My Blog

Posts for: February, 2020

By Carolyn Bronke Wind, DDS, PC
February 21, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: Smile   Invisalign  

Wearing metal braces used to be a requirement for straight teeth. Fortunately, that's no longer the case, thanks to Invisalign, an innovative orthodontic system offered by your La Grange, IL, dentists, Dr. Carolyn Bronke and Dr. Vivian Castellanos.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign straightens teeth using a series of removable aligner trays that fit snugly over your upper and lower teeth. Your aligners are custom-designed to meet your orthodontic goals. In fact, your La Grange dentist creates a 3D image of your mouth that helps plot the course of your treatment.

Will people be able to tell that I'm straightening my teeth?

Your aligners are made of clear plastic to make them practically invisible. Your friends and acquaintances may not realize that you're improving your smile unless you tell them.

Do I have to wear the aligners constantly?

For best results, the aligner trays should be worn 20 to 22 hours per day. You'll take them out when you eat, brush, and floss your teeth. You can leave the aligner trays in when you drink water but should remove them when you consume other beverages. After about two weeks, you'll stop wearing your current set of aligners and replace them with the next set in the series.

If you're playing sports and need to wear a mouthguard or are planning a special evening out, you can leave your aligners at home. Going without your aligner trays for a few hours every once in a while won't harm your results, but you'll want to stick to the schedule recommended by your dentist as much as possible.

Is Invisalign a good choice for me?

Invisalign corrects orthodontic issues in older teens and adults. If you have severe issues, you may need traditional braces instead. Although you'll need to visit your dentist to determine if you're a good candidate for the Invisalign treatment, the system is great for those with a mild-to-moderate dental problem.

How long will Invisalign treatment take?

Adults may only need to wear aligner trays for about six to nine months, depending on the severity of the problem. If you're a teen, you'll most likely wear the trays for about the same time you would have worn metal braces.

Makeover your smile with Invisalign. Call your La Grange, IL, dentists, Dr. Carolyn Bronke and Dr. Vivian Castellanos, at (708) 351-1335 to schedule an appointment.

By Carolyn Bronke Wind, DDS, PC
February 21, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: loose tooth  

A loose primary (“baby”) tooth is often a cause for celebration. A loose permanent tooth, however, is a cause for concern. A permanent tooth shouldn't even wiggle.

If you have a loose tooth, it's likely you have a deeper dental problem. Here are the top underlying causes for loose teeth.

Gum disease. Teeth are held in place by an elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. But advanced periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection usually caused by film buildup on teeth called dental plaque, can damage the ligament and cause it to detach. If it's not treated, it could lead to tooth loss.

Bite-related trauma. A normal bite helps balance out the forces generated when we chew so they don't damage the teeth. But if a misaligned tooth protrudes higher from the jaw, the opposing tooth will likely create more downward pressure on it while chewing. This can stress the tooth's supporting ligament to the point of looseness.

Self-inflicted trauma. While they may be trendy, tongue jewelry can cause dental damage. A wearer who clicks the “barbell” of a tongue stud against their teeth could be creating conditions conducive for gum damage and bone loss, which can cause tooth looseness. Similarly, taking orthodontics into your own hands could also damage your teeth, especially if you have undiagnosed gum disease.

Genetics. Although you can't prevent it, the type of resistance or susceptibility you inherited from your parents (as well as your dental anatomy) can cause you dental problems. Thinner gum tissues, especially around the roots, can make you more susceptible to gum disease or dental trauma, which in turn could contribute to tooth looseness.

There are things you can do to lessen your chance of loose teeth. Brush and floss every day to remove disease-causing bacterial plaque and see a dentist regularly for cleanings to reduce your risk of gum disease. If you have any misaligned teeth, consult with an orthodontist about possible treatment. And avoid oral jewelry and DIY orthodontics.

If you do notice a loose tooth, see us as soon as possible. We'll need to diagnose the underlying cause and create a treatment plan for it. We may also need to splint the tooth to its neighbors to stabilize it and reduce your risk of losing it permanently.

If you would like more information on tooth mobility, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When Permanent Teeth Become Loose.”

By Carolyn Bronke Wind, DDS, PC
February 19, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

Throbbing toothache, a crack, darkened enamel—all of these signs mean that your tooth is in trouble. Fortunately, root canal treatment can often fix the issue. Performed here at Carolyn Bronke Wind, DDS PC and Associates in La Grange, IL, this reliable procedure allows you to keep your smile healthy for years to come.

What is a root canal?

The root canal is part of your tooth. Each root contains up to four pulp-filled chambers or canals which help support, grow, and nourish your tooth. Sadly, when a tooth becomes decayed, infected, or deeply cracked, bacteria invade these narrow spaces and inflammation sets in.

During a consultation at our La Grange office, your dentist will look at the problem tooth to recommend treatment options. In place of extraction, and the problems and expense it causes, she may advise root canal therapy.

How does it work? Treatment begins by numbing the tooth and accessing each chamber with specialized tools in order to remove the diseased pulp. She then adds antiseptic medication and a biocompatible sealant called gutta-percha. After a week or so of healing, a porcelain crown tops off the restored tooth, making it good as new.

Do you need a root canal?

These symptoms tell Dr. Vivian Castellanos or Dr. Bronke Wind if you need this restorative treatment:

  • Toothache pain
  • Dental sensitivity to heat, cold, sugar or the pressures of biting and chewing
  • Pimples on the gums
  • Red, tender gums
  • Discolored tooth enamel and gum tissue
  • Deep decay and failing fillings
  • Missing tooth structure due to a crack or large chip

Save your smile

The American Association of Endodontists maintains that improvements in dentistry have allowed many more teeth to be spared extraction. Here at our La Grange office, your dentists have the skill and innovation you need for a healthy, intact smile. Don't suffer from your symptoms. Call the office today for a consultation on root canal therapy: (708) 354-1335.

By Carolyn Bronke Wind, DDS, PC
February 11, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: pain management  

The ongoing opioid addiction epidemic has brought together government, law enforcement and healthcare to find solutions. The focus among doctors and dentists has been on finding ways to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions.

Opioids (or narcotics) have been a prominent part of pain management in healthcare for decades. Drugs like morphine, oxycodone or fentanyl can relieve moderate to extreme pain and make recovery after illness or procedures much easier. Providers like doctors and dentists have relied heavily on them, writing nearly 260 million narcotic prescriptions a year as late as 2012.

But although effective when used properly, narcotics are also addictive. While the bulk of overall drug addiction stems from illegal narcotics like heroin, prescription drugs also account for much of the problem: In 2015, for example, 2 million Americans had an addiction that began with an opioid prescription.

The current crisis has led to horrific consequences as annual overdose deaths now surpass the peak year of highway accident deaths (just over 54,000 in 1972). This has led to a concerted effort by doctors and dentists to develop other approaches to pain management without narcotics.

One that’s gained recent momentum in dentistry involves the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin work by dilating blood vessels, which reduces painful inflammation. They’re available over the counter, although stronger doses require a prescription.

NSAIDs are effective for mild to moderate pain, but without the addictive properties of narcotics. There are some adverse health consequences if taken long-term, but limited use for pain or during post-procedure recovery is safe.

Many dentists are recommending NSAIDs for first-line pain management after most dental procedures. Narcotics may still be prescribed, but in a limited and controlled fashion. As part of this new approach, dentists typically combine ibuprofen and acetaminophen: Studies have shown the two work together better at reducing pain than either one individually.

Still, many aren’t eager to move away from the proven effectiveness of narcotics to primarily NSAIDs. But as these non-addictive drugs continue to prove their effectiveness, there’s hope the use of addictive opioids will continue to decrease.

If you would like more information on pain management practices in dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Carolyn Bronke Wind, DDS, PC
February 01, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth pain  

Tooth sensitivity can be quite uncomfortable. But the glancing pain you feel may be more than an irritation — it may also be telling you there’s a deeper problem that needs attention.

As with other types of oral pain, tooth sensitivity can be a symptom for a variety of problems. Some of them are relatively minor, while others require immediate attention. It’s important to pay attention to the details about your tooth sensitivity and what they might be indicating you should do about it.

For example, your teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages. If it’s just a momentary pain it generally doesn’t mean an emergency — it could be a small area of decay on a tooth, a loose filling or an exposed root due to gum recession or overaggressive brushing. Besides seeing us for treatment for any decay, you can adjust your brushing habits to more gentle pressure with a soft-bristled brush. Fluoride toothpaste has also been shown to reduce this kind of sensitivity.

If, however, the pain from hot or cold substances lingers, then decay or some form of trauma may have affected the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. The pulp is rich in nerve fibers and can become inflamed and irritated from the decay or injury. You should visit us as soon as possible: you may require a root canal treatment that will not only relieve the pain but also save the tooth.

If you notice a sharp pain when biting down on food, it’s possible you have a loose filling or even a cracked tooth. As with inner decay, a fracture requires immediate attention. A loose filling should be easy to repair, but if it’s a fracture you may need extensive treatment to save the tooth or, if beyond salvage, have the tooth removed to make way for dental implant or similar restoration.

The key point is not to delay seeking treatment, especially if the pain is persistent, severe or long-lasting. The sooner you visit us about your tooth sensitivity, the sooner you’ll have solutions to stop the discomfort.

If you would like more information on tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don’t Wait!