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

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Posts for: April, 2013

By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
April 27, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
FiveWaystoMakeSureYourDentalImplantsSucceed

Modern dental implants, sometimes called “your third set of teeth,” have revolutionized the practice of dentistry. As permanent replacements for missing teeth, dental implants are highly successful.

A dental implant is composed of two parts. The implant actually replaces the tooth root (like the root of your original tooth). It is usually made of commercially pure titanium, which has the capacity to fuse with the bone of your jaw. This fusion is called osseo-integration, meaning “becoming part of the bone.” When this happens, living bone cells actually fuse with the surface layer of the titanium implant, which stabilizes the bone as well. A crown (the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line) is attached to the implant and can be made of ceramic material that exactly matches the appearance of your natural teeth.

Studies have shown that the success rate of dental implants is greater than 95%. Here's what we need to know to make sure dental implants succeed:

  • We need to know about your general health. Do you smoke? What medications are you taking? Do you have osteoporosis or a compromised immune (resistance) system?
  • We will also perform a detailed assessment of the health of your teeth, gums, and jaws to ensure you are a candidate for dental implants.
  • Do you have sufficient bone to anchor the implants? Is the bone quality adequate? Tooth-supporting bone tends to melt away or resorb when a tooth is lost, so it is important to ensure that it is maintained when a tooth is lost or extracted. We can perform bone grafting to minimize resorption and build up bone tissue if necessary. We will consider the quality and quantity of your bone as part of your assessment.
  • After the implants have been placed, good dental habits are important. As with your natural teeth, carefully cleaning your new implant crowns and their surrounding gums every day is a necessity.
  • Continue to visit us on a regular basis. Regular checkups and maintenance can avoid breakdown of the surrounding bone and gum tissues.
  • If you grind your teeth, we can provide you with a night guard to help to protect your implants from wear and undue stress, which can affect the integration with the bone.

Implants are an excellent choice to replace missing teeth. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Success Rate” and “Dental Implants: Your Third Set of Teeth.”


By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
April 20, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
FiveFactsAboutPalatalExpanders

Have you heard of palatal expanders? If your child needs orthodontic work, then you ought to hear about them! These small appliances offer plenty of advantages to kids whose smiles, due to a variety of problems, may need some help. Here are five things you should know:

1. Palatal expanders are small orthodontic appliances that fit inside the mouth.

Custom-fabricated for each child, these devices are placed near the roof of the mouth, in between the two rows of upper teeth. They consist of two small metal brackets with a tensioning system that can be adjusted by a tiny key. Not everyone needs one, but they can really benefit kids with certain orthodontic conditions.

2. Palatal expanders take advantage of a child's natural growth processes.

That's part of the reason they work so well. Since the bones of a child's upper jaw don't fuse together until sometime after puberty, it's relatively easy to move them apart before that time. The palatal expander applies gentle pressure to gradually move the left and right halves of the upper jaw apart, over a period of a few months. Then it's left on several weeks longer, allowing new bone to fill in and stabilize the expansion.

3. Palatal expanders are helpful in treating a variety of orthodontic problems.

Crowding — that is, not having enough space in the jaw to accommodate all of the teeth — is one major issue. A related issue is impacted teeth: These are teeth that are blocked from coming in (erupting) by other teeth or jaw structures. A third issue is crossbite: That's when the back top teeth come down to bite inside, rather than outside, the bottom teeth. Gaining additional space in the upper jaw can help relieve all of these problems.

4. Palatal expanders can eliminate the need for tooth extraction.

Once upon a time, extraction was the only way to solve these problems. However it's an invasive (and potentially complex) procedure. A palatal expander can often provide the same — or better — results, via a noninvasive method.

5. Palatal expanders typically shorten overall orthodontic treatment time.

They're generally worn for a total of three to six months, but they can considerably shorten a child's overall orthodontic treatment time. Plus, they're invisible — a big plus to image-conscious teens. Could they benefit your child?

If you have questions about palatal expanders, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Palatal Expanders” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”


By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
April 12, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   retainers  
TheTop5ThingstoKnowAboutOrthodonticRetainers

Whether they come as removable devices or wires permanently attached behind the front teeth, orthodontic retainers have a crucial job to do in your mouth. Here's the skinny on what you ought to know about them.

1) Retainers keep your new smile looking the way it should.

After having braces to move your teeth into the desired position, a retainer is needed to keep them from moving right back where they were! In time, the periodontal (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) structures, which are constantly renewing themselves, will adapt to their new positions, and the teeth will stabilize.

2) There are different types of retainers.

Once upon a time, retainers were made of pink plastic and bent wire, and were removable. They're still available — but a common alternative today is to have clear retainers that fit onto your teeth covering them entirely or to have thin wires bonded to the inside of the front teeth They don't show, and you don't have to worry about putting them in and taking them out. If you prefer, ask us whether this type of retainer would work for you.

3) It takes several months for your teeth to become stable in a new arrangement.

Teeth must be held in position long enough for the bone and ligament that attaches them to the jaw to re-form and mature around them. A retainer helps avoid trauma as the teeth and associated structures are adjusting to relocation, allowing the process to end slowly and gently.

4) Even when they're stable, your teeth are always in a “dynamic” state.

There is some “memory” inherent in bone and gum tissue, which tends to cause teeth to shift back to their former positions for a long period of time after treatment. But teeth aren't held in place just by bone and ligament — a balance between the forces of the lips, cheeks and tongue also helps them stay put. This balance changes over a period of time.

5) The movement of teeth is unique to each person, and is not predictable.

Contrary to what orthodontists used to believe, there is no “right” position for the teeth that assures they will stay in place permanently. In time, the position of the teeth may change due to a slow “uprighting” movement of the front teeth in the lower jaw, which causes them to crowd as they move toward the tongue. Other factors may also cause a gradual movement of the teeth. But remember to always follow our recommendations; they will help keep your smile looking its best.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”


By Signature Smiles Dental Care, Ltd
April 05, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal   endodontics  
RootCanalsTheTop5ThingsYouShouldKnow

Everyone's heard the jokes about root canals. Now, let's go beyond the myths and get to the “root” of the matter. Here are a few things everyone should know about this relatively painless and beneficial procedure.

1) If you experience discomfort after eating hot or cold foods, sharp pain when biting down, swelling of the gum tissue, or acute tooth pain, you may need root canal treatment.

All of the above are symptoms of disease in the pulp tissue, which lies deep within the roots of teeth, inside tiny canals that go from one end of the root to the other. Pulp tissue can become infected or inflamed for a variety of reasons, such as trauma or deep tooth decay, causing pain and leading to further complications.

2) Diseased pulp tissue in the root canal must be removed to prevent more problems.

The acute pain may go away — but without treatment, the infection in the pulp tissue won't. It will eventually travel through the ends of the tooth's roots and into surrounding areas. This can lead to dental abscesses, and may even cause systemic problems and diseases in other parts of the body.

3) Root canal treatment is effective.

Removing the diseased pulp tissue removes the infection. Pulp tissue itself is a remnant of tooth development which the tooth no longer needs. After the tissue is removed, the root canal is filled with a biocompatible material, and then it is sealed. A crown or other restoration is usually done after root canal treatment to restore the tooth to its full function.

4) Root canal treatment is generally pain-free.

Just like having an ordinary filling, the process begins with an anesthetic administered to numb the tooth and the nearby area. A tiny hole in the tooth's biting surface provides access to the canal, and minute instruments are used for the procedure. Afterwards, over-the-counter pain relievers are typically all that's needed to relieve the sensitivity that may persist for a day or two following the treatment.

5) A properly done root canal preserves your natural teeth.

A tooth that has had appropriate root canal treatment and restoration can last just as long as a natural tooth. That's important, because the other option — removal of the tooth — can lead to issues like unwanted tooth movement and bite problems. Saving your natural teeth should be the first priority in proper dental care.

If you would like more information about root canals, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment” and “Signs and Symptoms of a Future Root Canal.”