Crystal Lake, IL Dentist
77 E. Crystal Lake Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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Posts for category: Oral Health

In certain cases, fluoride is a good idea, no matter patient's age. Fluoride is similar to calcium, except that it has an extra electron, and therefore is more willing to bond to tooth structure in the place calcium. Like calcium, fluoride is a substance that helps make the tooth strong.

Adults could benefit from fluoride treatments if they have or had:

  • 1 or more cavities in the last 3 years 
  • acquired or developmental enamel defects
  • many restorations (fillings)
  • undergoing Chemo or radiation therapy
  • an eating disorder
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • active orthodontic treatment
  • exposed root surfaces (may cause hypersensitivity of teeth)
  • open margins around crowns
  • areas of tooth erosion
  • damaged areas of teeth with exposed dentin 
  • any physical or mental disability with the inability of performing proper oral health care.

Fluoride treatment can make your teeth stronger, more resistant to decay, and less sensitive to hot and cold.


This year, why not make a New Year’s resolution that will actually change your life and give you back tenfold in health and happiness what you put into it?  One of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make for this year, and for the rest of your life, is taking care of your mouth.  Here are five resolutions that can help keep you on track. 

Schedule a Dental Appointment

About one third of people in the U.S. don't see a dentist yearly, but booking this appointment is one of the most important things you can do when looking after your teeth. Some conditions – such as sensitivity in the teeth or bleeding gums – are sure signs that it's time to see a dentist. To make the process of scheduling visits easier, book your next one before you leave the office. 

Commit to Flossing 

Brushing your teeth twice a day isn't enough to keep plaque from building up on your teeth, or to completely remove bits of food from your mouth. To take the best care of your teeth, you need to floss too. If you're not in the habit of flossing, the new year is a great time to start.  One way to make it easier to remember is putting a container of floss on top of your toothpaste.  

Cut Back on Sugar

Studies confirm a direct link between the amount of sugar a person eats and the amount of tooth decay he has. Cutting back on sugar can cut your risk for tooth decay considerably. The most convenient way to cut back on sugar is to reduce the number of sugary treats you buy. Simple swaps will help you cut back as well: Drink sugar-free seltzer water instead of soda, or chew a piece of sugar-free gum when you have a craving for something sweet.

Kick the Habit 

Smoking doubles your risk for gum disease and is linked to a host of other health issues. Pick a date to give up the habit, get rid of all the tobacco products from your home and solicit the support of your friends and family to help you quit. There will be cravings along the way, so it's important to find a healthy activity to engage in when a craving kicks in. 

Eat More Mouth-Healthy Foods

When you cut back on sugar, resolve to add more healthy foods to your diet to solidify your diet's benefit to your teeth. Dairy products, which are high in calcium, are great for your teeth, as are fibrous foods that call up saliva and scrub away plaque and other food bits.  


Summer is HERE and we know your family’s schedule is about to change.  With children being out of school, hanging out at the house, and often on the go with fun summer activities, eating healthy and maintaining good oral hygiene can be a real struggle.  Here are a few tips and tricks to get you through those LONG summer days.  

1. Don’t Forget to Brush

Brushing and flossing twice a day is as important in the summer as it is any other time of the year.  But with summer vacations, camps, and long days at the pool, don’t be surprised if you have to remind your kids to brush and floss more than normal.  Their minds will be occupied on other “fun” activities.  Try and make brushing and flossing something fun or even reward them for remembering on their own.

2. Prevent Dental Emergencies

It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, traveling, visiting the playground, or other outdoor activities.  While these are so much fun, they can unfortunately result in unexpected dental emergencies.  Below are some helpful ways to prevent and remedy a dental accident:

  • Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.”  According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many of the summer emergencies dentists treat are pool related accidents. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters, or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.
  • Know what to do yourself when a tooth is knocked out:  Getting to the dentist right away is important, but there are things you can do to help. 
    • Use cold packs to help reduce swelling and aid with pain, and gauze to stop any bleeding.  Be sure to pick the tooth up by the crown of the tooth, not the root. 
    • Gently rinse the tooth, being careful to not remove any tissue.
    • Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if your child is capable of holding it in their without swallowing it.  Otherwise, use saline or milk and a small container to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.         

3. Stock up on Healthy Snacks

The easiest way parents can help children prevent tooth decay and cavities is to monitor their eating habits.  Start by investing in healthy snacks the next time you head to the grocery store.  While it’s easy to get caught up in the junk food isles, a good rule to follow is shopping the perimeter of the store since that is where the healthier food lies.  We understand it’s hard to limit snacking, BUT if you switch those bad, sugary foods out for fruits and veggies you are sure to feel better about your kids snacking all day.  As far as drinks go, we suggest ditching the sugary and acidic sodas, juices, and sport drinks, instead opting for good old H2O.

Cavity-causing organisms feed on sugar and turn it into acid, which attacks tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.  Sticky, chewy foods and candy can linger on teeth throughout the day creating the optimal environment for these organisms.  If children do happen to eat sugary snacks, they should brush and rinse with water as soon as they finish eating it.

4. Schedule that Summer Cleaning

Parents tend to wait to schedule dental checkups until right before school starts.  But to prevent dental problems over summer, book the kids in right when school ends.  This way the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer.  The last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while trying to enjoy your summer vacation.

5. Protect Your Toothbrush from Germs

While toothbrush covers are great for traveling, your toothbrush needs to “breathe”.  Allow your toothbrush to thoroughly dry before covering (a wet toothbrush promotes bacteria growth), and make sure that your toothbrush cover has holes in it for ventilation.






When Should You Wear a Mouthguard?
Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating and everything could suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

Mouthguards help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw.  They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.  Your top teeth take the brunt of trauma because they stick out more.  Your bottom teeth are a little more protected because they are futher back.  

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.   While collision and contact sports are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating. 

Types of Mouthguards

The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist, but you can also wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. Learn more about each option:

  • Custom-made: These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort.

  • Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturers instructions.  CustMbite MVP is a boil and bite mouthguard that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

  • Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

Protecting Your Braces

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks. 

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the right protection. Although some mouthguards only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth. 

If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

Mouthguard Care and Replacement

Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouthguard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing. 

  • Between games, it’s important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouthguard is always ready to go:

  • Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • Regularly clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.

  • During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouthguard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.

  • Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.

  • Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.

  • Check fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing.

  • Some mouthguards have fallen victim to family pets, who see them as chew toys. Store your mouthguard and case somewhere your pet cannot get to it.

E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, although they do contain nicotine derived from the tobacco plant.  

Studies have shown that nicotine — whether delivered via traditional cigarette or other means — does harm to the mouth, gums and tongue.

Nicotine may contribute significantly to the development of gingivitis and periodontitis, which can cause bad breath and inflammation throughout the body.

Here’s how nicotine can impact your oral health:

Nicotine Causes Gum Recession

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins.

Without sufficient blood flow, the gums do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Nicotine chokes tissues in the mouth from the blood it needs to survive, causing death of the gum tissues.

Nicotine Masks Symptoms of Gum Disease

“Almost two years vaping and my gum disease has dramatically improved.”

“I just got back from the dentist and he said my gum health has actually improved since I started using e-cigarettes.”

You might see reports like these in a lot of online forums.

That’s because nicotine can hide the symptoms of gum disease from your dentist, making it harder to be diagnosed.

When you have gum disease, it’s the increased blood flow to the gums that tips you off or tips off your dentist to the fact that you have gum disease. The gums are irritated and swell with blood, and when you floss or even brush, they bleed.

This fools everyone — both the dentist and yourself — into thinking that things are going well in your mouth.

If the progression of gum disease can’t be observed or diagnosed, then things go south without treatment.

Even longterm chewing of nicotine gum can cause these problems.

Nicotine Causes Bad Breath

As a vasoconstrictor, nicotine also inhibits your body’s ability to produce saliva. Not enough saliva can leave you susceptible to bacteria buildup, dry mouth, and tooth decay.

Nicotine Intensifies Grinding

Nicotine is also a stimulant that fires up the muscles, making you grind your teeth more intensely if you’re already a grinder — and might even prompt you to start grinding your teeth even if you weren’t a grinder before.


If you’re thinking about using e-cigarettes or you already use them, you’ve got to watch out for the signs of gum disease.

But how are you going to watch out for the tell-tale sign of gum disease — bleeding gums — if nicotine masks bleeding gums via vasoconstriction?

Since nicotine masks the symptoms of gum disease from both you and your dentist, you’ll have to be extra vigilant about gum disease prevention.

To diagnose gum disease, as well as measure its progression, your dentist will take something called a pocket reading.

“Pockets” are like the “moat” around each of your teeth, which is naturally present. It’s the space between the gum line (where you see your gums and teeth meet when you look in the mirror) and where the tooth and gum attach a little further down (see the illustration below). Deeper pockets indicate a breakdown of the attachment of the gums to the teeth.

Visit your dentist every three months to monitor your pocket readings. Your likelihood of having gum disease is greater as long as you’re using nicotine and because nicotine masks the tell-tale signs, a frequency of every three months is necessary in order to prevent tooth loss, bone loss, and gum recession.

The best and most convenient option here, and I know it’s hard to hear, is to eliminate the nicotine habit.