My Dentistry Blog
Posts for: January, 2018
Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.
As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.
Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.
Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.
Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”
Are you ready to get that visibly brighter smile that you can’t wait to show off?
The mulled wine is brewing and the delicious treats are being laid out for the holidays. It’s certainly one of the best times of the year to enjoy good foods, drinks and company. Of course, it’s amazing how much those dark foods and drinks can stain and leave your smile looking less than radiant. If this is happening to your smile, don’t worry; our Glenview, IL, cosmetic dentists, Dr. Alexander Quezada and Dr. David Lewis, Jr., will turn your smile around in no time with teeth whitening treatment.
Why do teeth stain?
Just like our skin, teeth are porous. This means that tooth enamel is able to absorb color from the foods and drinks we consume each and everyday. If you are a smoker, the chemicals from tobacco consumption or cigarettes can also lead to severe stains. It’s also common to notice teeth starting to dull over time as a result of aging. Luckily, these stain-causing scenarios can all be addressed with professional teeth whitening.
How does professional teeth whitening work?
The whitening gel our Glenview dentists use contains the strongest active ingredients you can find. The active ingredient is often a form of peroxide (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide), which is instrumental in being able to safely penetrate enamel to destroy the stubborn stain molecules that are hiding in the deeper layers of the tooth that your regular toothbrush and toothpaste won’t be able to effectively remove.
The bleaching gel is painted over the front of your teeth and left on your teeth for up to 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes is up, the gel is wiped away and a fresh, new gel layer is applied. In most cases, one whitening session will involve three or four whitening applications. After your treatment is over, we will be able to see the shade of your teeth before and after to compare. Most patients will have a smile that’s several shades whiter after just a single in-office whitening session.
Are you ready to get a whiter smile before the New Year? If so, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with us so that you can ring in the New Year with a brilliant smile. Call Colonial Dental Group in Glenview, IL, today.
There are usually two moments when primary (“baby”) teeth generate excitement in your family: when you first notice them in your child’s mouth, and when they come out (and are headed for a rendezvous with the “tooth fairy”!).
Between these two moments, you might not give them much thought. But you should—although primary teeth don’t last long, they play a pivotal role in the replacing permanent teeth’s long-term health.
This is because a primary tooth is a kind of guide for the permanent one under development in the gums. It serves first as a “space saver,” preventing nearby teeth from drifting into where the permanent tooth would properly erupt; and, it provides a pathway for the permanent tooth to travel during eruption. If it’s lost prematurely (from injury or, more likely, disease) the permanent tooth may erupt out of position because the other teeth have crowded the space.
That’s why we try to make every reasonable effort to save a problem primary tooth. If decay, for example, has advanced deep within the tooth pulp, we may perform a modified root canal treatment to remove the diseased tissue and seal the remaining pulp from further infection. In some circumstances we may cap the tooth with a stainless steel crown (or possibly a white crown alternative) to protect the remaining structure of the tooth.
Of course, even the best efforts can fall short. If the tooth must be removed, we would then consider preserving the empty space with a space maintainer. This orthodontic device usually takes the form of a metal band that’s cemented to a tooth on one side of the empty space with a stiff wire loop soldered to it that crosses the space to rest against the tooth on the other side. The wire loop prevents other teeth from crowding in, effectively “maintaining” the space for the permanent tooth.
Regular dental visits, plus your child’s daily brushing and flossing, are also crucial in preventing primary teeth from an “early departure.” Keeping them for their full lifespan will help prevent problems that could impact your child’s dental health future.
If you would like more information on the right care approach for primary teeth, 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 “Importance of Baby Teeth.”