• What is Dental Contouring?

    If you’re interested in getting your smile and self-confidence back, dental contouring may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Dental contouring is also referred to as tooth reshaping or enameloplasty and is used to correct minor imperfections including slightly misshapen teeth. Keep reading to learn more about this procedure and whether or not it’s right for you.

    The procedure starts by your dentist using tools to gently remove some of the enamel from your teeth which allows the shape or length to be changed. After the contouring takes place, your teeth are polished to make them look amazing. After that, your smile will be as good as new!

    Unlike some procedures, dental contouring provides immediate results that you can see in the mirror from day one. Most often, the procedure takes about a half an hour or less which means you’re in and out in no time at all. There is no pain associated with dental contouring because your enamel contains no nerves. Dental contouring is permanent, so you won’t have to get the procedure performed again in the future.

    Once the procedure has been performed, you’ll need to be extra careful about protecting your remaining enamel. While dental contouring is a great option for many people, it’s only used to repair minor cosmetic issues, so larger problems will require other forms of treatment. Removing imperfections in your teeth through dental contouring can also lower your risk of tooth decay and gum disease by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.

    Dental contouring is a great way to improve your smile. It’s quick and effective as well as painless, so there aren’t many reasons not to consider it. If you’re interested in dental contouring in Chicago, contact University Associates in Dentistry by calling (312) 704-5511. We would be happy to provide you with a free initial consultation to find out if dental contouring is right for you.

  • How Can I Prevent Cavities?

    No one wants cavities, but do you know exactly what they are, how you get them, and how you can avoid them? Cavities are caused by tooth decay, or damage to your tooth. That tooth decay impacts both the outer coating called enamel and the inner layer called dentin. Tooth decay occurs when foods stay on your teeth. Your mouth uses bacteria to turn those foods into acids, and those acids combined with the bacteria, food debris, and your saliva form plaque. That plaque clings to your teeth and dissolves their enamel which creates holes which we call cavities.

    Now that you know what cavities are and how they form, let’s take a look at who gets cavities and how they can be avoided. It’s not true that only children get cavities. They also happen to older adults including seniors. You might be able to tell that you have cavities because of the pain they cause, but that’s not always the case.

    The only way to know if you have cavities for sure is to get regular dental checkups. Your dentist will examine your teeth to see if you do have any cavities, and then will begin treatment if you do. Your dentist will most likely remove the decayed part of your tooth using a drill. The hole will then be filled in with a filling. Crowns can also be used for more advanced tooth decay. A root canal may be needed in certain circumstances.

    Once you have a cavity, it needs to be treated, but how can you reduce your chances of getting one in the first place? A common misconception is that cavities only occur when you eat too many sweets and don’t brush your teeth enough. It’s true that sugar can eat away at your teeth a little quicker than more healthy foods, but it’s not the only culprit. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is important, but when it comes to preventing cavities, flossing is more important. That’s because flossing gets rid of those tiny food particles in between your teeth that lead to cavities.

    Some of the best ways to prevent cavities from forming are brushing, flossing, not overdoing it with sugar consumption, and getting regular dental checkups. To schedule that all-important appointment with University Associates in Dentistry, give us a call today at (312) 704-5511.

  • Sports Dentistry 101

    If you’ve played sports or you have children who play sports, you’ve probably heard of sports dentistry. Do you know what it is? Why not ask the experts, the team dentist for the Chicago Blackhawks, UAD! Why is sports dentistry a type of dentistry, and how does it differ from regular dentistry? Here we offer a few facts about sports dentistry that may interest you.

    • Sports dentistry is a relatively new field. It’s a quickly growing one, though, and with good reason. Sports dentistry deals with the prevention and treatment of both dental injuries and oral diseases that are associated with sports and exercises. Athletes are at risk of injuries, including facial bone fractures and injuries to both the hard and soft tissue of the mouth, that require the attention of an expert in sports dentistry.
    • Young athletes, in particular, benefit from sports dentistry services. An estimated 30 million children in the United States play organized sports, and injuries to the face and mouth can cause scarring or damage to the child’s permanent teeth. Pediatric sports dentists can educate coaches, parents, and young players on the prevention of injuries, as well as assisting with treatment.
    • Contact sports can cause injuries, but other sports can as well. Most people know that dental injuries are common in sports such as hockey and boxing. Would it surprise you to know, for instance, that swimmers also benefit from sports dentistry? People who swim more than six hours a week, exposing their teeth to chemically treated water, can develop hard, brown deposits on their teeth known as swimmers’ calculus, which requires the attention of a dentist.
    • Sports dentists can create custom mouthguards to protect against injury. While stock mouthguards and self-adapting (boil and bite) mouthguards do offer protection against injury, custom-made mouthguards are the most effective way to protect athletes’ mouths. Made by a sports dentist, they’re created from an impression of the athlete’s mouth, so that they’re comfortable and more likely to stay in place than other models.
    • Sports dentistry prevents long-term damage and saves you money. By helping people find the right protective gear and advising them on how to avoid injuries, sports dentists help protect both children and adults from lasting damage. What’s more, seeking the advice and care of a sports dentist before starting a sport is far less expensive than dealing with the consequences of oral or facial injuries down the line. Even a custom mouthguard, which is more expensive than other models, will save you money by protecting the mouth from damage.

    If you’re in need of sports dentistry services in Chicago, you can have confidence in the team at University Associates in Dentistry. Well aware of the fact that prevention and adequate preparation are the key elements in minimizing sports injuries, UAD treats patients in the office and onsite, and serves as the team dentist for the Chicago Blackhawks. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

     

     

  • What Exactly is in Toothpaste?

    People have been finding ways to clean their teeth for as long as they’ve had teeth, but toothpaste as we know it is a relatively new innovation. If you’re like most people, you probably have a favorite brand of toothpaste, but it’s also probable that you’ve never given too much thought as to what’s in it. Even if you have taken time to read the ingredients on the label, you may not know what those ingredients are. Watch this video, and you’ll get an overview of what’s in the toothpaste you use.

    The video does a great job at explaining what’s in toothpaste, and even offers a recipe for homemade toothpaste, but there are a few things it doesn’t address. One important note about toothpaste is that it is possible to be allergic to it. Toothpaste includes many ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, including flavorings, preservatives, and even fluoride. If you’re allergic, you might experience mouth swelling, canker sores, cracking at the corners of the mouth, dry, chapped lips, gum irritation, or an upset stomach. You may also experience a rash or peeling skin around the mouth, or lips that are scaly and itchy. A toothpaste allergy can be confirmed by a patch test, so if you think you may be allergic, talk to your doctor.

    If you are allergic to something found in toothpaste, it’s good to identify the exact allergen so that you can seek out a toothpaste that doesn’t contain that particular ingredient. You might have better luck with a different flavor of toothpaste, or a toothpaste from a brand that specializes in natural products. Of course you can also make your own toothpaste, using ingredients such as coconut oil and baking soda.

    The right toothpaste can help keep your mouth healthy, and so can regular dental checkups. At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, ask your dentist about the best type of toothpaste for you.  You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

     

  • What are some Causes of Oral Cancer?

     

    How much do you know about oral cancer? Oral cancers make up about 85 percent of a group of cancers referred to as head and neck cancer and affect about 53,000 Americans annually. Oral or oropharyngeal cancer is very serious, causing over 9.7050 deaths each year. How can you protect yourself against oral cancer? It helps to understand the causes of oral cancer so that you can learn how to reduce your risk.

    Oral cancer begins in the mouth, or oral cavity, which includes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, most of the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the bottom of the mouth. It can also develop in the oropharynx, the part of the throat that’s just behind the moth. When this is the location where cancer occurs, it’s called oropharyngeal cancer, and can affect the back of the tongue, the back of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, and the upper throat.

    There are several risk factors that come into play with oral cancer. Two-thirds of people with oral cancer are over age 55, and men are twice as likely to get it as women are. Some genetic mutations cause different syndromes in the body and raise the risk of oral cancer. These mutations include Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital, a genetically linked syndrome that also causes aplastic anemia. Graft vs host disease increases your risk of oral cancer, as does taking immune-suppressing medications. These factors may be beyond your control, but there are steps you can take to reduce other risk factors.

    • Ultraviolet light: People who work outdoors, visit tanning beds, or have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop cancers of the lip. Using lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect you, but it’s also smart to limit your sun exposure and avoid spending time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
    • Nutrition: Research has shown a link between a diet that’s low in fruits and vegetables and an increase in the risk of oral cancer. Eating a diet full of nutrient-dense foods can help reduce your risk.
    • Tobacco: Around 80 percent of people who have oral cancers are tobacco users. The level of risk depends on the frequency and duration of tobacco use, and different types of tobacco affect different parts of the mouth. Smoking can cause cancer of the mouth or throat, while oral tobacco products like chewing tobacco and snuff can lead to cancer in the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. If you don’t smoke or chew tobacco, don’t start. If you do smoke, ask your doctor if you need help quitting.
    • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers make up about 70 percent of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer. For people who smoke and drink heavily, the risk of oral cancer can be as high as 100 percent more than the risk for people who don’t drink or smoke. To reduce your risk, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks per day.

    A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of oral cancer, and so can regular dental checkups. At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, ask your dentist to check your mouth for signs of dental cancer, and to discuss your risk.  You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

  • Examining the Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

    When you think of cosmetic dentistry, what comes to mind? Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic procedure, but there are several other popular procedures, including dental implants, porcelain veneers and crowns, shaping, and bonding, that can improve your smile and your overall look. Cosmetic dentistry is versatile and can correct various flaws such as stains, misshapen or small teeth, chips, cracks, gapped teeth, and even ragged gum looks. Beyond making you look better, though, cosmetic dentistry offers many benefits.

    • Cosmetic dentistry can boost your confidence. You’ll look younger and more attractive after your cosmetic dental procedure, and that can help you to feel more confident when interacting with others. This can make it easier to succeed in both social and business situations.
    • Your career prospects may improve after cosmetic dentistry. A beautiful smile makes a strong first impression, allowing you to put your best foot forward in every situation. You may not rely on your looks to advance in your career, but when you look better and feel more confident, you’re more likely to take on greater responsibility and show leadership skills. No matter what your field may be, a confident demeanor can help you in all aspects as you move forward.
    • Some cosmetic dentistry procedures can strengthen your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is performed in a way that doesn’t just improve the appearance of your teeth, but can actually make them stronger, by reinforcing weak spots or hairline fractures. Stronger teeth make it easier to eat your favorite foods and are less likely to be vulnerable to sensitivity and decay.
    • Caring for your teeth can boost your overall health. Fixing a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth doesn’t just restore your smile, it also protects against further dental damage. A healthy mouth reduces your risk of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, and pancreatic and oral cancer. Poor oral health can cause headaches and joint pain, but having your smile perfected through cosmetic dentistry gives you added incentive to care for that smile and improve your health.

    If you’re ready to improve your life with cosmetic dentistry, it’s time to make an appointment at University Associates in Dentistry. Under the direction of Dr. Martin Marcus and Dr. Russell Baer, Dr Stuart Schelkopf and Dr Lauren Zalay, the UAD dental team provides outstanding restorative aesthetic dentistry that can make a big difference in the way you look and feel. You can call (312) 704-5511 to make a dental appointment in Chicago, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

     

  • A Look at Oral Health Care in Kenya


    When you think of oral health care, you probably think of toothbrushes and floss, but in rural Kenya, they take a different approach to oral hygiene. This video offers some insight into this different outlook on taking care of your teeth.

    In this village in Kenya, people chew sticks to brush the surfaces of their teeth and keep their teeth and gums clean. They believe that toothbrushes are less effective than their sticks and toothpaste burns too much to use.

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we can help you find the right oral health care plan to keep your teeth and gums in top condition. Make an appointment with a dentist in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

     

  • Choosing the Right Sleep Apnea Treatment for You

    Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can have life-threatening consequences. Unfortunately, many people avoid seeking treatment, because they think that they will need to use a CPAP machine, which can be uncomfortable and hard to get used to. While it may sound strange, you can receive alternative relief from sleep apnea by calling your dentist. Your dentist can help with CPAP therapy, but they can also offer other treatment options. This information will help you make the right decisions about treating your sleep apnea.

     

    There are treatments beyond CPAP therapy.

    Most people associate sleep apnea treatment with CPAP machines, which require users to wear a mask while they sleep that dispenses forced air to keep the airway open. This is an effective treatment that works well for many people. However, some people can’t adjust to wearing a CPAP mask or simply prefer not to, and those people may be good candidates for oral appliance therapy. This treatment involves the use of a custom-made appliance that sits in your mouth and gently repositions your lower jaw and your tongue to make sure your airway stays open.

     

    It can take time to adjust to your chosen treatment method.

    Sleeping with any kind of device in your mouth or on your face can be a challenge. For most people, it takes a few weeks to completely adjust to their treatment. Your dentist can help you create a plan to gradually increase your usage, until you can sleep as normal. Don’t give up on a treatment because it initially feels uncomfortable. Instead, talk to your doctor or dentist about possible adjustments to improve your comfort.

     

    Some people benefit from multiple treatments.

    Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, your dentist may recommend that you try both a CPAP machine and an oral appliance. These two treatments working together may provide a better level of relief for some people.

     

    If you’re been diagnosed with sleep apnea in Chicago, make an appointment at University Associates in Dentistry to find a treatment that works for you. For more information, call (312) 704-5511.

     

  • What to Expect During the Extraction Process

    Sometimes, saving a tooth through restoration is not efficient, and instead, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. This is usually done if a tooth has damage or decay that is too extensive to be fixed by a filling or root canal. If your dentist has recommended that you have a tooth extraction, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect. Fortunately, the process is usually faster and easier than many patients expect. Here is what you need to know.

    During an extraction, you will receive anesthesia to ensure the procedure is as painless as possible. In some cases, this may be with the use of a local anesthetic, and in other cases, you may receive a sedative with anesthesia or even general anesthesia. The tooth will be removed and the space will be closed with stitches. As you recover, your dentist will recommend avoiding smoking, using straws, and anything else that causes suction, which could otherwise loosen the blood clot and cause infection.

    After your tooth extraction, your dentist at University Associates in Dentistry in Chicago can discuss restoration options, like a dental implant. To make an appointment, call our office today at (312) 704-5511.

  • What Do People with Diabetes Need to Know About Oral Health Care?

    Diabetes affects all parts of the body, including the mouth. If you have diabetes, it is important to let your dentist know. He or she may recommend that you have more frequent cleanings so you can avoid some of the complications that can occur with diabetes. If you have diabetes, here is what you need to know about how it can affect your oral health.

     

    People with diabetes are more prone to gum disease.

    When you have diabetes, you are more vulnerable to infections. This is true even if your blood sugar levels are well regulated. However, if your blood sugar levels are uncontrolled, your risk of infections is even greater. Because your mouth is filled with bacteria, infections are prone to starting there, and if you have diabetes, this bacteria can build up and cause gum disease faster than in people without diabetes. High blood sugar levels feed this infection, causing gum disease to progress and become severe faster.

     

    Gum disease can make it more difficult to control your diabetes.

    If you have diabetes, then you know how infections can impact your blood sugar levels. It’s difficult to keep your levels under control when you have an infection in the body, since the inflammation causes blood sugar levels to rise. When you have gum disease, it causes blood sugar levels to increase, and in turn, these high levels exacerbate your gum disease, creating a cycle that is difficult to break.

     

    You may need more frequent teeth cleanings.

    People with diabetes often need to see the dentist every three months instead of every six months. This allows your dentist to spot gum disease in early stages, so that it can be treated and reversed before it becomes severe and leads to complications like tooth loss.

     

    At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, be sure to tell your dentist about diabetes or any other chronic health problem you have. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.