FAQs


5867 W 95th St., Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Phone: 708.636.1661






What is a Chairside Toddler Check?
Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth
What is gum disease?
How do I know I have gum disease?
What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
How often should I have a dental cleaning?
What Are Cold Sores?
How do you treat Cold Sores?
Why should I want straight teeth?
How Do I Know I Need Orthodontics?
Some Orthodontic Problems Include:
What is a Root Canal?
How do I know I need a Root Canal?
How do I know I need my wisdom teeth extracted?

What is a Chairside Toddler Check?

By three years old, children need to have their first experience at the dental office. At our office your child will be met by a dental assistant or hygienist and "Abby the Alligator" who has a full set of teeth. As your child gets acquainted with the exam room by riding the chair, squirting the water and air hoses, looking at the light and in the mirror he or she also gets to check "Abby the Alligatorís" teeth with a brand new toothbrush that they get to keep. The experience allows young children to "be the dentist" and in control. While your child is counting the teeth of the alligator the assistant or hygienist is counting the teeth of your child. We have found this to be a very successful way to introduce children to the dentist. Families report that after this visit their child has an increased interest in brushing their own teeth. There is no charge for this introductory visit. Our goal is to contribute to a future of good oral health for your child! By the way, we are also available free of charge to talk to preschoolers and elementary students as part of our public education program.


Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth

Brushing is the single most important thing you can do for your teeth, but flossing is VERY IMPORTANT. Many patients think that flossing your teeth is a lot of extra work. We tell our patients: You donít need to floss all of your teeth - just the ones that you want to keep! There are many products that can be purchased at the drug store that can aid in cleaning your teeth.


What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria that attach themselves to the side of the tooth. Simply put, the body attempts to fight off the infection by increasing the blood flow to the gingival (gum) tissue. The gums become swollen and inflamed. The inflammation causes the normal tissues to be destroyed making room for white blood cells to fight off the bacteria. The body tries but it can not destroy the bacteria that are attached to the root surface. It is easy to think of this as barnacles attaching themselves to the hull of a ship. The longer the infection stays the more likely there will be bone loss which then leads to tooth loss.

Click here for an example. Warning, graphic photo


How do I know I have gum disease?

A dentist is probably the only person that can tell you for sure that you have gum disease. There are some warning signs that can give you some insight into the condition of your gums.

  1. First, is the color of your gums. Healthy gums are pink. Redder gums are more likely a sign of gum disease.
  2. If your gums bleed upon brushing or when you touch them it is likely that you suffer from some form of gum disease.
  3. An odor emanating from your mouth may also be a sign of gum disease.
  4. When the points of gum between your teeth have become rounded or blunted and enlarged rather than pointed and tight.
  5. If the gum line is shrinking away from your teeth or if more of the roots are showing or your tooth is looking longer that usual.
  6. If the teeth are covered with tartar and the distinct outline of each individual tooth is not visible.
  7. If your teeth are loose and you can wiggle them.

It is very natural for a person to use pain as an indicator of a problem in their mouth. This is how gum disease can be deceiving. There can be a substantial amount of gum disease without any discomfort. Pain is a late symptom in the disease process.


What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It describes an inflammation of the gum tissue but has not caused any bone loss around the tooth. Periodontitis is a more advanced and destructive form of gum disease. This condition occurs when periodontal disease is allowed to continue. Eventually it causes serious bone loss. The longer periodontal disease is allowed to go unchecked the more bone loss that occurs. This eventually will lead to the loss of your teeth.

E-mail or phone us requesting informative booklets at VBiank@comcast.net or 708-636-1661. We have several that can be mailed to you free of charge.


How often should I have a dental cleaning?

The most common answer to this question is every six months. However, the frequency that an individual should have a dental cleaning is more dependent on how fast a person builds up tartar and plaque on their teeth and whether they are an adult or a child. A child gets their teeth cleaned in order to remove plaque and have a bi-annual fluoride treatment so that the occurrence of cavities will be reduced. Fluoride strengthens the enamel surface making it more difficult for the decay bacteria to penetrate the tooth surface. Adults have a much greater tendency towards gum disease than children and get their teeth cleaned in order to prevent plaque and calculus build-up. Many patients need to be seen on a three to four month interval in order to reduce the amount periodontal destruction taking place. One of the most effective treatments in preserving your teeth is seeing your dentist or hygienist every three months.


What are Cold Sores?

These can appear on your lips or in your mouth. The sores in your mouth usually appear where there has been a localized trauma such as a toothbrush slipping. They can be very painful and annoying when you touch them or move your mouth while speaking or eating. We have all had some experience with Cold Sores. There are some general circumstances which cause them. They include emotional, physical and chemical stress to the body.

Please note: Sores in your mouth could be a symptom of a more serious dental problem so if you have never had any experience with Cold Sores it is recommended that you see a dentist for a professional opinion.

Example of Stressors:
Emotional Stress could be the worry associated with a test or a personal relationship.
Physical Stress includes working long hours, not sleeping well and exercising vigorously.
Chemical Stress concerns one's diet. Not eating a balanced diet and eating only fruits or vegetables to excess can cause Cold Sores.


How do you treat Cold Sores?

In our dental practice we have found that Yogurt and Vitamin B complex can be a helpful aid in relieving cold sore symptoms. Many people swear by this treatment. Please call our office for an information sheet for the type of Yogurt and Vitamin B Complex that we recommend. This naturally won't work for everyone, but it has helped a vast majority of our patients.


Why should I want straight teeth?

In todayís "First Impression" society people have a tendency to judge another by their appearance. Crooked or misaligned teeth can detract from oneís first impression. Oneís smile can go a long way in projecting an image of health and well-being. Besides a beautiful smile, generally speaking teeth that are straight and properly positioned in the dental arches tend to protect themselves from tooth decay and gum disease.

Jaws that are properly aligned allow the muscles of mastication to function at their optimum, thus reducing fatigue. Ideally positioned jaws allow a person to open and close their mouth and chew properly. When the muscles of mastication are in balance they help promote better blood circulation through the area of the head and neck.


How Do I Know I Need Orthodontics?

There are many reasons why an individual would choose to have orthodontics. Orthodontics can vary from the straightening of one tooth, to the closing of a gap between the two front teeth, to much more complicated treatment involving repositioning of an upper or lower jaw, extraction of permanent teeth and even surgery to help change the position of the jaws. Many times there is a combination of factors in the same individual such as crowding and a smaller lower jaw. There are many ways of treating an orthodontic problem. These can include: braces, removable functional appliances, and even invisible retainers called Invisalign. Some cases require a combination of different modalities.

For examples of Invisalign click on the links below:

E-mail or phone us requesting informative booklets at VBiank@comcast.net or 708-636-1661. We have several that can be mailed to you free of charge.


Some Orthodontic Problems Include:

Class I Crowded: Generally speaking this is when there is not enough room in the dental arches for the teeth to fit in an ideal position. Usually the upper and lower jaws are in good position. This could be treated by expanding the bones to make room for the teeth, extracting some teeth or slenderizing the teeth.

Click here for an example. Warning, graphic photo

Deep Bite: Simply put this is the situation where when one bites down the upper anterior teeth completely cover the lower teeth. Notice on the ideal model how there is just a little bit of overbite between the upper and lower - about 2 mm. There are some patients with a deep bite that will show none of their lower teeth.

Class II: The upper jaw and teeth are excessively in front of the lower jaw. This can happen by the upper jaw being too far forward in the skull or by the lower jaw being too small and being positioned too far back in the skull.

Class III: The upper jaw and teeth are behind the lower jaw in a Class III. When the patient bites down the lower jaw extends beyond the upper usually with the lower anterior teeth overlapping the upper anterior teeth. This is opposite of what one would like to see in the ideal dentition.


What is a Root Canal?

A Root Canal simply stated is a treatment in which the dead nerve and pulp tissue of the tooth is removed. The empty canals are filled with a rubbery type material. The tooth is then ready for a final restoration. The vast majority of Root Canal procedures occur without a problem. In some cases there is difficulty and it seems like these troubled cases are the ones that everyone hears about, including in the movies. Many times a patient will say : " A Root Canal? I had one 15 years ago and I will never have one again. I lost the tooth any way!" Our answer to that is: "What hasnít changed in 15 years?" The procedure and treatment for a Root Canal has become highly predictable and is one of the main procedures dentists use in saving natural teeth from extractions. There is a controversy in dentistry as to whether to have a Root Canal procedure or an implant procedure. Both are good dental treatments and this decision needs to be made on a case by case basis.


How do I know I need a Root Canal?

A dentist is probably the only person that can diagnose your need for a Root Canal. There are several warning signs that can lead to the suspicion that a Root Canal is needed. However, sometimes there are no symptoms at all and the tooth needing a Root Canal is found by an x-ray dental examination.

  1. The most common sign is that the tooth hurts. It will hurt when you eat or wake you up in the middle of the night. The pain will come out of no where.
  2. The tooth is sensitive to hot and cold.
  3. There is a swelling around the tooth or in the gum near the tooth.
  4. The tooth is broken.
  5. The tooth has a large amount of decay.
  6. The tooth has been hit or bumped such as in a fall.
  7. The tooth has changed color.
  8. The tooth has a pimple-like formation near the root.

How do I know I need my wisdom teeth extracted?

Wisdom teeth usually present themselves between 16 and 18 year of age. We recommend that a panoramic x-ray be taken on 15 year old patients and up in order to ascertain that position and probability of needing oneís wisdom teeth extracted. We believe that if there is not enough room for the wisdom tooth to erupt and grow successfully, that it should be removed at this age. Sometimes pain in the back of the mouth will be a warning sign that the wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt. At other times there are no symptoms and it takes x-ray to determine their position.

E-mail or phone us requesting informative booklets at VBiank@comcast.net or 708-636-1661. We have several that can be mailed to you free of charge.

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