Tag Archives: Evanston Dentist

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Child and mom looking at eachotherIt is estimated that up to 20 million people have diabetes, but only two-thirds of these individuals are diagnosed.  Studies have shown that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease than those who do not have diabetes.  This relationship causes great concern because serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood sugar control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.  That’s why it’s important for people with diabetes to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis and to keep him up to date on the status of the diabetic’s oral and overall health.

How are gum disease and diabetes related?Tooth erosion

Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, a reversible form of gum disease usually caused by the presence of bacteria.  These bacteria produce toxins that create a sticky film that accumulates on teeth, both above and below the gum line, leading to inflammation.  If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an irreversible destruction of the tissues that surround and support the teeth.

ThrushWhat other problems are associated with diabetes?

Other oral problems associated with diabetes include thrush (candidiasis), an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and cavities.  To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, Dr. Marinic may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings.

How can I stay healthy?

ToothpasteBrush your teeth with an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride and rinse with antimicrobial mouthwash at least two times a day.  People with diabetes who receive good dental care and have good insulin control typically have a better chance of avoiding gum disease.

To improve their quality of life and their oralTesting for diabetes health, people with diabetes need to pay close attention to diet and exercise. People with diabetes should be sure that both their medical and dental care providers are aware of their medical history and periodontal status.

To keep teeth and gums strong, those with diabetes should be aware of their blood sugar levels in addition to having their triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis.

What is the best time to receive dental care?

Waking upIf your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both Dr. Marinic and physician about receiving elective dental care.  Types of dental procedures and appointment length are dependent on the level of diabetic control.  Try to schedule morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be more stable at this time of day.  If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and take your medications as directed.  See Dr. Marinic on a regular basis and keep him informed of your health status,

Periodontal Disease for Two – Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnant womanIf you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect you’re already pregnant,it’s important that you see Dr. Marinic right away.  Pregnancy may cause unexpected oral health changes due to hormones—particularly an increase in estrogen and progesterone—which can exaggerate the way in which gum tissues react to plaque.  Research continues to show that overall health and oral health coincide, so it’s especially important for you to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy.  Visiting Dr. Marinic will allow him to assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the remainder of your pregnancy.

How does plaque build-up affect me?

When plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis—red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed.  So-called “pregnancy gingivitis” affects most pregplaque on teethnant women to some degree and generally begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy.  If you already have gingivitis, the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy.  Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss.

How does gingivitis affect my baby’s health?Premature baby

Research suggests a link between pre-term delivery, low birth weight babies, and gingivitis.  Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums; the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.

How can I prevent gingivitis?

Pregant woman eatingYou can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean, especially near the gumline.  You should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible.  You also should floss each day.  Good nutrition keeps the oral cavity healthy and strong; in particular, you should get plenty of vitamins C and B12.  More frequent cleanings from Dr. Marinic also will help control plaque and prevent gingivitis.

What are pregnancy tumors?

Pregnant women are at risk for developing pregnancy tumors—inflpyogenic granuloma (pregnancy tumor) - Before - 1ammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop between the teeth or when swollen gums become irritated.  These localized growths or swellings are believed to be related to excess plaque.  Normally, the tumors are left alone and will usually shrink on their own after the baby’s birth; however, if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing, or other oral hygiene procedures, Dr. Marinic may decide to have it removed.

Are there any dental procedures I should avoid?

Routine exams and cleanings can be performed throughout pregnancy; however, non-emergency procedures should only be performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.  Dental emergencies that create severe pain can be treated during any trimester, but your obstetrician should be consulted during any emergency that requires anesthesia or whenever medication is prescribed.  X-rays should only be taken for emergency situations.  Lastly, elective and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the baby’s birth.  

Because every woman is different, it’s best to discuss and determine a treatment plan with Dr.Marinic.

Dental Plaque – The Enemy to Our Teeth

Infant smilingIt’s important to keep you and your children’s teeth clean and healthy, and you can help do this by teaching them how to reduce the amount of plaque on their teeth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria-containing film that accumulates on teeth, plaque on teethespecially in places where toothbrushes can’t reach.  Many of the foods that we eat cause the bacteria in the mouth to produce acids.  Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also can cause acids to form.

How does plaque affect the mouth?

Image of plaque on gumsPlaque produces bacteria that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding.  Consistent plaque buildup can cause tooth enamel to wear away, which will result in cavities.  Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth eventually can harden into calculus or tartar.  This makes it more difficult to keep the teeth clean.

When tartar collects above the gumline, the gum tissue can become swollen and may bleed easily.  This is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.  You can prevent plaque buildup and keep teeth cavity-free by regularly visiting Dr. Marinic, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning between the teeth with dental floss daily.

How can I reduce the plaque on my teeth and my child’s teeth?

The best way to remove plaque is by teaching your child to brush his or herParent and child brushing teeth teeth, just like you do, for at least two minutes twice per day.  Brushing removes the plaque from tooth surfaces.  Be sure to show your child how to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and instruct them to use a proper circular motion when brushing teeth and gums.  Make sure to teach your child to brush the tongue as well; this removes bacteria and freshens breath.

Mother and child flossing togetherYou can teach your child to remove plaque from between his or her teeth by using floss once a day.  Start flossing between your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch each other (after 1 year old).  Your child should continue to floss as they grow older so that it becomes part of their oral hygiene routine.  In addition to brushing, daily flossing is essential for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

How can my child and I maintain good oral hygiene?

Lead by example and practice good oral hygiene yourself!

Teach your child about the importance of good oral hygiene, and be sure that you and your child brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice per day.  In addition to brushing, you and your child should floss at least once per day.

Further, be sure that you and your child go to Dr. Marinic’s dental office for cleanings and checkups.  Getting you and your child’s teeth cleaned regularly can help prevent gum disease, remove tartar and plaque buildup, and eliminate stains that regular brushing and flossing can’t.  Dr. Marinic also can examine you and your child’s entire mouth and detect issues early—before they become bigger, more painful problems.

No Need to Worry – It is Just a Root Canal

What is a root canal?Tooth anatomy

Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentin is an area of soft tissue called the pulp tissue.  While a tooth’s pulp tissue does contain nerve fibers, it is also composed of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue.  Each tooth’s nerve enters the tooth at the very tip of its roots.  From there, the nerve runs through the center of the root in small “root canals,” which join up with the tooth’s pulp chamber.

Why do I feel pain?

When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to a deep cavity or fracture, the blood supply to the tooth may be lost and the tooth pulp may die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood Infected tooth pulpflow and activity in the tooth’s cells.  Pressure may build within a tooth that cannot be relieved, causing pain that is commonly felt when biting down, chewing, or consuming hot or cold foods and drinks.

Why might I need treatment?Bone loss

Without treatment, the infection will spread and bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, possibly causing the tooth to fall out.  Pain usually worsens until you are forced to seek dental attention.

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a procedure that removes the damaged or dead pulp. The canal is reshaped and filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth.  The tooth is then permanently sealed and a crown is placed.

What is involved in root canal therapy?

If Dr. Marinic recommends a root canal, he will refer you for treatment to anInfected pulp endodontist, which is a specialist who treats injuries, diseases, and infections of the tooth pulp.  A space is created into the tooth’s pulp chamber, which, along with any infected root canal, is cleaned of all diseased pulp and reshaped. Medication may be inserted into the area to fight bacteria.  Depending on the condition of the tooth, the crown may then be sealed temporarily to guard against recontamination or the endodontist may immediately fill the canals.

RCT stepsTemporary fillings are usually removed and the pulp chamber and canals are filled on the next visit.  If the tooth is still weak, a post may be inserted above the canal filling to help rebuild the tooth.  Once filled, the area is permanently sealed. Finally, a porcelain crown is placed over the tooth to strengthen its structure and improve its appearance.

How will I feel after treatment?

There may be some inflammation around the gum tissues, which may cause discomfort for a few days.  This can be controlled by an over-the-counter pain reliever.  A follow-up visit to the endodontist will help him review how the tissue is healing.  From this point on, brush and floss regularly, avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth, and see Dr. Marinic on a regular basis for cleanings and examinations.

Are there options to root canal therapy?

The only alternative to root canal therapy is to extract the tooth; however, this alone can cause the surrounding teeth to move, resulting in a bad bite.  Though a simple extraction may be perceived as less expensive, the empty space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which ultimately can be more costly than root canal therapy.

Senior Oral Health Care

Seniors smilingProper oral care can keep you smiling well into retirement.  Brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush are important. Flossing helps save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.

What problems should I watch for?Image gum disease

Most people don’t realize how important it is to take care of their gums.  Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attacks the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush.  If you have any of these symptoms, see Dr. Marinic at once. Gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease if problems persist.

Why should I be concerned about gum disease?

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal) disease.  In gum disease, the infection may become severe. Your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth.  In the worst caseswollen gums from gum diseases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone.  This can lead to tooth loss if untreated, especially in patients with osteoporosis.  If regular oral care is too difficult, Dr. Marinic can provide alternatives to aid in flossing and prescribe medication to keep the infection from getting worse.

Should I be concerned about dry mouth?Water and faucet

Dry mouth happens when salivary glands fail to work due to disease, changes in medication, certain medications or cancer treatment.  This makes it hard to eat, swallow, taste and speak.  Drinking lots of water and avoiding sweets, tobacco, alcohol and caffeine are some ways to fight dry mouth.

Dr. Marinic talking to patientHow can I maintain my overall health?

Studies have shown maintaining a healthy mouth can keep your body healthier and help you avoid diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Keep Dr. Marinic informed of any changes or updates in your medical history to help prevent potentially harmful drug interactions or health conditions.  The best way to achieve good oral health is to visit Dr. Marinic for professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.

What if it’s too difficult to brush?Large handle toothbrush

If you have arthritis, you may find it difficult to brush and floss.  Ask Dr. Marinic for ways to overcome this problem.  Certain dental products are designed to make dental care less painful for arthritis sufferers.  Try using a battery operated toothbrush with a large handle.  These toothbrushes can help by doing some of the work for you.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age.  See Dr. Marinic imOral cancermediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, sores that fail to heal within two weeks, or an unusual hard spot on the side of your tongue.  Oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily.  Dr. Marinic can perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.

Sensitive Teeth – A Common Complaint

dentist talking to patientSensitive teeth is one of the most common complaints by dental patients.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

Exposed dentin is the likely reason.  Dentin is the tissueTooth anatomy that makes up the core of each tooth.  Dentin is covered by a protective coating of enamel.  When this enamel wears away or decays, the dentin becomes exposed and receptive to sensations, including pain.  Dentin exposure and sensitivity also occur when roots are exposed due to gum recession.

When does tooth sensitivity usually occur?

You may experience tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, after eating cold or hot foods, drinking cold or hot liquids, or breathing cold air.

What causes dentin hypersensitivity?

Eating lemonCauses of dentin hypersensitivity include brushing too hard, which wears away enamel, and gum disease.  Other causes include cracked or chipped teeth and grinding or clenching your teeth.  Medical conditions like bulimia also may lead to exposed dentin.  Your diet may play a role as well. Consumption of acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and carbonated beverages, can chemically dissolve enamel over time, resulting in exposed dentin.

What can increase dentin hypersensitivity?Whitening toothpaste

Some toothpaste brands contain abrasive ingredients that may wear away enamel.  Ingredients found in some whitening toothpastes and bleaching treatments may increase tooth sensitivity as well.

How do I know when it’s time to see a Dr. Marinic?

If your teeth are highly sensitive for more than three or four days and they react to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get an evaluation from Dr. Marinic

How does Dr. Marinic determine dentin hypersensitivity?

Dr. Marinic can gauge the severity of your sensitive teeth by using an air test. He sprays air across each area of your teeth to pinpoint the exact location of sensitivity.

What can Dr. Marinic do to treat dentin hypersensitivity?

Dr. Marinic will examine your teeth, look for causes of sensitivity, and make treatment recommendations. If sensitivity is associated with clenching and/or grinding, he may recommend a mouth guard.  Dr. Marinic has a variety of treatments for dentin hypersensitivity.  Products for home use include desensitizing toothpastes and mouth rinses.  In-office procedures include application of desensitizing agents or protective sealants.

What can I do to improve tooth sensitivity?

Practice good oral hygiene to maintain healthy teeth and gums.  Use a soft bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing your teeth too hard.  And watch what you eat: Avoid acidic foods and drinks.

Sleep Apnea – Do You Suffer?

What is sleep apnea?

Man sleepingSleep apnea is a serious, potentially life threatening sleep disorder that affects approximately 18 million Americans.  It owes its name to the Greek word apnea (meaning “want of breath”) and refers to episodes in which a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep.  With each episode, the sleeper’s brain briefly wakes up in order to resume breathing, resulting in extremely fragmented and poor-quality sleep.  If you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea or if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Marinic can work closely with your physician to implement and manage a prescribed therapy.

What are the different types of sleep apnea?

There are two major types of sleep apnea, both of which can severely disrupt the regular sleep cycle.

  • Obstructive apnea:  As you sleep, the muscles in the walls of your throat relax to the point where the airway collapses and prevents air from flowing into your nose and mouth, but efforts to breathe continue.  This is the most common type of apnea.
  • Central apnea:  Breathing interruptions during sleep are caused by problems with the brain mechanisms that control breathing.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

People with sleep apnea usually do not remember waking up during the night.  Indications of the problem may include:Woman with headache

  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning
  • Excessive snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

What’s the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?

Couple one snoringUnlike mild snoring, individuals with sleep apnea stop breathing completely for 10 seconds or more, typically between 10 and 60 times in a single night.  If your partner hears loud snoring punctuated by silences and then a snort or choking sound as you resume breathing, this pattern could signal sleep apnea.

Why is sleep apnea a concern?

Studies have shown that people with this potentially life-threatening disorderWoman sleeping on computer are so fatigued during the day that, when driving, their performance is similar to that of a drunk driver. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to impaired daytime functioning, high blood pressure, heart attack, and even stroke.

How can my dentist help?

If your dentist suspects you suffer from sleep apnea, he or she will refer you to a physician, often a sleep medicine specialist. Diagnosis and treatment is based on your medical history, physical examination, and the results of a polysomnography – an overnight sleep study, which measures heart rate and how many times breathing is interrupted during sleep.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist can work closely with your physician to implement and manage your therapy.

What are the treatment options?

If you have mild obstructive sleep apnea, initial treatment may include avoiding sleeping on your back, losing weight, or cessation of smoking. Dental appliances, such as the Thornton Adjustable Positioner ® (TAP®), which reposition the lower jaw and the tongue, have been helpful to some patients with mild sleep apnea.

If you have severe sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems are a commonly prescribed therapy. CPAP delivers air through a small mask that covers the nose, and the constant pressure keeps the airway open, which prevents both snoring and episodes of apnea. For patients who have trouble tolerating CPAP, other treatments, including surgery, can eliminate sleep apnea symptoms.

 

Athletes and Their Oral Health

Sports equipmentWhether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, protecting your mouth, face, head, and neck should be a priority when you participate in your favorite sport or activity.  Taking the appropriate protective measures while on the court, field, rink, or ring can save you from serious injury and costly dental repairs.

What sports pose a threat to oral health?

Any sport that presents the chance of contact or collision with anotherColliding person, object, or surface can potentially cause injury to the teeth, jaws, and oral soft tissue.  These sports include, but are not limited to, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, boxing, and lacrosse.  Individuals who participate in sports, such as biking, inline skating, or skateboarding, also are at risk for injury.

How do mouth guards protect my mouth?

Mouth guard in hockey playerA custom mouth guard made by Dr. Marinic covers the upper teeth with a soft, flexible material that prevents serious injuries, such as broken teeth, jaw fractures, cerebral hemorrhage, and neck injuries, by decreasing the chance of the lower jaw jamming into the upper jaw or being pushed back into the temporomandibular (jaw) joint.  Mouth guards also are effective in preventing laceration (cutting) and bruising of the lips and cheeks.  Mouth guards may reduce the severity and incidence of concussions as well.

What other types of protection do I need?Hockey players equipment

Helmets are very important when participating in sports that involve speed and impact.  Properly fitted helmets can prevent major head injuries, as well as facial and neck injuries.  Helmets should always fit well and be fastened correctly.   For certain sports, other protective gear, such as facemasks and body pads, also should be worn.

What do I do if I experience trauma to my mouth?

If you experience an injury to your mouth, including major lacerations to yourKobe Bryant injured lips, cheeks, or gums, seek medical attention immediately.  If you break, chip, or lose a tooth, or experience minor injury to your gums, tongue or cheeks, contact Dr. Marinic immediately.  If you seek treatment immediately after the injury occurs, Dr. Marinic often can save knocked-out teeth and repair minor chips and cracks with appropriate dental materials.  Make an appointment to visit Dr. Marinic for evaluation if your tooth changes color, if you experience any dental pain, or if you notice any swelling in or around your mouth following trauma.

What should I tell Dr. Marinic about my physical activities?

Dr. Marinic talking to patientInform Dr. Marinic if you participate in sports or recreational activities. He can give you tips on how to best protect your mouth, face, head, and neck during these activities.  Because mouth injuries can be painful and costly, Dr. Marinic recommends that all athletes take preventative measures at all times.

Teen’s Oral Health – What You Should Know

Should I limit drinking soda?

Teenager drinking soda from bottleYES!  Whether at school, home or on the weekends, teens are drinking more soda than they have in the past.  In 1977, 12 to 19-year-olds drank 16 ounces of soda a day.  In 1996, this same age group consumed an average of 28 ounces a day.  Not only is sugar harmful to teeth, acidic flavor additives can also erode and damage tooth enamel. Drinking soda through straw

There are simple ways you can limit the harmful effects of sodas. Try sipping soda through a straw.  It cuts down on the contact the beverage has with your teeth.  Rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda.  It can also reduce the risk of cavities.

Why should I avoid oral piercings?

Tongue and cheek piercingTongue piercing remains a teen trend; however it is not always a healthy choice for your mouth.  People chip teeth on tongue piercings while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing on the jewelry.  Tongue piercing commonly causes fractured teeth.  The fracture can be confined to tooth enamel and require a filling, or it may go deeper; in which case, can cause a need for a root canal or extraction. 

Infections are also common with oral piercings, and they cause more than pain.  A tongue can swell after being punctured, however in some cases the tongue becomes infected and swells so much that it may cut off breathing. Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as bloodborne hepatitis.

Why should I make time for healthy habits?

Quick meals in the form of “nutrition” bars and fast food help keep you alert Xylitol gumand on schedule between school, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. However, today’s fast-paced lifestyle threatens to leave the teen generation with permanent damage to oral and overall health.  You can keep travel-size brushes in lockers or back packs.  Chewing sugarless gum with xylitol after meals or snacks can also help cleanse your mouth.  Drinking water throughout the day can help clean your teeth of excess bacteria and food debris.

Teens should be sure to see Dr. Marinic at least twice a year.  Regular dental visits can help catch minor problems before they become major ones!

Xylitol – A Popular Sugar Free Substitute

XylitolXylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener that is found in birch tree bark, beets, corncobs, raspberries, mushrooms, and other natural sources.  Its sweetness is equal to that of sugar, but it has about 40 percent fewer calories, making it a popular sugar-free substitute.  Xylitol not only cuts calories, it also cuts cavities!

How does xylitol prevent cavities?

Xylitol helps prevent Streptococcus mutans, the primary bacterium associated with dental caries, from attaching to teeth and tissues in the mouth.  Xylitol cannot be metabolized by bacteria; as a result, the process that creates harmful, enamel-eating acids is drastically slowed.  Regular use of xylitol has been shown to help reduce dental plaque – the first stage of cavity development, tartar formation, and tooth staining – and promote better oral health.

How often must I use xylitol for it to be effective?Xylitol gum

Xylitol is a natural and convenient way to supplement daily dental care.  Xylitol gum or mints used three to five times daily (for a total intake of 5 grams) is considered optimal.  Because frequency and duration of exposure is important, gum should be chewed for approximately five minutes and mints should be allowed to dissolve.  Dentists who recommend using xylitol immediately after meals and snacks to help reduce plaque, do so to inhibit adhesion of bacteria to the teeth, and reduce contact time of sugar on teeth.

Has xylitol been evaluated for safety?

Yes. Human consumption of xylitol has been confirmed for safety by a number of agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert DogCommittee on Food Additives, and the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food.  Pet owners should note, however, that xylitol is harmful to dogs.  To prevent xylitol poisoning, dog owners should be aware of products that contain xylitol as a sweetener, and keep those products out of the reach of their dogs.

What products contain xylitol and how do I find them?

Products containing xylitol have been available in the United States for a Xylitol sweetnernumber of years, but only recently have its use become main stream.  Today, xylitol can be readily found in chewing gums, toothpastes, mouthwashes and other oral care products, candies, and some pharmaceuticals.  On food labels, xylitol is classified broadly as a carbohydrate and more narrowly as a polyol.  To learn more about xylitol products, talk to Dr. Marinic.