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Be Good to Your Gums

June 5th, 2019

You brush and floss thoroughly twice a day. You have regular checkups. Everything seems fine on the periodontal radar. Sometimes, however, even healthy gums can become sensitive and irritated. Is it something you did? Maybe! Here are some common causes of gum irritation and sensitivity that you might not be aware of.

  • Brushing Bravado

One of the most important tools for gum health is one we use at least twice a day—the simple toothbrush. Two minutes at night and two in the morning reduce the bacteria and plaque that lead to serious gum disease, known as periodontitis. And while preventing tooth decay and gum disease are the primary goals of brushing, let’s also protect delicate gum tissue from injuries and irritation caused by too-forceful brushing.

Try using a brush with soft bristles and brushing with short strokes and gentle pressure, especially if you know you have a tendency to be a bit heavy-handed. Massaging rather than scrubbing will clean teeth and gums just fine.

  • Fierce Flossing

Just because we can use dental floss to slice cakes or cookie dough logs doesn’t mean we should apply the same pressure to our gums! While a firm sawing motion seems like the obvious way to clean between teeth and gums, you can actually cause irritation and bleeding that way.

Insert the floss between your teeth carefully, bring it to the gumline, and move the floss with gentle pressure up and down and around the tooth surface. This technique will make sure that you remove food particles and plaque from beneath the gumline without causing your gums any trauma. Ask us about the best flossing techniques—we know them all.

  • Appliance Aches

You know how helpful your braces/retainers/mouth guards/dentures are. You just wish that your helpful appliance was a little less irritating to sensitive gum tissue.

This is a problem that often disappears as you get used to your new appliance. But if pain or irritation persists or gets worse, give us a call. We want to make sure your appliance fits properly, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your comfort.

  • Peroxide Problems

Most home whitening kits use peroxide-based gels or treated strips to remove surface stains from the teeth. Those same bleaching agents that make enamel whiter can also cause gum sensitivity and irritation. If you use whitening strips or gel trays, be careful to keep the peroxide solution away from gum tissue. But because these systems are one-size-fits-all, that is often easier said than done.

If you have sensitive gums, one solution is a professional office whitening. We’ll check on your gum (and tooth) health first, and monitor and protect your gums throughout the procedure. If you still want to whiten at home, we can create custom trays for you that will provide more complete exposure to the whitening solution for your teeth, and less exposure for your gums, than over-the-counter products.

  • Still Smoking?

Studies have shown a strong link between gum health and smoking and other forms of tobacco use. Smokers are much more likely to suffer from gum disease than non-smokers, and those who have smoked for a long time, or who smoke heavily, have an even higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Some studies suggest that smokers don’t respond as well to treatment as non-smokers.  Unfortunately, it appears that smoking and tobacco use help mask the obvious symptoms of gum disease (redness and bleeding), which could lead smokers to delay getting treatment. If you smoke, talk to us about ways to quit.

We talk a lot about periodontal health because it is so important. Periodontitis can lead to infection, loss of bone around the tooth, and even eventual tooth loss. If you are suffering from any of the signs of gum disease—swelling, redness, bleeding, pain—give our Hoffman Estates, IL office a call. Whether it’s as simple as making a few lifestyle changes, or a problem requiring professional dental treatment, being proactive with your dental care is more than good for your gums—it’s good for your health!

Dental Anxiety: Nitrous Oxide

May 29th, 2019

Dental anxiety is a very common experience: people postpone checkups, live with tooth pain, or suffer anxiety all through each appointment. Knowing that you share this problem with many others might be comforting, but it isn’t very helpful. If you suffer from mild to moderate anxiety, talk to Dr. Dalessandro! Nitrous oxide sedation might be the answer.

  • What is nitrous oxide?

Often referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide has been used since the 1800’s in dental procedures. Today, it is a safe and common form of inhalation sedation, and we are trained in its uses and administration. Our equipment is designed to provide a precise mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen gases inhaled through a face mask that you will wear throughout the procedure. Just breathe normally, and you will feel calmer within minutes.

  • Relaxed and Aware

Nitrous oxide provides the lightest form of dental sedation. This type of anesthesia is called “conscious sedation” because you will remain awake, relaxed, and able to respond to instructions. We can control the timing of the sedation easily, as it takes effect right away and leaves your system quickly when you stop inhaling the gas. We can also control the level of sedation as needed, so it will not wear off during longer procedures.

  • Convenient Recovery Time

One of the biggest advantages of choosing nitrous oxide sedation is its remarkably quick recovery time. With pills or IV sedation, you might need several hours before and after the procedure both to allow these sedatives to take effect and for recovery time when you’re done. You should also have someone available to drive you to and from the appointment. Nitrous oxide, on the other hand, is used only at the time of the procedure and begins leaving your system as soon as you finish inhaling it. You will be able to resume your normal activities almost immediately.

We believe your dental experience should be as relaxing and stress-free as possible. Talk to us about the types of dental sedation available at our Hoffman Estates, IL office, and we will work with you to decide on the best possible option. If you have mild to moderate levels of anxiety, wish to remain awake and relaxed throughout your visit, and want a brief recovery time from sedation, nitrous oxide could be the ideal sedation choice for you.

Restoring Your Smile and Dental Health with Bone Grafting

March 5th, 2019

Injuries to our teeth and gums can have harmful effects on the bone tissue and structures that support them. In turn, this damage can impact both the appearance and the health of our smiles. One of the ways we can protect our dental health and restore our smiles is with a technique called bone grafting, available at our Hoffman Estates, IL office.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a type of periodontal surgery. Bone tissue for grafting may be taken from your own body, or a graft material composed of donor tissue or synthetic substitutes can be used. This kind of graft will be absorbed gradually by the body as your own new, healthy bone tissue replaces it.

If you decide a bone graft is your best option, we will discuss the options for grafting with you beforehand, and use imaging to map out the area of bone loss and to create the best individual treatment plan for you. After anesthesia, an incision will be made in the gum tissue to reveal the damaged bone. Grafting material will be shaped and secured to the affected area, and sutures are generally used to close the incision. We will give you careful instructions for after care and follow-up visits. The time it takes for you to heal completely will depend on the type and size of the graft.

Why Consider a Bone Graft?

The bone structure that supports our teeth can be compromised in a number of ways. Dr. Dalessandro might recommend a bone graft as your best option for treating many conditions which have both medical and cosmetic impacts.

  • Tooth Loss Can Cause Bone Loss

The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, the bone area under the 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. But if too much bone tissue has already been lost, you might need surgical bone grafting to achieve the right bone area and density to hold an implant.

  • Gum Disease

As gum disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth, leaving the bone and connective tissue exposed to infection and bacteria. Infection and the body’s own response to bacteria can cause deterioration in the bone structure supporting the teeth, leading to loose teeth, a change in your normal bite, or even tooth loss. Bone loss cannot be reversed, but a graft can replace lost bone and allow healthy tissue to regenerate.

  • Other Uses

Bone grafting can also be used to correct deformities in the jawbone, as part of nerve repositioning, to restore bone after trauma or long-term denture wear, and for other restorative and cosmetic uses.

Dr. Dalessandro will recommend bone graft surgery when it will provide the best possible outcome for your individual needs. Because this is surgery, we are here to answer any questions you might have about the process and how we can provide the most skillful, gentlest, and least invasive treatment available. Above all, we want not only to protect your smile now, but to restore the strength and function of the bones which make it possible—for a lifetime of future smiles.

Improve Your Smile with Periodontal Cosmetic Enhancements

February 26th, 2019

When we think about improving our smile, we generally focus on our teeth. Are they straight enough? White enough? Your orthodontist and dentist can provide suggestions for these issues if they concern you. But there is another essential part of our smiles which should not be neglected: our gums.

You might know that periodontal dentistry is your best option for treating gum disease. We are also trained and skilled in cosmetic procedures which can make a remarkable difference in your smile and even improve your periodontal health.

  • Crown Lengthening & Gum Contouring

People sometimes worry that their teeth are too short, or their smiles are too “gummy.” Problems like this can actually be caused by too much gum tissue. We can carefully remove or reshape excess gum tissue, and bone tissue if needed, to reveal more of your teeth. This process is known as “crown lengthening.” We then contour the remaining gum tissue for an attractive gumline that works together with your teeth and lips for a beautifully proportioned smile.

  • Gum Grafts

On the other hand, sometimes recessive gums can lead to too much of the tooth being exposed. A gum graft, where graft tissue is carefully positioned to restore the receding gum, can both improve the appearance of a smile and protect the exposed root area from damage or decay.

  • Bone Grafts

When you lose a tooth, it is important to decide on a treatment plan early. The longer a tooth is missing, the more likely that the bone and tissue beneath it will start to recede. Without the necessary bone density and area, an implant cannot be performed. If gum disease has caused bone loss, it can endanger the health of the teeth nearby.  If you have lost bone due to a missing tooth, infection, trauma or gum disease, talk to us about bone grafting, to restore your bone now and prevent future bone loss.

  • Dental Implants

Dental implants make your smile complete again, which is certainly an aesthetic improvement, but is also important for the health of your remaining teeth and jaw. We are trained not only to place the implant in the jaw, but to analyze bone health first for the most successful implant outcome.

You are already on your way to your best possible smile. And just as you’re committed to working with your regular dentist for checkups and cleaning, and working with your orthodontist if you see the need for alignment and bite improvements, there are some cosmetic areas where a periodontist is uniquely qualified to help. If you are concerned about the appearance or health of your gums and the bones beneath them, call our Hoffman Estates, IL office! Dr. Dalessandro can answer any questions you may have and provide suggestions for making sure your gums and the supporting structures around your teeth are not only their healthiest, but a beautiful addition to your best, most confident smile.

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