Monthly Archives: December 2017

New Year’s Resolutions for Better Oral Health

Laying out goals for the New Year is a great way to inspire yourself to make positive changes that can improve your health. For example, many habits—both good and bad—affect the health of your teeth and gums. Here’s a list of risky habits to kick, and mouth-healthy habits to adopt:

Habits That Risk Oral Health

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Smoking. As if oral cancer weren’t enough to worry about, smoking also promotes gum disease and tooth loss. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, smokers have double the risk of gum disease compared to nonsmokers. And according to the Academy of General Dentistry, Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as nonsmokers. For help quitting, visit smokefree.gov.

Snacking. Nibbling all day can create the perfect conditions for tooth decay—especially if your snacks contain sugar and other carbohydrates. Sticky snacks like cookies, crackers, chips and candy bars that cling to teeth tend to remain in the mouth and attract decay-causing oral bacteria. The acid these bacteria produce can penetrate the enamel of your teeth, causing cavities.

Soft Drinks. Speaking of tooth-eroding acid, soft drinks have plenty of it. And this includes both regular and diet varieties of soda, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks. The healthiest drink for your teeth is water!

Mouth-Healthy Habits

Brushing. You probably brush your teeth every day already, but are you doing it correctly? To get the most benefit from this healthy habit, brush twice each day for a full two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with toothpaste that contains fluoride, and don’t scrub too harshly!

Flossing. Yes, it’s worth the effort! If you don’t floss, you’ll miss cleaning about 40% of your tooth surfaces. A toothbrush just can’t reach in between teeth, where decay-causing dental plaque can hide. If you find dental floss difficult to work with, try using disposable floss holders.

Regular Dental Checkups. Keep up a regular schedule of professional teeth cleanings and exams! This allows us to remove any hardened dental plaque (tartar) that has built up on your teeth, screen you for oral cancer, and treat minor dental problems before they become major ones. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to review your at-home oral hygiene.

If you have any questions about how to improve your oral health, please contact us or schedule a consultation by calling (815) 741-1700. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”

What is Sedation Dentistry?

There are many reasons why someone may be fearful to visit the dentist. For a lot of people, this fear and anxiety leads to avoiding the dentist entirely. Unfortunately, when pain or swelling gets to the point of a dental emergency it can be a very difficult appointment! Dentists certainly recommend a consistent visit, to the dentist, at least twice a year, to catch any cavities while they’re small, but for those with a dental phobia those regular visits become next to impossible.

There are several levels of sedation available to aid in calming anxiety related to dental care.  They include:

  • Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”
  • Oral medication
  • IV medication
  • Deep sedation

The most common is the use of nitrous oxide or ‘laughing gas’. Since it’s a gas that’s inhaled through the nose it’s very fast-acting. You’re still aware of your surroundings but you don’t care as much! This method helps with relieving mild fear and anxiety. Since it’s a gas, it is flushed out of your system before you leave your appointment. The use of Xanax can be helpful in reducing overall anxiety and its symptoms of high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat that a lot of patient’s experience coming to the dentist. It acts relatively quickly and helps to curb your fear and let you get through an appointment.

A higher level of sedation is the use of oral medication to make you feel sleepy and forgetful. This is called oral conscious sedation (OCS). You’re very sleepy but still conscious with the use of these medications, and you won’t remember much of your time at the dental office! You’ll be monitored the entire time by Dr. Reiser and trained professionals. She’ll also make sure you’re a good candidate by checking your medical history and ensuring all questions are answered prior to your OCS appointment. This lasts a LONG time and is helpful, so we can get a lot of work done, however this is also the downfall as someone will have to stay with you at home and help you for 12-24 hours!

The next level after OCS is the use of medication that goes directly into your bloodstream through an IV. This is commonly used in oral surgeon offices and has a fast onset, and relatively fast recovery when compared to oral sedation. Although you are still conscious and can breathe on your own, you are less likely to be moving around during treatment when some unpleasant stimuli occur. For some people this can mean the sound or smells won’t be bothersome at all!

The highest level of sedation involves the use of the hospital operating room and is a deep sedation where no level of consciousness is maintained. This means that you need to have a tube to help you breathe, and a highly specialized team to provide the dental care.  This sedation is typically to help those that are mentally compromised.

How might dental visits be better for those that are afraid to keep up with dental care and regular visits? Sedation dentistry may be something to consider with Dr. Elizabeth Reiser-Loeber, General Dentist and is offered in our Plainfield, IL office,  Anew Dental and Orthodontic, LLC. Dr. Reiser offers Xanax and oral conscious sedation to adults over 18.  Please request a consultation appointment with Dr. Reiser by calling 815-577-9900 to find out what option is best for you.  She is looking forward to making your next visit to the dentist a relaxing one.

 

Give Yourself the Gift of a New Smile

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The holidays are a season for giving. At this time of year, lots of us spend hours rushing around, looking for the perfect gifts for people we care about. But sometimes, amidst all the hustle and bustle, it doesn’t hurt to step back and think about yourself a little. If a better-looking smile has been on your list but you haven’t taken the first steps, the holiday season might be the right time to give yourself a gift.

Many smile problems, like discolored, chipped or uneven teeth, can be resolved with veneers—wafer-thin porcelain shells that cover the front surfaces of teeth. Veneers are custom-made just for you: They can have a pearly luster to match your existing teeth, or be Hollywood-white for a dazzling red-carpet smile. In just a few visits to the dental office, you can have the smile you’ve always wanted—and a whole new look for the New Year.

If damaged or missing teeth are what’s bothering you, you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of good options for replacing them. If the tooth’s roots are still in good shape, a crown or cap could be the answer. This is a sturdy replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth that not only looks great, but also functions well in your bite—and can last for years to come.

If teeth are missing or can’t be saved, we offer several options for replacement, including fixed (non-removable) bridgework and dental implants. A tried-and-true method for replacing one or more missing teeth, bridges are firmly supported by healthy teeth next to the gap in your smile. These teeth must be prepared to receive the bridge by having some of the tooth’s surface removed.

Dental implants are today’s premier option for tooth replacement. In this high-tech system, a root-like titanium insert, placed directly into the bone beneath the gum, forms a solid anchorage for the visible part of the replacement tooth. Implants look and feel completely natural, and can last for many years. Plus, they don’t require any work to be done on nearby teeth.

What kind of smile makeover is right for you? Just ask us by calling (815) 741-1700! We will be happy to take a look at your smile and recommend a treatment plan. And in this season of generosity, there’s no better gift you can give yourself than a bright new smile.

You can learn more about smile makeovers by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”