How Your Dental Health Affects You

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You know that your dental health is important, because your teeth are vital, and your smile impacts the impression you make on others. What you may not know, though, is that the health of your mouth affects your overall wellbeing, as well. Additionally, just as an unhealthy mouth can lead to an unhealthy body, certain illnesses can also cause problems for your dental health.

  • Gum disease is connected to several illnesses. For instance, people with gum disease are twice as likely as other people to die from a heart attack. What’s more, they’re three times as likely to have a stroke. Connections to gum disease have been found not only with heart disease, but also diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Your mouth is a hotbed of bacteria. There are typically more than 500 species of bacteria thriving in your mouth. They form dental plaque, a sticky, colorless film that builds up along your gumline. When this happens, it provides a welcoming environment for even more bacteria to flourish, which leads to the gum infection known as gingivitis. Gingivitis, when left untreated, can lead to periodontitis, or even to acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth. Saliva naturally defends your mouth against disease-causing organisms, but it can’t do the job alone.
  • Bacteria from your mouth is bad news for the rest of your body. Normally, the bacteria in your mouth stays there and doesn’t enter the bloodstream. If you’ve got gum disease, though, even routine brushing and flossing can cause breaks in your gums that give those microbes access to the rest of your body. Other things that compromise your mouth’s natural defenses are medications that disrupt your saliva flow or the natural balance of your mouth. Still, a healthy immune system can usually fight off oral bacteria with no problem. If your immunity is weakened, though, you can develop an infection in another part of your body because of the oral bacteria in your bloodstream.
  • When your body is unhealthy, your dental health suffers. Even as poor oral health can cause health issues for the rest of your body, some systemic illnesses can cause trouble for your mouth. There’s significant evidence that diabetes, for instance, has a reciprocal relationship with gum disease. Keeping blood sugar under control improves oral health, and treating periodontal disease reduces the need for insulin. For patients with AIDs, the first evidence of disease is often mouth lesions or other oral issues.

One of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy is scheduling regular dental appointments. If you’re looking for dentistry services in Chicago, you can trust the team at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer complete dental care at our all-in-one practice, from regular cleanings and routine treatment to complex specialty care and cosmetic dentistry. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and with good reason. While other types of cancer may be more high-profile, oral and oropharyngeal cancer are just as serious, killing nearly one person every hour, every day, all year. Because 40 percent of people diagnosed with these cancers won’t survive longer than five years, it’s vital to raise awareness, to encourage people to care for the health of their mouths and lower their risk factors.

Why is the death rate so high with oral cancers? It’s primarily because these types of cancer are generally not discovered until late in their development. That’s why dental associations are trying to raise awareness: regular oral cancer examinations lead to early detection, which saves lives.

So what’s the good news? When oral and oropharyngeal cancers are found early and appropriately treated, the mortality rate is reduced. So, too, are the long-term health problems that so often plague the survivors of these cancers, like facial disfigurement and difficulty eating and speaking.

In addition to having regular screenings, it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms of oral cancer. If you notice any of the following, contact a dental professional if they don’t improve within two to three weeks. You might also choose to call a dental professional immediately to ease your own concerns.

  • A sore, ulceration, soreness, or irritation that doesn’t go away within 14 days.
  • Red, black, or white patches, pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • Lumps, hard spots, thickening tissues, rough spots, raised tissue, or crusty or eroded areas
  • Any abnormality that bleeds when you touch it
  • Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in your bite that causes your teeth to fit together differently when you close your mouth
  • A lump on the outside of your neck that’s painless, firm, fixated, and doesn’t go away within two weeks
  • Persistent coughing
  • An earache on one side that lasts more than a few days

Are you at risk for oral cancer? In the past, older people who drank or smoked heavily were considered at the highest risk. Today, there’s been an increase in the number of younger nonsmokers with these types of cancers. This is due, at least in part, to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV16. This virus can be dormant for many years but then resurface and cause cancer. This typically happens among the non-smoking population, and to men four times as often as women.

One of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy is by scheduling regular dental appointments. If you’re looking for dentistry services in Chicago, you can have confidence in the team at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer complete dental care at our all-in-one practice, from regular cleanings and routine treatment to complex specialty care. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

The Link Between Chronic Health Conditions and Tooth Loss

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For patients who have missing teeth, dentists often recommend bridges, dentures, or dental implants to restore their smile and dental function. However, keeping your natural teeth is ideal, and your overall health can affect that of your mouth. Read on to learn about the link between some chronic health conditions and tooth loss.

Do you have diabetes? If so, then you are at greater risk of developing periodontal disease. Also called gum disease, periodontal disease refers to an infection of the bone and gums that support teeth and hold them in place. As gum disease progressively worsens, it can damage bone and cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and recede. This process can cause teeth to loosen and even fall out. Also, periodontal disease is associated with a greater risk of tooth decay, a problem which can also lead to tooth loss.

While asleep, some individuals clench and grind their teeth together. This condition is called bruxism and, when not managed, it can put excess force on the tissues responsible for holding your teeth in place. Over time, this process can lead to bone loss in the jaw. When teeth lack enough support from the jawbone, they can loosen and fall out.

Studies indicate that plaque buildup in the mouth can eventually cause the plaque to enter blood vessels and build up in arteries, thereby increasing the person’s risk of heart disease. While research indicates that poor oral hygiene may result in high blood pressure, the reverse might also be a concern. Many medications that doctors prescribe to treat hypertension can cause dry mouth and lead to higher amounts of bacteria in the mouth. The presence of more bacteria puts the individual at a greater risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.

Has it been a while since your last dental checkup? If so, then give University Associates in Dentistry a call at (312) 704-5511. Our dentists in Chicago offer a wide range of services to care for your dental health and help you maintain your smile.

The Effects of Plaque

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Plaque build-up is just one of the many reasons it is so essential to make regular visits to your dentist in Chicago. A dentist can professionally clean your teeth, ridding your mouth of plaque and warding off tooth decay and gum disease.

Plaque is a sticky film that covers the teeth and consists mostly of bacteria. Over time, bacteria combine with acid in your mouth to break down the tooth’s enamel. If not removed, plaque becomes hard and causes cavities and gingivitis. To fight plaque, limit sugary snacks, brush and floss regularly, and visit a dentist for regular cleanings.

Whether you need to schedule a cleaning with a general dentist, want to learn more about cosmetic dentistry procedures, or are interested in dental implant cost, University Associates in Dentistry is here for you. Find out more about our services or talk to a dentist directly by calling our Chicago location at (312) 704-5511.

Fixing Chipped Teeth

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Chipped Tooth in Chicago

A chipped tooth may be minor, but it can still cause dental complications. If you have received an oral or facial injury from any sports activities, be sure to contact your dentist. It is always best to be proactive and prevent further damage.

Your dentist can assess the amount of damage to your tooth and decide whether it needs to be fixed. He or she will also be able to identify further dental problems associated with the crack. In the worst case, a broken tooth can cause nerve exposure, which can be quite painful and lead to more complications. For these reasons, it is important to see your dentist for a damaged tooth. The severity of a chipped tooth can vary, as well as the treatment for such. Your dentist can repair a small chip with a filling or bonding, which is a tooth-colored resin that fills in the chipped space to look like your natural tooth.

The dentists at University Associates in Dentistry of Chicago specialize in cosmetic dentistry, as well as sports dentistry. We are prepared to restore any damage your teeth may sustain. For more information about our services, please call 312-704-5511 or visit us online.

Foods that Promote Oral Health

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Foods for Dental Health Diet is a very important factor in dental health . When you eat, the bacteria inside your mouth break sugars and carbohydrates down into acids. These acids can damage tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. You can minimize your exposure to these acids by making careful choices of what to eat and drink.

Good Food and Drink Options
Dairy products, meat, and nuts can all promote dental health. These foods contain calcium and phosphorus, which can remineralize teeth, helping to repair tooth enamel. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are also beneficial to teeth . Their high water content dilutes their natural sugars. Their consumption also encourages salivation. Saliva can rinse away both food remains and acid. Excellent beverage choices include water, milk, and unsweetened tea.

Less Advisable Food Choices
For optimum dental health, limit your consumption of foods such as candy, sweets of all kinds, baked goods, French fries, bananas, raisins, and dried fruit. Foods with a high sugar content provide nourishment for acid-forming bacteria in the mouth. The sugars can therefore be readily converted into damaging acids. Sweet and sticky foods are particularly inadvisable, as they often adhere to the surfaces of teeth. The consumption of sugary drinks should also be minimized. In particular, avoid sipping soft drinks at frequent intervals throughout the day to minimize the amount of time teeth are exposed to acids.

Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
To protect your teeth, you should avoid all sugars, not just sucrose or table sugar. Honey, molasses, fructose, rice syrup and most sweeteners ending in -ose are all potentially damaging to teeth. Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame, and sorbitol taste sweet, but are not acid-forming.

Here at University Associates in Dentistry , we provide a wide range of dental services. If you are looking for a dentist in Chicago, visit our website, or call us at (312) 704-5511 to find out more about how we can help you care for your teeth.

What is Dental Contouring?

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If you’re interested in getting your smile and self-confidence back, dental contouring may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Dental contouring is also referred to as tooth reshaping or enameloplasty and is used to correct minor imperfections including slightly misshapen teeth. Keep reading to learn more about this procedure and whether or not it’s right for you.

The procedure starts by your dentist using tools to gently remove some of the enamel from your teeth which allows the shape or length to be changed. After the contouring takes place, your teeth are polished to make them look amazing. After that, your smile will be as good as new!

Unlike some procedures, dental contouring provides immediate results that you can see in the mirror from day one. Most often, the procedure takes about a half an hour or less which means you’re in and out in no time at all. There is no pain associated with dental contouring because your enamel contains no nerves. Dental contouring is permanent, so you won’t have to get the procedure performed again in the future.

Once the procedure has been performed, you’ll need to be extra careful about protecting your remaining enamel. While dental contouring is a great option for many people, it’s only used to repair minor cosmetic issues, so larger problems will require other forms of treatment. Removing imperfections in your teeth through dental contouring can also lower your risk of tooth decay and gum disease by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.

Dental contouring is a great way to improve your smile. It’s quick and effective as well as painless, so there aren’t many reasons not to consider it. If you’re interested in dental contouring in Chicago, contact University Associates in Dentistry by calling (312) 704-5511. We would be happy to provide you with a free initial consultation to find out if dental contouring is right for you.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

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No one wants cavities, but do you know exactly what they are, how you get them, and how you can avoid them? Cavities are caused by tooth decay, or damage to your tooth. That tooth decay impacts both the outer coating called enamel and the inner layer called dentin. Tooth decay occurs when foods stay on your teeth. Your mouth uses bacteria to turn those foods into acids, and those acids combined with the bacteria, food debris, and your saliva form plaque. That plaque clings to your teeth and dissolves their enamel which creates holes which we call cavities.

Now that you know what cavities are and how they form, let’s take a look at who gets cavities and how they can be avoided. It’s not true that only children get cavities. They also happen to older adults including seniors. You might be able to tell that you have cavities because of the pain they cause, but that’s not always the case.

The only way to know if you have cavities for sure is to get regular dental checkups. Your dentist will examine your teeth to see if you do have any cavities, and then will begin treatment if you do. Your dentist will most likely remove the decayed part of your tooth using a drill. The hole will then be filled in with a filling. Crowns can also be used for more advanced tooth decay. A root canal may be needed in certain circumstances.

Once you have a cavity, it needs to be treated, but how can you reduce your chances of getting one in the first place? A common misconception is that cavities only occur when you eat too many sweets and don’t brush your teeth enough. It’s true that sugar can eat away at your teeth a little quicker than more healthy foods, but it’s not the only culprit. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is important, but when it comes to preventing cavities, flossing is more important. That’s because flossing gets rid of those tiny food particles in between your teeth that lead to cavities.

Some of the best ways to prevent cavities from forming are brushing, flossing, not overdoing it with sugar consumption, and getting regular dental checkups. To schedule that all-important appointment with University Associates in Dentistry, give us a call today at (312) 704-5511.

Examining the Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

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When you think of cosmetic dentistry, what comes to mind? Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic procedure, but there are several other popular procedures, including dental implants, porcelain veneers and crowns, shaping, and bonding, that can improve your smile and your overall look. Cosmetic dentistry is versatile and can correct various flaws such as stains, misshapen or small teeth, chips, cracks, gapped teeth, and even ragged gum looks. Beyond making you look better, though, cosmetic dentistry offers many benefits.

  • Cosmetic dentistry can boost your confidence. You’ll look younger and more attractive after your cosmetic dental procedure, and that can help you to feel more confident when interacting with others. This can make it easier to succeed in both social and business situations.
  • Your career prospects may improve after cosmetic dentistry. A beautiful smile makes a strong first impression, allowing you to put your best foot forward in every situation. You may not rely on your looks to advance in your career, but when you look better and feel more confident, you’re more likely to take on greater responsibility and show leadership skills. No matter what your field may be, a confident demeanor can help you in all aspects as you move forward.
  • Some cosmetic dentistry procedures can strengthen your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is performed in a way that doesn’t just improve the appearance of your teeth, but can actually make them stronger, by reinforcing weak spots or hairline fractures. Stronger teeth make it easier to eat your favorite foods and are less likely to be vulnerable to sensitivity and decay.
  • Caring for your teeth can boost your overall health. Fixing a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth doesn’t just restore your smile, it also protects against further dental damage. A healthy mouth reduces your risk of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, and pancreatic and oral cancer. Poor oral health can cause headaches and joint pain, but having your smile perfected through cosmetic dentistry gives you added incentive to care for that smile and improve your health.

If you’re ready to improve your life with cosmetic dentistry, it’s time to make an appointment at University Associates in Dentistry. Under the direction of Dr. Martin Marcus and Dr. Russell Baer, Dr Stuart Schelkopf and Dr Lauren Zalay, the UAD dental team provides outstanding restorative aesthetic dentistry that can make a big difference in the way you look and feel. You can call (312) 704-5511 to make a dental appointment in Chicago, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.


What to Expect During the Extraction Process

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Sometimes, saving a tooth through restoration is not efficient, and instead, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. This is usually done if a tooth has damage or decay that is too extensive to be fixed by a filling or root canal. If your dentist has recommended that you have a tooth extraction, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect. Fortunately, the process is usually faster and easier than many patients expect. Here is what you need to know.

During an extraction, you will receive anesthesia to ensure the procedure is as painless as possible. In some cases, this may be with the use of a local anesthetic, and in other cases, you may receive a sedative with anesthesia or even general anesthesia. The tooth will be removed and the space will be closed with stitches. As you recover, your dentist will recommend avoiding smoking, using straws, and anything else that causes suction, which could otherwise loosen the blood clot and cause infection.

After your tooth extraction, your dentist at University Associates in Dentistry in Chicago can discuss restoration options, like a dental implant. To make an appointment, call our office today at (312) 704-5511.

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