Our Blog

Some General Rules for General Anesthesia

July 28th, 2021

If you have periodontal surgery scheduled at our Hoffman Estates, IL office, you have many options for your choice of anesthesia. After all, Dr. Dalessandro and our team are trained in all forms of anesthesia and sedation therapy, so you will be able to choose the anesthesia experience that best suits your needs—and your comfort!

One such option is general anesthesia. If you choose this type of anesthesia, you will be carefully monitored at all times. While you are under our care, we want to make sure your treatment is safe, painless, and free from anxiety. And to make your experience go as smoothly as possible, there are some recommendations you can follow even before you arrive at the office.

  • Communication

Part of our job is to let you know all about your general anesthesia beforehand. If you have any questions or concerns, please voice them. And communication is a two-way street! If you have any medical conditions, or are taking any medications, or have a cold or the flu, please let us know in advance.

  • Diet Restrictions

Talk to us before your surgery to learn about any diet restrictions you should observe before general anesthesia. You will need to abstain from food and drink for a set number of hours before the procedure, so we’ll give you directions based on whether your surgery is scheduled for morning or afternoon.

  • Dress for Success

Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Make sure your sleeves are short or easily rolled up above your elbow if you’ll need an IV line or blood pressure monitoring. Leave your make-up, jewelry, and contact lenses at home.

  • Go Along for the Ride

Ask a friend or a family member for a ride home after surgery. We want you to travel safely, and, even if you think you are good to go, your thinking and decision making, your reflexes, and even your memory can be impaired for up to 48 hours after general anesthesia. If you have arranged for a cab or a ride share, don’t call for your ride until our office gives you the all clear.

  • Plan Ahead!

For the very same reasons you shouldn’t drive for several hours after general anesthesia, there are some normal everyday activities you should postpone as well. You shouldn’t operate machinery. Cooking can wait. Arrange for help with childcare if you have young children. The effects of general anesthesia will wear off over the course of a day or two—ask us for a timeline for returning to your normal activities.

We’re experts in providing you with a safe and comfortable anesthesia experience when you have periodontal surgery. And part of that expertise is letting you know the specifics about preparing for your general anesthesia. If you have any questions for how to get ready for the hours both before and after your surgery, give us a call!

Is Jawbone Loss Normal As We Age?

July 21st, 2021

Some bone changes are a normal part of aging. Bone density starts decreasing around the age of 30, hormonal changes affect bone strength as we grow older, and the mineral content of our bones can change over time. Even as we live longer, healthier lives, some changes in our bones are often a normal part of the aging process.

But note we said “often,” not always! Decades ago, a sunken jaw, thinner lips, sagging facial muscles, and an altered profile were considered just another normal consequence of aging. This “collapsed” look was caused by bone loss in the jaws, especially the mandible, or lower jaw.

Today we know that maintaining size and density in our jawbones is important not only for our appearance, but for better oral health. Even better, we know several easy practices to keep those bones their healthiest. And, should your jawbone be affected by bone loss, Dr. Dalessandro can offer many options to restore both function and appearance.

  • Take Care of Your Teeth

Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using fluoride toothpaste, seeing your dentist for regular exams and cleanings—when you follow recommended dental hygiene practices, you are doing more than simply preventing cavities; you are making sure you keep your teeth for a lifetime. And, because tooth loss inevitably leads to bone loss over time, you are protecting your bones as well.

The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, bone area under a missing tooth gradually shrinks. The bone tissue is resorbed into the body, which, in a relatively short amount of time, can lead to a noticeable sunken spot where the tooth used to be. A dental implant will provide the tissue stimulation that a natural tooth would, and will prevent future bone loss in the jaw. And even if bone tissue has already been lost, Dr. Dalessandro can recommend surgical bone grafting to achieve the right bone area and density to hold an implant.

  • Don’t Neglect Your Gum Health

One of the most common causes of bone loss in the jaw is periodontal disease. For older patients, gingivitis, left untreated, can eventually lead to periodontitis (severe gum disease). This condition leads to the formation of pockets between your gums and teeth that become home to bacteria and infection. This infection can cause deterioration in the bone structure supporting the teeth.

Making sure you schedule regular dental exams will allow Dr. Dalessandro to treat any signs of periodontitis when they are first detected. If you have any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to treat the cause of these symptoms as soon as possible to protect your gums, teeth, and the jawbone beneath them.

Gingivitis can be reversible with proper care. Deep cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing, topical and oral antibiotics, and oral surgeries such as flap surgery or bone and tissue grafting can help reverse the effects of periodontitis. Bone loss cannot be reversed, but a graft can replace lost bone and allow healthy tissue to regenerate.

  • Consider implant-supported dentures

If you have suffered major tooth loss that requires a full or partial denture, consider appliances that are supported by implants. Remember, the loss of a single tooth causes resorption of the bone beneath it. If you are missing several or all of your teeth, your jawbone will shrink over that entire expanse of the alveolar ridge, the part of the jawbone which holds your teeth in their sockets.

Because dentures provide no stimulation to the underlying bone, normal bone resorption takes place. To add to the problem, the pressure of the denture on the ridge causes the bone to wear away further. As the bone continues to deteriorate, you will notice that the dentures no longer fit as well as they once did. For this reason, dentures often need to be replaced after a few years.

Implants, on the other hand, provide the same kind of pressure and stimulation to the jawbone that natural teeth do. The denture is securely attached to the implant, and doesn’t put harmful pressure on the bone below. Besides their natural appearance and secure fit, preventing further bone loss is a wonderful additional benefit of choosing dental implants to anchor full or partial dentures.

  • Don’t Ignore Bone Loss

Thanks to modern medicine, we can combat even normal bone aging with diet, exercise, and medication. Thanks to modern dental medicine, we know that a shrinking jawbone is not an inevitable part of the aging process.

If you have lost a tooth or teeth, or if you have suffered an abscess or serious gum disease, you might be at risk for bone loss. Beyond making us look older, a shrinking jaw can affect speech, eating, and the alignment of our remaining teeth.

You can do a lot to keep your teeth and gums healthy, which will keep your jawbone—and your profile— healthy as well. But if you have suffered lost teeth or bone loss, contact our Hoffman Estates, IL office. As periodontists, we have the knowledge, skill, and experience to help counteract the effects of tooth and bone loss, leading to a lifetime filled with healthy and beautiful smiles.

Five Easy Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

July 14th, 2021

Gum disease can be painful and lead to missing teeth if you don’t treat it properly. However, there are plenty of things you can do to lower your risk of getting gingivitis and periodontitis. Here are five easy ways to prevent gum disease.

1. Brush your teeth.

Basic oral hygiene is the first line of defense against gum disease. The reason is due to the way gum disease progresses. There are bacteria in your mouth that produce a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque can build up and form tartar. Together, plaque and tartar lead to the painful symptoms of gum disease. You can remove plaque from your teeth with regular careful brushing, but you can’t remove the tartar with your regular toothbrush. So, it’s best to brush at least twice a day, or after each meal, to continuously remove plaque from your teeth. Also floss your teeth and use mouthwash to prevent the bacteria in your mouth from having anything to eat.

2. Stop smoking.

Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease. Your risk of getting gum disease if you’re not a smoker is one-seventh the risk of someone who does use tobacco. It’s also worth quitting smoking even once you do get gum disease, since treatment is less effective when you’re using tobacco.

3. Eat right.

Gingivitis is a bacterial infection, and a strong immune system helps fight it. Many nutrients are essential for a well-functioning immune system. For example, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and strawberries, for their vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Vitamin E, which is another antioxidant, is in nuts, plant-based oils, and wheat germ.

4. Visit our Hoffman Estates, IL office regularly.

You might not be able to detect that you have gum disease, even if you watch for symptoms. Dr. Dalessandro can detect signs of gum disease before you do.

5. Catch it early.

Since only we can remove tartar once it forms, keep watching for signs of gum disease. They include sensitivity while brushing your teeth or when eating hot, cold, or sugary foods, painful or bleeding gums, and loose teeth. You might also notice that you have bad breath for no reason. Make an appointment with at our Hoffman Estates, IL office if you think you may have gum disease.

Medication Can Lead To Xerostomia in Women

July 7th, 2021

Xerostomia, otherwise known as dry mouth, can be a side effect of many common medications. Drugs used for blood pressure, birth control, antidepressants, or cancer treatments may cause the dry mouth problems you’re experiencing. When you have dry mouth, you’re more likely to experience tooth decay and an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. Medication can sometimes be the cause of dry mouth in women, and lead to an increased amount of cavities.

You may not develop a cavity for years, but suddenly find more than one when you’re on medication for several months. This is due to there being less saliva in your mouth, which normally prevents bacteria from flourishing. When there is a lack of saliva flow, your mouth will be more likely to host tooth decay and be more prone to gum disease.

You may not notice it, but birth control can lead to inflammation of the gums and bleeding because of dry mouth. The condition can also emerge if you’ve undergone cancer treatments such as radiation, because your saliva glands may be damaged in the process.

Boosting saliva production is critical for treating xerostomia. Many over-the-counter saliva products are designed to help manage dry mouth. For women with severe cases of dry mouth and decay, we may recommend in-home fluoride treatments that offer extra enamel protection. This can come in the form of fluoride trays, prescription toothpaste, or a special fluoride rinse.

Other ways to relieve dry mouth include chewing sugar-free gum, limiting caffeine intake, avoiding mouthwashes that contain alcohol, sipping water regularly, using a humidifier at night, and stopping all tobacco use.

If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of dry mouth, contact our Hoffman Estates, IL office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dalessandro. It’s wise to take medications that have been prescribed by your doctor, but it’s also smart to watch for any side effects. If you think a medication is causing you to have dry mouth, let’s figure out how to manage your symptoms as a team!

Back to Top