dentist

​AcceleDent for Invisalign: Cutting Treatment Time in Half

March 16th, 2017

​AcceleDent for Invisalign: Cutting Treatment Time in Half

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

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

What Is AcceleDent Aura?

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

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

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

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

Why Dentists Love It

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

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

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

The Benefits of ​CBCT Imaging

March 2nd, 2017

The Benefits of ​CBCT Imaging

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

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

What is CBCT imaging?

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

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

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

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

Benefits of CBCT imaging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing For CBCT imaging

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

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

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

How Invisalign Can Treat Teeth Crowding​

January 30th, 2017

How Invisalign Can Treat Teeth Crowding​

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

What Is Invisalign?

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

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

The Dangers of Teeth Crowding

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

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

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

How Can Invisalign Help?

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

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

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

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

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

​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.

Does Laser Treatment Work for Cold Sores On Your Lips?

November 19th, 2015

Does Laser Treatment Work for Cold Sores On Your Lips?Keeping your mouth healthy and looking good isn’t limited to what’s inside of it. Though teeth and gums get the spotlight in most dentist offices, cold sores can be even more unsightly and irritating than any issue inside of your mouth. Thankfully, dentists have the technology to get rid of the viruses that cause cold sores on your lips and around your mouth in just minutes. This technology comes in the form of lasers.

How does a laser treat cold sores?

Unlike other cold sore treatments, like creams or ointments, lasers get to the root of the problem. They destroy the herpes simplex virus that actually causes cold sores. How do they do this?
Well, a trained dentist uses precise laser technology to heat up the cold sore. This heat is carefully controlled to one area and never touches the skin, so it won’t harm anything around the cold sore. The heat from the laser not only kills the virus, but it also triggers your body to heal itself more quickly. The treatment only takes about 15 minutes to complete and requires no downtime at all. You’re in the dentist chair, and then you’re out!

What are the results like?

Since lasers destroy the virus, they can stop the cold sores from appearing at all if you haven’t broken out yet. Pretty amazing, right? Once the virus is stopped, the cold sores can no longer appear on your face.
If you already have cold sores on your lips or around your mouth, lasers will significantly speed up the healing time and provide you with immediate relief of symptoms, like pain or itching. The breakout will also stop spreading. You won’t require another treatment.
Since her virus can’t be cured, your cold sores might come back. However, laser treatments extend the length of time between your breakouts. In fact, after several laser treatments in the same area, your cold sores might never come back! Best of all, laser treatments for cold sores are affordable, and may even be covered by your insurance.

How do you know if you have cold sores?

You can recognize cold sores by their appearance. Cold sores form in groups of small blisters. After the blisters form, they soon break open and release clear fluid. Finally, cold sores will crust or scab over and disappear within 2 weeks.
In order to skip all of this unpleasantness, the best thing you can do is get a laser treatment before the blisters appear. Look for signs such as itching, tingling or pain on your lips or around your mouth. Swollen glands, fevers, and sore throats are also signals that cold sores are developing.
When you start feeling the symptoms, you should see a dentist as soon as possible to receive a laser treatment. That way, the cold sores will never appear. At Water Tower Dental Care, we do our best to see patients with cold sores within 24 hours. We can often treat them on the same day that they call! Feel free to contact us immediately after you start feeling cold sore symptoms.

Why is laser treatment better than other cold sore treatments?

We believe that lasers are the best treatments for cold sores, as do our patients who suffer with the herpes simplex virus. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • It only takes a few minutes to complete and requires no penetration of the skin, numbing or anesthesia.
  • Though the technology is new, cold sore laser treatment is affordable and may even be covered by your insurance.
  • Patients receive immediate and drastic relief right after the treatment is over.
  • Over time, lasers can get rid of cold sore breakouts in a specific area forever.
  • Lasers get to the root of the problem by killing the virus.
  • Laser treatment can prevent breakouts before they occur and stops them once they begin.
  • Healing time is much shorter after a laser treatment with no more symptoms.
  • Cold sore breakouts will occur less frequently and intensely in the area treated.

Do you feel cold sores developing? Contact Water Tower Dental Care today, Chicago’s number one dental practice! We’re experts in laser technology, and can help you control your breakouts for years to come.

How to Stop Kids From Grinding Their Teeth

January 22nd, 2015

Kid Grinding TeethFor the young and old, teeth grinding is a serious concern. Thankfully there are methods to stopping teeth grinding before it gets too serious. For the young, however, this can be harder to do than for an adult. Children have less of a conscious attitude toward health than an adult, who understands the cause and effect of such bad habits. For children, it will take the help of their parent to stop teeth grinding before it becomes a serious health concern.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is when the jaw muscles tighten and clench, pushing the teeth together in a way that wears down the enamel of the tooth. The more this happens, the flatter the tooth becomes, and the closer the nerve endings are to being exposed, making the teeth more sensitive.
Almost all cases of teeth grinding happen at night, when the person is asleep, so it can be a hard habit to detect. With children, this is especially hard as they don’t realize why their head might hurt, or why their jaw is sore in the morning, which are two main symptoms of teeth grinding.
The best way one will know if their child is grinding their teeth is by the sound. Much like nails on a chalkboard, the sound of teeth grinding can be excruciating. If you hear a kind of grinding sound coming from your child’s room, you can suspect that they’re grinding their teeth. Often children grind their teeth because the top and bottom teeth are misaligned. They also may grind in response to an earache or teething.
Before heading straight to the dentist, there are ways to help you child relax their jaws and prevent them from teeth grinding without seeking medical attention.

Drinking More Water

Often teeth grinding in children is caused by dehydration. If you have discovered your child grinds their teeth, make sure to have them drink plenty of liquids throughout the day, the most important liquid being water.

Reducing Stress

For both adults and children, stress is a big cause of teeth grinding. For adults, stress can be caused by work or relationship troubles, while for children, it can be more about being scared at night, or having nightmares. To help prevent this, make sure your child isn’t eating too much bad food at night. Junk food with high amounts of sugar and sodium can lead to bad dreams. As well, make them feel comfortable by reading them a book or telling them a story before going to bed. This will help them relax and feel safe throughout the night.
Stress may also be caused by an illness such as an earache. Talking to your child’s pediatrician about ways to reduce pain in the ear and ease your child is recommended.

Relaxing Muscles

When muscles aren’t relaxed, they tend to tighten and clench at night. So it’s important to make sure your child’s muscles are loose, especially the jaw. A good way to loosen all muscles is by doing simple stretches before bed. For the jaw, a rag soaked in warm water and placed along the jawline and against the cheeks will help it become relaxed.

Aligning the Teeth

If the teeth-grinding is due to misaligned teeth, it could be time to seek the help of an orthodontist. Of course, visiting your dentist first for their full opinion is recommended.

Visiting the Dentist

If these practices do not help your child relax their jaw and stop grinding their teeth, you should seek the help of a dental professional. They can provide a mouthguard or other methods to help prohibit your child from grinding their teeth, along with evaluating if any serious damage has occurred due to the grinding.
While teeth grinding can be a serious issue, it is often easily resolved. If you have any more questions or concerns, contact Water Tower Dental. We can help guide you on methods for helping your child stop grinding their teeth and ensure their smiles are bright and healthy.

Dental Phobia: 8 Helpful Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist

January 8th, 2015

Dental Phobia: 8 Helpful Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of the DentistMany people have serious phobias of doctors and dentists. Often it comes from past experiences that might not have gone over so well. Other times the fear lacks reason. Either way, there are ways to overcome the fear of the dentist so you can commit yourself to appointments and make sure your teeth are in great health.

The first step to overcoming your fear is to understand that it is a common issue. Popular culture often eludes and overcompensates the actual job of a dentist, giving him or her a crazed look and pliers too big for your mouth. It’s the wrong image of what are actually, caring and gentle doctors that want to help and make you feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Once you lose that mentality and understand that a dentist will be as gentle as possible, then you can already start to feel a little safer. Here are eight tips to help make visiting the dentist relaxing and lose your fear of the dentist.

Make an Appointment at a Stress-Free Time

Stress is a major factor that can make your fear of the dentist escalate. Find a date for an appointment that isn’t surrounded with other stressful activities. Consider taking the day off of work, or scheduling around a slower time of the month. Making an appointment during the holiday season or a day before you leave for a European vacation is not the best time for your stress and fear.

Don’t Arrive Too Early

Sitting in a crowded waiting room listening to ominous sounds coming from the dentist’s chair will not help your fear. Try to arrive close to the time of your appointment so you don’t need to spend as much time waiting. It can also help to bring a friend or loved one with you that can sit with you in the waiting room and offer their support.

Have a Conversation With Your Dentist

The best way to alleviate the fear of an “evil” dentist is to talk to them and trust them. This doesn’t need to include a step by step breakdown of what the dentist will be doing to your teeth, but rather, a casual conversation about your day, catching up on a story or two to help you feel comfortable. As well, don’t feel shy about telling your dentist that you have some fears about sitting in the dentist’s chair. Your doctor should be able to help you relax and reassure you that there is nothing to fear.

Bring a Stress Ball

This is a simple way to alleviate fear once you sit down. Squeezing on a stress ball will release your stress and keep you from concentrating too hard on the dentist’s actions.

Bring Headphones

Consider listening to music while in the dentist’s chair. Bring headphones and put on music that relaxes you. This will help keep your mind off of what’s happening.

Practice Meditation Techniques

It helps to practice the techniques that make meditation so relaxing. This includes deep-breathing exercises, clearing the mind, keeping your eyes closed, and focusing on positive energy. This will be especially helpful if you practice beforehand.

Discuss the Procedures With Your Doctor

If you can handle it, talk to your doctor about what exactly is going to happen during the procedure that is being performed. Often, the mind can exaggerate the intensity of the procedure and make it much worse than it actually is.

Talk to Your Dentist About Sedation

If the methods above don’t work for you and you still need a way of coping with the dentist, you can talk to your dentist about sedation techniques that will keep you from feeling anything during your visit. Unless your visit includes a serious surgery, we suggest avoiding this method, as it’s not a long-lasting solution.
Most importantly, it is best to understand that there is nothing to fear about the dentist. At Water Tower Dental Care, our dentists and technicians are caring and highly-trained professionals using the most current and safest technologies available. One visit to our offices and you’ll see, there’s nothing to be worried about. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental, voted Chicago’s #1 Dentistry.

Process of a Dental Implant

June 19th, 2014

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

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

The 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.

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.

Getting That Perfect Smile

April 24th, 2014

getting that perfect smileThere is a lot to say about a smile that communicates your emotions precisely. It doesn’t always mean happy, either. A smile can communicate mischief, fear, doubt, surprise, and many other emotions. So how do you know if your smile is delivering the right message? First, you must find your perfect smile: the natural way you smile that makes you feel confident you’re communicating the right message. Here are our tips to getting that perfect smile.

Practice Smiling

It may seem silly, but if you want your smile to look they way you hope, you need to practice smiling. Try practicing before or after you brush and floss your teeth. Let it come naturally, what do you like about your smile and what don’t you like? If you change the aspects of your smile (more or less teeth, higher or lower grin), do you like your smile more? Find what feels comfortable and makes you feel confident. Then, remember the way your muscles and face feel in that smile and practice it several more times.

Use Your Eyes

Many forget that the most natural smiles don’t just involve the teeth; they also involve your eyes. A natural, confident smile will draw in the eyes for what is known as a Duchenne smile. This is a smile you cannot fake; it’s your most honest smile.
Consider practicing your smile while only taking notice to the eyes. Cover your mouth even and try to find the emotion that your eyes are conveying. If they don’t look convincing, try other ways of smiling. Think of something that makes you genuinely happy and look at your eyes. When you find a smile that uses your eyes to create a Duchenne smile, practice smiling that way. Though a true Duchenne smile cannot be faked, your muscle memory can help you smile correctly when the time comes.

Smile More Often

The more you smile, the easier it will come, and the more confident you’ll look. Confidence is a main element to the perfect smile. If one is unsure of the way they smile, they can confuse others with how they’re smiling. If you have become used to the way you smile and feel confident about it, others will see that and interpret it.
As well, when you’re feeling down, smiling can often elicit happy emotions. While it may feel odd to force a smile when you don’t feel like smiling, over time, you’ll start to feel happy.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Many don’t like to smile because they don’t feel confident with their teeth and oral appearance. Practicing good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing can help melt these fears away. Other ways to boost your oral confidence are:

  • Visit your dentist once every six months for regular cleanings. This will help your teeth stay white, keep plaque off of them, and help detect any further issues you may have.
  • If you have constant trouble with stained teeth, first consider a few lifestyle changes before those over the counter whiteners. Slow down on consumption of coffee, red wine, and especially cigarettes. If you cut down on teeth-staining foods, but still want whiter teeth, consult your dentist for truly effective ways of whitening them.
  • If you have crooked teeth that you would like to fix, consider Invisalign braces. Your dentist can fit you for a set that are much less noticeable than regular braces and can have your teeth looking perfect in no time.
  • Make sure to keep your lips moisturized as to not look chapped.
  • Last, make sure to address any bad breath issues. Mouthwashes and tongue scrapers are a great way of dealing with the bacteria that harbors bad breath. However, if you still experience problems, visit your dentist, as it may be a cause from a bigger issue.

Getting that perfect smile is not easy. With practice, confidence, and a little help from oral hygiene, you can make sure to have a smile that makes others want to do the same.

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.

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!

When Should My Child First See the Dentist and What Will Happen?

December 19th, 2013

childs first dentist visitWhen it comes to your child, there are many firsts that must be determined. A very important first for a child is the first time they visit the dentist. At Water Tower Dental, we make sure that this fist visit is a great experience that helps a child learn to love cleaning their teeth and visiting the dentist for years to come. But when exactly should your child start to visit the dentist?

We recommend you begin checkups for your child before the age of 2. Taking your child to the dentist is a great way to help prevent tooth and gum decay. As a parent, it helps you understand the best practices for keeping your children’s teeth clean and preventative practices. Tooth decay can occur as soon as teeth appear, as a parent you must be ready to help your child prevent decay and further troubles with their teeth.
When first taking your child to the dentist, help them prepare by understanding what the dentist does and what they might experience. As well, plan for the different outcomes of how a child may react. Many children are happy to cooperate, while others can become scared, or just have trouble sitting still. Make sure to talk to your child on what to expect from the dentist so they can feel ready and understand what behavior is appropriate. Also make sure to bring along and important medical records for your child.
At Water Tower Dental, we do our best to make each checkup fun for your child. We want children to have an experience they enjoy, not one they should fear. Many children’s first visits are often an introductory to the dental office and a way to acquaint your child with the sights and sounds of a dentist. If a child is acting uncomfortable of being non-cooperative, it may be encouraged to try a few short visits to the dentist to help your child become better acquainted. This can be an important experience, especially in the future if your child has more serious dental issues.
If a child is comfortable and relaxed, we spend a short amount of time helping your child understand the best practices of dental hygiene while inspecting and cleaning their teeth.
Depending on the age of the child, precedes may include:
 

  • Thorough examination of the mouth including the teeth, gums, jaw, bite, and oral tissue.
  • Gentle cleaning and polishing to remove plaque.
  • X-Rays
  • A demonstration on proper oral hygiene and cleaning.

Once a full examination is complete, the dentist will talk to you, the parent, on any concerns they may have and if any action should be taken.
After the first visit to the dentist, children should return every six months for proper cleaning and check up. However, if a child has trouble with the dentist, interim visits every three months may be necessary at first to help your child feel comfortably and confident at the dentist.
If your child is ready for the dentist, don’t hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental today. We’re happy to show every child how fun the dentist can be and give them an experience they won’t forget.

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.

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.

What To Look For In A Mouthwash

October 10th, 2013

how to choose a mouthwashIf you're looking for that extra step in oral hygiene to help kill bacteria and freshen breath, look no further than mouthwash. There are three leading types of mouthwash that all serve different purposes depending on your needs. Here's a helpful guide to educate you on what you should look for in a mouthwash and why.
Mouthwashes are a great tool for proper oral hygiene, however, cannot replace brushing and flossing which are essential to teeth care. While mouthwash can help both free the mouth of food particles and kill bacteria, it does not have the same strength and brushing and flossing. That is because mouthwash does not have the abrasive scrubbing power of either a toothbrush or floss.

Mouthwash works by a round of bacteria-fighting chemicals, usually different depending on the brand of mouthwash. However, the main ingredient for a successful mouthwash comes from a chlorhexidine compound, which helps prevent plaque build up. Mouthwashes before chlorhexidine did not stay long enough in the mouth to do any successful fighting of plaque and bacteria. In the 1960s, though, it was discovered that chlorhexidine was able to adhere to the teeth and help fight plaque for many hours. Since then, a range of commercial brands have released their version of the mouthwash, all with a chlorhexidine compound.
There are three main types of mouthwash which each serve slightly different functions, while all still helping fight plaque.
The first type of mouthwash is the Antibacterial mouthwash. These types of mouthwashes are helpful in fighting gum disease, gingivitis, plaque, along with reducing the bacteria count by 75 percent. Antibacterial formulas are typically high in alcohol content and can often come with a small burning sensation when used. With a strong flavor, many find antibacterial mouthwashes slightly uncomfortable, but highly effective. If the alcohol in mouthwash is a nuisance to a consumer, however, there are several alcohol-free versions of the same brands you can try.
breath-rxThe next type of mouthwash is a Breath-Freshening mouthwash. The kinds of mouthwashes are typically made with a much lower alcohol content than the antibacterial mouthwashes. Rather, these mouthwashes have higher counts of chlorine or zinc which are helpful in defusing the sulphur compounds which are the leading cause of bad breath. While, these kinds of mouthwashes do have a stronger focus on breath, they still have the ability to fight bacteria. The compound cetylpyridinium is often present in many of these mouthwashes, which helps fight bacteria and plaque.
actThe last type of mouthwash is a Fluoride-Based rinse. These mouthwashes are very specific to anti-cavity and prevention. Fluoride is known to help protect and strengthen tooth enamel, which in turn protect the teeth from harmful decay. While many mouthwashes can contain fluoride, there are specific mouthwashes that have a much higher content of fluoride then any other anti-bacterial compound. With these kinds of mouthwashes, the user must be very strict with the directions. Fluoride must remain on the teeth for over a half hour to successfully work. If you use a fluoride-based mouthwash, make sure to not rinse, drink water, or eat for thirty minutes after use.
There is a fourth kind of mouthwash, which is a teeth-whitening mouthwash, however, if you have read from previous articles, (LINK TO TEETH WHITENING), there are plenty of whitening methods that are much more effective and cost conscious.
It is always recommended to follow the directions on the back of your mouthwash bottle. Each kind of mouthwash, antibacterial, breath freshening, and fluoride, all have separate directions and uses. Be sure you're using your mouthwash correctly for the most effective outcome.
If you have questions about mouthwash or proper oral care, do no hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental and set up an appointment today to start on the path to perfect oral hygiene.

Overcoming Dental Phobia With Sedation Dentistry

September 12th, 2013

dental sedationWhat Is Sedation Dentistry?

Let's face it, not everyone enjoys the dental office as much as Water Tower Dental. In fact, 5 to 10 percent of adults in the US experience dental phobia. That is to say, they fear the dentist so strongly that they'll avoid the doctor at all costs. In these cases, we like to offer our patients to partake in the practice of Sedation Dentistry: the use of pharmacological agents to relax a patient during their dental examination.

We take our patient's health and well being very seriously. We want them to all have the brightest, healthiest smiles possible, but we understand it can be hard for some of our patients to relax in the dentist's chair for very long. The practice of Sedation Dentistry helps calm a patient's nerves and allows them to stay relaxed while our doctor's care for them.
While there are numerous methods for sedation, Water Tower Dental uses two methods: oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide sedation. Both methods are safe and widely used throughout the dental industry. The difference comes in timing and strength.
Oral conscious sedation is a medication taken orally before your visit to the dentist. While the medication leaves you conscious and able to ask questions, you will have a feeling of complete relaxation. Often patients with oral sedation lose track of time and fall asleep in the dentist's chair from being so relaxed. Because the medication takes time to wear off (typically, effects subside by the following day), it is recommended you have someone to drive you and look after you after visiting the dentist.
Nitrous oxide sedation, also known as laughing gas, is a colorless and odorless gas that is inhaled through the nose while the dentist is able to perform their procedures. The gas makes you feel calm and relaxed, once removed, the effects of the nitrous oxide will subside. This allows you to monitor yourself after treatment and even drive yourself home immediately after the visit.

Do You Need Dental Sedation?

Dental fear and phobia are very common within adults. While 5 to 10 percent of adults in US experience dental phobia, almost 75% of adults in the US harbor some kind of dental fear, from mild to severe. So how do you know if your fear is too much to handle the dentist's chair or if you just need a little courage?
Here are a few signs of dental phobia that can help you know how severe your fear is:

  • The night before the dental exam, you have trouble sleeping.
  • You anxiousness increases while in the dentist's waiting room.
  • The thought of the dental visit makes you physically ill
  • You panic, or your reflexes trigger, when dental instruments are placed in your mouth.
  • You feel emotionally unstable when thinking of the dentist or their instruments.

We also suggest sedation dentistry if:

  • Local anesthetics do not affect you as well
  • You have a sensitive gag reflex
  • You have other health issues, such as bad back or neck that could lead to discomfort in the dentist's chair.

If any of these describe you, there's a very good chance you would benefit from dental sedation. But there's nothing to worry about. Water Tower Dental is the premier dentist in Chicago. We treat each patient with great care. And, if you address your fear and let us know, we can help you overcome the anxiety with the help of sedation dentistry.
If you have more questions, do not be afraid to call and talk with us before committing to an appointment. We would be happy to hear from you.

Natural Cures for Bad Breath

September 5th, 2013

bad breathA large percentage of Americans suffer from bad breath. While good oral hygiene can help keep bad breath at bay, sometimes a mouth needs to take further measures to help keep it from smelling too bad. Today we'd like to discuss a few natural ways to help reduce bad smelling breath.
Bad breath comes from bacteria that breed at the back of your tongue, throat, and tonsils. The more this bacterium grows, the harsher your breath will smell. In the morning, your breath can often be the worst because the bacteria had all night to grow and produce while you slept. There are some great natural ways to help reduce the smell of bad breath and keep the bacteria in the back of your throat controlled. Here are a few of the best natural recommendations:

Parsley

Not just used for decoration on your dinner plate, parsley is a natural palate cleanser. Rich in the chemical chlorophyll it can help neutralize the bad breath and clear away any tastes in your mouth.
Parsley is also an anti-mutagen. Mutagen is a mutation, chemical or biologically, of a substance, in this case bacteria. It can change from an unscented chemical to something much worse. Parsley stops the substance from this action. Try a few sprigs of parsley after dinner; it's a great way to keep the mouth fresh.

Apples

Apples as well as any kind of fiber-rich fruit can help battle bad breath. One of bad breath's triggers is a dry mouth. Fiber-rich fruit helps activate saliva to wash away bad bacteria. Natural enzymes in apples are able to help break down the sulfur compounds that cause bad breath. As well, the texture of fruit acts as a natural toothbrush that can help clear the mouth of old food and plaque, which often helps lead to bad breath.

Lemon

The use of a lemon can help activate your salivary glands to flush away bad breath. Try sucking on a lemon or even squeezing some of the juice in a fresh glass of water. The acidity helps kill bad bacteria as well as salivate your mouth. Dry mouth is one of the leading causes for bad breath, so helping keep the mouth hydrated and wet is extremely important

Water

That leads to our next tip, keep your mouth hydrated with water to avoid bad breath. Make sure to drink the daily-recommended amount of water every day: at least eight cups. Often people who do jobs that require a lot of talking have worse breath because they dry out their mouth. Be aware of your hydration levels and make sure to keep drinking lots of water throughout the day.

Fresh Herbs

Originally, before toothpaste, many people used fresh herbs to keep their mouth clean and breath fresh. That's because most fresh herbs contain chlorophyll, which absorbs bad odors. Just like parsley, many other herbs can curb the smell of bad breath. Especially helpful herbs include mint, peppermint, dill, and basil. If you chew then swallow the fresh herbs after a meal, they can continue to help fight bad breath throughout the night.

Avoid Sugars

A natural way to prevent bad breath sometimes doesn't mean eating certain foods, but rather avoiding the bad ones. Sugars are especially great at promoting the growth of bad breath bacteria. Avoiding anything too sugary (i.e. candy, desserts, chocolate, soda, energy drinks) will both eliminate bad breath and help keep you just a little healthier.
While these are all great tips, we cannot stress how important it is to brush and floss daily, at least twice a day. Removing plaque, food remnants, and harmful bacteria is the best way to keep your teeth, gums, and tongue healthy. Try softly brushing your tongue, reaching as far back as possible to help scrub away bad bacteria that can be causing bad breath.
As well, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your local dentist. At Water Tower Dental we perform routine cleanings that help remove tartar from teeth, eliminate areas of bacteria build up, and advise you on how to keep your breath as fresh as possible. If you're in the Chicago-land area, make an appointment today and be well on your way to a healthy smile.