• 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.

  • A Look Back at the Radium Dial Girls: A Modern Dentist’s Worst Nightmare

    When radium was first introduced to the market in the early 20th century, it was marketed as not only safe but as a health remedy for a range of complaints. It was also popular for the way it glows. A popular line of watches with numbers painted with radium-laced paint became popular in the US, thanks to workers in a factory, later known as the radium girls. The effects on their health of their work, including their dental health, prompted the introduction of workplace safety regulations.

    To create precise numbers of the dials of the watches they made, the radium girls were trained to use their lips to make the point of the brush as sharp as possible. After each number, the women would put their brushes in their mouths, swallowing a little bit of paint each time. Within a few years, they began to fall ill in large numbers, experiencing dental health problems and bone loss. During a tooth extraction, a dentist inadvertently pulled out the entire jaw of one of the radium girls.

    Fortunately, the dentists in Chicago at University Associates in Dentistry don’t see radium-related problems like these, but they do help people with missing teeth and other oral health issues. To make an appointment with a dentist, please call (312) 704-5511.

  • See How Titanium Implants Are Made


    Titanium is the material of choice for today’s dental implants, thanks to its strength and light weight. Did you ever wonder how these implants are made? This video offers details.

    Dental implants consist of a titanium post that is implanted in the jaw and allowed to fuse with the bone and a dental crown that mimics the appearance of your natural teeth. This video shows exactly how the posts are constructed before they are used in your dental treatments.

    If you have missing teeth, contact University Associates in Dentistry to find out more about dental implants in Chicago. To make an appointment with one of our dentists, please call (312) 704-5511.

  • The Dos and Don’ts of Porcelain Veneers

    Porcelain veneers can completely change the appearance of your smile. The veneers are attached to the surfaces of your teeth by your cosmetic dentist in order to correct severe discoloration, cracks, chips, and minor spacing issues. When your treatment is finished, you’ll have a bright, healthy-looking smile that will help you approach the world with confidence. In order to get the most out of this cosmetic dentistry treatment, there are a few dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind. Follow these tips to keep your veneers in top condition.

    Do Have Regular Dental Checkups

    When you have veneers on your teeth, it is still important to see your dentist for regular cleanings in order to remove tartar from your teeth and gums and to spot any signs of decay or gum disease. Because veneers are only attached to the front surfaces of your teeth, the backs and sides can become especially vulnerable to decay. See your dentist to make sure decay doesn’t cause serious complications.

    Don’t Chew on Hard Items

    Porcelain is a strong material, which is why it is a popular choice for veneers, but it is still vulnerable to damage. When you chew on ice or pens, or if you use your teeth to open packages, your veneers could become damaged. Eating hard foods like carrots and apples is fine, but be mindful of the risk of damage and chew carefully.

    Do Brush Your Teeth as Normal

    Getting porcelain veneers doesn’t mean that your oral hygiene routine can take a backseat. You should brush and floss your teeth as normal to reduce plaque buildup. With veneers, your teeth can look healthy when they actually aren’t, so don’t let your brushing habits fall by the wayside.

    The cosmetic dentists at University Associates in Dentistry are skilled in providing patients with porcelain veneers that look and feel natural. Schedule a consultation to learn more about veneers in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • How CEREC Can Make You Love Your Smile Again

    Chairside economical restoration of esthetic ceramics (CEREC) is state-of-the-art technology that can bring a smile to your face. With CEREC, your dentist can accomplish in just one visit what used to take two to three weeks: The fabrication of a beautiful, custom-made porcelain crown. Not every general dentistry office has CEREC capabilities, so make sure you do your research beforehand and find one that does.

     

    How CEREC Works

    Without CEREC, a patient who needs a crown to restore a tooth must visit the dental office to get an impression made. The dentist then sends the impression away to a lab. The patient returns to the office two to three weeks later to receive the crown. With CEREC, a crown restoration can be completed in just one office visit. The CEREC process is as follows:

     

    • The dentist performs a scan to take digital impressions of the patient’s mouth.
    • The digital info is sent to the CEREC milling machine.
    • The milling machine fabricates the crown from a single block of porcelain.
    • The dentist adjusts the shade of the crown to blend in seamlessly with the natural teeth.
    • The dentist adjusts the fit of the crown as needed, before bonding it securely in the patient’s mouth.

     

    Why CEREC Could Be Right for You

    Anyone who needs a crown is a good candidate for CEREC crowns. In fact, some patients go out of their way to visit a dental clinic that offers CEREC technology, thanks to its unbeatable convenience. With CEREC technology, you can expect the following:

     

    • No bad-tasting impression material
    • A single appointment for your custom-fabricated crown
    • Perfect shading match to the rest of your smile
    • Quick wait time for the completion of the crown
    • Made from durable, strong porcelain
    • No need for a temporary crown
    • Digital precision

     

    University Associates in Dentistry is pleased to bring the latest advancements in dental technology to our valued patients, including in-office CEREC capabilities. To experience the benefits of CEREC for yourself, you can call (312) 704-5511 and schedule a dental consultation in Chicago. Our cosmetic dentistry team looks forward to helping you love your smile again!

  • A Look at the Real Causes of Cavities

    You may already know that bacteria cause tooth decay. That’s true, but it’s not quite the whole story. As your dentist can explain, your mouth contains its own microbiome, which is a community of microorganisms. Some of those bacteria are harmful. They form plaque, which is a biofilm that sticks to the teeth.

     

    You can get the details about biofilm by watching this featured video. You’ll learn that as the microbes digest the sugary foods you eat, they release acid as a waste product. The acid demineralizes the enamel on your teeth, causing tooth decay.

     

    If it’s been too long since your last professional teeth cleaning and exam, schedule an appointment with a general dentist near Chicago right away. Call University Associates in Dentistry at (312) 704-5511, and continue browsing our website to find out more about general and cosmetic dentistry.

  • 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.

     

  • Get a Better Night’s Sleep Without a CPAP

    The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine has long been used to manage sleep apnea in patients who suffer from moderate to severe symptoms. But lots of people have problems wearing one all night long. It can feel uncomfortable and unnatural, and the machine makes noises that can keep you and your partner awake. There’s a better solution. Talk to a dentist about your alternative options.

    A dentist can provide effective sleep apnea treatment with a custom-made oral appliance. These devices are FDA-approved to manage sleep apnea. And unlike a CPAP machine, an oral appliance is small, comfortable, custom-fitted, and easy to keep clean. You’ll be sleeping soundly in no time, and your partner will appreciate the lack of snoring!

    Sleep apnea treatment is a specialty here at the Chicago office of University Associates in Dentistry. Call (312) 704-5511 to schedule your consultation, and look forward to getting a better night’s sleep without a bulky, uncomfortable CPAP machine.