Posts for: October, 2017
There's a lot of emphasis — well-placed, of course — on preventing and treating tooth decay. But there's another dental disease just as dangerous to your oral health and nearly half of U.S. adults have it. It's actually a group of diseases known collectively as periodontal (gum) disease.
Gum disease is similar to tooth decay in one respect: they're both triggered by bacteria. These microorganisms thrive in a thin film of food particles called plaque that collects on tooth surfaces.
Certain bacteria can infect gum tissues and trigger inflammation, a response from the body's immune system to fight it. As the battle rages, bone loss can occur and the gums weaken and begin to detach from the teeth. Without treatment, you could eventually lose affected teeth.
Like tooth decay, the best approach with gum disease is to prevent it, and by using the same techniques of daily brushing and flossing. These actions loosen and remove plaque built up since your last brushing. It's also important you visit us at least twice a year for cleanings that remove hard to reach plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits).
If despite your best efforts you do contract gum disease, the sooner you see us for treatment the lower the long-term impact on your health. The treatment aim is the same as your daily hygiene: to remove plaque and calculus. We use specialized hand instruments or ultrasound equipment to mechanically remove plaque; more advanced cases may require the skills of a periodontist who specializes in caring for structures like the gums that support teeth.
So, defend yourself against gum disease by brushing and flossing daily, and visiting us regularly for dental cleanings and checkups. If you notice bleeding, swollen or painful gums, see us as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Don't let tooth decay's evil twin ruin your oral health or your smile.
If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When to See a Periodontist.”
Could a few of your teeth benefit from a makeover? Veneers offer a simple way to improve the appearance of teeth affected by dental flaws. Naperville, IL, dentists Dr. Jeffrey Onik and Dr. Connie Onik explain how veneers work and discuss a few ways that they can transform you smile.
What are veneers?
Veneers cover imperfections with a thin layer of porcelain. Porcelain not only looks just like tooth enamel but also offers exceptional strength. Veneers are custom made to fit the front of your teeth, ensuring that your smile looks completely natural. In some cases, veneers can be attached directly to your tooth enamel with dental cement. In others, a very slight amount of tooth enamel may need to be removed first to ensure a good fit.
What are the advantages of veneers?
They're an excellent choice if you want to make large chips or cracks disappear from view. Veneers are also used to lengthen teeth and close slight gaps in your smile. Is one of your teeth crooked, twisted or pointed? Veneers conceal unusually shaped teeth, improving your smile quickly and easily.
Veneers are a good choice if one or more of your teeth are stained or discolored from antibiotic side effects, root canals, or trauma. When you visit our Naperville office, we'll select a veneer shade that matches the color of your other teeth perfectly. If you want a whiter, brighter smile than teeth whitening can provide, you may be interested in veneers.
Can everyone benefit from veneers?
Veneers are a good choice for most people, but there are some exceptions. Orthodontic treatment may be a better option if you have large spaces between your teeth. If a tooth is very short or there's not enough healthy tooth structure remaining, a crown may offer a better restoration option.
Enhance your smile with veneers. Call Naperville, IL, dentists Dr. Jeffrey and Connie Onik at (630) 420-2800 to schedule your appointment.
Your teeth and gums have a highly sensitive network of nerves. But while it can signal even the most subtle discomfort we may not be able to identify the cause with pinpoint accuracy. As a result, tooth pain could indicate more than one kind of problem including a decayed tooth, root sensitivity, infected gum tissues (like an abscess) or a dying pulp signaled by diseased nerve tissue inside the tooth.
On the other hand, not all tooth pain is the same: it can be dull or sharp, continuous or intermittent. It can feel like a constant, throbbing ache or a sharp wince when you eat or drink something cold or hot, or when you bite down. These differences could point our diagnostic examination in the right direction.
For example, sharp, throbbing pain could indicate deep tooth decay, especially if it suddenly stops. That would likely mean the nerves within the tooth pulp under attack by the infection have died and can no longer transmit pain. The infection, on the other hand is still very much active — this usually requires a root canal treatment (cleaning out the pulp and root canals of diseased and dead tissue and filling the empty spaces) if we’re to save the tooth.
If, however, you’re experiencing sensitivity from temperature or pressure, we could be facing at least a couple of scenarios. For one, your tooth could be fractured. More likely, though, periodontal (gum) disease triggered by bacterial plaque has caused the gum tissues to shrink back (recede) from the affected teeth so that the sensitive dentin layer is exposed and no longer protected by the gum tissue.
If we diagnose gum disease, we’ll need to aggressively remove bacterial plaque from all tooth and gum surfaces. This procedure might require more than one appointment and the possibility of surgery if we encounter deep pockets of infection, especially around the roots. If gum recession is severe you may also need grafting surgery to replace the missing gum tissue or to re-cover the exposed areas of your teeth.
So, knowing the source of tooth pain will direct the course of treatment to follow. With proper treatment, though, the chances are good we can not only restore your teeth and gums to optimum health but we can end the pain.
If you would like more information on treating tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Confusing Tooth Pain.”