• 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.

  • 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.

     

  • 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.

  • What Do Sports Drinks Do to Your Teeth?

    If you are active, or if your kids are involved in sports, there is a good chance that sports drinks are part of your life. People reach for sports drinks because of their ability to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes after periods of exertion. However, while sports drinks may be a favorite of professional and amateur athletes alike, they definitely don’t rank highly with dentists. In fact, many dentists consider sports drinks to be as harmful to teeth as sodas. Here is look at how sports drinks could be affecting your teeth or the teeth of your student-athletes.

     

    Sugars and Tooth Decay

    Many sports drinks contain a significant amount of sugar. Some popular sports drinks contain more sugar than a can of soda. When you drink a sugary sports drink, you are bathing your teeth in a sugary solution that will stick to the surfaces long after you’ve finished the drink. This sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn causes tooth decay to occur. Drinking something sugary tends to expose your teeth to greater amounts of sugar than eating a piece of sugary candy, both because you’re likely to consume the drink over a longer period of time and because the liquid will coat all of your teeth.

     

    Acids and Enamel Loss

    Choosing a sugar-free sports drink won’t save your teeth from negative effects. Sports drinks, even sugar-free ones, are extremely acidic. The acid weakens your tooth enamel, which can lead to serious consequences, including teeth sensitivity and greater vulnerability to decay. Enamel cannot be replaced, so any that is lost from drinking sports drinks is gone for good.

     

    Safer Alternatives

    Water is sufficient for most people who need to rehydrate after activity. Water with electrolytes is also a safe alternative. For people seeking the electrolyte restoration, bananas and coconut water are lower in sugars and acids and thus safer for your teeth. If you do drink sports drinks, consider using a straw to reduce the amount of tooth exposure and rinsing your mouth with water when you’re done.

     

    Do you have more questions about habits that could be impacting your oral health? At University Associates in Dentistry, we can help you make the right choices to reduce your risk of gum disease, missing teeth, and cavities. Call (312) 704-5511 to make an appointment with a dentist in Chicago.

  • How Your Dentist Can Fix Cracked Teeth

    Cracked teeth can happen for many reasons, from being hit by a ball while playing your favorite sport to biting down on a hard piece of food a little too aggressively. Fortunately, your dentist can fix cracks in your teeth so that they look and feel their best.

     

    There are several ways your dentist can fix cracked teeth. One popular method is veneers. Veneers are thin, wafer-like pieces of porcelain put on the surface of your teeth. Once your veneers are in place, the surfaces of your teeth will look and feel smooth. Bonding is another treatment option. Bonding uses a plastic material designed to match the appearance of your natural teeth to hide imperfections, like cracks. If the crack is at the base of your tooth, your dentist may recommend contouring to smooth it away.

     

    Don’t let a cracked tooth affect your smile. Talk to your dentist at University Associates in Dentistry today about your treatment options. You can learn more about cosmetic dentistry in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • Forget These Outdated Myths About Dentistry

    Your dentist is an important member of your healthcare team, but sometimes, misconceptions about dentistry keep people from getting the care that they need. Maybe the idea that a procedure is painful has left you fearful of making an appointment, or perhaps a myth about an oral health problem has led you to dismiss your symptoms. Could myths and misconceptions be standing in the way of you seeing your dentist when you need to? Here are some myths about dentistry that definitely need to be dismissed.

     

    Myth: You should brush your teeth as much as possible.

    You may assume that if brushing your teeth twice a day is good, then brushing them more often is even better. However, brushing your teeth too often can actually do damage. Over-brushing can damage the enamel on your teeth, which triggers sensitivity and leaves your teeth more vulnerable to decay. Brushing twice a day is sufficient for most people.

     

    Myth: Fluoride is toxic.

    Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can help to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the risk of cavities. However, some people have the idea that it is dangerous and can increase the risk of cancer, arthritis, and kidney disease. In reality, fluoride is safe when used in appropriate amounts. It would be difficult for most people to get too much fluoride, but if you’re concerned, talk to your dentist about what is right for you.

     

    Myth: Fillings and root canals hurt.

    For any treatment that could potentially cause discomfort, your dentist will use local anesthesia to make sure that you don’t feel a thing. Most people are surprised after getting a filling or root canal that their procedure didn’t hurt and that they experienced only mild discomfort, if any, after the procedure.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we use the very latest technologies to deliver quality general and cosmetic dentistry treatments, including veneers, teeth implants, and teeth whitening in Chicago. Schedule your appointment today by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • How Oral Health and Weight Loss Intersect

    You already know that it’s important to see a dentist every six months to reduce your risk of cavities and other oral health problems. But did you know that your teeth and gums can also affect your waistline, and vice versa? There are a few ways in which oral health and weight loss intersect.

    Individuals who are overweight have a higher risk of periodontal disease.

    If you’re looking for motivation to stick with your New Year’s resolution to lose weight, consider a recent study published in the medical journal Oral Diseases. It indicates that individuals who are overweight or obese have a nearly six-fold increased risk of suffering from periodontal disease. It’s thought that the increased presence of systemic inflammation in overweight individuals may play a role in the elevated risk of gum disease. This wasn’t the only study to evaluate this issue. Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine conducted a study that led them to conclude that overweight individuals who successfully lose weight are better able to fight off gum disease.

    Poor oral health can lead to poor nutrition.

    A person’s waistline can influence his or her oral health, but the reverse is also true. People who have poor oral health are more likely to have poor nutrition, which can negatively affect weight management. For example, if you have severe toothaches, loose teeth, or missing teeth, you might think twice before reaching for healthy foods like crunchy apples, carrots, and almonds. You might prefer softer foods that are easier to eat, like sugar-laden muffins that can add to your waistline.

    Oral health and weight management benefit from the same lifestyle choices.

    Although it can be disheartening to learn about the ways oral health and weight management can be negatively affected, there is good news. The same healthy habits that benefit your waistline will also support your oral health. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight by cutting out soda, you’ll also have a lower risk of tooth decay. Another trick is to brush your teeth immediately after a meal so you won’t be tempted to keep snacking.

    The entire team at University Associates in Dentistry is committed to helping you improve your oral health and overall wellness. New and current general dentistry patients in Chicago can give us a call at (312) 704-5511 to request a dental consultation. We always welcome your questions and concerns about your oral care routine.

  • Dental Care for Athletes 101

    Dental trauma can happen to anyone. Tooth and soft tissue injuries can develop from tripping and falling on the stairs, for instance, but athletes are undoubtedly at a higher risk of dental trauma than most people. Amateur and professional athletes alike can benefit from seeing a sports dentistry specialist. A dentist who has experience working with athletes can provide appropriate recommendations for mouth protection and care.

     

    Always wear your sports mouth guard.

    If you don’t yet have a sports mouth guard, you need to visit a dentist right away. Over-the-counter (OTC) mouth guards are available. These are typically the “bite and boil” kind. Unfortunately, since they aren’t custom-fitted, OTC mouth guards can be uncomfortable, poorly fitted, and inadequate. As a result, athletes might be tempted to skip wearing them, leaving themselves even more vulnerable to dental trauma. Protect your smile by visiting a dentist to have a custom-fitted mouth guard made, and always wear it for practices and games. You’ll thank yourself for it the next time you get tackled, take a tumble, or get hit by a hockey puck.

     

    Keep your sports mouth guard clean.

    Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to gently brush your mouth guard after every time you wear it. Some people like to rinse the mouth guard with antiseptic mouthwash to kill germs. Afterward, rinse it in cool water, and pat it dry with a clean towel before storing it in its container. Clean the container regularly too.

     

    Know what to do for an avulsed tooth.

    An avulsed tooth is one that has been completely expelled from the mouth. If you act right away, your dentist can save the tooth. Just follow these rules:

     

    • Only handle a knocked-out tooth by the crown, not the root.
    • You can rinse the tooth in water, but never scrub it, dry it, or use cleaning products.
    • Gently replace the tooth in its socket if possible.
    • If you can’t replace the tooth, place it in a clean cup with tooth preservation product (available at drugstores).
    • If you lack tooth preservation liquid, use a cup of milk.
    • Get to the dentist as soon as possible.

     

    The team at University Associates in Dentistry has more experience than most in treating sports-related dental trauma. We are the official sports dentists for the Chicago Blackhawks. Call our office at (312) 704-5511 to request our next available sports dentistry consultation.