Our Blog

What’s the deal with bottled water?

January 19th, 2022

As more people turn to bottled water and away from the tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride! Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. Our friends at the American Dental Association have endorsed both community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products as a safe means of preventing tooth decay.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also warned that “bottled water may not have a sufficient amount of fluoride, which is important for preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health.” If you are avoiding fluoridated tap water in favor of ever-more-popular bottled water, you could be missing out on the levels of fluoride necessary to make a difference in your oral health. One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65 percent of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained.

If bottled water happens to be your or your children’s beverage of choice, check the label to make sure your brand contains fluoride. Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake.

Questions about fluoride? Give us a call at our convenient Hoffman Estates, IL office! We look forward to hearing from you!

In the Pink

January 12th, 2022

Our gums cover and protect the sensitive roots of our teeth and the bone around them. While we often think of gum tissue as a rosy shade of pink, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Just as skin tones vary, gum color can vary from person to person.

Healthy gums can range from light pink to darker pink to hues of brown or black. Because your gums are a good indicator of your oral health, what’s important isn’t your normal gum color, it’s noticing any changes in your normal gum color. These changes could be symptomatic of several different dental and medical conditions.

Pale Gums

  • Anemia

If the overall appearance of your gums is paler than usual, anemia is a prime suspect. Anemia is a common condition caused by a low red blood cell count. Hemoglobin in red blood cells delivers the oxygen our tissues need to function properly, and without enough, we suffer symptoms like fatigue, weakness, pallor, faintness, and rapid heartbeat.

Anemia can be caused by an underlying medical condition, or can develop because of other issues, such as iron or vitamin deficiencies, pregnancy, ulcers, certain medications, or heavy menstrual periods. If you have any of the symptoms of anemia, seeing your doctor for a blood test is a good idea.

  • Teeth Whitening

Occasionally, gums can also lighten up after a tooth whitening procedure. This is due to tissue irritation caused by the bleaching chemicals. Usually this condition is very temporary.

Ask Dr. Dalessandro for advice if you experience irritation after home treatments. Having your teeth whitened by a dental professional is one way to make sure your gums get the best protection possible during the process.

Red Gums

  • Inflammation

Red gums are a common symptom of gingivitis (early gum disease). Plaque and tartar irritate your gums, and gum tissue reacts to this irritation by becoming inflamed. Left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis (serious gum disease), which can destroy the bone around the tooth and lead to tooth loss.

If you notice signs of gingivitis—redness, swelling, bleeding, bad breath—talk to Dr. Dalessandro. Often, gingivitis is easily remedied in the early stages by better attention to dental hygiene. Brushing for two minutes at least twice each day and flossing at least once a day are a good base line for keeping gum disease at bay.

  • Infection

Redness can also be caused by infection. If you’re experiencing redness, pain, loose teeth, swelling, pus, or fever, it’s important to see Dr. Dalessandro as soon as possible in case you have an abscess or infected dental cyst. Without treatment, infection can seriously damage gum tissue, teeth, and underlying bone.

  • Over-Vigorous Brushing

Brushing too hard or using the wrong brush can cause gum irritation. Do your gums (and teeth!) a favor by using proper brushing technique—massage, don’t scrub—and always use a soft-bristled brush.

Spots of Discoloration

Sometimes you notice a patch of lighter or darker tissue that you haven’t seen before. A spot that is different from the gum tissue around it can be harmless or need further attention.

Contact our Hoffman Estates, IL office if you have any recent discoloration, sores, pain, lumps, or any differences in appearance or sensation in your mouth. There are several types of oral cancer and prompt diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent the spread of cancerous cells.

Why a periodontist?

If you’re concerned about the health of your gums, making an appointment at our Hoffman Estates, IL office is a great idea. The word “periodontal” comes from the Greek words for “around” and “tooth,” and a periodontist is a specialist in treating the structures surrounding the tooth, including the gums, the bone tissue holding the tooth, and the connective tissue between tooth and bone.  

Periodontists have several years of additional post-doctoral study after dental school focused on diagnosing and treating periodontal problems, including:

  • Diagnosing and treating gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Surgical care for periodontal disease, including gum grafting
  • Scaling and root planing, procedures which remove plaque and tartar from areas of the tooth above and below the gum line
  • Monitoring your gums when you have other health conditions that could affect them, such as diabetes and heart disease

You know your smile better than anyone. Any time you see a change in the usual appearance of your gums, it’s important to see Dr. Dalessandro. Treating gum problems before they become serious is one of the best ways to keep yourself—and your smile—in the pink of health!

Ridge Modification

January 5th, 2022

One of the most transformative advancements in dental restorations is the dental implant. Implants look just like natural teeth, they function just like natural teeth, and they help maintain jawbone health just like natural teeth. But the success of any implant procedure depends on the quality and quantity of the bone in which it’s placed. That’s why, before placing your implant, Dr. Dalessandro might first suggest a common procedure known as ridge modification.

An implant consists of a metal post which is surgically placed in the jawbone. This post serves as the “root” of the dental implant. After several months, the post fuses with the bone surrounding it, as bone tissue grows around and attaches to the post surface. This process is called osseointegration, and it creates a strong, secure anchor for the abutment and crown which will be secured to the post when it heals.

Because of the strong pressures which biting, chewing, and clenching put on our teeth, the success of an implant depends on the strength of its integration into the jawbone. To make osseointegration possible, the bone must be healthy, with adequate size and density to hold the implant securely.

Ridge modification, also called ridge augmentation, is periodontal surgery. In this procedure, we use bone grafting to rebuild bone strength in the alveolar ridge (the part of the jawbone containing the tooth sockets) before placing a post. When is this procedure necessary?

Jawbone size and density can be compromised in several different ways, including:

  • Resorption

When a tooth is missing, the bone ridge under the lost tooth gradually begins to shrink, a process called “resorption.” Over time, bone loss can lead to a noticeable indentation in the jawbone.

  • Periodontitis

Serious gum disease is progressive. Without treatment, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. This leaves bone and connective tissue exposed to destructive bacteria and infection, which can cause bone loss.

  • Trauma

Bone damage caused by accident or injury might require bone replacement or recontouring.

  • Bone structure and size

Sometimes the jaw ridge is too narrow or shallow to support an implant, especially in the back of the upper jaw near the sinus cavity, and will need added bone before an implant can be placed.   

Periodontists are specialists in bone grafting surgery, with years of advanced education and training in the treatment of the structures that support the teeth, including gums, connective tissues, and bone. Dr. Dalessandro will recommend bone graft surgery if the success of your implant would be in jeopardy without it.

What will your surgery involve?

  • Assessing bone quantity and quality

Using advanced imaging technology, we will evaluate your jaw’s condition, and map out any areas of bone loss.

  • Designing your treatment plan

If a bone graft is your best option, we will recommend the best grafting materials for your needs. Bone grafting might use bone tissue taken from your own body, processed bone grafting material, or synthetic grafting material to replace and repair the damaged bone. We will also discuss your anesthesia and sedation options.

  • Performing the Surgery

After anesthesia, an incision will be made in the gum tissue to reveal the damaged or missing bone. Grafting material will be shaped to restore the bone’s contours and secured to the affected area. The incision will then be closed. If you are here for an extraction, it may be possible to have augmentation done as part of the same procedure.

  • Providing follow-up care

You’ll receive detailed careful instructions for after care and follow-up visits at our Hoffman Estates, IL periodontal office. The time it takes for you to heal completely will depend on the size and type of your graft.

  • Placing your implant

Once the bone has healed, we can surgically place the post for a secure, long-lasting, and healthy implant.                   

If it’s been some time since you lost a tooth, if your jaw has been damaged by injury or trauma, if you have less-than-adequate bone size and density, it’s important to restore your bone before implant surgery can be successful. See us for an evaluation, and learn how a ridge modification procedure can help you improve your dental health and transform your smile.

Bells and Whistles for Your Bristles?

December 29th, 2021

Modern dentistry has made the most of today’s technological innovations. And we’ve come a long way from the fraying sticks our ancestors used as toothbrushes.

On the other hand, while it’s a lot better than a fraying stick, the manual toothbrush model you’ve used for years might be ready for an upgrade. Should you take this opportunity to try out some new technology offering all the bells and whistles? Let’s answer that question by asking a few more questions.

Happy with your manual brush?

If you like your manual toothbrush and it’s doing the job, by all means, stick with it. But even your old familiar brush can evolve:

  • There are lots of bristle options, but soft bristles are almost always the way to go. Medium and hard bristles can be too abrasive for your enamel.
  • Heads come in a variety of sizes, so make sure the head size is comfortable. You want to be able to maneuver to reach every tooth surface, which a too-large brush head just can’t do.
  • Try a different handle shape if you’re having trouble maneuvering and keeping a firm grip.
  • Change your brush regularly. Brushes are effective for about three months before the bristles start to fray and breakdown. This is a good opportunity to experiment with different brands and styles.

Does your old brush suit your current needs?

Different types of manual toothbrushes are available for effective and comfortable brushing when you need options that a typical brush doesn’t provide:

  • Special orthodontic toothbrushes are designed with bristles trimmed to fit around brackets and wires and smaller heads to reach into tight places.
  • For those with mobility issues, brushes with larger or easy-grip handles make cleaning more comfortable.
  • Brushes with extra-soft bristles are available if you have enamel erosion or sensitive gums.
  • Because many women find their gums become especially sensitive during pregnancy, there are brushes designed especially for moms-to-be.

Is it time to go electric?

If you haven’t tried an electric toothbrush before, you might find that getting braces is a great reason to give one a spin.

  • Electric toothbrushes can outperform manual models. A dedicated brusher might manage hundreds of brushstrokes for each minute of brushing, while an electric brush can provide thousands. If, despite your regular brushing, you have plaque build-up, an electric brush might be a good alternative to your manual brush.
  • Models are available which can alert you when you’re brushing too hard—which is important for your enamel if you’re a heavy-handed brusher.
  • If you tend to *think* you’ve brushed for the recommended two minutes, but have *actually* brushed 32 seconds, some electric brushes come with timers!
  • There are tapered electric orthodontic brush heads designed just for people with braces.
  • Electric brushes have bigger handles and can be easier to grip.

Is your current brush doing the job?

So, should you stick with the familiar toothbrush that’s worked for you all these years, or take this opportunity to try out some new technology that offers all the bells and whistles? The answer is clear: the right brush for you is the one that works!

If your regular checkups show that plaque is under control, you’re doing just fine with the brush in hand. If you or Dr. Dalessandro notice plaque buildup, it’s time to consider making some changes. Whether it’s a question of tools, techniques, or time spent brushing, your Hoffman Estates, IL dental team has the answers you need for state-of-the-art dental hygiene.

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