Tag Archives: orthodontic in Illinois

Keep Your Smile Beautiful…in April and Beyond

spring cleaning.

There are well-known holidays on the calendar this month, but here’s one that might have escaped your notice: “Keep America Beautiful Month,” which is observed throughout April! At this time, people from coast to coast are encouraged to clean and beautify their communities. So why not think of it as an occasion to spiff up your smile? Here are five ways to do exactly that:

Have your teeth professionally cleaned. A routine dental visit, which includes a professional cleaning and exam, is one of the best preventive healthcare values there is. It’s a chance to catch dental problems (including potentially serious ones like oral cancer) before they become more difficult to treat. A dental professional can remove built-up deposits of tartar from your teeth using specialized instruments—something you can’t do at home. Plus, you’ll leave the office with a freshly polished smile that looks and feels great.

Get a professional teeth whitening. Having whiter teeth often makes people look more youthful. And one of the best ways to brighten dull teeth is with professional teeth whitening. You can achieve the fastest, most dramatic results with an in-office treatment—up to ten shades in just one visit! We can also make you a custom take-home kit to achieve similar results over time.

Repair chipped teeth. If you feel self-conscious about a chipped tooth, consider cosmetic bonding. In this relatively inexpensive procedure, which often takes just one office visit, tooth-colored resin material is applied to the chipped area and hardened under a special light. The translucent resin is built up layer by layer, bringing teeth with minor flaws back to a great, natural-looking appearance.

Replace old dental work. Sometimes old dental work can stand out more than we’d like it to. This is especially true of amalgam (silver) fillings—but even white fillings can absorb stain after many years. If you feel old dental work is detracting from your smile, it may be time to replace it with up-to-date dental materials.

Straighten your smile. Did you know that there is no maximum age for successful orthodontic treatment? It’s true: Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. And if you think metal braces wouldn’t fit in with your look or lifestyle, consider one of the less-visible alternatives to traditional orthodontic hardware—such as ceramic braces and clear aligners.

Having the smile you want can make you feel more confident in any month of the year. If you’d like more information on cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule a consultation by calling (815) 741-1700. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “How Your Dentist Can Help You Look Younger” and “Orthodontics for the Older Adult.”

Transform Your Smile and Dental Health by Correcting Your Bad Bite

bad bite.

When planning for your new smile, we look at more than the condition of individual teeth. We also step back for the bigger “bite” picture: how do the teeth look and interact with each other?

If we have a normal bite, our teeth are aligned symmetrically with each other. This not only looks aesthetically pleasing with the rest of the face, it also contributes to good function when we chew food. A bad bite (malocclusion) disrupts this mouth-to-face symmetry, impairs chewing and makes hygiene and disease prevention much more difficult.

That’s where orthodontics, the dental specialty for moving teeth, can work wonders. With today’s advanced techniques, we can correct even the most complex malocclusions — and at any age. Even if your teen years are well behind you, repairing a bad bite can improve both your smile and your dental health.

The most common approach, of course, is braces. They consist of metal or plastic brackets bonded to the outside face of the teeth with a thin metal wire laced through them. The wire attaches to an anchorage point, the back teeth or one created with other appliances, and placed under tension or pressure. The gradual increasing of tension or pressure on the teeth will move them over time.

 Braces are versatile and quite effective, but they can be restrictive and highly noticeable. Many people, especially older adults, feel embarrassed to wear them. There is an alternative: clear aligners. These are a series of clear, plastic trays that you wear in sequence, a couple of weeks for each tray. When you change to the next tray in the series, it will be slightly different than its predecessor. As the trays change shape guided by computer-enhanced modeling, the teeth gradually move.

If you’re interested in having a poor bite corrected, the first step is a comprehensive orthodontic examination. This looks closely at not only teeth position, but also jaw function and overall oral and general health.

With that we can help you decide if orthodontics is right for you. If so, we’ll formulate a treatment plan that can transform your smile and boost your dental health.

If you would like more information on the cosmetic and health benefits of orthodontics, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

Porcelain Veneers are a Viable Option for Smile Transformation

veneers.

There are a number of materials and techniques available in cosmetic dentistry that help us improve our patients’ smiles. Porcelain veneers stand out as one of the most popular and least interventional of these options.

As the name implies, a veneer is a thin layer of dental restorative material that covers the original tooth surface. Veneers don’t require an extensive amount of tooth preparation or removal of sound tooth structure, as with a crown or bridge.

Veneers are made of dental porcelain, a material compatible with living tissue and with a very life-like appearance. The dentist as artist can fashion the porcelain to precisely imitate an individual’s natural teeth, including the natural color and hue of surrounding teeth.

Are porcelain veneers an option for you? Only a smile analysis in our office can determine that. Your teeth must be in a somewhat normal position. The teeth in question must have a sufficient amount of remaining tooth structure to support veneers. And you must have symmetrical gum contours that will allow for proper framing of the teeth, which will enhance the final cosmetic result.

If your current dental health meets these criteria, then porcelain veneers could help correct spaces between teeth that aren’t too wide, improve poor color, or address poor shape, contours or minor bite problems. Veneers, however, do have their limitations. They aren’t effective if you have poor tooth position, if the root positions are widely out of line, or if you have a poor profile. Some form of orthodontics may be needed initially for these situations.

That being said, porcelain veneers are an excellent long-term option in the right situation. Depending on your individual circumstance and how you care for your teeth, a veneer application can last for several years, or if they come loose or become chipped they can be repaired in most cases. The material is strong enough to withstand normal pressures exerted during chewing or biting, as long as you avoid activities like opening nutshells with your teeth or chewing on very hard candy.

Overall, porcelain veneers can give your smile a whole new look with little impact on your remaining tooth structure.

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 or request your appointment online. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design Enhanced With Porcelain Veneers.”


A Clear Alternative for Adult Orthodontic Treatment

clear aligners.

It’s a fact that everything in life changes. Tooth alignment is no exception. Even if you were blessed as a child with perfectly positioned pearly whites or achieved them thanks to successful orthodontic therapy, with the passage of time, you may be noticing more space between some teeth and more crowding among others. Perhaps you’ve considered doing something about it, but discounted the idea out of concern for the potential personal and/or professional impact of wearing traditional metal braces. If that is the case, then Invisalign clear orthodontic aligners may be a solution.

This treatment uses a series of transparent plastic aligners — each slightly different than the one that precedes it — which you wear for about 22 hours a day. About every two weeks, you “graduate” to the next aligner in the progression (or set of aligners if your treatment involves both the upper and lower teeth) as your teeth are gently shifted into the improved final positioning. Besides being practically invisible when worn, aligners can be removed for eating, drinking, social events and brushing and flossing — a clear advantage over traditional braces, which are cemented in place. They’re also comfortable because there are no rough edges or wires. Total treatment time ranges from 6 months to two years, depending on the degree of movement required.

The main consideration in determining whether clear aligners can work for you is the type and extent of movement required. The system is most effective when crowding or spacing of teeth is mild to moderate, and ideally, you should already have a good “bite” — i.e., your back teeth fit together properly. When crowding or spacing is more severe, or if your bite is off and your upper and lower jaws don’t meet well, traditional braces may be the better treatment option. Certain movements are more difficult and less predictable with clear aligners — such as closing extraction spaces, uprighting teeth, and rotating, torqueing or other complex movements.

Dental health can also be a factor for adult patients. Gum disease, which is more prevalent as we age, can lead to the loss of tooth-supporting bone. Orthodontic treatment works by moving teeth within the supporting bone, and can aggravate bone loss. Bone loss isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but active gum disease must be brought under control before orthodontic treatment can proceed. Certain medical conditions elsewhere in the body may preclude treatment and drugs used for arthritis or osteoporosis can make tooth movement more difficult.

Our office can perform an assessment to determine whether you are a good candidate for clear aligners. Although change is inevitable, it can work to your advantage when it comes to orthodontic treatment!

If you would like more information about clear orthodontic aligners, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 or request a consultation appointment online. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Orthodontics For The Older Adult” and “Clear Orthodontic Aligners.”