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Oak Lawn Orthodontist | Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do
If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

Orthodontist Palos Hills | Keep Kids’ Teeth Safe and Healthy This Winter

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Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Orthodontist in Palos Hills, IL

As a parent, you want to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy all year long. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are great ways to prevent tooth decay. What you may not realize is that the colder weather of the holiday season brings its own challenges to bear. Here are some ways to help protect your child’s oral health this winter.

Encourage Water

While you may think of summer as having dangers of dehydration, winter play holds similar risks for children. The air is drier during this season than in the spring or fall. Activities such as sledding and snowball fighting can lead to sweating out fluids. Have your child sip water throughout the day. This can keep them hydrated and prevent dry mouth, which can raise risk of tooth decay.

Mouth Guard

Whether your child enjoys skiing, sledding, skating, or snowball fights, winter brings increased risks of falls and injuries to both mouth and face. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), up to 40% of kids’ dental injuries occur during sports. Having your child wear a mouth guard during these activities can greatly reduce their risk of damaging teeth or gums.

Strong Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to keeping teeth healthy. If your child becomes ill with a cold or flu virus, continuing dental hygiene can help their immune system concentrate on getting well. If your child vomits, have them rinse their mouth with water right away to avoid leaving acids on their teeth. Discard and replace your child’s toothbrush once they are well to prevent re-infection.

Limit Sugar

Cold weather can lead to sniffles and coughs. Avoid bathing your child’s teeth in sugar from cough drops. Choose sugar-free options to soothe sore throats. Limit juice and cocoa that have high sugar content. Monitor your child’s candy intake through the holidays and ensure they brush after indulging.

Don’t Share

While sharing toys and books is a habit to encourage, sharing cups or silverware is not. Tooth decay, cold sores, and other oral ailments can be spread through saliva. Make sure each family member is using their own drink, spoon, and fork.

For more ways you can keep your child’s teeth safe through the winter season, contact our office.

Palos Hills, IL Orthodontist | Let’s Get This Straight

Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Braces create a beautiful, straight smile, but how do you maintain these results after treatment? Your final orthodontic results depend on your retainer. Retainers help maintain the position of straighten teeth, so be sure to follow up with us for additional treatment after your braces have been removed.  Read the information below to learn more about retainers and how to care for them at home.

Types of Retainers

There are a few different types of retainers that may be recommended to you:

  • Clear Retainers – A removable, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth.
  • Traditional Retainers – A removable appliance made of acrylic and a wire that sits on the front side of your teeth.
  • Bonded Retainer – A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily bonded to the lingual (tongue) side of the anterior teeth.

Other Ways Retainers Help

Besides maintaining straight teeth, retainers have many other advantages. Straighter teeth are easier to clean which decreases plaque buildup and reduces the chance of developing tooth decay. Special types of retainers may help improve breathing and snoring at night. Retainers can also adjust the placement of your child’s tongue, which helps with speech impediments during vocabulary development.

Caring for Retainers

Just like teeth, retainers should be brushed daily with toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush the entire area. Be extra careful around the wires so that they don’t bend out of place.

Your retainer is an important part of completing your orthodontic treatment, so take care of it and it will take care of you. Once your braces have been taken off, the retention phase begins. It is vitally important to follow through with retention in order to maintain your newly straight smile. Retainers may also help with additional problems like speech impediments or trouble breathing.

Call us to schedule an appointment today to see if retainers are the right fit for you or your child.

Palos Hills Orthodontist | The Perfect Bite

Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Oak Lawn orthodontistYou may have been referred to our office by your dentist because you were told your bite needed work. We see many patients referred to us who are sometimes surprised to hear their bite needs work, because they did not notice. Our doctor looks for a few key things when examining your bite.

The View You See

When you look in the mirror, you can see the front of your teeth. What we look for in our office is to see whether your teeth are too long. If you notice your top teeth are covering more than half of your bottom teeth, we call this a deep bite. We also check to see how your teeth are lining up in relation to your lip.

Looking Down

Imagine your mouth wide open. Our doctor will have you open wide to check your teeth’s alignment from the top looking down. An ideal bite will form an arch shape when viewed from above. This is also a good way for us to see if you have gaps between your teeth.

From the Side

It might be hard for you to see your mouth from the side, but it is another important view of your bite that we check in our office. From this view, we can see if your mouth structure needs to be adjusted from an overbite (where your top teeth stick out in front of the lower set) or an underbite (where your lower teeth stick out beyond the top).

Next Steps

Once we’ve evaluated your bite in our office, we can take the next steps in helping you achieve the results you desire. If you have gaps and spaces, we might consider treatment options such as braces  or aligners. To correct under or overbites, we might consider treatments such as expanders.

Your Bite Matters

It is important to have a good bite because misaligned teeth can lead to difficulties while eating and speaking. Extensive jaw discomfort and tooth decay are also other side-effects of having an improper bite. Your oral health is dependent on having a good bite. Our experienced team is ready to assist you with any questions you might have.

For more information on the perfect bite or to schedule an examination, contact our office.

Orthodontist Palos Hills | First Aid for Braces

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When wearing braces, most people may experience occasional minor discomfort. Left unaddressed, some of these issues could lead to larger problems. Most of these issues can be avoided or remedied through practicing proper oral care at home. However, if any of these problems are persistent, it might be time to make an appointment with our team.

Irritation and Soreness

When getting used to braces, a period of minor discomfort is to be expected. The new sensation of the metal on your lips, cheeks, and tongue can sometimes cause irritation or soreness. If you have any existing injuries or sores in your mouth, continual contact with your braces might exacerbate the issue and lead to increased discomfort and longer healing times.

If you’re experiencing discomfort due to your braces irritating your mouth, there are a couple steps you can take to quickly address it. First, be sure to drink plenty of water, as a dry mouth will only worsen the irritated areas. Second, be sure to exercise proper oral care to limit the chance of food or debris contributing to the irritation. Third wax can be used to cover any parts of your braces that are causing irritation. If the issue persists, schedule an examination with our office today to see how we can help.

Damaged Brackets or Wires

Though your braces are built to withstand daily wear and tear, there’s always a slight chance of damage occurring. The most common issues you might experience are a broken or loose wire or a bracket that has come off your tooth. While neither of these are particularly serious issues, you’ll want to schedule an appoint with us as soon as possible to have them corrected. Your braces can’t work properly if damaged.

Mouth Injuries with Braces

There is a risk of increased damage if you sustain a mouth injury while wearing braces. It is recommended that you wear a mouth guard when participating in any sort of physical activity to reduce the risk of damage to your lips. Using non-medicinal wax on the parts of your braces that are particularly irritating can also help protect against injury.

Many people go through their entire orthodontic treatment without encountering any major issues. However, being aware of the potential problems you might have can help you prepare for them. If you experience any pain or discomfort when wearing braces, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Invisalign in Palos Hills, IL | The Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

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The benefits of orthodontics are no longer just for children and teens. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18. There are many reasons why more adults are receiving orthodontic treatment to improve their overall lives.

Wide Variety of Options

Orthodontics have evolved beyond traditional braces. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, is an option that resembles a mouth guard without the use of metal or wires. Invisalign® offers faster treatment times with a better fit to move your teeth more precisely. Even traditional braces have changed. They are now designed much smaller and less noticeable than in the past.

Long-Term Oral Health

Crooked and overcrowded teeth can lead to significant complications. Without straight teeth, you have a higher chance of plaque building up between your teeth. This can lead to gingivitis and potentially worsen into gum disease. With orthodontics, you can also avoid tooth decay, gum and bone loss, irregular wear of the tooth enamel, and TMJ/TMD pain. Orthodontic treatment can improve your life beyond your smile.

Confidence in Your Smile

If you never had braces or your teeth have since shifted back, adult orthodontics can transform your smile. It is never too late to straighten your teeth. You will be able to smile in photos and talk to others without being self-conscious. Research has shown that a smile is one of the first things we notice about others when we meet someone new. Make the right impression with a straight, healthy, and beautiful smile.

There are benefits to receiving orthodontic care that more adults are now opting towards. Treatment can boost your confidence and promote oral health with virtually invisible options.

 Contact our team to schedule a consultation today.

10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465
(708) 761-4255

Palos Hills Orthodontist | Fruit Juice & Your Teeth: A Message From Your Dentist

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Orthodontist in 60465

Fruit Juice & Your Teeth: A Message From Your Dentist

Don’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines.

No Fruit Juice in First 12 Months

The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger.

A Good Source of Vitamins – And Sugar

Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100-mililiters.

Fruit Juice May Be Harming Your Teeth

Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP also advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay.

According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar.

Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar still leads to decay in adults as well. Our team suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks.

Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can help.

PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
10059 S. ROBERTS RD. SUITE 2A
PALOS HILLS, IL 60465

Palos Hills Orthodontist | Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Orthodontist in Palos Hills

What makes teeth sensitive?

Orthodontist in 60465If the idea of biting into an ice cream sandwich makes you cringe, you may be one of the millions of people who suffer from sensitive teeth. This is often caused by movement of fluid in the dentin – the soft inner tissue beneath the enamel of your tooth. This motion irritates the tooth nerve, creating a tingling sensation and sometimes pain.

Another common cause of tooth sensitivity occurs when the tiny tubes of fluid in the dentin become exposed. This can happen due to tooth wear, receding gums, or damage to the tooth. When this occurs, pain is triggered by eating or drinking foods that are hot or cold, sweet or acidic, and even through contact or exposure to air.

Whitening and orthodontic treatment may cause temporary teeth sensitivity. In most cases, this type will disappear within a week or two. In severe cases of sensitivity, the tooth nerve itself may be exposed, causing severe pain and irritation and requiring immediate treatment.

What can you do about sensitivity?

If you are suffering from sensitivity in your teeth, tell your hygienist or dentist at your next dental visit. They may need to screen for more serious underlying causes that could need treatment. They will also be able to recommend your best method of managing your discomfort.

Is sensitivity preventable?

Some forms of sensitivity are preventable. Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and do not brush aggressively. This can cause higher levels of wear that lead to sensitivity. If you participate in sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from trauma. Chipped and cracked teeth often become sensitive.

Once serious underlying issues have been ruled out, you can help to manage mildly sensitive teeth with special toothpastes that are designed to decrease your sensitivity. If these do not provide sufficient relief, ask whether a prescription product may be needed.

If you experience tooth sensitivity, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can help.

PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
10059 S. ROBERTS RD. SUITE 2A
PALOS HILLS, IL 60465

Palos Hills Dentist | Caring for Your Retainer: 5 Helpful Tips

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Dentist in Palos HillsWe understand how easy it can be to forget about your retainer. Once you get used to having one, it can become second nature to regularly care for it. For those who are new to retainers, however, it can be tricky to remember to take care of your new appliance. We’ve assembled a list of five tips to help you get started in the right direction.

  1. Keep It In, Unless…

Your retainer should be worn for the entire day. Without it, your orthodontic treatment results will suffer. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Do take out your retainer while you eat, clean it, during sports, and as directed by your dentist and our doctor. Otherwise, keep it in!

  1. Use Your Case

Your retainer will come with a case to store it in. When it’s out of your mouth, use the case. We’ve heard many horror stories of patients putting their retainer in a napkin while they eat, only to throw it away by mistake. A replacement retainer can be costly, so treat yours with care.

  1. Clean it Regularly

Your retainer needs to be kept clean. Like your teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up on it, which can be harmful to your teeth. We recommend cleaning your retainer every time you brush. Rinse your retainer with water, then use toothpaste and your toothbrush to give a gentle scrubbing. Rinse it off a final time before putting it back in your mouth.

  1. Be Careful of Sports

Contact sports pose a risk of damaging your retainer. Even non-contact sports may cause you to experience some degree of facial trauma. While playing sports, your retainer should be removed and placed in its protective case. Ask about a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth during these activities.

  1. Visit Us

While receiving orthodontic treatment, we will schedule a series of appointments with you to measure your progress. These visits are important for ensuring your results are maintained. They allow our team to make sure your retainer continues to fit properly, as well.

It may take some time to become comfortable with caring for your retainer. Follow our guide to stay on track. Keeping your retainer clean is just as important as keeping your teeth clean. Don’t forget to remove your retainer while eating, and always use the case to store it when it is not in your mouth.

For more retainer care tips or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.

Oak Lawn Invisalign | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

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An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries pose a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes who play contact sports, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Mouthguards defend your teeth against such injuries. But mouthguards aren’t only for teeth. Your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. But all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should also wear one to protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you find the best mouthguard during your next visit to our office. There are a number of options available ranging from store-bought ones to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly. We can also work with you if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment and are wearing braces. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Your mouth should be protected while participating in athletic activities. Oral injuries can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult. Protect yourself from an injury before one happens. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.