Signature Smiles Dental Care
1128 Lake Street Suite 1
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 386-6190

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Posts for: September, 2012

By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
September 26, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: orthodontics   braces  
HowAnEarlyOrthodonticEvaluationCanPreventaProblemfromDeveloping

We in dentistry, advise parents to have an orthodontic evaluation some time before your child is 7 years of age. At this time, some of your child's adult teeth have come in and some primary (baby) teeth remain. This is a good time to check for developing problems. Treatment that begins while your child's teeth are coming in is called “interceptive orthodontics.” It provides an opportunity to achieve the best results in orthodontic treatment.

Once this evaluation takes place, it may mean that orthodontic treatment may need to take place in two-stages. A first phase of orthodontic treatment may prevent, intercept or minimize future orthodontic treatment. The first stage may be a process of guiding the growth of the jawbones that support the teeth. This is called “growth modification.” Then when the adult teeth have erupted through the gums, it may be time to do the second and final stage.

If a second phase of treatment is necessary it will probably require braces. These are small metal brackets that are bonded to the teeth. Thin flexible wires are threaded through them, and the wires are designed to push or pull on the teeth to provide a small amount of pressure that makes the teeth slowly reposition themselves within the jawbone. A light and controlled force pulling on a tooth causes new bone and ligament (the fibers that hold teeth in place) to be formed. These are living tissues that are constantly changing and remodeling themselves.

If you wait until your child's permanent (adult) teeth have all come in to start this process, it will be too late to correct some types of orthodontic problems, such as some types of malocclusions (“mal” – bad, “occlusion” – bite). It's better to work together with your child's stages of growth and development in order to have an optimum correction, both in looks and function.

You may be wondering whether a two-stage treatment costs twice as much. In fact, it is likely to be less expensive than a late one-stage treatment would be. Sometimes, the first stage may correct an underlying problem and make further treatment unnecessary. If a second phase is needed, it is likely to be easier and less costly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about orthodontia for your child. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Preventative & Cost Saving Orthodontics.”


By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
September 18, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
WhatYouCanExpectWithTreatmentOfGumDisease

At some point in every person's life, they will experience bleeding gums or gingivitis, a mild inflammation of the gingiva (gums), which is the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. For example, when was the last time you were brushing or flossing your teeth and noticed that your gums were bleeding or that when you spit and rinsed there was some blood? When this occurs, it is a sign that you have gum disease, as healthy gum tissues do not bleed. And no, it is highly unlikely that your bleeding is from brushing too hard. You would have to use extreme force to make healthy gum tissues bleed. However, this is exactly how most people discount or ignore this warning sign.

If this sounds like you or another member of your family, here's what you can expect when you see us for treatment. Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, all of these treatment options may not be necessary.

Behavior change: We will collect a thorough medical history to obtain facts about your oral hygiene, eating and other personal habits such as alcohol and tobacco use to determine their impact on your periodontal disease. Proper brushing and flossing techniques are necessary for everyone, whether you have early or late stage gum disease; however, you must commit to a good daily oral health routine if you want to achieve success and thus keep you mouth and teeth healthy.

Calculus (tartar) removal: Cleaning is not just your responsibility. We'll clean and polish your teeth to remove calculus (tartar), the calcified deposits of bacterial products that become glued to the teeth and roots that you can’t remove. In fact, routine visits to see us for a thorough cleaning will help ensure that all the unhealthy calculus (tartar) is removed from your teeth.

Evaluation: Usually after three or four weeks, we will want to see you to evaluate your progress and to see the response of your gingival tissues to the treatment thus far. And depending on the severity of your gum disease, we may need another follow-up exam to decide the best maintenance and monitoring regimen necessary to keep your mouth healthy.

Occlusal or Bite Therapy: This treatment, if necessary, usually occurs once your gum tissues have been stabilized and the inflammation and infection have been controlled. It is during this phase that we will address loose teeth or teeth that have shifted or drifted in position.

Surgical Therapy: For more severe cases of gum disease, you may need periodontal plastic surgery to repair and regenerate gum and bone tissue and their attachment to the teeth. It may also be necessary to replace missing teeth with dental implants.

If you are ready to talk to us about the current state of your mouth (or the mouth of another member of your family), contact us today to schedule an appointment. The first step towards achieving optimal oral health could start with this simple call. Or, you can learn more by reading, “Understanding Gum Disease.”


By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
September 10, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  
QuestionsToAskBeforeGettingRootCanalTreatment

Hearing the news that you need a root canal often causes anxiety for most people given all the bad press this procedure has received (e.g., “I'd rather have a root canal than...”). However, the truth is that root canal treatment relieves pain; it doesn't cause it. And it is typically highly successful. The real pain occurs for most people when decay is left untreated or the nerve in a tooth under a very large filling becomes infected and dies.

For these reasons, we have put together the following list of questions you should consider asking prior to having a root canal or endodontic (“endo” – inside: “dontic” – tooth) treatment.

  • Am I a good candidate for root canal treatment?
  • Does it hurt to have a root canal?
  • What can I expect if I do not have a root canal treatment?
  • Are there any other treatment options for me given my situation? If so, what are they?
  • Do you do root canal treatment or should I see a specialist?
  • How long will the entire process take from my first appointment until my root canal treatment has healed?
  • Will the pain I am in immediately subside after a root canal or will it take some time?
  • Will I need or receive any type of sedation while having the treatment?
  • Are there any risks associated with root canal treatment? If so, what are they?
  • How long can I expect my natural tooth to last after root canal treatment?
  • What could happen to cause a root canal to require a second treatment?
  • How much will my root canal cost?
  • Will my insurance cover all or a portion of the cost?
  • Will the tooth be as strong after root canal treatment, or will it need a crown?
  • Will there be any special maintenance required on an ongoing basis after I have a root canal?

To learn more about root canals, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “I'd Rather Have A Root Canal.” Or if you feel you may need a root canal or other dental procedure, contact us today to schedule a consultation.