My Blog

Posts for: April, 2020

By Willow Ridge Dental Group
April 20, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

If you or a family member has problems with teeth alignment or your bite, you may be considering braces. This tried and true method can straighten out most smiles — but there's more to braces than you may realize.

For one thing, orthodontic treatment wouldn't work if it weren't for the natural mechanism for tooth movement that already exists in the mouth. It may seem your teeth are rigidly set in the jawbone but that's not how they maintain their attachment: that's the job of an elastic connective tissue known as the periodontal ligament that lies between the tooth and the bone. The ligament has tiny fibers that attach to the tooth on one side and to the bone on the other to actually hold the teeth in place, much like a hammock secured between two posts.

The ligament attachment also allows the teeth to move incrementally in response to environmental factors or the aging process. We harness this natural movement ability with braces to move teeth to a more desirable position. We first attach small brackets to the front crowns of the teeth (the visible portion) and then string arch wires through them. We then attach the wires to anchor points where we can adjust the amount of tension they're exerting through the brackets against the teeth. By gradually increasing that tension, the teeth respond as they would when any force is applied against them and begin to move.

By precisely controlling that movement we can transform a patient's smile. But we believe the advantages are more than cosmetic: the teeth will function better and will be easier to care for and keep clean. These benefits, though, have to be balanced with heightened risks for root resorption (something that occurs only about 10% of the time) in which the ends of the roots can shrink, or loss of mineral content in teeth enamel where the hardware makes it more difficult to remove bacterial plaque. These risks can be reduced by closely monitoring dental health during the entire treatment process and through stepped up efforts in daily oral hygiene.

The starting point for deciding on an orthodontic treatment is a thorough dental examination with x-rays or CT scan imaging. Once we have a complete picture of your misalignment problems and any other extenuating circumstances, we can recommend a treatment plan just for you.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment, 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 “Moving Teeth with Orthodontics.”

By Willow Ridge Dental Group
April 14, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: Diet  

Here are some ways to keep your smile radiant from the comfort of your own home.

Whether you’ve just turned to our Naperville, IL, dentists Drs. Jeffrey and Connie Onik recently for teeth whitening or you’ve been whitening at home, you want your results to last as long as possible. Of course, this involves amping up your current routine and following these habits to ensure that your teeth stays radiant,

Alter Your Diet

Assess all the typical foods and drinks you consume in a day and see which ones could be causing you the most stains. Remember, dark foods and drinks are the likely culprit. This includes:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Wine
  • Dark sodas and sports drinks
  • Berries and citrus fruits
  • Dark condiments and sauces such as mustard, soy sauce, and ketchup
  • Tomato sauce and paste

If you do drink something that may cause stains, you should consider using a straw. It might seem silly but using a straw will limit how much of the dark liquid comes in contact with your teeth.

Brush Thoroughly and Often

While we can limit the amount of stain-causing foods and drinks we consume it is challenging to avoid them completely. So, if you do decide to indulge in a slice of blueberry pie or a heaping bowl of tomato pasta, just make sure that you brush your teeth immediately afterwards to prevent stains from forming.

Use Whitening Toothpaste

If you’ve just turned to our Naperville, IL, cosmetic dentists recently for professional teeth whitening then you definitely want tips for making your results last. If you haven’t been doing it already, it’s a good idea to start using whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste contains safe but effective abrasives that can polish teeth and scrub away surface stains. It’s also great for preventing new stains from forming.

Use an At-Home Whitening Kit

That whitening kit that perhaps wasn’t giving you life-changing results months ago may actually be a great way to help you maintain your professional results longer. Whitening strips and trays, along with whitening toothpaste, can also be great ways to support your radiant smile and keep it looking fresh and radiant.

Here at Willow Ridge Dental Group, your health, safety and wellbeing are of the utmost importance to us. That’s why we are only treating urgent and emergency dental problems until the lockdown is over. Until you can turn to our Naperville, IL, dentists for teeth whitening treatment or even dental veneers for a brighter smile, try the tips above to keep your smile sparkling (because we could all benefit from smiling more).

If you are dealing with an urgent dental matter don’t hesitate to call us at (630) 420-2800.


Tara Lipinski loves to smile. And for good reason: The Olympic-gold medalist has enjoyed a spectacular career in ladies' figure skating. Besides also winning gold in the U.S. Nationals and the Grand Prix Final, in 1997 Lipinski became the youngest skater ever to win a World Figure Skating title. Now a sports commentator and television producer, Lipinski still loves to show her smile—and counts it as one of her most important assets. She also knows the importance of protecting her smile with daily hygiene habits and regular dental care.

Our teeth endure a lot over our lifetime. Tough as they are, though, they're still vulnerable to disease, trauma and the effects of aging. To protect them, it's essential that we brush and floss every day to remove bacterial plaque—that thin accumulating film on teeth most responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.

To keep her smile in top shape and reduce her chances of dental disease, Lipinski flosses and brushes daily, the latter at least twice a day. She also uses a tongue scraper, a small handheld device about the size of a toothbrush, to remove odor-causing bacteria and debris from the tongue.

Lipinski is also diligent about visiting the dentist for professional cleanings and checkups at least twice a year because even a dedicated brusher and flosser like her can still miss dental plaque that can then harden into tartar. Dental hygienists have the training and tools to clear away any lingering plaque and tartar that could increase your disease risk. It's also a good time for the dentist to check your teeth and gums for any developing problems.

The high pressure world of competitive figure skating and now her media career may also have contributed to another threat to Lipinski's smile: a teeth-grinding habit. Teeth grinding is the unconscious action—often while asleep—of clenching the jaws together and producing abnormally high biting forces. Often a result of chronic stress, teeth grinding can accelerate tooth wear and damage the gum ligaments attached to teeth. To help minimize these effects, Lipinski's dentist created a custom mouthguard to wear at night. The slick plastic surface of the guard prevents the teeth from generating any damaging biting forces when they clench together.

The importance of an attractive smile isn't unique to celebrities and media stars like Tara Lipinski. A great smile breeds confidence for anyone—and it can enhance your career, family and social relationships. Protect this invaluable asset with daily oral hygiene, regular dental visits and prompt treatment for disease or trauma.

If you would like more information about protecting your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Decay” and “Teeth Grinding.”