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Wheeling Dentist | Maintaining Your Oral Health During Cancer Treatments

Dentist in Wheeling

Dentist Wheeling ILBefore, during, and after cancer treatment it is necessary to keep up with your oral health routine. Cancer and cancer treatments can impact your mouth, so talk to our dentist about your specific treatment and what you can do to keep up with your oral health. Here are a few points to consider.

Brush, Floss, and Come Visit Us

You should always brush for two minutes, twice each day, and floss regularly. This is your best defense against tooth decay. You should also be visiting our office for a routine examination regularly, however it is especially important to do so before starting cancer treatment. Our dentist can share recommendations about changes you can make to your brushing and flossing routine to help manage potential cancer treatment side effects.

Practice Healthy Habits

This is true for everyone. Eat healthy and avoid smoking, whether it is tobacco or electronic cigarettes. A balanced diet and regular exercise will keep your immune system working at its full potential. Make sure your diet is full of diverse fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Don’t skip out on getting protein through eggs, beans, and chicken.

Keep Your Mouth Clean & Moist

A common side effect of cancer treatments such as radiation is dry mouth. Our teeth depend on saliva to help keep the enamel on our teeth strong, but a dry mouth lacking saliva will leave you susceptible to decay and damage. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Rinse your mouth frequently, especially after vomiting, to wash away sugars and acids from collecting on your teeth.

After Treatments, Visit Us

Keep regularly scheduled visits to our office, particularly when you end treatment. Certain medications can weaken your teeth or leave you at a higher risk for developing oral health issues. Talk to our knowledgeable dental team about your treatment plans and how they can impact your teeth.

Cancer and cancer treatments and medications can have a significant impact on your oral health. Make our dental team part of your support group during your treatment, and inform us of the medications and treatments you are receiving. Together we can work towards solutions that keep your mouth healthy, and your teeth strong.

For more information on keeping your mouth healthy, please contact our office.

Wheeling Dentist | Men: Here’s What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Dentist in Wheeling, IL

Wheeling IL DentistMen, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.

The Basics

Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.

Risk Factors

Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.

Take These Steps at Home

A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.

Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact our office.

Dentist Wheeling, IL | New Year’s Resolution: A Healthier Smile

Dentist Wheeling

Dentist in Wheeling ILThe new year is a time when many consider making positive changes in their lives.  Common goals include wanting to lose weight, exercise more, or quit a bad habit. What about vowing to improve your oral health this year? Here’s a few easy changes you can make that will lead to a happier, healthier smile in 2017.

Timing is Everything

Are you a fast brusher? A couple of passes over your teeth is not going to cut it in terms of keeping your teeth strong and clean. Here’s our suggestion for a new year’s resolution: brush for two minutes, twice a day. Start off the new year by trying to brush for the full time. Don’t brush hard because vigorous, fast brushing can lead to lasting gum damage.

Drink Water, Lots of Water

Replace sugary drinks with water this year. Your teeth will benefit from water, as it helps to clean off some of the excess sugar and acids left from food and drinks. Water also assists in saliva production, which is essential for maintaining your teeth’s enamel. Drinking water can also fit into a resolution to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Make sure it’s part of your resolution too!

Come See Us

The new year is a good time to schedule your next visit to our office. Keeping up with regular visits helps us to give your teeth a thorough cleaning and examination. Never wait until you think something is wrong with your teeth. Make 2017 the year you keep up with your dental work.

Floss

According to a study by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans are flossing daily. Flossing should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. We recommend changing your ways in the new year if you are one of the 60% of Americans avoiding dental floss. Flossing is essential for helping limit your decay and for maintaining healthy gums.

With the start of the new year, make a vow to look after your teeth. A few simple changes in your old habits will do a world of good for your teeth in 2017. Allow your good habits to rub off on others this year.

For more advice on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Dentist Wheeling | I’m On Blood Thinners – What Should My Dentist Know?

Dentist in Wheeling

Wheeling IL DentistBlood thinning medications are helpful in regulating your body to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other serious issues. When visiting our office, it is important our dentist is aware of all medications you are using.

How Blood Thinners Work

There are two types of blood thinners. The first type works to prevent blood clotting. Medications ranging from aspirin to Plavix fit into this category. The other type of blood thinners work to prevent blood from coagulating; Coumadin or warfarin accomplish this.

What Our Dentist Should Know

When you visit our office, be sure to share with us any medications you are taking. We need to have your complete medical history to ensure your safety and proper treatment. Our dentist might also ask you the purpose of each medication you are taking to better understand any side-effects or other medical issues that could be associated with medication.

Steps to Take Before Visiting Our Office

Never stop any medication without consulting your doctor. Depending on your medical history, your doctor might suggest specific blood tests before visiting our office for dental treatment. Communication is key, both for you and your primary physician, and for you and our office. If your treatment requires additional medication to be taken, ask about potential drug interactions.

Steps to Take to Minimize Oral Bleeding

Oral bleeding resulting from dental treatments is uncommon, but each patient will have different results. The most effective ways to minimize oral bleeding is to firmly apply pressure to the area for up to 30 minutes. Gauze is especially helpful in stopping bleeding. Depending on the treatment, we may ask you to refrain from drinking hot liquids and rinsing your mouth for the first day. We suggest avoiding rough or sharp foods that might cut your mouth.

Prior to receiving any dental treatment, it is important that our experienced dental team has a thorough knowledge of your medical history. This enables us to find the best possible solutions for your needs, while ensuring your safety.

If you have any questions about medications and dental treatments, contact our office.

Dentist in Wheeling | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Wheeling, IL Dentist

Dentist WheelingThe food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

Dentist Wheeling, IL | Tobacco and Oral Health

Wheeling Dentist

Wheeling DentistWhether you use smokeless tobacco or smoke cigars, cigarettes, or a pipe, tobacco use poses a serious threat to both your oral health and your overall health. In addition to the effects smoking has on your respiratory health, pregnancy, and heart health, a recent study has found profound connections between smoking and periodontal (gum) disease.

Most people are aware that tobacco use commonly causes a wide range of unpleasant side effects. Some of these include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Stained teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of taste and smell

While these may seem like minor issues, they can lead to serious oral health complications. For example, chronic dry mouth will increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Additionally, the presence of frequent mouth sores raises your chances of developing an infection that can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.

Even more seriously, tobacco use greatly increases your risks of dangerous oral health complications. Dental implant failure is significantly more common among patients who smoke. Oral cancers are 6 times as likely to develop in smokers than non-smokers. Immune system suppression from smoking can lead to slowed healing and worsening gum disease, and even limit the benefits you receive from periodontal treatments.

Gum disease is 3-6 times more likely in smokers than non-smokers, depending on the daily intake. Gum disease in smokers can be more challenging to recognize in early stages because smokers are less likely to have bleeding gums. This is due to the blood vessel constriction common to smokers, and not an indication of healthy gums.

By breaking the tobacco habit you can significantly reduce your risks of damage to your gums and teeth. Former smokers who stop for at least 11 years have no higher risk of periodontal disease than non-smokers. Even reducing your tobacco intake can help reduce your risks of the serious health complications that smoking and tobacco use can cause.

For information on ways to quit smoking or smokeless tobacco use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of resources that can help. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quitting-resources.html.

For more information about periodontal disease or to schedule a periodontal examination, contact our office.

Dentist Wheeling | Repair Your Smile with Dentures

Dentist in Wheeling

Dentist in Wheeling ILOur dental team is pleased to provide high-quality removable dentures to new and existing patients who have experienced the loss of some or all of their teeth. These dentures are custom-crafted to fit the individual patient’s mouth and specific tooth replacement needs. They provide both a cosmetic and functional replacement solution for tooth loss.

To make the dentures, we will make a series of impressions of the patient’s jaw, teeth, and gums, including several measurements. A model will be crafted, tested, and adjusted until the color, shape, and fit of the denture are right for the patient’s unique needs. Once the model is ready, it is sent to the dental lab and used to cast the permanent denture. Finally, the patient will receive the permanent denture and minor adjustments will be made, if necessary, to ensure comfort and fit.

There are two basic types of dentures: Conventional Full Dentures and Partial Dentures. Each of these meets a different teeth replacement need.

  • Conventional Full Dentures are a great option if a patient needs replacement for all of the upper and/or lower teeth. Once the gums have fully healed from any extractions, we will take impressions and measurements of the jaws and gums. These are used in crafting a custom model of the future denture. The model will be adjusted for fit, then sent to the lab for the denture to be made. Once complete, he will fit the denture to the patient’s mouth, making any minor adjustments needed to ensure a secure, comfortable fit.
  • Partial Dentures, also known as Dental Bridges, are a replacement for one or more missing teeth. Besides the aesthetic reason for bridges, patients often choose to have a bridge to prevent teeth from rotating or shifting into the empty spaces caused by tooth loss. A standard bridge places a crown on the teeth surrounding the empty space, then attaches a replacement tooth to those crowns. We will match the replacement to the patient’s natural teeth for a consistent look to their smile.

With any form of dentures, the patient should follow up with the doctor as recommended. We may need to make adjustments to dentures over time to keep proper fit and full comfort. Dentures should be cleaned regularly using a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleanser to avoid build up of plaque. Generally, dentures should be replaced every 5-10 years. Ask our doctor to evaluate whether your dentures should be refit or replaced.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Wheeling, IL Dentist | What is Periodontal Disease?

Dentist in Wheeling, IL

Dentist in WheelingPeriodontal disease ranges from a mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis, a major oral disease that can result in soft tissue and bone damage. Periodontitis is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.

One of the major causes of gum disease is practicing poor oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional exams and cleanings are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. When these practices are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this plaque is not properly removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. Once that occurs, only a dental professional can remove the tartar from teeth.

If gum disease is not treated in a timely manner, tartar may continue to build unchecked. When this occurs, the gum disease may advance to gingivitis. In this stage, gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding from normal activities, such as brushing or eating. Some other common symptoms include: chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, and difficulty or pain with chewing. At this point, professional periodontal treatment is needed to prevent the gingivitis from advancing to periodontitis.

When gingivitis is not treated in time, it may become periodontitis. Periodontitis is the most advanced form of periodontal disease. With periodontitis, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gumline. These spaces are highly difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bone, gums, and soft tissues may be destroyed by periodontitis.

Some of the most common factors that contribute to periodontal disease developing include poor oral hygiene habits, diabetes, smoking, and hormonal changes in women. Some medications can cause gum tissue to grow abnormally, which can increase difficulty in proper cleaning of the teeth. People who are receiving treatment for AIDS are also at increased risk of developing periodontal disease.

Many recent studies have found that untreated periodontal disease may negatively impact other aspects of your overall health, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Periodontal disease can also increase the risk of developing certain pregnancy complications, such as low birth weight or premature birth.

Our doctor has the training and experience to diagnose and treat every stage of periodontal disease. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Dentist in Wheeling, IL | Improve Your Life with Cosmetic Dentistry

Wheeling, IL Dentist

Wheeling Dentist

Did you know that 1 in 4 adults avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth? If you’ve been hiding your smile in photos and in your day-to-day life, it’s time to consider our cosmetic smile solutions. Our practice is equipped to help you achieve your dream smile. Strong, healthy teeth need to be both functional and beautiful. Cosmetic dentistry, when done properly, will allow for a proper occlusion (bite) and can treat bruxism (grinding), TMD (TMJ), and other problems related to function.

Our goal is to give you a smile that you are proud to show off. Each vastly skilled member of our team has a background that includes years of education, training, and cosmetic dentistry experience.  We are dedicated to working with you to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

We know that every smile is different, so our solutions are customized to fit your individual needs and your personal smile goals. We schedule ample time for every appointment in order to give you our undivided attention for a personalized visit. Our training and skills in cosmetic dentistry makes our team and office the ideal choice to be your patient-oriented cosmetic dental practice in your community.

There are many benefits to receiving cosmetic dental solutions, such as:

Improved Self-Esteem

Cosmetic dentistry can drastically enhance your overall appearance.  Not only will you feel and look better, you will enjoy greater self-assurance.  Choosing to utilize our cosmetic dentistry procedures can provide you with the look you’ve always wanted so you can smile with confidence again.

Improved Oral Health

While cosmetic dentistry helps to improve your smile, it also contributes to your oral health.  Even with the best dental care, if your teeth are chipped or cracked, they are more prone to developing cavities.  Fixing these problems will ensure your mouth is as protected as possible, preventing further problems from arising.

Improved Overall Appearance

Age can have an effect on the appearance of your teeth. Restoring the look of your smile through cosmetic dentistry can make your entire face appear younger. 

Cosmetic dentistry is an ideal solution for many people.  If you are looking to improve your self-esteem, dental health, or overall appearance, cosmetic dentistry may be right for you.  If you would like more information or to schedule a cosmetic consultation, contact our office today. Your dream smile awaits.

Dentist in Wheeling | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

Dentist in Wheeling, IL

Wheeling IL DentistIt seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with Dr. De La Fuente for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact Smile Dental Design of Wheeling.

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