Tower Dental recommends a solid routine of proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice a day for two or more minutes, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. We also recommend a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables that can help keep your mouth salivating and washing away any bad bacteria. Make sure to talk to your doctor about proper diet techniques, specific to you, that can help keep your mouth and gums stay healthy.
While the gums are usually of biggest concern during a pregnancy, there are other potential issues that can arise. Some pregnant women often experience an increase in cavities due to more adventurous snacking, especially at nighttime when saliva production is low. Often the snacking can occur after the woman has brushed her teeth, which then leaves potential for bacteria growth as plaque and tartar build through the night.
Another concern for pregnant women is that often acid erosion can make teeth, gums, and lips sore. Vomiting that’s associated with morning sickness and acid reflux causes this. However both of these concerns are much less severe than the amount of pregnant women who can experience gingivitis.
It’s wise to continue to have regular dental check ups during a pregnancy, especially if you’re experiencing inflamed, red gums. Often a detailed cleaning by a professional technician can help reduce the effects of gingivitis and in some cases, completely stop the bacteria in its tracks. If you have any concerns about your gums and oral hygiene during your pregnancy, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental we are happy to help.

Possible Causes of Pain on the Teeth, Gums, and Tongue

October 17th, 2013

causes of tooth acheWhen it comes to any kind of oral discomfort, there are always many potential reasons for the pain. However, almost always, the pain can be determined as an issue with the teeth, gums, or tongue. When specified to those three, you can narrow down the possible causes of the pain.

Toothache
When experiencing toothache your symptoms will include a sharp, throbbing, or constant pain on the tooth. There may be swelling around the tooth and bad-tasting drainage that secretes from the infected area. Toothaches are also capable of causing headaches and fevers if not properly treated.
When experience a toothache, you should visit a dentist if the pain lasts longer the 1 to 2 days, or you start to experience a fever, earache, or migraine. Of course, if the pain is excruciating, don't worry about waiting an extra day in hopes the pain will subside: immediately seek medical attention.
The most likely causes of a toothache include severe tooth decay, an abscessed tooth, a tooth fracture, or a loose or damaged filling. There may be other issues that can also occur, however, the aforementioned causes are, more likely than not, the main culprits.
When visiting the dentist for a toothache, your doctor will first consult you about your pain to help pinpoint symptoms and the location of the problem. Your dentist will ask where it hurts, what causes the pain, how and when it started, and how severe the pain is. Next your dentist will examine your mouth, gums, tongue, jaws, throat, and further depending on the symptoms you reported. Depending on the situation, the doctor may also take X-Rays of the teeth to determine the cause.
Depending on the cause, your dentist can perform several medical procedures to relive the pain. Most likely, the pain is caused from tooth decay and a cavity. Your dentist can fill the tooth, or extract the tooth if necessary. Often a root canal or crown is needed if the tooth is fractured or chipped.
Gum Problems
Gum problems such as sore, swollen, and/or bleeding gums are almost always caused by periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. More than three-quarters of Americans over the age of 35 will experience gum disease or its less severe form, gingivitis.
The cause of gum disease and swollen, sore, or bleeding gums is directly related to proper oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and a bacteria-killing mouthwash can all help keep your mouth clean and free of harmful bacteria.
Some of the symptoms caused by gum disease include formation of pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria subsides, bleeding gums during or after brushing your teeth, loose teeth, bad breath, receding gums, and swollen or sore gums.
It is wise to address any of these symptoms rather quickly as the longer you wait, the more severe the disease can become. This can result is weakened teeth, inflamed gums, are serious oral issues. When bacteria grows and is over-abundant it will begin to move to your jaw line and even further into your blood stream causing severe infection.
Another common cause of sore gums comes from canker sores. These sores, or mouth ulcers, can be found inside the mouth on an area of the gums. They are a painful bump often with a white center and red edges. While the exact cause of canker sores is still undetermined, all dentists agree that they are less likely to happen with the practicing of proper oral hygiene.
Tongue Problems
Tongue issues are often much more serious than gum and teeth. The gum is often referred to as the strongest muscle in the body. So when it becomes swollen, sore, or discolored, you can potentially have a serious situation at hand. However, there are several reasonable explanations for sore tongues as well.
The simplest explanation for a sore tongue can come from accidentally biting the tongue and not knowing you did so. If the pain is in a central area and is swollen, be careful not to irritate it. If the pain subsides rather quickly, you should have nothing to worry about. If your tongue is discolored, especially with a white, filmy substance, it may just be the formation of too much plaque. In those cases, proper oral hygiene and the use of a tongue scraper (PLEASE ADD LINK), can be the solution.
More serious issues can include Lukoplakia, which causes cells in the mouth to grow rapidly and form white patches inside the mouth. Lukoplakia is often occurs after the tongue is irritated, typically when people use tobacco products. While not extremely serious, if not properly treated, leukoplakia can lead to cancer.
Another potential issue when you experience a sore or discolored tongue can be oral thrush, also known as candidiasis. This condition is a yeast infection that occurs within the mouth and creates white, lumpy patches on the surface of the tongue. Though most often seen in infants and the elderly, any person with a weakened immune system can receive this condition.
Often oral thrush happens after the use of antibiotics, which can flush out the good bacteria that rests in your mouth. Kombucha and yogurt can both help restore the bacteria in your mouth that will prevent oral thrush.
Another tongue issue that can happen often is known as Red or Strawberry tongue. The result is a normal colored tongue turning a bright red or even resembles the texture of a strawberry with enlarged bumps and dotting.
There are several reasons for red or strawberry tongue including folic acid and B-12 deficiencies, scarlet fever, and kawasaki syndrome. Benign migratory glossitis is often the most common cause, which causes a map-like pattern of red spots on the surface of the tongue. Because of such, it is often referred to as geographic tongue. This is a harmless condition, which usually last no longer than 2 weeks. It is wise to consult a dentist however so they can detect for certain that it is benign migratory glossitis. If so, your dentist may recommend a topical medication to help with any discomfort.
Black Hairy Tongue can occur when the small bumps on the surface of your tongue known as papillae become excessively long. A typically mouth will wear down papillae through its lifetime while patients with black hairy tongue will see an increase in size over time. This makes your tongue more likely to contract infection from harboring bacteria. If bacteria begin to grow the papillae will become darker and resemble hair. Though this is mostly a harmless condition, proper oral hygiene is encouraged to keep the issue at bay.
For all conditions including teeth, gum, and tongues, the best method of defense is proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth two to three times daily, floss once a day, and employ a tongue scraped and mouthwash when needed. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol. Eat a proper diet that includes a high amount of fruits and vegetables. And, as always, visit a dentist twice a year for cleaning and inspection.
If you have any more questions on the causes of pain on the teeth, gums, and tongue, contact Water Tower Dental. We can direct you toward the rights steps for care and help set up an appointment to see one of our expert dentists.