Category Archives: Dental Education

Forgot to Floss? It’s Not Too Late!

You know you need to floss everyday…but you forgot the last week. So why bother flossing now?

Flossing techniquesFlossing daily helps control tartar build-up on your teeth. Plaque is continually developing on your teeth which causes cavities and gum disease. By flossing you remove the colonies of bacteria and germs so they don’t accumulate quite so long. Even flossing two or three times a week helps. So it’s never too late to start flossing.

No time to floss? It doesn’t have to be right before bed. You can floss in the morning, or anytime during the day. Keep the floss by your favorite chair so you can do it when watching TV. It’s more important to do it, rather than what time of day it is done.

The proper technique for flossing is important also. Make sure to form a “c” around your tooth and bring the floss up and down on the sides of the teeth, not just between the teeth. Do your gums bleed when you floss? By using the “c” technique, you will prevent the floss from cutting the gums. The bleeding may also be caused by inflammation from the accumulated bacteria. It should go away within a week or two of regular flossing.Plastic floss holder

Everyone, including kids should floss.  Does arthritis or a lack of dexterity keep you from flossing? Try using a plastic floss holder.  Do you have a bridge or braces?  Use a floss threader.  Just keep on flossing!

Anxious About Going to the Dentist?

Evanston Dentist AnxietyLots of people are anxious about going to the dentist.  There are many different reasons why some people are anxious, including the fear of finding a cavity, worrying about the effectiveness of localized anesthetic and feeling like the dentist is rushed or is neglecting your concerns. Other factors include anticipation of pain, the cost of the procedure, past experiences and even the sterile smell of the dental office. Interrupting the normal day’s routine to visit the dentist also is a factor in general anxiety. If not addressed, dental anxiety can lead to unnecessary oral health problems as a result of avoiding the dentist, which in turn can end up leading to much more time spent in the dental chair when treatment is the only option.

If you are looking for a dentist, ask friends and relatives for recommendations. A glowing review from someone you trust about a dentist can significantly reduce anxiety.   Most of our new patients are referred by friends and family.

If you are seeing a new dentist for the first time, schedule an appointment for a visit.  It’s almost like a first date.  Take the opportunity to ask this dentist a few questions, and be sure to Happy patientaddress your concerns. You’ll find that Dr. Marinic takes the time to speak with you about your concerns and is very understanding when it comes to addressing your fears.

Add a Dental Visit to This Year’s Spring-Cleaning List.

Evanston Dentist CleaningA professional dental cleaning at least twice a year can improve your oral health, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.

A prophylaxis, also known as a ‘prophy’ or professional dental cleaning, is an important part of your at-home oral health regimen.   It is designed to preserve the health of your teeth and gums, prevent the spread of disease and give the dentist an opportunity diagnose areas in the mouth that may need attention.”

According to the AGD it is strongly recommended that a dentist or hygienist perform a dental cleaning every three to six months. People who have healthy teeth and gums typically do not experience soreness after a cleaning.  Those with less-than-perfect oral hygiene habits may experience discomfort or heightened sensitivity during a dental cleaning. The dentist can use a topical anesthetic before the cleaning to alleviate pain.  It may also be beneficial for you to schedule more frequent hygiene appointments (every 3-4 months) until you are able to perfect your oral hygiene skills.

 

We Are Excited to Welcome Dede as our Newest Hygienist!

Evanston Dentist Dede HygienistYou may recognize Dede. She has been filling in at our office for the last 10 years. We hare thrilled to have her as our hygienist on Tuesdays!

Dede has been taking care of patients for almost 25 years. She has a passion for oral health and strives to make each visit comfortable and relaxing. She loves everything about dentistry, but most of all she loves the one-on-one care she is able to give to her patients. She strongly believes in educating her patients to help them improve their oral health as well as their overall health.

Dede was born and raised on the North Shore and has known Dr. Marinic since they were in high school! She is very active and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In her spare time she likes to read, exercise, and walk their dog.

Dede is excited to share her passion for dentistry with Dr. Marinic and his team.

Is Work Stressing Your Jaw?

Is work stressing you out?   Are you worried about getting your taxes done?  Are there too many things on your to-do list and not enough time in the day to get them done?   Too much stress can lead to tooth grinding or clenching, and eventually temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or jaw pain.

TMD Pain Cycle

 

Overworking your jaw muscles can cause TMD.  Often people don’t even realize they are clenching or grinding.  It may happen at night while you are sleeping, or even during the day.

 

Night guard

 

A night guard can help relieve the symptoms and protect your teeth.  Over a short period of time, the habit is not detrimental.  However, if it is not treated, it can lead to TMD or even cracked tooth syndrome.

 

I’m Not Being Sensitive – My Teeth Are!!

What is dentin hypersensitivity?

Tooth anatomyDentin hypersensitivity, more commonly referred to as sensitive teeth, can be defined as short, sharp pains that come from exposed dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp).  Individuals with sensitive teeth may find that the pain can be triggered by hot, cold, sour, or sweet beverages or foods, forceful brushing or flossing, or even by cold air.

What causes the sensitivity?Eating ice cream

Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes (pores) located in the dentin, which results in nerve irritation.  When the hard enamel of a tooth is worn down or gums have receded, the surfaces of these tiny tubes can become exposed, resulting in pain while eating or drinking certain foods, such as ice cream or hot coffee.

How common is this condition?

Dentin hypersensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients.  One in five people in the United States experience dentin hypersensitivity at some point in his or her life.

How can I avoid dentin hypersensitivity?

Excessive consumption of acidic beverages, such as orange juice or cola, can wear down hard enamel and put you at risk for dentin hypersensitivity. Limiting your consumption of acidic foods and beverages can prevent the Acidic foodserosion of hard enamel.  Conditions such as bulimia nervosa and acid reflux also can have similar erosive effects on tooth enamel.  Abrasion of the enamel from aggressive use of a toothbrush also can lead to dentin hypersensitivity.  Notify Dr. Marinic if you experience tooth sensitivity.  He can monitor the condition and can help remedy the sensitivity.

I have dentin hypersensitivity.  What can I do to prevent pain?Sensodyne

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing in a circular motion will minimize enamel abrasion and thus reduce sensitivity.  Using toothpaste containing a desensitizing agent that protects exposed dentin by blocking the tubes connected to nerves can alleviate pain.  In-office treatments, such as topical agents or sealants, can be applied by Dr. Marinic to help reduce sensitivity. Of course, limiting your intake of acidic foods and beverages is always recommended.

What other issue might be associated with dentin hypersensitivity?

Research suggests that sensitivity in the mouth may be associated with sensitivity in other areas.  A study published in the 2002 November/December issue of General Dentistry examined 47 individuals with dentin hypersensitivity and found that all participants showed sensitivities in another area such as sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch.  Sight sensitivity, specifically to sunlight, was the most common association.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Child in dental chair holding toyIt’s important for children to visit the dentist early to ensure they are off to a good start with their oral health.  The first dental visit is an extremely important step in a child’s life long oral health.

When should my child first see a dentist, and why?

The ideal time for a child to visit the dentist is six months after the child’s firstSMall baby (primary) teeth erupt – and no later than his or her first birthday.  This time frame is a perfect opportunity for Dr. Marinic to examine carefully the development of the child’s mouth.  Because dental problems often start early, the sooner the child visits our office, the better.  Dr. Marinic also can provide or recommend special preventive care to protect against problems, such as early childhood tooth decay, teething irritations, gum disease, and prolonged thumb or pacifier sucking.

How do I prepare my child and myself for this first visit?

Before the visit, ask Dr. Marinic about the procedures that will take place during theMom talking to child first appointment so there are no surprises.  Plan a course of action for any possible reactions your child may have.  Very young children may be fussy and not want to sit still.  Others may become very frightened and cry.  Some children may not react negatively at all.  Some may enjoy the appointment very much! 

Make the upcoming appointment something for your child to look forward to.  Help your child understand what will happen during the visit.  There are a number of children’s books about going to the dentist.  Read these books with your child before his or her first visit to familiarize your child with what will happen at the dental office and help lessen any potential anxiety.

Also, be sure to bring records of your child’s complete medical history for his or her dental file.

What happens during the first visit?Child in dental chair

Often a first visit is simply a time to acquaint your child with Dr. Marinic and the practice.  As a parent, you should reassure your child that the visit is not scary or something about which to be afraid.  Short, successive visits can build the child’s comfort with Dr. Marinic and the dental office.

Your child’s appointment should be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and refreshed.  You may need to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the first examination.  The first visit usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include any of the following, depending on the child’s age:

  • A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas
  • A gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up, and stains
  • X-rays
  • A demonstration on how to properly care for your child’s mouth and teeth at home
  • Nutritional counseling
  • An assessment of the need for fluoride

Dr. Marinic will be able to answer any questions you have and will make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit.

When should we schedule the next appointment?

Children, like adults, should see Dr. Marinic every six months.  When your child is very young, some dentists may schedule interim visits every three months in order to build the child’s comfort and confidence levels or for treatment needs.

If you have questions about your child’s dental needs, please talk with our team.

Fluoride Treatments – Are They Really Necessary?

Water and faucetFluoride is a natural mineral that is found in various concentrations in soil and drinking water.

Why is fluoride important?

Every day, a tooth’s enamel (the outer layer that makes a tooth hard) has minerals both added to it (remineralization) and removed from it (demineralization).  During Tooth anatomyremineralization, minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are added to the enamel layer via foods and drinks that contain these minerals.  Minerals are lost (demineralization) when acids—from bacteria in the mouth and certain foods and drinks – attack the enamel.  Tooth decay results when the enamel loses more minerals than it receives.

How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks.  Fluoride also helps to speed remineralization of erupted teeth in both children and adults.

Where is fluoride found?

Fluoride toothpasteAlthough some foods, such as seafood and certain teas, naturally contain fluoride, the primary source of fluoride is drinking water.  Tap water in most cities in the United States contains fluoride.  Some, but not all, bottled waters contain fluoride.  Fluoride also can be applied directly to teeth through toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain fluoride.  You can buy these products at most pharmacies and grocery stores.

Dr. Marinic and/or his hygienist can also apply fluoride directly to your teeth in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish.  These products contain a much higher level of fluoride than toothpastes and mouth rinses.

When should fluoride use begin?

Infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years shouldInfant smiling receive fluoride.  Their primary teeth and permanent teeth develop during these ages, so the stronger their enamel is, the better.  Because most children receive their first permanent teeth at around age 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends prescribing fluoride supplements for children between the ages of 6 and 16 who are at high risk for dental caries and whose community water source is less than optimal.  In areas that have minimal fluoride in the water, fluoride supplementation may begin earlier.

Although fluoride is an immediate concern for children and adolescents, adults also can benefit from fluoride.  Topical fluoride – including toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments – is as important for fighting tooth decay in adults as it is for strengthening the teeth of children.

When is additional fluoride necessary?

Additional fluoride treatment can benefit children and adults with certain oral conditions, including dry mouth, gum disease, and cavities.  Dry mouth makes an individual more prone to tooth decay because the decreased saliva production makes it harder to wash away food particles and thus decrease the cavity-causing acids.  Gum disease can expose more of the tooth and tooth roots to bacteria, increasing the chance of tooth decay.  Patients who have many cavities and develop new ones each year may benefit from additional fluoride treatment.

Additional fluoride might also be appropriate for patients with crowns, bridges, and braces, as the portion of the tooth that isn’t covered by a crown, bridge, or brace may be at greater risk for tooth decay.  To find out if you and/or your children are receiving enough fluoride or should consider fluoride treatment or supplements, ask Dr. Marinic.  He may prescribe fluoride supplements (in liquid or pill form) or offer suggestions for increasing the amount of fluoride you receive.

To Floss or Not to Floss – THAT is the Question

Do I really need to floss?

dental flossYes.  Floss removes plaque and debris that sticks to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath.  Flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque and, in some ways, more important than the toothbrush.  By flossing your teeth daily, you increase the chance of keeping them for a lifetime and decrease the chance of getting gum disease.  Many people don’t spend enough time flossing and many never have been taught the proper way to floss.

Floss at least once a day and spend at least two or three minutes.

Which type of floss is the best?Types of floss

Dental floss comes in many forms: 

  • Waxed and unwaxed
  • Flavored and unflavored
  • Wide and regular

They all clean and remove plaque.  Wide floss, also known as dental tape, may be helpful for people with a lot of bridgework and is usually recommended when the spaces between teeth are wide.  Waxed floss might be easier to slide between tight teeth with very little space between.  The unwaxed floss, however, makes a squeaking sound to let you know your teeth are clean.  Bonded unwaxed floss does not fray as easily as regular unwaxed floss, but does tear more than waxed floss.

How should I floss?

Woman c-flossingThe spool method:  Take an 18-inch piece of floss and wind the bulk of the floss lightly around the middle finger.  (Don’t cut off your finger’s circulation!)  Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the same finger of the opposite hand.  This finger takes up the floss as it becomes unusable.  Maneuver the floss between teeth with your index fingers and thumbs.  Bring the floss up and down several times forming a “C” shape around the tooth being sure to go below the gum line.

The loop method: This method is suited for children or adults with lessLoop floss nimble hands, poor muscular coordination or arthritis.  Take an 18-inch piece of floss and make it into a circle.  Tie it securely with three knots.  Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the loop.  Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth, going below the gum line forming a “C” on the side of the tooth.

Do I need a waterpick?

Waterpicks should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing.  They are effective, however, around orthodontic braces that retain food in areas a toothbrush cannot reach.  Unlike flossing, waterpicks do not remove plaque. Dentists frequently recommend waterpicks for people with gum disease.

 

Cosmetic Dentistry

People smilingWhat is cosmetic dentistry and how can it improve my smile?

Dr. Marinic can perform a variety of cosmetic procedures to improve your smile—from subtle changes to major repairs.  There are many techniques and options to treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshapen, or missing.  Dr. Marinic can reshape your teeth, close spaces, restore worn teeth, or alter the length of your teeth.  Common procedures include teeth whitening, bonding (white fillings or composites), caps, crowns, veneers, and reshaping and contouring.

What is teeth whitening?White teeth

Teeth whitening is a common and popular chemical process used to lighten teeth.  Some people get their teeth whitened to make stains disappear, while others just want a brighter smile.  Discoloration, which occurs in the enamel, can be caused by medication, coffee, tea, and cigarettes.  Discoloration also can be due to your genetic make up or simply from aging.  Teeth whitening can be performed by Dr. Marinic in the office or, under dental supervision, at home.

What is bonding (white fillings or composites)?

Bonding is the use of tooth-colored material to fill in gaps or change the color of teeth.  Bonding lasts several years and often requires only a single office visit.  Bonding is more susceptible to Silver and white fillingsstaining or chipping than other forms of restoration.   When teeth are chipped or slightly decayed, bonded composite resins may be the material of choice.  Bonding also is used to fill small cavities, to close spaces between teeth, or to cover the entire outside surface of a tooth.

What are veneers?Veneers

Veneers are placed over the front teeth to change the color or shape of your teeth.  Veneers are used on teeth with uneven surfaces; on teeth that are chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced, or crooked; or on teeth that already have large fillings placed.  Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic that are cemented over the front of your teeth.  Veneers are used to treat some of the same problems that bonding is used to treat.  Veneers also are an alternative to crowns.

What should I look for in a cosmetic dentist?

In order to make sure your dentist is skilled in cosmetic dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) recommends that you ask Dr. Marinic for the following items before undergoing treatment:

  • Before and after photos – These photos will allow you to examine the results of other patients being treated by Dr. Marinic to make sure his work fits your dental needs.
  • References – References allow you to get a sense of the quality of care the Dr. Marinic provides.
  • Proof of continuing education – Dr. Marinic has taken continuing education courses to keep him up-to-date with the latest techniques in clinical cosmetic dentistry.  Dr. Marinic can answer the questions you have about the techniques used to improve your smile.