Detergent Food Saturday, 24 March 2018

I bet I got your attention with this title.  Now, think about chewing a raw carrot.  This is an example of a detergent food, because it’s consistency disturbs the film (called “plaque”) that forms on teeth and it doesn’t remain on the biting surface for hours.  In contrast, think of peanut butter on a sandwich, especially the brands that contain sugar. Then look at the label on that jar of jelly and see where sugar, or any word with “-ose” at the end, is listed on the ingredients list.  Are you aware that both peanut butter and jelly exist with no sugar or low sugar? Finally, many sandwich breads contain sugar. Even salty chips and crackers contain sugar or convert to sugars.

Without picking on fast-food restaurants, data of the sugar content in these foods can be found on the internet.  Even salty items have sugar, sometimes.

To build lifelong healthy habits, encourage your family to decipher product labels and identify tasty detergent foods.

I use these two examples to make a point. If anyone in your family takes a bag lunch to work or school, this lunch should include a detergent food as the very last item eaten.  And eating lunch out should be a treat, not the norm.

You can do this!

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.


Detecting Cancer from the Nose to the Chin Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Though I am not an Oncologist, occasionally I detect an unusual tissue formation when we take a “panoramic” x-ray of the area in your head that contains the sinuses and jaw joint, among other structures.  This area isn’t routinely examined by physicians unless symptoms arise.

I use the Panoramic technology to evaluate the bone density of areas that require treatment or may have problems that are not visible in the mouth.  It is an excellent way for me to evaluate the health of the bone before dental treatment begins.  It would be foolish to significantly repair the visible part of a tooth if the invisible part isn’t also reviewed.

Some oral cancers are aggressive. Our practice refers someone with a suspicious growth in and around their mouth to an oral surgeon, or an appropriate professional, who then coordinates care with other professionals, if needed.  Modern technology allows our practice to send x-ray images electronically so these providers can readily review the growth or send the images on to a suitable specialist.

The other advantage of current technology is that intra-oral sensors, not physical dental films, now capture our dental images - instantaneously.  If I see something suspicious, I can re-take a picture from another position or enlarge the view to see more detail.

It’s all about our commitment to keeping our patients healthy, using advanced technology!

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.

Fill Your Gaps Sunday, 18 March 2018

When several random teeth are missing in the mouth, patients have 3 options.  My practice can place multiple implants over the course of months, make a partial denture to fill in the gaps, or design a “bridge” to fill each gap.  All three will prevent the natural teeth from drifting and/or rotating into a space that is left unfilled for a length of time.  I like the Implant option best but recognize that this challenges the health care budget for some families.   It also requires that the candidate has excellent health.

A partial denture has a metal framework that seats tightly around natural teeth and fills in the gaps.  It must be removed overnight, brushed clean, and kept away from pets when out of the mouth. It will last a long time but, as it ages, it is prone to cracks or broken metal “clasps” that hug certain teeth. These clasps also “trap” stringy foods.

A bridge is made from cast metal and covered with tooth colored material.  Ordinarily, a bridge is described in “units”, the number of teeth that will be covered plus the spaces that will be filled.  It is cemented in place and, with proper cleaning, can last a long time. It is very important that recipients floss under the metal teeth and the adjoining natural teeth (known as abutments).

If you or a loved one have lost several teeth, consider a dental exam so we can evaluate your teeth and the most appropriate options.

 Contact Winterset Dental to schedule this appointment.


Dentists Continue to Learn after Dental School Monday, 12 March 2018

To maintain licensure in Illinois, those in dentistry must attend Continuing Education courses throughout the year and report these to the State. Many courses are offered at Dental Conventions, like the annual Chicago Midwinter Meeting that was recently held Feb 22-24th at McCormick Place.   My favorite part of these events is learning about the new procedures and products that improve my patients’ care and dental health. 

Additionally, I “give back” to my Prosthodontic specialty by evaluating Prosthodontic Fellows four to six times annually. These dentists study the nuances of proper fit and compatible design when creating prostheses for patients. This requires aptitude in both science and art, as well as a strong knowledge of dental materials. Occasionally, I present a lecture to the Illinois branch of the American College of Prosthodontists and I am on the Board at UIC. 

It is a privilege to add more information into my head almost daily, then share it with others within my profession AND those seated in the dental chair! 

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.


Flakey Weather Friday, 09 March 2018

To say that Chicagoland has had their share of snow this season is definitely an understatement!  Aside from being plowed in and shoveled out, this white stuff has also created hazards for teeth.  A couple of college friends had a sparring contest with shovels, while cleaning off the sidewalks, and one lost a tooth.  A few patients fell on their front or back steps and chipped teeth. One pulled off a glove with her teeth and a chunk of her bicuspid tooth came along for the ride.

The most creative “dental mishap” that I’ve heard about was from a colleague.  His patient was tobogganing with family and her gold crown popped off, then out of her mouth on the way down the slope.   Frantic, she told her kids and extended family that she was offering a $50 reward to anyone who found her gold tooth in the snow.  Good luck with that!  Several searched for 10-20 minutes, but lost interest. One teen went around to staff members and then the main office of the facility. Everyone figured that he went to use the facilities.  He made a second trip, then a third some time later.  This time, he returned with the gold crown that someone had found and turned in to the Lost and Found. 

It was cleaned and cemented back in place by this dentist, as there was no damage to the remaining tooth structure, and she’s had no trouble with it since! 

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.


Several Diseases Impact Your Mouth Tuesday, 06 March 2018

For example, Diabetes can reduce one’s ability to fight infection. If a diabetic has frequently high blood glucose levels, they are more susceptible to gum disease.  But, the reverse is also true.  If they have gum disease, it is harder to maintain the appropriate blood glucose level.  Often, we shorten the interval between dental cleanings for those with diabetes. 

The autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, makes people almost eight times more likely to have gum disease.  They have difficulty cleaning their teeth due to sore joints and stiffness.  That’s when we step in with devices and modifications to daily brushing and flossing, making the process easier. Fortunately, some early research has demonstrated that treating the gum inflammation actually helps reduce the joint inflammation and pain. 

Osteoporosis has the potential to make the bones of the mouth brittle, especially in the presence of bacteria that cause periodontitis (gum disease), which commonly stems from inadequate oral care.  Tooth loss is more common and caution is necessary for any tooth extractions. 

Sjogren’s Syndrome effects almost 4 million Americans, causing them to have extremely dry eyes and mouths. Without saliva to coat the inside of the mouth, diluting the effects of sugar that cause decay and increasing the bacterial count that creates inflamed gums, these people are more susceptible to dental problems. Certain medications, such as some antidepressants and pain killers, cold symptom relief like decongestants, and antihistamines for allergy relief also reduce the amount of moisture in the mouth. 

Perhaps now you understand why our practice asks patients to update their medical history and provide the contact information for their physician and specialists.  We consider this the highest standard of care for our patients. 

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment. 

How Spouses Survive A Tooth Grinder Saturday, 03 March 2018

Some spouses know that their “other half” has experienced stress during the day, merely from sharing their bedroom that evening. They need to sleep with a pillow over their head, repeatedly wake up, or move to another room to escape the sound of grinding teeth.  It resembles a dog chewing on a bone, with his mouth closed. Others have characterized this as “someone with a mouthful of rocks”. 

The appropriate solution for tooth grinders is a Night Guard, fashioned from a dental impression at our office.  It lightly snaps over teeth in the top jaw and provides a flat surface that doesn’t encourage the grinding movement because teeth just slide over the hard surface, eventually wearing it thin. At that point, it can be replaced if still needed. Sweet dreams! 

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.

How Many People Don’t Like Ice Cream? Wednesday, 28 February 2018

I’ve met four in my life. But I’ve also met hundreds who cannot eat ice cream, whether from lactose intolerance or because their teeth hurt. I’m frankly amazed that the ice cream aisle at grocery stores is larger than the meat display! And our area has free-standing stores that serve almost exclusively ice cream into the wee hours of the night…

Ice cream has two things going against it – lots of sugar and lots of cold.  Teeth don’t like it either. They’ve told me. When patients come in stating to me that their teeth are temperature sensitive, my diagnosis is either decay, a broken filling, or receding gums.  If none of these, the patient needs to use a fluoride rinse or gel daily, or have teeth treated for hypersensitivity. 

A half cup of a popular ice cream from the grocery section contains 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 14 grams of sugar. Since it dissolves quickly in a warm mouth, it repeatedly “paints” teeth in this sugar, in every nook and cranny. A look at the coating on your tongue confirms this.  

I would prefer to have patients purchase a “smoothie” with natural yogurt cultures and fresh fruits as flavoring. Better yet, teach family members how to make them as a snack at home!  

Contact WintersetDental to schedule your appointment.

Your Fabulous Fifties Sunday, 25 February 2018

Why do you suppose that people celebrate their “Big Birthday” with a large party or fancy cruise?  It could be that they’re glad that the kids have grown up, established careers, or started a family.  They may now have the time and funds to use on themselves.

Those entering their fifties also start to “see” their aging, with a touch of grey hair or sagging skin.  People often come to my office because they feel their front teeth are “shorter” or “darker” than they used to be, and they would rather have their youthful smile back again. Dentists refer to this procedure as a “Smile Makeover”. From my perspective, one must have the eye of an artist when they create a new smile to blend in with each patient’s complexion, lip line, and facial features. However, our culture believes that the characteristics of “white, prominent, and straight” teeth indicate a healthy smile, because that is how models appear. Oh, those stereotypes!

Our dental practice allocates a lengthy appointment for people who want a Smile Makeover because we want it done right on the first try.  This requires dialogue about the possibilities, options, and cost because dental insurance may not reimburse for care done specifically to improve one’s smile. It involves measurements so teeth blend with other teeth in the mouth. Moreover, we carefully examine x-rays to be sure that the bone in the jaw will be able to support these teeth for years to come.  It makes no sense to design and build a beautiful structure that will sit on weakened or diseased support. 

I encourage you to call our office to see what is gained from a Smile Makeover, for those who want to smile every day of their retirement! 

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.


Healthy People 2020: Dentists and Diabetics Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Centers for Disease Control ( have maintained data on diabetics and gum disease (we call it “periodontal disease”) for years because people with poorly-controlled diabetes (A1C>9%) are prone to severe periodontal disease. In fact, their data reveals that 1/3 of people with diabetes also have severe periodontal disease. People who smoke and have elevated glucose levels most of the time have a 4.6 times greater risk for it.

Hyperglycemia also causes dehydration, so the mouth has less liquid combating the acid production that causes cavities to develop. Diabetics experience more oral candidiasis, also known as Thrush, which is a fungal infection in the mouth.  They can also get oral lichen planus that inflames the lining inside the mouth, causing a burning sensation and pain.

Now you see why dentists are concerned. It turns out that treating and preventing periodontal disease is actually very important because “perio” has a negative effect on glycemic control so it increases the risk of complications like neuropathy or retinopathy.

Contact to schedule your appointment.



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