Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Is Pericoronitis?

Wisdom teeth do not always emerge (erupt) into the mouth properly because there may not be enough room in the mouth for them to fit. Sometimes, a part of the tooth may remain covered by a flap of gum. Food particles and bacteria can get trapped under this flap and cause a mild irritation, a low-grade infection called pericoronitis and swelling. This usually happens with the lower wisdom teeth.

What You Can Do

You cannot treat pericoronitis at home. Do not use warm compresses on your face. If you recognize the symptoms, get treatment right away. The symptoms may include:
  • A bad taste in the mouth — This often happens when there's an infection.
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Pain in the area around your back teeth — Pericoronitis usually occurs around the wisdom teeth.
  • Swelling behind the very back teeth — If you have pericoronitis, you'll notice that the gum tissue in the back of your mouth is swollen. This swelling may not allow you to bite comfortably without pinching the swollen tissues between your teeth.
  • Not being able to open your mouth fully

What Your Dentist Will Do

Pericoronitis can be tricky to treat because the overlying flap in the tissue won't go away until the wisdom tooth fully emerges naturally — which is unlikely to happen — or is removed by an oral surgeon. 
Your dentist, however, may try to treat the problem without extensive procedures. He or she will clean the area thoroughly to remove damaged tissue or pus. If the area is infected, you'll be given oral antibiotics as well.
Your dentist will tell you how to keep the area clean, which is the best way to prevent the problem from coming back. You will have to brush and floss every day and also rinse your mouth with water several times a day. This will help to prevent food particles from building up in the area.
If the condition returns, your dentist probably will send you to an oral surgeon, who will remove the tooth. Once the tooth is out, you should not have the problem again. If the problem is caused by an upper wisdom tooth biting the gum covering a lower wisdom tooth, the upper one may be removed first.
Article Source: Colgate
If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Soda or Pop? It's Teeth Trouble By Any Name

It's called "pop" in the Midwest and most of Canada. It's "soda" in the Northeast. And it goes by a well-known brand name in much of the South.
People across North America use different words to identify a sugary, carbonated soft drink. But however they say it, they're talking about something that can cause serious oral health problems.
Soft drinks have emerged as one of the most significant dietary sources of tooth decay, affecting people of all ages. Acids and acidic sugar byproducts in soft drinks soften tooth enamel, contributing to the formation of cavities. In extreme cases, softer enamel combined with improper brushing, grinding of the teeth or other conditions can lead to tooth loss.
Sugar-free drinks, which account for only 14 percent of all soft drink consumption, are less harmful.1 However, they are acidic and potentially can still cause problems.

We're Drinking More and More

Soft drink consumption in the United States has increased dramatically across all demographic groups, especially among children and teenagers. The problem is so severe that health authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have begun sounding the alarm about the dangers.
How many school age children drink soft drinks? Estimates range from one in two to more than four in five consuming at least one soft drink a day. At least one in five kids consumes a minimum of four servings a day.2
Some teenagers drink as many as 12 soft drinks a day3.
Larger serving sizes make the problem worse. From 6.5 ounces in the 1950s, the typical soft drink had grown to up to 20 ounces by the 1990s.
Children and adolescents aren't the only people at risk. Long-term consumption of soft drinks has a cumulative effect on tooth enamel. As people live longer, more will be likely to experience problems.

What to Do

Children, adolescents and adults can all benefit from reducing the number of soft drinks they consume, as well as from available oral care therapies. Here are some steps you can take:
  • Substitute different drinks: Stock the refrigerator with beverages containing less sugar and acid such as water, milk and 100 percent fruit juice. Drink them yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
  • Rinse with water: After consuming a soft drink, flush your mouth with water to remove vestiges of the drink that can prolong exposure of tooth enamel to acids.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse: Fluoride reduces cavities and strengthens tooth enamel, so brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste such as Colgate® Total®. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash also can help. Your dentist can recommend an over-the-counter mouthwash or prescribe a stronger one depending on the severity of the condition. He or she also can prescribe a higher fluoride toothpaste.
  • Get professionally applied fluoride treatment: Your dental hygienist can apply fluoride in the form of a foam, gel or rinse.
Soft drinks are hard on your teeth. By reducing the amount you drink, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking help from your dentist and hygienist, you can counteract their effect and enjoy better oral health.

Article Source: Colgate

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Importance of Childhood Oral Hygiene & the Role of Parents

The foundation for healthy permanent teeth in children and teenagers is laid during the first years of life. Poor diet, poor habits of food intake and inadequate toothbrushing habits during the first 2 years of life have been shown in several studies to be related to tooth decay in children. The development of caries in primary teeth further increases the risk of developing caries in new permanent teeth.
Therefore it is essential to establish a proper oral hygiene routine early in life to help ensure the development of strong and healthy teeth. Parents, as consistent role models, are key for setting a daily routine and to making their children understand the importance of oral hygiene. Toothbrushing should be presented as a habit and an integral part of the daily hygiene routine. Children are very sensitive to social stimuli such as praise and affection, and learn best by imitating their parents. Physiological and mental development affects the oral care of children.

Importance of the primary dentition

Primary teeth start to erupt in children from the age of six months. The primary dentition is complete by approximately two and a half years of age. The enamel of primary teeth is less densely mineralized than the enamel of permanent teeth, making them particularly susceptible to caries. Primary teeth are essential tools, both for chewing and learning to talk. They help to break up food into small pieces, thereby ensuring efficient digestion. A full set of teeth is an essential prerequisite in learning correct pronunciation. Primary teeth also play a vital role in the proper alignment and spacing of permanent teeth; it is therefore imperative that they are well cared for and preserved until normal ex-foliation takes place. Establishing a proper oral care routine early on in life sets the foundation for the development of healthy and strong permanent teeth. In addition to good oral hygiene, diet also plays a key role in keeping teeth healthy. In this respect it is not only the quantity of sugar that is important, but also the frequency of consumption. As much as possible, children should be limited in the amount of sweets between meals, especially in the evening or at night.

New permanent teeth

Although permanent teeth are already partly formed in children aged 0 to 3 years, eruption only occurs later in life (from about 6 years on) when the 32 permanent teeth (16 in the upper and 16 in the lower jaw) replace the 20 primary teeth. During this time root resorption and crown shedding of primary teeth take place. With the eruption of the first permanent teeth (from about 6 years on), the mouth contains a mixture of both primary and permanent teeth, which puts children at increased risk of caries. Often the eruption of this permanent tooth is not realized neither by the child nor by the parents, because it is positioned behind the last primary molar and is not replacing any primary tooth. Although enamel is fully formed at eruption the surface remains porous and is inadequately mineralized. Subsequently, a secondary mineralization occurs (second maturation), in which ions from the oral cavity penetrate hydroxyapatite and increase the resistance of the enamel against caries. Furthermore, any primary teeth with caries form reservoirs of bacteria, which can easily attack the immature enamel of the new permanent teeth. During the eruption, the occlusal surfaces of the new permanent teeth are on a lower level than the primary teeth. Toothbrushing becomes more difficult than before, given the coexistence of loose primary teeth, gaps and newly erupting permanent teeth. The jaw is also growing significantly, making space for more teeth. The cleaning of the narrower interdental spaces becomes more important with increasing numbers of permanent teeth.

Role of Parents

Parents have a key role in helping their children to develop a proper oral hygiene routine in the first years of their life. Parents should lead and supervise their children’s toothbrushing approximately for the first 12 years, until motor and mental functions allow the child to routinely perform a proper toothbrushing technique alone. After brushing the teeth for their children for the first 2 years of life, parents will have to use playful motivation to encourage their children to brush their own teeth from about 3 years onwards – the time when children want to brush their teeth alone. Each time the child has finished brushing, parents should re-brush the hard-to-clean areas. At the age of around 6 years, children are able to brush their teeth using a proper brushing technique. In this phase, parents have to continue supervising the regular brushing efforts of their children. The special anatomical situation of changing dentition makes it indispensable that parents still need to help their children in the daily toothbrushing task until eruption of the second molar (around the age of 12).
Development stages of children from the age 0-12
As soon as the first primary teeth erupt into the oral cavity, parents should begin brushing their children’s teeth. From the age of two years, teeth should be brushed twice daily with smaller than a pea-size amount of children’s toothpaste. Small children tend to swallow a large amount of toothpaste, so that there is a risk of developing dental fluorosis. Supervised application of the amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush is important. Due to the risk of fluorosis, the fluoride content of toothpaste for children up to the age of 5–7 years was reduced in most European countries (250 ppm to 750 ppm). Beginning with the eruption of the new permanent teeth, children should be switched from a low fluoride containing children’s toothpaste to a higher fluoride containing toothpaste (1000 ppm to 1500 ppm). This ensures the best caries protection
as possible for their new permanent teeth.

Toothpaste Use

Toothpaste with an age adapted content of fluoride is recommended

Primary teeth should be brushed by parents twice a day from the first tooth onwards. Parents should re-brush thoroughly after the child has brushed first. From the age of 6 years children have the ability to brush their teeth alone twice daily. However, parents must supervise the toothbrushing (until the age of 12) and check on the condition of the toothbrush. A worn toothbrush is also less effective at cleaning teeth.

Article Source: Colgate

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dental Abscesses

What Is It?

An abscess is a limited area of pus formed as a result of a bacterial infection. The body's immune system reacts to the infection, and sends white blood cells to the area to try to get rid of the bacteria. Pus is a mixture of live and dead white blood cells, enzymes and parts of destroyed cells and tissues. When there is no way for pus to drain, it forms an abscess.
Abscesses can form in almost every part of the body. In the mouth, abscesses form in gum tissue or in the roots of teeth and in the surrounding areas of the tooth. They can be caused by trauma (food or debris embedded deep in the gum), by bacteria that enters through a cavity and gets into the dental pulp, or from a deep periodontal pocket. People with a lowered resistance to infection are at increased risk of developing an abscess. At first, the abscess may cause a toothache, which can be severe. The tooth's nerve can become infected and the infection can burrow through to the gum, forming a visible boil that can rupture in the mouth. Once the abscess ruptures, the pain often decreases significantly, but dental treatment is still necessary. If the abscess does not drain, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck and can become life threatening.


The main symptom is persistent, throbbing pain. At first, the tooth will be sensitive to heat and pressure while chewing. Later, you may develop a fever. Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or in the neck can be tender and you may feel pain in the sinus area. If the abscess ruptures, a sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting fluid will spill into the mouth. 


Usually, your dentist can diagnose a tooth abscess by examining your mouth. He or she may push on the swollen area of the gum and do a pulp test on the affected tooth to see if it is still alive. A pulp test can involve:
  • Gentle tapping (percussion) on the tooth
  • Temperature testing
  • Using an electric tester on the tooth
Your dentist also may take an X-ray to look for bone erosion around the tip of the tooth's root.

Expected Duration

Once the abscess is drained, most symptoms go away immediately or within a few days, but the abscess will not be cured unless the cause is eliminated.


Good oral hygiene can help prevent abscesses by keeping teeth and gums free of food and debris. Regular dental checkups are also important. If you have a weakened immune system because of medication or another condition, let your dentist know before every appointment. You may receive antibiotics before the appointment to reduce the risk of infection.


Saving an abscessed tooth begins with draining the infection, which usually relieves pain and removes much of the infection. Root canal treatment may be necessary and should be started as soon as possible to remove diseased tissue.
If the abscess involves gum tissue, your dentist may suggest that you rinse with warm salt water (1/8 of a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) a few times a day for several days. You may be prescribed antibiotics to help make sure the infection has been eliminated. Have dental X-rays performed six months later to confirm if healthy bone and tissue are filling the area of the abscess. If the bone does not fill in after the treatment, you may need to visit a periodontist who can surgically reshape the gum so that it is easier to keep clean, or an endodontist who can surgically remove a persistent abscess.

When To Call A Professional

If you have a toothache or notice evidence of an abscess on your gum, visit your dentist. Even if the abscess drains and the pain decreases, a visit to the dentist for complete treatment is crucial.
Article Source: Colgate

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Take The Bad Breath Assessment At Colgate

Are you worried about bad breath? Take the Bad Breath Assessment at Colgate to see if you unknowingly add to your condition or if the bad breath you suffer from is indicative of something else. Click on the image below to be redirected to the short quiz. 

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry