• Examining the History of Dental Floss

    When you reach for your dental floss—which should be at least once a day, as recommended by your dentist—you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the history of the product. However, food has been getting caught in teeth since people started eating, and humans have been looking for ways to clean between their teeth since then. Here is a quick look at the history of dental floss and how it has changed over the years.

     

    Ancient Dental Floss

    There is evidence that ancient people made rudimentary toothbrushes and dental floss, and that dental floss may have been around for longer than brushes. The first way that people performed interdental cleaning appears to have been similar to modern toothpicks. Sharpened sticks were used to dig in between teeth and clean those areas. Eventually, sticks gave way to horsehair. Horsehair is believed to have been used both as dental floss and as bristles for toothbrushes.

     

    Silk Dental Floss

    The first introduction of dental floss in its more familiar modern form came in 1815, when a dentist in New Orleans suggested that patients use a waxed thread of silk to floss. This thread could be easily obtained, since it was available on the market for sewing. Dr. Levi Parmly wrote a book on tooth care which suggested that people floss once per day. In 1882, unwaxed silk threads for dental use hit the market, and in 1898, Johnson & Johnson applied for a patent to mass-produce and market floss.

     

    Modern Dental Floss

    During World War II, silk because too expensive to use for floss. Dr. Charles Bass suggested nylon be used instead. Today, you can find floss made of a wide range of different materials, in both waxed and non-waxed varieties.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, you’ll find only the latest advances in dental technologies, but our dentists still recommend that patients follow Dr. Parlmy’s advice to floss at least once a day. Make an appointment with a general dentist in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • Unusual Causes of Bad Breath


    Most people have experienced bad breath after a garlic or onion-laden meal, but what if your bad breath lingers, no matter what steps you take to fix it? Chances are that you have an undiagnosed oral health problem that needs to be treated by your dentist.

     

    Watch this video to learn more about some oral health issues that can cause bad breath. As seen in the video, a salivary stone can be a surprising trigger for bad breath. If you have one, it needs to be removed by your dentist.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we offer preventive care as well as dental implants, teeth bonding, and other important services. To make an appointment with a general dentist in Chicago, call (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.

  • What Exactly Is Sleep Apnea?

    Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is obstructed or breathing is otherwise disrupted during sleep. With obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, the throat collapses on the airway during rest, cutting off the supply of oxygen. Sleep apnea is a serious condition with many potentially significant consequences. Fortunately, your dentist has solutions that could help you get the rest you need.

     

    Sleep apnea sufferers frequently wake up hundreds of times each night in apnea episodes in which they gasp for air. The episodes happen so quickly that sufferers may not even be aware that they are happening and may not know that they have sleep apnea until a partner tells them. If it is not treated, sleep apnea can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease, and other health problems.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we can help patients overcome sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Find out how our dentists in Chicago can help you get a better night’s sleep by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • Spotlight on Ancient Cavity Filling Techniques

    Getting a filling may not be anyone’s idea of a good time, but be happy you live in the here and now and didn’t have to get your cavities treated during ancient times. Today’s dentists are able to use modern technology—and anesthesia—to make sure the process is fast and comfortable, but things weren’t always this way. Here is a look at some ancient techniques for filling cavities that you’ll be happy to know haven’t been used in centuries.

     

    Removing the Infected Pulp

    When you see your dentist for a filling, after you receive your anesthesia, your dentist will remove the infected pulp from your tooth. Today, dentists use sophisticated and gentle equipment that effectively targets the infected pulp with as little disruption to the healthy parts of your tooth as possible. In ancient times, dentists removed the pulp from cavities as well. However, they would do so by digging it out with sharpened stones without any anesthesia.

     

    Filling the Cavity

    When the infected pulp is removed from a tooth, the filling is then placed in the space created in order to re-strengthen the tooth. Dentists today use composite, ceramic, gold, porcelain, and amalgam fillings. In ancient times, the filling materials were a bit different. Teeth that were discovered in Italy and were thought to be about 13,000 years old were filled with vegetable fibers, hair, and bitumen, which is derived from oil. Today, bitumen is used for repaving roads. Other teeth from ancient times that have been discovered were filled with other materials, such as beeswax, and for cavities that couldn’t be fixed and that led to tooth loss, the Mayans used gold wires to attach replacement teeth to the jaw.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, you’ll be pleased to find the very latest in dental technology waiting for you, including CEREC and digital X-rays. Make your appointment for a dental consultation in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • How World War I Affected Dentistry

    Historically, armed conflict has thrown a spotlight on the aggressive spread of deadly infectious diseases, which are easily transmitted when large numbers of people are displaced. But war has also had a lesser known, and more positive effect on dentistry. In 1914, Britain had no official dental branch of the armed services, and so dentists who were keen to serve their fellow countrymen enlisted as combatants.

    The U.S. experienced similar problems. When it entered the war, the U.S. Army had just 86 officers on its dental staff to treat about 200,000 troops. As the number of enlisted men swelled, so too did the dental staff. Naturally, dentists who served their country in the war treated soldiers for routine dental problems, like toothaches and fractured teeth, as well as more severe trauma caused by the conflict itself. For many of the enlisted men, the dental care they received in the Army was the first they’d ever had.

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we pride ourselves on offering the latest dental technologies and treatments to our valued patients. Call (312) 704-5511 to request an appointment for preventive care, cosmetic dentistry, or dental implants in Chicago.

  • Here’s Why You Need to Treat Your Sleep Apnea


    Physicians and dentists alike agree that it’s critical to get sleep apnea under control. Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of serious medical complications, some of which may be life-threatening. You can hear more about them when you watch this informative video, presented by a professor of neuroscience.

    This professor explains that sleep deprivation inhibits your brain’s ability to form new memories, and it increases the levels of a toxic protein called beta amyloid. Beta amyloid in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, failure to seek sleep apnea treatment may increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    University Associates in Dentistry is your source for effective, non-CPAP sleep apnea treatment in Chicago. Call us today at (312) 704-5511, and ask us how our dentists can treat your sleep apnea.

  • Strange Dental Implants Throughout History

    Modern dental implants are comprised of titanium. The discovery that titanium is able to fuse with natural bone was made by accident in 1952. Since that time, dentists have continued to refine the materials and technique used to restore patients’ smiles. Although modern dental implants are an impressive innovation, implants have ancient roots. Throughout history, humans have used some strange materials to replace missing teeth.

    Bamboo

    In recent years, bamboo has been prized by homeowners as a sustainable, eco-friendly flooring material. That’s because bamboo can be harvested after just a few years of growth. The rapid growth rate of bamboo is perhaps one reason why the ancient Chinese decided it would make a good replacement for teeth. About 4,000 years ago, Chinese dentists carved the hard, durable bamboo into a tooth-shaped implant and then tapped it into the unfortunate patient’s jawbone.

    Ox Bones

    Ancient Egyptians relied on oxen. When they slaughtered an ox, they used every part of the animal possible. The hides were used to make furniture and the bones were used to make dental implants for missing teeth. The Egyptians held the oxen bone implants in place with gold wire. It’s unknown if the implants were placed before death or after it. It’s conceivable that the implants were placed after death, since great care was taken to prepare the bodies of the deceased for the afterlife.

    Shells

    In the 1930s, archaeologists were excavating an ancient Mayan site in Honduras when they discovered part of a human mandible. The jawbone was dated to about 600 CE, and is believed to be from a woman who died in her twenties. The jawbone had three dental implants made from tooth-shaped pieces of shells. Decades later, a researcher took radiographs of the mandible. He discovered that, based on the bone formation around the shells, these implants had been placed while the woman was still alive.

    University Associates in Dentistry is known as leading experts in dental implants in the Chicago area. Our dentists specialize in same-day dental implants, which lets you walk away with a complete, beautiful smile in just one appointment. If you have missing teeth, call us today at (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.

  • The Economic Value of a Beautiful Smile

    A beautiful smile can boost your confidence and even improve your relationships, because you’re willing to smile more when you feel good about your teeth. However, did you know that there are economic advantages to having a beautiful smile as well? You may be surprised to learn how a visit to the dentist could end up benefitting you financially. Here is a look at some of the economic advantages of having a beautiful smile.

    The Smile to Cash Exchange Rate

    Researchers in the UK have managed to attach an actual price value to every smile you give. According to the results of their study, every smile you give is worth one-third of a penny in value to you. That may sound small, but when you consider the number of times in which you are likely to smile in a day, then you will see that it can add up quickly. Conversely, every time you hide your grin because you don’t like your teeth, you are actually losing money. However, there is a caveat. You can’t fake smile your way to wealth. The smiles have to be genuine to have value.

    Work Opportunities

    A great smile can definitely increase your bottom line, as long as you show off your grin at the office. Having a warm and confident smile during job interviews makes you more likely to get the job. Greeting clients with a smile and using your smile to build friendly relationships with your co-workers are both great ways to land more deals, get more promotions, and come out ahead in wage negotiations.

    Social Capital

    Your smile is one tool you can use to generate social capital, and social capital can often be converted into financial opportunities. For example, if you are starting a business and are looking for investors or if you’re trying to ensure someone makes an offer on your house instead of your neighbor’s, social capital can be as good as money in the bank.

    Cash in on the benefits of a good smile by making an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in Chicago at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer veneers, dental implants, and many more treatments to help you look and feel your best. For more information about our cosmetic dentistry services, call (312) 704-5511.