Whitening strips and their impact on your dental health

At some pint of your lifetime, teeth will inevitably lose its color and shine. The reasons are varied and are at times unavoidable too. Will it be possible for you to refrain yourself from drinking tea, coffee, wine, sauces, berries, dark chocolates etc.? It is in fact practically not feasible to avoid all these foods throughout your life. ‘Age’ is another factor that contributes to gradually turning your teeth yellowish.

The popularity of teeth whitening has therefore gained momentum over the years and is still continuing to do so. Whitening methods available today are numerous in number, ranging from home-made ones to over-the-counter kits to professional bleaching service. Therefore, the decision making is crucial as to which procedure to opt for. There are several factors to be taken into consideration for this, such as:

  • What percentage of the bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide) is being used
  • The amount of time that is required to be invested in order to get the desired results
  • Whether you want to use chemicals on your teeth or go for natural remedies
  • If you can manage time out of work for professional treatments in your dentist’s office

The decision regarding which method to go for truly proves to be tough at times. Apart from time constraints, many are concerned with the side effects of bleaching agents on their teeth. Therefore, in this post, we have made an attempt to elucidate the effects of using the over-the-counter whitening strips on your teeth.

Are whitening strips safe for your oral health?

According to some latest research, the use of these strips has an adverse effect on your teeth. How?

✓ Your teeth are made of three layers:

✓ The outer white enamel layer

✓ The underlying dentin layer that is composed of proteins (namely collagen)

And finally, the pulp in the center. It harbors the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that bind the tooth to our gums.

According to the latest research, the hydrogen peroxide that serves as the active bleaching ingredient in whitening products could be affect the protein-rich dentin layer. The study was conducted by Kelly Keenan, an associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University.

The study…

Human teeth was extracted from cadavers and subjected to whitening strips. The manufacturer instructions were clearly followed and accordingly the strips were left in place for an hour. After this the level of collagen and other proteins present in the dentin of the teeth were tracked. It was found that, as compared to untreated teeth, the level of collagen and proteins were much more fragmented. Even, teeth that had undergone whitening through strips thrice, had still fragmented levels of proteins.

One drawback of the study remains in the fact that those were extracted teeth. Functional human teeth may react differently as they will not be dehydrated or demineralized as the extracted ones. In fact, repeated teeth whitening may give rise to issues like gum irritation, increased tooth sensitivity and such other issues. Hence, although the process has been recommended as safe by the ADA (American Dental Association), you are at best advised to be extra cautious about the overuse of strips.

Go for the safer ones

Since teeth whitening is the most commonly requested service in the dental industry, its ill-effects are not quite evident or proven. Therefore, you may use whitening strips but do use ones with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. This ensures that the product has been evaluated by an independent panel of dentists.

Why Would You Go For An electric Toothbrush in 2019?

Haven’t been able to pull out yourself from the use of traditional toothbrushes yet? This is often the case for most of you out there. To add on, many of us are often told that electric toothbrushes are a sheer waste of money. But the real scenario is far from this. There are a range of virtues that made electric toothbrushes popular in the market over the years. You can also have a discussion with the dentist near you on this issue and find out the fact. We will check out a few of the virtues of an electric toothbrush, in this post.

Here’s what makes electric toothbrushes a real hero:

Research has typically revealed that electric toothbrushes have a slight edge, but that is honestly not huge. Therefore, if we have to count on the virtues of an electric toothbrush, let us check those that give it but a slight edge!

1. Stops You From Brushing Too Hard:

Electric brushes usually come fitted with a pressure-controller. While brushing manually, many of us tend to brush too hard, considering it to be extra effective. But that’s a myth and it could damage your gums and erode your teeth enamel too. Gum injury due to hard brushing may make bleed and recede too. Electric toothbrushes prevent you from the risks of brushing too hard.

2. 2-minute timer:

Electric brushes come with a built-in timer. This prevents you from brushing too long (which harms your gums and enamel) or too less (does not remove plaque from your teeth efficiently). A built-in timer on the contrary, helps you brush for an exactly dentist-recommended 2 minutes.

3. 3-D action technology:

Your electric toothbrush is able to sweep off plaque in the 3-dimensional manner. It actually oscillates, rotates as well as pulsates to break up the plaque first and then sweep wipe it away.

4. Easier for people with limited mobility:

Since the electric toothbrushes do most of the work, they are of maximum help to people with limited mobility. Therefore, individuals with a carpel tunnel syndrome, arthritis & other growth disabilities or defects find it easier to use an electric brush than a manual one.

5. Fun for kids:

Kids may create a lot of trouble while having to brush their teeth. This depends totally upon their mood and the way they are groomed. Parents therefore often find it easier to make their kids brush their teeth using an electric brush. It makes brushing interesting to them! Thus, for kids, electric brushes are more engaging.

Despite all the above-mentioned virtues of an electric toothbrush, why do you think that its use is yet not widespread?
To start with, electric brushes are quite obviously more expensive than the manual ones. The totally disposable ones are a little cheap though. As for the re-usable ones, finding the right replacement brush heads is not always easy and convenient. Your nearest store may not have the right brand.

Besides that, the plug-in versions are not travel-friendly. Neither are the normal ones as you have the headache of charging them! Finally, you may simply not like the vibrating feeling inside your mouth as it often tends to stimulate more saliva within your mouth.


In a recent study, it was found that electric brushes were mostly helpful for people who were using some kind of orthodontic appliances, especially, the traditional braces. Wearing braces actually makes it difficult to clean every nook and corner of your teeth. The electronic toothbrush made this job quite easy and hassle-free.

Although this article was not intended to draw a comparison between manual and electric brushes, yet, it goes without mention that, each has its own virtues. It all depends upon your need and comfort levels. If a product suits these two factors, you should go for it! You can choose to have a word with the dentist near you before switching from a manual one.

Do Root Canal Cause Your Chronic Health Issue?

To consider dental ailments to be not a serious health issue is an err. Medical science has over the ages found numerous interconnections between health hazards and it goes without saying that the number of health complications are always on the rise.

Here Are Few FAQs Which Help You To Understand Better:

  1. Why Would A Root Canal Cause Any Trouble?
  2. What Problems Your Root Canal May Give Rise To?
  3. A Root Canal And Cardiovascular Diseases:
  4. Story of A Throat Cancer Treated With The Removal of A Root Canal Tooth:
  5. Root Canal And Type-2 Diabetes:
  6. Do All Root Canals Pose A Threat To Your Health?
  7. How Can Root Canal Infections Be Treated?

Why would a root canal cause any trouble?

Firstly, root canal is a procedure by which your dentist gets access to the pulp beneath the teeth which is infected and is causing the pain and irritation. The treatment involves removing or rather cleaning the infected pulp by puling it out and re-filling the hollow space with dental fillings. As a result, you must be under the impression that a ‘dead teeth’ can absolutely pose no harm to your overall health! But here is where you are mistaken.

A Netflix documentary bases its storyline on the very fact that there are many health anomalies whose roots can be traced back to an infected tooth in your mouth. But why so?

Basically, even though the pulp of your tooth is completely cleaned out post a RCT (root canal treatment), the micro tubules there continue to harbor some harmful pathogens, which are very difficult to be cleared off totally. Now the waste material emitted by these organisms are toxic. This gives rise to your health hazards, the chronic ones especially. It might be a persistent body ache or a feeling of fatigue almost all day long – whatever it is, dental experts today do not overlook the possibilities of relating a physical illness with your RCT!

What problems your root canal may give rise to?

The bottom line of a root canal is that the treatment has been done but the dead organ – your tooth – remains in your body and may bear serious consequences. There is no good reason to think that a dead tooth will not cause any problem! This is because, teeth are living structures with a normal blood supply from your body.since the nerve endings have been cut, the pain cannot be sensed but infections may well foster underneath the tooth. With nothing to inhibit its nourishment, the infection can easily get circulated in the body’s bloodstream.

Toxins travel through the body’s lymphatic system. And toxins originating in the mouth will travel via this system to organs like your throat and heart affecting those parts!

In order of greater prevalence, ailments that are at a higher risk of being associated with a root canal are:

  1. Heart and Circulatory Disease.
  2. Inflammation in the body like in arthritis and rheumatoidarthritis.
  3. Brain and the Nervous System Diseases.

Root Canal and Cardiovascular Diseases:

There are many medical professionals, internal medicine practitioners and cardiologists who have handled patients suffering from a heart attack, but with the perfect lipids, cholesterol and blood pressure levels! To the utmost bafflement of medical practitioners, these patients are simply believed to have no risk factors other than a sheer bad luck!

Mostly overlooked, one of the main reasons behind such sudden heart attacks could be a root canal that was done in the past. Simple infections, say carries in your teeth has the capability of doubling and tripling your heart ailments. Therefore infection from a root canal site could be even more worse a the tooth is now necrotic and therefore likely to be more toxic.

The story of a throat cancer treated with the removal of a root canal tooth:

In medical history, there have been patients who were diagnosed with later stages of cancer, but the possible cause could not be detected. After careful investigations, in one of the cases, it was found that the cancer site was lying in between two root canal teeth. Once the teeth was fully extracted, and the place treated with ozone, the issue finally healed. Thus, a root canal tooth could be affected to that dire extent, if toxicity creeps in!

A Root Canal and type-2 Diabetes:

Type-2 diabetes is associated with a considerable amount of meatbolic complications. This in turn is linked with the body’s immune system too. A periodontal disease or tooth infection can trigger physiological factors that are evident in type-2 diabetics.

Do all root canals pose a threat to your health?

The answer to this question solely depends upon the immune system of your body. Science holds it that root canals are always infected. The only differentiation lies in the fact that different bodies react to toxins in different ways and some people are inherently constitutionally better off than others. The overall toxic load from the environment also comes into account in this regard.

Repeated research have concluded that almost 100% root canals bear the risk of harboring pathogens internally. Well, even apart from bacterial infection a root canal might irritate your health for a number of other reasons. These include some flaws associated with the RCT procedure undertaken, like:

Toxicity of the Fillings: If the filling material that has been used is made of a toxic substance such as amalgam, it might cause a health issue. Amalgam is a mixture of metals that include mercury. Continuous and chronic exposure to this can trigger allergic reactions in future.

Imperfect Seal: Sealing is a skillful thing to be done. Inadequate or more than sufficient amounts of filling material enhance the chances of bacteria penetrating the seal and giving rise to another infection!

Breaking of instruments: Although rare but interventions sometimes dangerously fall prey to this. While doing the procedure, no unnecessary pressure should be given. This could break instrument parts leaving them at the site or even lead to unwanted lesions in your gums!

Sometimes a developing infection at your root canal site goes undetected in X-ray imaging. It results in serious consequences quite obviously. In such cases a CT scan is effective in showing the right results. Nevertheless, it is costlier!

How can root canal infections be treated?

The best way to keep infections at bay after your tooth has undergone a root canal is to go through a thorough cleaning procedure, that is to say, making the site almost infection free. Extracting a tooth is simply the first step. The real task is cleaning and draining the hollow site.

There are still some micro openings through the gums and jawbone. Therefore, for most dentists today, at this juncture, an ozone gas becomes indispensable. The gas is both permeable and capable of killing infections. The periodontal ligament needs to be removed too, such that the jawbone properly regrows and completely seals the hollow where the tooth was.

Nevertheless, it is completely wrong to assume that proper sanitation would kill 100% germs. This has been proved with the help of radiographic images of even well treated root canals! While the images show bacterial residuals the patient on the other hand remains asymptomatic.

In one of the research that was carried out, a disinfectant named sodium hypochlorite was used to test how much bacteria was retained back after a sterilization process and the results revealed that it was almost 50%!

4 Secret Things About Dental Emergencies Every Parent Should Know

When you are a parent or anyone who is shouldering the responsibility of taking care of a child, keeping yourself well prepared to deal with emergencies only lets you deliver your job more dexterously.

To begin with, a list of the probable 24 hours emergency situations that could attack your child’s dental health, need to be jotted down:

Injured Tooth:

A knocked out tooth or a badly cracked tooth is something that would shock any parent at the very first sight! Especially if your kid is a lot into sports you always tend to remain anxious because accidents may occur any moment!

Well if a permanent tooth of your child gets knocked out, you need to see the urgent care dentist immediately! The best thing you can do immediately after such an accident is finding the fallen out tooth. Try to preserve it, but be careful to handle it by the crown and rinse it carefully if it is dirty. Now you need to visit the dentist after keeping the tooth in a container filled with the child’s saliva or milk. You should not use water at all.

Another way out is to replace the tooth where it came out from. It needs to be held in place with a washcloth until you reach the chamber of your dentist! This in fact is the best alternative to deal with the issue of an accidentally knocked out tooth.

An acute tooth pain:

Although it can happen to anyone and not to kids only, yet, issues concerning kids are always more sensitive. Especially if a toothache goes from bad to worse, it calls for an emergency dental visit. It could be some infection that has gone down to the roots and is about to affect your gums. It could be anything else too!

However, a spontaneous toothache can be soothed with a simple method: a warm water rinse. But if any sort of tooth pain persists, it needs to be addressed immediately. Since majority of toothaches originate from an improper oral care, regular brushing and flossing is the first step to averting these kind of emergencies.

A Broken Dental Appliance:

Dental appliances such as crowns and bridges that are used to restore damaged teeth are prone to several degrees of wear and tear. If these appliances get damaged by any means, they need immediate dental care! This is because the original tooth beneath has to remain protected!

How would you prepare a Dental Emergency Kit?

Since you all have a first aid kit, you might be under the notion that this kit is enough to deal with any kind of emergency that arises. But no, here’s a list of things that would particularly cater to your dental emergency needs. While most of them are in common with your general first aid box, some are out of the box and needs to be collected by you , like:

    • A Fast Acting Pain Reliever.
    • Temporary Adhesive – a crown or a denture adhesive from the drugstore would suffice.
    • A Small Container: When you are collecting pieces of a tooth (or the entire tooth), you’ll need a place to put it in milk or saliva. A container that could be sealed would be perfect!
    • Tweezers: They make collecting small pieces of tooth much easier!
    • A set of clean gauze.

If you are equipped with the above set of information and the essential things at your disposal, you need not be anxious or stressed while your child is out playing in the lawn! Considering the fact that accidents are unforeseen and children hurting themselves are almost inevitable, you can at best stay prepared for an emergency situation rather than unnecessarily suffering from any anxiety!

If you are looking for an emergency dentist surrounding new lenox area, you can reach us today.

Facts That Nobody Told You About Teeth Whitening

Prevention is better than cure

Before stepping into all about teeth whitening tricks and methods, you must be aware of the to-dos that would keep your teeth from losing their color and shine! Normally, teeth can be kept white for a longer duration by sticking to a good oral hygiene. Check out the preventive measures discussed in this post that would help you in holding on to that glistening smile!

Avoid the following, in order to retain a whiter teeth:

  • Addiction to smoking and consumption of other tobacco products
  • Consumption of foods containing tannin such as tea, coffee etc.
  • Using other staining foods like beets, tomato sauce, candies, dark chocolates etc.
  • Excess use of antibiotics that are harmful fro your dental health

Since fortunately, I had never owned a very discolored set of teeth anytime during my childhood or teenage years, I was very curious to know the probable reasons as to why people desire to go for teeth whitening at all and whether the procedures are effective to a good extent.

Certain primary causes that could pacify you to go for a teeth whitening procedure are:

  1. To get rid of smoking effects – Smoking damages the dental health, thus damaging both its color and functionality. To regain the lost attractiveness of their smile, smokers often opt for a whitening treatment.
  2. Get a presentable look – Candidates especially those who are for job interviews and are prepping themselves for an upcoming one to give a boost to their career, turn up at dental offices for such makeovers.
  3. When you have to look your best – Is it a big day approaching for you? Wedding, Graduation or a birthday bash on the cards? Then you certainly need to catch hold of a bright and attention-gaining smile! Teeth whitening is therefore a hot cake during special occasions.
  4. Eradicate Ageing effects – With age, the tooth enamel of an individual, gets damaged. This leads to easier tooth discoloration and growth of plaque and bacteria in your tooth, which in turn pacifies you to take restorative measures.
  5. Cost effective method – Among other cosmetic procedures, teeth whitening is a lesser expensive, lesser time consuming method without much interventions. If achieving better aesthetics is possible with whitening, people usually prefer to go with this rather than opting for procedures like veneers or crowns!

When talking about teeth whitening and its virtues, one must know the best way to go. As teeth whitening is a very common concept, people have a variety of options to choose from. Now that makes arriving at your decision a little more difficult! In-office treatments are always better than the OTC (over-the-counter) whitening strips and gels that are more easily available.

Why is in-office teeth whitening recommended?

Same day Results: Although in-office whitening restoration is costlier than the OTC option, yet, it proves to be better to pay at a time rather than spending again and again for the OTC products in order to achieve the desired results. In office treatments, it is possible to achieve 5 to 8 shades whiter teeth on the very day of your treatment!

Minimal Sensitivity: Incorrect usage of the at-home used whitening kits, may cause sensitivity issues. Moreover, these products cannot be used at any frequency, neither should they come in contact with your gums. These details are difficulty to be kept in mind by a commoner, while using such products at home.

Better Longevity: Whitening treatments that are undergone in dental offices under the supervision of professional dental experts, have proven to yield results that last much more longer than the at-home kits!

Above all, since whitened teeth and a beautiful smile renders enhanced confidence, it raises the overall productivity of an individual. Better confidence leads to better performance and smarter outcomes. Therefore, it is certainly an asset that needs to be preserved well!

Visit our dentist for your oral health consultation.

Adult Dentistry: It’s Never Too Late for Dental Care

Good News for Grown-Ups

“Adulting” can be hard. Between rent, bills, kids, a career, and other responsibilities, it can be tough to make time for yourself. But independence, parenting, fulfilling work, and the wisdom that comes with age can be pretty fantastic, too. So how does your oral healthcare fit into a grown-up lifestyle?

Nelson Ridge Family Dental serves adults from all over New Lenox. Read more for our tips on how to care for your oral health at this particular stage in life.

  • Priorities: You manage a lot on any given day. Brushing your teeth and making a dental appointment may not feel like the most pressing of matters, but you know they are important in the long run—so you do it.
  • Family Life: Many people are more motivated to take care of themselves when good habits easily fit in with family life, and others are looking to you to set a positive example. Whether you are caring for children or aging parents, preventative oral healthcare is more likely to happen when done together as a family.
  • Benefits: If you have a job that provides dental coverage, there’s really no reason not to see the dentist. You should even be able to use paid time off for the appointment. Ever heard of “me time”?
  • Holistic Dentistry: As we get older, we tend to know ourselves better. Holistic medicine is getting more popular as people consider all the ways one part of their health affects another. Keep solid notes on how your whole body and mouth are doing and share the notes with both your doctor and your dentist.

Adult Oral Health Concerns

As grown-ups, we all know that time is not always on our side. As you age, some things are actually hurting your chances of having a healthy mouth and lifestyle. You won’t get yesterday back, so when it comes to starting and maintaining healthy oral care habits, it’s never too late to start implementing healthier habits today.

Here is what you’re up against:

  • Stains: Yellow teeth look old and unhealthy. Avoid or decrease sugar, coffee, red wine, and nicotine to keep your pearly whites actually white. (And if you need a little help, there are plenty of teeth whitening options available.)
  • Enamel: Sugar in soda, juice and desserts threaten your enamel. Enamel is the hard, protective cover on each tooth and it can never be replaced. Sensitive toothpaste can help preserve your enamel.
  • Receding Gums: Brushing too hard, smoking, and simply aging can cause your gums to pull back and reveal more of your tooth. Talk with your dentist if you’re concerned about receding gums.
  • Gum Disease: Nearly half of all Americans over 30 have gum disease. Gum disease can be painful inflammation called gingivitis or advanced gum disease called periodontitis. Bad breath, bone loss, and tooth loss are all potential side effects of severe periodontitis.
  • Pregnancy & Nursing: Oral care is important for pregnant and nursing women. Having children takes a toll on your body and you need to replenish and care for yourself. Gum disease in pregnant women has even been linked to birth defects and labor complications, so it’s worth the time and effort to prevent it.

Adult Preventive Care

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll never grow out of needing to brush your teeth, eat a healthy diet, and visit the dentist. These three habits are the keys to a healthy mouth for people of all ages.

At this age, a lot of people are counting on you, so maintain healthy habits today for the best chance of a healthy mouth later in life. Make an appointment to get a professional cleaning in New Lenox or just to learn more about adult oral health care.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Filling in the Gaps: Restoring Your Smile & Quality of Life

Life is full of unexpected surprises, and while we’d love for all of them to be smile-inducing, that’s not entirely realistic—and there may be many reasons you hide your smile. If you’re hiding your smile because of one or more missing teeth, we want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all.

Whether the cause is tooth decay, gum disease—#1 on the list of reasons, with 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having the most severe form of periodontitis—illness, or injury, there are solutions. Dr. Etchison, Dr. Pycinska, and Dr. Eberhardt at Nelson Ridge Family Dental would like to fill you in on your options, which have expanded and improved over the years thanks to technological advancements and continuing education.

An Ounce of Prevention

You’re probably familiar with the cliché, but in case you’re not, the ending goes: “is worth a pound of cure.” At Nelson Ridge Family Dental, we believe this to be true. We hope to see smiles from all over New Lenox regularly so we can catch problems in their earlier stages and help you avoid the need for more extensive procedures. If tooth decay and/or infection within your tooth’s pulp chamber is caught in time, we might be able to salvage your tooth with a root canal, inlay or onlay, or a crown.

Ye Who Enter Here

If, however, the damage has been done and a tooth needs extraction or has already left the building, you don’t have to abandon all hope. We can either bridge the divide, or implant some pearls of strength and wisdom. If you need to replace more than a few teeth, partial and full dentures are on your list of options as well, and the dentures of today are more comfortable and natural looking than the dentures of decades past.

Let’s Get Back Together

If you’ve got a separation between two or more teeth, a little bit of relationship counseling might be helpful… kidding! What Dr. Etchison, Dr. Pycinska, and Dr. Eberhardt can do is design a dental bridge to restore your smile’s function and beauty.

If the space where your tooth used to be has neighbors, a traditional bridge can be placed using those neighbors, which will be prepared and crowned as anchors. If the gap is in the back of your mouth and has only one tooth for anchoring, what’s called a Cantilever bridge can be crafted and bonded for security. The third type of bridge that can replace a missing tooth is called a Maryland. Maryland bridges have metal wings that are bonded directly to your neighboring teeth for support, without the need for preparing and fitting them with crowns.

Finding the Right Fit

If all or most of your teeth require replacement, dentures are another option—one that has expanded and improved over time. Dr. Etchison, Dr. Pycinska, and Dr. Eberhardt can help New Lenox residents choose which type is best for their case, between conventional, immediate, and overdentures. Going the conventional route means allowing for a healing period before they’re fitted, which can take several months. Immediate dentures can be placed after remaining teeth have been extracted, thanks to measurements being taken and models being created of your mouth and jaw during a preliminary visit. Overdentures are a great option if you have healthy teeth remaining, as they can fit over the top of your tooth roots along with implants, which gives them a more natural feel and appearance. You may experience discomfort during your adjustment period, but we will do all we can to ensure your oral health and function return.

The Long Haul

Whether you’re missing one tooth, a couple of teeth, or all of them, the #1 recommended solution by doctors and patients is dental implants. Their versatility and ability to preserve your jawbone by mimicking your tooth root are unmatched. Dental implants are small posts made of biocompatible titanium that are inserted into your jawbone, fitted with an abutment, and then capped with a beautiful, durable, porcelain crown, bridge, or a full set of dentures. Besides them bearing the closest resemblance physically and aesthetically to your natural teeth, they can also last a lifetime with proper care.

The Final Verdict

The jury is not out when it comes to replacing missing teeth. It’s important not just because the hole they leave can hurt your self-confidence—it can also hurt your oral health. Surrounding teeth may shift and alter your bite, and without that root, your jawbone starts to deteriorate, causing a sunken-in facial appearance. If you’ve been missing one or more teeth for a while, you know it also impacts your diet and the way you speak. Dr. Etchison, Dr. Pycinska, and Dr. Eberhardt are able and would be honored to restore your smile to the healthy, beautiful state you deserve. Contact Nelson Ridge Family Dental today to make an appointment!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Baby Dentistry: Teething & Other Joys

It’s easy to think that baby teeth aren’t that important. They make their grand entrance (however painfully) and leave your baby’s mouth soon thereafter. But your baby’s oral health is very important, both in the present and to set the stage for a lifetime of health. Today Nelson Ridge Family Dental would like to talk about those tiny teeth and how to care for them.

Teething Facts

  1. Teething begins anywhere from 3-9 months and can continue until your child is 3 years old. Every baby is different.
  2. Teeth emerge in a consistent pattern: lower 2 front incisors; upper 2 front incisors and 2 additional lower incisors; first set of molars; canines; then second molars.
  3. One reason we get baby teeth is that our baby mouths aren’t big enough for the size and number of adult teeth we need later in life.
  4. Babies have 20 teeth that fall out. They are then replaced by 32 adult teeth.
  5. Chewing on a cold, wet washcloth, extra snuggles, and a little pain-relieving medicine are certain to help ease the pain of teething.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, teething is not proven to cause sickness like diarrhea, fever, or a runny nose.
  7. Children should see the dentist as soon as their first baby teeth start coming in.

Taking Care of Baby Teeth

  • Breastfeeding: According to a recent study, babies that exclusively breastfed for at least six months have a 72% less chance of developing an improper bite. Breastfeeding also reduces your child’s risk of baby bottle tooth decay and cavities.
  • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Overexposure to sugar in the liquids your baby drinks can cause early tooth decay, which is when the important, hard enamel cover of your teeth breaks down. Enamel never grows back, so it’s very important to protect. Avoid baby tooth decay by only using formula and breast milk in your child’s bottle, not putting honey or sugar on their pacifiers, and not letting them fall asleep drinking from the bottle.
  • Cleaning: “Welcome to earth! Now, let me wash your gums.” It may seem silly, but you’re actually supposed to wash your baby’s gums from the first day they are born. Use a clean washcloth and water, and maintain the habit as all the baby teeth start coming in. Fluoride toothpaste is recommended after your child turns 3. Fluoride-free toothpaste or “training toothpaste” is popular for kids under 3.
  • Thumbs and Pacifiers: Discuss thumb sucking and pacifier use with us. Usually, both are fine until babies become little children. However, they can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay, jaw misalignment, and an improper bite. Consider weaning off either of these habits depending on what your dentist recommends.
  • Insurance for Pediatric Dental Care: Most states cover dental visits for children on governmental support. And most dental offices have flexible payment plans to help everyone prioritize oral health for the whole family. Don’t let finances hold you back from keeping your baby as healthy as possible—feel free to reach out to us, we’re happy to help.

Once your baby’s first tooth has emerged, it’s very important to begin a regular dental care routine. Contact your New Lenox dentists today to make an appointment. We’d love to see your little bundle of joy smile!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Finding Your Oasis: Food & Drinks for Dry Mouth

Xerostomia is the technical term for dry mouth, the condition that results from absent or reduced saliva flow. It is not a disease on its own, but it may be a side effect of medication or radiation treatments. Xerostomia affects about 20% of the elderly population—not because of their age, but due to the increased likelihood of using medication or having radiation therapy that causes dry mouth. The New Lenox dentists of Nelson Ridge Family Dental are here to discuss some foods and beverages to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.

Food & Beverages that Help Dry Mouth

8-12 glasses of water per day is ideal to keep saliva production on track, so making a habit of carrying a water bottle with you is a great idea. Sugar-free juices, reduced-sugar sports drinks, club soda, and herbal tea with lemon are good beverage choices when you just can’t stand the idea of drinking any more water.

A soft, high-protein diet is recommended for people with dry mouth. Substitute moist fish, eggs, and cheese for red meat. Serving food lukewarm or at room temperature reduces the chances of burning the mouth with hot food. To make bread or rolls easier to eat with dry mouth, soak them in milk or your favorite sauce to soften them. Eat moist casseroles and other foods that incorporate gravy, sauce, or broth in their recipes. Make smoothies, slushies, or shakes in the blender that incorporate milk alternatives like soy, almond, or rice milk (consumption of cow’s milk often produces thicker saliva and can worsen dry mouth).

More examples of soft natural foods that are helpful for people with dry mouth include tender meats like chicken and fish, smooth peanut butter, soups, canned fruits, soft-cooked/blended vegetables like carrots or celery, mashed potatoes, soft-cooked pasta, oatmeal, ice cream, pudding, and popsicles. Herbal flavor enhancers, condiments, and fruit extracts can be used to make food more flavorful, as the diet for dry mouth may seem bland to many.

There are also artificial saliva substitutes and stimulants that can help curb dry mouth, as can sugarless candies and chewing gums. Sucking on fruit pits from cherries or olives, and lemon rinds can help stimulate saliva flow, as do lemon drops and other hard candies, although be wary of excessive sugar intake.

Food & Beverages to Avoid for Dry Mouth

Increased water and fluid intake are recommended, but caffeinated fluids such as tea, coffee, and cola act as diuretics and are not ideal for xerostomia sufferers. If you’re craving soda, let it go flat prior to indulging. Alcohol consumption should also be limited or avoided.

Foods should not be excessively hot or cold, sugary, salty, spicy, or acidic, including citric fruits like tomato, grapefruit, orange, and pineapple and astringent foods like apple, pomegranate, pear, quinoa, legumes, tofu, sprouts, beans, and lentils. You should also avoid dry, crumbly foods like crackers, cereal, pastries, toast, and dry meat.

If you have any questions or concerns about dry mouth, contact Dr. Etchison, Dr. Pycinska, Dr. Eberhardt or Dr. Danesh today and we’ll be happy to talk about solutions with you!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Your Options for Teeth Straightening

Maybe Mona Lisa would have cracked a real smile if she had been more confident in her teeth!

All jokes aside, you don’t have to live every day embarrassed by your own smile. Orthodontic treatments today are much more desirable than those of yesteryear. There are a lot of good reasons to straighten your teeth, both functional and aesthetic. And there are a lot of good times in your life to commit to a treatment – like now! But how do you decide among all of your options for teeth straightening? Nelson Ridge Family Dental can help you understand your options.

A Healthy Bite

In an ideal world, your top teeth should rest down and in line with their opposing tooth on the bottom. This helps you smile, chew, and speak smoothly. If you have any problems with this, like a crooked tooth or odd spacing between teeth, you’ve got an improper bite. Improper bites (also called malocclusion) can cause overbite, underbite, and crossbite. An improper bite can make you self-conscious of your smile and can cause excessive stress and forces on your teeth and jaw joint (TMJ).

Orthodontics is a dental treatment that slowly moves your teeth and jaw to help your teeth line up better. The metallic “train tracks” found on nearly every middle schooler, and the removable retainer likely gathering dust in your medicine cabinet are both types of orthodontic appliances.

If you’d like the benefit of a smile makeover without the metallic dramatics, you’re in good company. Many people are interested in Invisalign® and Six Month Smiles® for all of the orthodontic benefits and none of the obvious metal mouth.

Invisalign & Six Month Smiles Similarities

  • Invisalign trays and Six Month Smiles braces are clear and sleek
  • Neither are distracting
  • Both look professional for work environments
  • Neither gets in the way of everyday life
  • Both provide great results

Invisalign and Six Month Smiles Differences

  • Six Month Smiles® is usually less expensive
  • Six Month Smiles® requires less treatment time
  • Six Month Smiles® is a cosmetic treatment
  • Invisalign® can help patients who need bite alteration
  • Invisalign® trays are virtually invisible without brackets & wires
  • Invisalign® can be removed for special occasions and flossing

Choosing Orthodontics

Only you can decide which option is best for you. But don’t make your choice without a professional opinion. Your New Lenox dentists provide professional orthodontic treatments as well as whitening services and cleaning to truly give you a healthy, beautiful smile.

Make an appointment today for a consultation and to learn how to achieve your best smile.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.