Everything You Need to Know About Highland Park’s The Smile Group

What should I do if I have bad breath?

Bad breath is not only embarrassing; it can indicate that something isn’t right. Bad breath in the morning, while dieting, or accompanying a cold is quite normal and can be addressed with proper oral hygiene, brushing or scraping your tongue, mouth rinses, and Xylitol chewing gum. If your bad breath persists throughout the day or is chronic, it could be caused by a gum or tooth infection, or an improperly fitted oral appliance, and should be addressed as soon as possible. Chronic bad breath could also indicate health conditions such as liver conditions, Diabetes, or chronic sinus infections, so if we don’t find an oral infection and your bad breath persists, please talk to your doctor.

How often should I brush and floss?

Your at-home oral care routine is one of the most important factors in keeping your mouth – and the rest of you – healthy because it helps control oral bacteria every day. Proper brushing and flossing disrupts the biofilm of plaque, preventing it from turning into tartar, also known as calculus. If tartar does build up, the bacteria can cause periodontal disease and begin to destroy both the gums and the bone. Brush at least twice a day for two full minutes, especially before bedtime. Flossing before you brush can be helpful because it clears the bacteria from between your teeth, which can then be swept away with the toothbrush.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

While the ADA has declared that amalgam fillings are indeed safe, we do not place them in our patients’ mouths. Not only do amalgam fillings contain Mercury, they are unattractive and can weaken teeth.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

We recommend that all patients be seen at least twice a year, but depending on your oral and overall health and the conditions of your gums, we may recommend more frequent visits.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

Gum disease is often painless in the early stage, so many patients are unaware that they have it. Regular checkups and screenings are crucial for that very reason. We can detect the early signs of periodontal disease and stop it before it begins to affect your health. If you have any bleeding when you brush and floss or are experiencing chronic bad breath, please call us right away to schedule a periodontal check-up.

Why is it important to use dental floss?

The bacteria that causes gum disease doesn’t only inhabit the front of your teeth – they like to coat the surfaces between your teeth as well. These surfaces can usually not be reached by your toothbrush. Daily flossing disrupts the colonies of bacteria, cleans away food particles that may be stuck, and helps you keep your breath fresh and healthy.

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?

A cosmetic dentist can transform almost any smile. Even stained, crooked, gapped, or broken teeth can easily be repaired using a variety materials and techniques. Sometimes a simple teeth whitening can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of a smile. Other times we may use a combination of cosmetic dental procedures such as dental implants to replace missing teeth; orthodontics to straighten teeth and close gaps; add porcelain veneers to perfect, strengthen and restore. If you have concerns about the appearance of your smile, talk to us about your cosmetic dentistry options today.

What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are thin, ceramic shells created to perfectly mimic healthy, beautiful tooth structure. They are bonded to the front of your teeth to lengthen and strengthen, while camouflaging anything from gaps and intrinsic stains, to poorly shaped or chipped teeth. In addition, because they are custom designed for you, they will fit your smile and your personality perfectly.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Most stains can be easily lifted with your choice of in-office Kör Whitening or LUMIbright take-home whitening. In office whitening usually takes about an hour and can whiten your smile seven to nine shades. The difference is instant and quite dramatic. Take home whitening takes longer – you can expect to see results in one to two weeks. If your stains are of the type that cannot be treated through teeth whitening, porcelain veneers are an excellent choice to whiten and perfect your teeth.

What are my options if I have missing teeth?

We have a full range of tooth replacement options from fixed and removable bridges and full or partial dentures, to our outstanding cosmetic dentures, dental implants and implant-retained dentures. Implants are the best way to replace teeth, since they also stop bone loss and allow patients to enjoy the freedom that natural teeth provide.

What can be done about old, unattractive, or discolored fillings?

We can easily replace any unattractive, defective, or failing filling with an attractive, new composite filling or a porcelain inlay, onlay, or crown, depending on the size of the original restoration or the damage we discover underneath. Talk to us about how updating your old fillings can enhance both your appearance and your health.

When are sealants recommended?

Although sealants are most often recommended for children, almost anyone can benefit from the application of dental sealants, especially patients with deeper grooves or fissures in their molars. These grooves can be difficult to clean, even with the most diligent brushing, especially for children under six. Sealants are simply a thin plastic coating that covers these grooves making tooth cleaning easier and protecting them from bacterial build-up. We recommend that sealants be applied as soon as the adult teeth erupt, but occasionally we do recommend sealants for baby teeth, depending on the situation.

What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?

Call us as soon as the tooth is knocked out. It is important that you get to us as quickly as possible – no more than 30 minutes is best. Do NOT wash or scrub the tooth. If the tooth is very dirty, rinse it in milk or with your own saliva. Handle the tooth as little as possible and only touch the portions of the tooth that would normally be exposed in your mouth. If possible, place the tooth back in its socket. If that is not feasible, put the tooth in a cup of milk or under the tongue for transportation. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the higher the possibility that it will survive.

When should I bring my child for his/her first dental exam and cleaning?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first visit at the age of one year. Most children will have all of their baby teeth by age two, so we would like to see them no later than that. Early visits help ensure your child’s comfort at the dentist and set the stage for a lifetime of oral health.

How early can we consider orthodontic treatment for children?

Children can have a range of orthodontic problems. Some are related to teeth, and others are related to jaw size and overall growth and development. We expect to see some “key” permanent teeth in your child’s mouth by age 7. These teeth will help us determine if early treatment is indicated. Generally, jaw problems are treated as early as possible.

How should I take care of my dental implants?

One of the greatest benefits of dental implants is that they can be cared for much like natural teeth. You can brush and floss your dental implant just as you do the rest of your teeth – no soaking or special cleansers needed. Just be sure to keep up with your regularly scheduled hygiene visits and exams, so we can be sure the implant is healthy and secure.