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Posts for: December, 2014


Q: What exactly are porcelain veneers?
A: The term “veneer” usually means a very thin covering that’s designed to improve the way a surface looks. The porcelain veneers we use in cosmetic dentistry are just like that: They cover up flaws in the natural teeth, while preserving their strength and vitality. Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin layers of super-strong material, which are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Once placed on your teeth, they offer a permanent way to improve a smile that’s less than perfect.

Q: What kinds of smile defects can porcelain veneers fix?
A: Veneers can help with a whole range of issues, including:

  • Color: Teeth that are deeply stained or yellowed — even those which can’t be lightened with professional bleaching — can be restored to a brilliant white (or a natural luster) with porcelain veneers.
  • Shape and size: If your teeth have become worn down with age, or have chips or roughened edges, veneers can restore them to a more pleasing shape. They can also lengthen teeth that appear too short, for a dramatic enhancement of your smile.
  • Alignment and spacing: For closing a small gap between teeth or making other minor adjustments in tooth spacing or position, veneers may be just what you need; more serious issues can be handled with orthodontics.

Q: What's involved in getting porcelain veneers?
A: First, we will talk with you about what aspects of your smile you’d like to improve, and develop a plan to accomplish that. When we’re all agreed, the next step will probably be to remove a small amount of tooth material in preparation for placing the veneers. (Some types of veneers, however, don’t require this step.) Next, we will make a mold of your teeth and send it to the dental lab; you’ll leave our office with a set of temporary veneers. In a few weeks, you’ll return to our office to have the final veneers permanently bonded to your teeth.

Q: Is it possible to preview the results?
A: Yes! The options for a preview range from computer-generated images of your new smile to an accurate, life-sized model of your teeth with veneers applied. It may even be possible to make acrylic “trial veneers” that we can actually place on your teeth to try on! So if your smile could use a little help, ask us about porcelain veneers.

By All Smiles
December 19, 2014
Category: Oral Health

It is not often that you find a celebrity who is willing to speak candidly about any cosmetic or restorative dentistry that he or she has had. Instead, most prefer that their fans just assume that their dazzling “Hollywood” smile is something that just happened naturally. However, that is not the case with Kathy Ireland, the former Sports Illustrated cover girl, current business mogul and founder of kathy ireland Worldwide, a billion dollar marketing and design firm. In a Dear Doctor magazine cover story she talks openly about her dental experiences, injuries and treatment so that people worldwide can understand what may be possible for them.

For Kathy, it happened several years ago when she was playing with her husband and children in their driveway. Kathy decided that she would stand in her children's wagon and surf across their driveway. Instead, she ended up “face-planting,” as she describes it, in a freak accident that left her with a broken nose, split forehead and several broken teeth. She recalls that it sounded like a watermelon had smashed. Luckily, her husband, an emergency room physician, was on hand to care for her. Kathy is just as thankful to her cosmetic and restorative dentist who restored her trademark smile with some veneers and a dental implant. Today, the only reminder she has from this accident is a small scar on her nose that she covers with a little makeup.

You would think that this accident would be enough trauma for one person; however, Kathy describes an earlier accident where she knocked out a tooth and then later knocked it loose again. Kathy also wanted to take the time to let readers know that her dental implant experiences were “pretty easy.” She did recall, “hearing all the sounds while all of it was going on” and then added, “but I have to tell you, that after being a mom and having kids, going to the like going to the spa!” She said that she has even fallen asleep in the dental chair.

To learn more about Kathy Ireland, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Kathy Ireland.” Or if you think cosmetic or restorative dentistry is right for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific goals.

Sometimes the best gifts you can give (or receive) during the holidays cannot be wrapped up and tied with a bow. This is especially true for your six-month check-up trip to the dentist’s office. A regular dentist’s visit is an investment in your health and also ensures your smile is close-up ready for holiday and New Year’s celebrations.

The six-month timeframe takes into consideration how long it takes plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth. If one of our Worth, IL dentists identifies early signs of decay, a professional teeth cleaning can help to remove sticky plaque on teeth. This helps to reduce the likelihood that you will experience cavities and/or gum disease.

A thorough teeth cleaning is not the only benefit from a professional teeth cleaning. Your Worth, IL dentist will also examine your teeth, looking for any damage that could have occurred as well as checking your gums and soft tissues for any oral cancer indicators.

Regular dentist’s visits are essential because they can keep you out of pain that could occur if your tooth decay is left untreated. While making a trip to our office does represent a cost to you, the costs associated with preventive dental care are significantly less than those to treat decay and soft tissue gum damage. Remember that even if you are not currently experiencing painful symptoms, you could still be undergoing small changes to your dental health that can ultimately result in a large amount of pain.

So this holiday season, surprise your family and/or loved ones by asking for a trip to our Worth, IL dentist’s office (or give your loved ones a gift of a dental visit). While it may not be as tangible as a toy or sweater, a beautiful smile will help your smile shine more brightly.

Is it time to schedule your six-month dental checkup? Call our Worth dentist’s office at (708) 448-0333 to schedule today!

Orthodontics ImageIf you’ve opted to get braces, then you may be preparing yourself for the lifestyle changes you will have to make before you get orthodontics. While traditional metal braces and even Invisalign come with pretty straightforward and simple cleaning instructions, there are some types of braces that are getting overshadowed. One of these is lingual braces, which are metal brackets that attach to the back of teeth to make them less visible.
Lingual braces can be a great option for those who want a straighter smile without other people noticing. They are also a great option for those who aren’t good candidates for Invisalign or other types of clear braces. However, you may be wondering how to properly care and clean your lingual braces, particularly since they are placed behind the teeth. Your Worth orthodontist offers up tips on how to properly care for your lingual braces so you can have a healthy, straighter smile.

Cleaning Tips

Since lingual braces will offer more places for bacteria and food to hide, you’ll need to take some extra time and care to make sure that you get into every hard-to-reach spot you possibly can. This means following these handy tips to ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy:
  • Brush after every meal to get rid of any lingering food particles that may be trapped. Be thorough and really take your time brushing.
  • Always carry a toothbrush with you wherever you go. Whether you are eating lunch at the school cafeteria or snacking on the go, you will want to have a toothbrush handy to ensure that you brush right after.
  • Purchase an interdental brush, which will make it significantly easier to clean the brackets and wires. Use this in conjunction with regular dental floss to get in between teeth and hard-to-reach spots.
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash every night to protect your tooth’s enamel from decay. This will also prevent stains from forming under your braces.
  • You will want to visit your orthodontist regularly to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy and that you are doing a thorough job cleaning them. Plus, your orthodontist can also give you a professional cleaning that will be sure to remove anything that you may have missed. When you come in to get your lingual braces, we will let you know how often you should be coming back for routine checkups.
If you have any questions about how to properly care for your lingual braces, give us a call. We would be happy to sit down and talk with you. You only get one smile; let’s make it a good one!


A “perfect storm” of dental disease could be brewing for your teenager undergoing orthodontic treatment. As braces or other appliances complicate hygiene efforts, newly erupted permanent teeth and changing hormone levels could also increase their susceptibility to tooth decay or gum disease.

Here are a few tips for helping your teenager maintain healthy teeth and gums while wearing braces.

Eat a Healthy Diet. Nutrition is a key component in a healthy mouth. Your teenager should eat a diet low in sugar, a key food source for bacteria that cause dental disease, and acidic foods and beverages that cause enamel erosion. Limit between-meal snacks to only a few times a day and drink acidic beverages only at mealtime.

Brush all Tooth and Gum Surfaces. For patients who wear braces, it’s important to thoroughly brush above and below the wire running through the affixed brackets. Holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, brush between the wire and gums all the way around both the upper and lower jaws, then repeat the same technique brushing surfaces below the wire.

Clean Between Teeth. Flossing can be difficult while wearing braces, but plaque removal from between teeth is necessary for healthier teeth and gums. Orthodontic patients can benefit from special flossing tools like floss threaders, small interdental brushes or irrigators that remove plaque with sprayed water under pressure.

Incorporate Fluoride into Your Dental Care. A proven decay-fighter, fluoride strengthens enamel against erosion and infection. In addition to hygiene products and many drinking water systems, we can also supplement fluoride through gels or varnishes applied to the teeth during office visits, as well as prescription toothpastes or rinses with higher levels of fluoride for patients at higher risk of dental disease.

Use an Antibacterial Mouthrinse. Orthodontic patients with gingivitis (gum inflammation) or other bacterial-induced conditions may benefit from over-the-counter or prescribed antibacterial mouthrinses.

Maintaining an orthodontic patient’s teeth and gums can be difficult, but not impossible. A little extra attention — along with regular office cleanings and checkups — will go a long way in preventing dental disease.

If you would like more information on effective oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”