What You Need to Know About Cavities

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A lot of oral health issues start off slowly and blossom into much more serious problems. Knowing about cavities helps you do what you can to avoid them so you can maintain healthy and beautiful teeth. Use this guide to learn more about cavities:

A Cavity forms Slowly

A cavity is actually a small hole that develops in a tooth. They are often called decay or caries. Cavities start to develop when bacteria in the mouth mix with acid and start to wear down the enamel on the teeth. Without treatment, cavities will continue to grow and might lead to an infection or tooth loss.

A Cavity Has a Range of Symptoms

When a cavity first develops, you might not even notice anything strange in your mouth. Once it becomes bigger, though, it might cause a toothache or severe sensitivity . It might also cause pain when you eat. Sometimes you can see small holes or brown or black stains on the surface of your teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to see if you need a filling.

You Can Prevent a Cavity

Improving your oral hygiene routine can help you avoid issues with cavities. You should brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush to dislodge food and bacteria that might be stuck on your teeth. You should floss once a day to get rid of food that might be stuck between the tooth and the gums. Visit your dentist regularly to get deeper cleanings and checkups that help you avoid cavities.

University Associates in Dentistry is one of the best dental offices in Chicago. We help you with general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry to ensure that you have the healthiest, most attractive teeth possible. From Invisalign to sleep apnea treatment, we help find the cause of your problems so we can bring you the proper treatment. For more information on our services, visit us online or call (888) 481-6598.

How to Rebuild Your Gut Health After Taking Antibiotics

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Antibiotics are a great way to eliminate certain infections, but they do have a downside. After taking antibiotics, many people experience stomach aches. What’s even worse is that just taking one round of antibiotics can destroy your gut flora, or healthy bacteria, for one to two years. Luckily there are plenty of foods you can eat during and after taking antibiotics to rebuild your gut health.

Food-Based Probiotics

Probiotics work to restore the good gut bacteria that is eliminated by the use of antibiotics. You can take advantage of Activia and other similar yogurt products, although they don’t provide a high enough dosage of probiotics. You can purchase live organism probiotics in the refrigerated section of a healthy grocery store such as Sprouts or Trader Joe’s. Other products to try include Kombucha tea and goat’s milk kefir.

Fermented Foods

In addition to food-based probiotics, there are plenty of fermented foods that you can eat to restore your healthy gut bacteria after taking antibiotics. The most popular fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled vegetables. Not everyone enjoys these foods, so you can opt to take what are called “gut shots” which will be located in the same refrigerated section of your local healthy grocery store.


In addition to foods, there are plenty of supplements to help you restore your healthy gut flora after needing to take a round of antibiotics. Some efficient supplements include L-Glutamine, milk thistle (taken as a tea or pill), and collagen.

Other Foods

Bone broths are a great way to restore your healthy gut bacteria and there are some delicious recipes available online. You can also try more natural antibiotics including oregano oil. Eating your vegetables is always recommended, and they can also help you out by restoring healthy gut bacteria. Starches and high-fiber foods are also good to eat. In addition to adding to your diet, you should also restrict certain foods including those high in sugar as well as grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

At University Associates in Dentistry, we sometimes prescribe antibiotics to patients who are in pain from an infection. We want you to be informed about how to properly recover from a round of these antibiotics by actively restoring your healthy gut bacteria. We’re here for all your dental needs, so give us a call today at (312) 704-5511 to schedule an appointment.

What Exactly is in Toothpaste?

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People have been finding ways to clean their teeth for as long as they’ve had teeth, but toothpaste as we know it is a relatively new innovation. If you’re like most people, you probably have a favorite brand of toothpaste, but it’s also probable that you’ve never given too much thought as to what’s in it. Even if you have taken time to read the ingredients on the label, you may not know what those ingredients are. Watch this video, and you’ll get an overview of what’s in the toothpaste you use.

The video does a great job at explaining what’s in toothpaste, and even offers a recipe for homemade toothpaste, but there are a few things it doesn’t address. One important note about toothpaste is that it is possible to be allergic to it. Toothpaste includes many ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, including flavorings, preservatives, and even fluoride. If you’re allergic, you might experience mouth swelling, canker sores, cracking at the corners of the mouth, dry, chapped lips, gum irritation, or an upset stomach. You may also experience a rash or peeling skin around the mouth, or lips that are scaly and itchy. A toothpaste allergy can be confirmed by a patch test, so if you think you may be allergic, talk to your doctor.

If you are allergic to something found in toothpaste, it’s good to identify the exact allergen so that you can seek out a toothpaste that doesn’t contain that particular ingredient. You might have better luck with a different flavor of toothpaste, or a toothpaste from a brand that specializes in natural products. Of course you can also make your own toothpaste, using ingredients such as coconut oil and baking soda.

The right toothpaste can help keep your mouth healthy, and so can regular dental checkups. At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, ask your dentist about the best type of toothpaste for you.  You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.


What are some Causes of Oral Cancer?

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How much do you know about oral cancer? Oral cancers make up about 85 percent of a group of cancers referred to as head and neck cancer and affect about 53,000 Americans annually. Oral or oropharyngeal cancer is very serious, causing over 9.7050 deaths each year. How can you protect yourself against oral cancer? It helps to understand the causes of oral cancer so that you can learn how to reduce your risk.

Oral cancer begins in the mouth, or oral cavity, which includes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, most of the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the bottom of the mouth. It can also develop in the oropharynx, the part of the throat that’s just behind the moth. When this is the location where cancer occurs, it’s called oropharyngeal cancer, and can affect the back of the tongue, the back of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, and the upper throat.

There are several risk factors that come into play with oral cancer. Two-thirds of people with oral cancer are over age 55, and men are twice as likely to get it as women are. Some genetic mutations cause different syndromes in the body and raise the risk of oral cancer. These mutations include Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital, a genetically linked syndrome that also causes aplastic anemia. Graft vs host disease increases your risk of oral cancer, as does taking immune-suppressing medications. These factors may be beyond your control, but there are steps you can take to reduce other risk factors.

  • Ultraviolet light: People who work outdoors, visit tanning beds, or have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop cancers of the lip. Using lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect you, but it’s also smart to limit your sun exposure and avoid spending time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Nutrition: Research has shown a link between a diet that’s low in fruits and vegetables and an increase in the risk of oral cancer. Eating a diet full of nutrient-dense foods can help reduce your risk.
  • Tobacco: Around 80 percent of people who have oral cancers are tobacco users. The level of risk depends on the frequency and duration of tobacco use, and different types of tobacco affect different parts of the mouth. Smoking can cause cancer of the mouth or throat, while oral tobacco products like chewing tobacco and snuff can lead to cancer in the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. If you don’t smoke or chew tobacco, don’t start. If you do smoke, ask your doctor if you need help quitting.
  • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers make up about 70 percent of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer. For people who smoke and drink heavily, the risk of oral cancer can be as high as 100 percent more than the risk for people who don’t drink or smoke. To reduce your risk, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks per day.

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of oral cancer, and so can regular dental checkups. At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, ask your dentist to check your mouth for signs of dental cancer, and to discuss your risk.  You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

A Look at the Pros and Cons of Porcelain Veneers

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Porcelain veneers are a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment, thanks to the dramatic way they can change the appearance of your smile. However, like most treatments, there are pros and cons to consider before you decide if veneers are the right solution for you. Your dentist can help you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages as you choose the right cosmetic dentistry treatment to get the smile you want. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of porcelain veneers.


Pro: Natural Appearance

Your dentist can make your veneers match the color, size, and shape of your natural teeth, so that once they are in place, they blend into your smile seamlessly. No one will know you have veneers unless you tell them, which is appealing to people who want to fix something about the appearance of their smile but who don’t want the change to be so dramatic that everyone can tell that they had work done.


Con: Tooth Reduction

To make space in your mouth for your veneers, your dentist will have to remove some of the surfaces of the teeth being treated. Although the reduction is minimal, it is permanent, so you will need veneers for the rest of your life. You may also experience some tooth sensitivity after getting veneers for this reason.


Pros: Durable

Porcelain veneers are extremely strong and long-lasting. They are resistant to stains, which means that they won’t become dull and yellowed over time. As long as you brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist for checkups regularly, your veneers should last at least 10 or 15 years, and in many cases, much longer. If you grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard when you sleep to prevent damage to your veneers.


The best way to know if porcelain veneers are right for you is to schedule a consultation at University Associates in Dentistry. Our dentists in Chicago offer a range of cosmetic treatments and can help you find the right solution for your needs. Make your appointment today by calling (312) 704-5511.

Why You Should Discuss Your Sleep Quality with Your Dentist

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If you spend your nights tossing and turning, or if you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all, it may not immediately cross your mind to call your dentist—but you should. Dentists are on the forefront of treating an extremely common and dangerous sleep disease called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea could be to blame for your fatigue and restless nights, and your dentist has the tools you need to overcome your condition and get some much-needed rest. Here is what you need to know.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in your neck obstructs your airway while you are sleeping. As a result, you can’t get any oxygen. You will wake up, gasp for air, and then fall back to sleep in quick succession in episodes called apneas. Apneas can occur hundreds of time per night, and although you may not be aware that they are happening, they can significantly disrupt your ability to get restful sleep. In addition to disturbing your sleep, sleep apnea increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even injuries from car accidents that are linked to fatigued driving.

How do you know if you have sleep apnea?

Often, people don’t know that they have sleep apnea until a partner complains about their snoring or tells them that they seem to be gasping for air when asleep. In other instances, you may visit your doctor to complain about unexplained fatigue, and he or she may order a sleep study that identifies your sleep apnea.

How can a dentist help?

CPAP machines are a common treatment for sleep apnea. They involve a mask that you wear while sleeping that uses forced air to keep your airway open. Although they can be effective, many people cannot tolerate them. Your dentist can offer an alternative with oral appliance therapy. This treatment involves wearing a device similar to a night guard that is custom-made for your mouth. It shifts your jaw forward gently, so your airway stays open. It is an effective alternative to CPAPs and a useful conjunctive treatment if you have severe sleep apnea.

Take the first step to a better night of sleep with the help of your dentist at University Associates in Dentistry. To schedule a consultation for sleep apnea treatment in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

Are You Missing Several Teeth? Here’s a Look at Your Treatment Options

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If you have several missing teeth, you may think that dentures and bridges are your only treatment option, but in reality, dental implants could be the right solution for you. Your dentist can help you weigh the pros and cons of different treatments and pick the best one for your needs. Here is a look at some of the options for restoring your smile when you are missing multiple teeth.


Removable Dentures

For many years, removable dentures were the only option for people with several missing teeth. Dentures consist of a row of artificial teeth site on a base designed to mimic gum tissue. They sit on top of your gums to create the impression of natural teeth. Dentures are a cost-effective choice, but they also have several disadvantages. They have to be removed for cleaning, they can slip when you are eating and talking, and your jaw and gums will shrink, causing a poor fit and giving your face a sunken appearance.


Dental Bridges

If your missing teeth are in a row, a dental bridge is an option for treatment. Bridges are usually supported by the natural teeth on either side of the appliance, which can use those teeth to become weaker. Ultimately, you can lose those teeth as well. Although bridges are more stable than full, removable dentures, their disadvantages have seen them fall out of favor with dentists.


Dental-Implant Supported Bridge

The gold standard in replacing multiple missing teeth is a dental implant-supported bridge. This bridge consists of a row of artificial teeth than that are supported on each end with a dental implant. The screw portion of the implant fuses with the bone in your jaw so that the bridge looks and functions like your natural teeth. There are no special diet or cleaning techniques required, and your natural teeth won’t be compromised since the implant fully supports the bridge.


Don’t let missing teeth make you uncomfortable about showing your smile. Dental implants from University Associates in Dentistry will restore your confidence without the downside of other restorations. To make an appointment with a dentist in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

How Long Will Your Dental Crown Last?

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When you get a dental crown or any dental restoration, like a dental implant, one of your first questions may be how long you can expect your restoration to last. Some restorations can last indefinitely, depending on the aftercare procedures that you follow.


Watch this video to learn about the lifespan of dental restorations, including crowns, veneers, and implants, and the things you can do to extend their lives. Practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly are essential for preserving your treatment.


If you have missing teeth or tooth damage, make an appointment at University Associates in Dentistry to find out what treatments are available to you. To schedule a dental consultation in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

Busting Myths about Digital X-Rays

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Most people are used to getting x-rays when they see the dentist, but digital x-rays are not your grandparents’ imaging. When using digital x-rays, your dentist can get a clearer picture of what is happening in your mouth instantly, without waiting for photos to develop. They will also know right away if an image is not clear, so that it can be taken again immediately. With traditional x-rays, dentists don’t know if their pictures are adequate until after they have been developed. Still, myths about digital x-rays make some patients wary. Here is the truth behind some of these common misconceptions.

Myth: Digital x-rays are more uncomfortable than traditional x-rays.

The process of getting digital x-rays performed is virtually identical to the process you’re used to with traditional x-rays, except that you will be able to see the images pop up on a screen immediately. The sensor used in the mouth for digital x-rays is thinner and smaller than the one used for traditional x-rays, and it has rounded edges. If you notice any difference, it may actually be that you find digital x-rays to be more comfortable.

Myth: Digital x-rays produce lower quality images than film x-rays.

Dentists have adopted digital x-rays because they produce better images, not worse ones. Through digital imaging, dentists can zoom in on problem areas and enhance different parts of an image for a better view of different parts of your mouth. This means digital x-rays are significantly more useful for your dentist than film.

Myth: Digital x-rays are more expensive for me.

For dentists, digital x-rays save money, since they don’t need to lose treatment time to the developing process, nor do they have to spend money on a dark room and chemicals for developing film. This savings is something that patients get to enjoy as well. Although every insurance plan is different, there is no reason to think that digital x-rays are priced at a premium.

At University Associates in Dentistry, we are committed to harnessing the very latest technologies to improve care with everything from general dentistry to dental implants. To learn more about our dentists in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

Restore Your Smile with All-on-4 Implants

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If you have missing teeth, dental implants are a popular way to restore your smile and reclaim your confidence. Although dental implants used to involve multiple appointments and many months of care before they were fully functional, now you can get a new smile in a single day with All-on-4 implants. This revolutionary solution for people with multiple missing teeth delivers fast, natural results that you’ll love to show off.

All-on-4 implants work using only four implant posts to secure an entire row of teeth. Your dentist can strategically place the posts where you are missing teeth and then attach a set of prosthetic crowns to the posts. Over time, the posts will fuse with the bone in your jaw, so your implants feel, look, and act like natural teeth, without the need for the kind of special care that dentures require.

University Associates in Dentistry provides All-on-4 dental implants in Chicagoland alongside our other general, cosmetic, and restorative treatments. To schedule an appointment for a dental consultation, call (312) 704-5511.

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