What can you do today to prevent major dental problems or chronic diseases down the road? What harmful bacteria or dental materials are lurking in your mouth that may cause health problems? Our holistic and preventative treatments ensure that your mouth and your whole body stay healthy.
Pearly whites are lovely to look at but your mouth is also a powerful indicator of your entire well-being. Regular checkups catch problems early to reduce your chances for health issues such as diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis. So when you come in for your checkup, we provide the following:
- Microscope plaque sample to identify the type of bacteria in your gums and customize your cleanings
- Periodontal probing (bone loss check)
- Tongue examination
- Digital diagnostic X-rays (our office has the lowest radiation x-rays on the market)
- Intra-oral images – a camera that takes close up pictures of your teeth
- Oral cancer screening
- Nutritional consultation (if needed)
- An in-depth explanation of the condition of your mouth and recommendations
- Evaluation of how you brush and floss
- Saliva pH test
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A routine cleaning, or preventive cleaning, is typically done every three to six months to maintain a healthy mouth. At each visit, we perform a comprehensive evaluation and take measurements of your gums (perio pockets) to check for bone loss.
Your toothbrush and floss can maintain healthy gums by reaching bacteria as deep as 3mm under the gum line. So when measurements are within the 1-3mm range with no bleeding and a healthy microscope bacteria sample, we prescribe a regular cleaning. A regular cleaning involves removal of plaque, flossing, and polishing the teeth.
However, when bleeding (inflammation) is present and the pocket depths reach 4mm or more, the bacteria causes the gum tissue to pull away from the tooth and bacteria to crawl further into the gums and further from the reach of your toothbrush and floss. Along with deeper pockets, you can also expect to see dangerous bacteria on the microscope slide. When this is the case, a regular cleaning is insufficient to fix the problem, and we may recommend a deep cleaning or a two stage cleaning.
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When pockets are excessively deep because of plaque buildup, we recommend scaling and root planing (SRP). SRP, also known as a deep cleaning, is a procedure split into two separate appointments.
The patient is generally numbed to ensure comfort, usually ½ or ¼ of the mouth is cleaned at a time. We first have the patient rinse with ozonated water to kill bad bacteria and minimize its spread.
Scaling and root planing removes plaque and calculus (tartar), which houses bacteria that release toxins and cause inflammation in the gum tissue and surrounding bone. If bone is destroyed, teeth can become loose and fall out. Although this doesn’t happen overnight, the slow progression of bone loss can be detrimental to the mouth. Research shows that scaling and root planing is the most effective method of treating gum disease before it becomes severe and requires surgery. In severe cases, we try ozone therapy before surrendering to surgery.
Different people react to materials differently – much like people react to foods differently. The materials used in fillings, bonding agents, crowns, and implants are meant to last for many years in a dark, moist environment. Standard materials may work great, or you may react to one the way you would to a gluten sensitivity. However, it’s hard to recognize a dental material incompatibility, especially when symptoms are delayed or not visible in the mouth.
That’s where biocompatibility testing comes in. To make sure the material lasts without causing you harm, we test our materials in relation to your unique body chemistry and ensure that a given dental material is compatible with your body.
Biocompatibility testing involves several steps. We give you a kit to take to your physician. A blood sample is taken and the plasma is separated. Next, you send the sample in a pre-paid Fed-Ex envelope to a lab, where a skilled lab technician tests your blood for sensitivity to 15,000 dental materials. The test results are sent back to Wrigleyville Dental and you get a copy of your test results in a booklet. From this, we know which brands of materials are safe with your DNA, and we can develop a treatment plan that works in harmony with your body.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) & TMJ Treatment
Bruxism (Greek for “teeth gnashing”) refers to the often unconscious act of clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. Chronic bruxism wears down or chips tooth enamel, changes your bite, and increases sensitivity. People who clench and grind their teeth experience symptoms associated with TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder), such as headaches, face, neck, and shoulder pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and jaw popping. Bruxism usually occurs at night and is increased by stress, anxiety, and unresolved anger. Most people don’t even know that they grind or clench their teeth at night.
If your bruxism is excessive, we may treat it with a custom-fitted mouth guard that protects your tooth enamel from further wear. We also use NTI (nociceptive trigeminal inhibitor) dental guards, which snap onto the front teeth to reduce bite force.
Because there may be a correlation between teeth grinding and sleep apnea, we may prescribe additional testing to prevent future, bigger problems.
Since these disorders are often increased by stress, anxiety, and other emotional issues, patients respond well to therapies that address the root cause of emotional distress, such as:
- Physical therapy: muscle relaxation, stretching exercises, biofeedback, and ultrasound treatments.
- Stress management
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment
Most people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t know they have it. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the muscles of the throat and tongue block your airway during sleep and you stop breathing. The brain senses the lack of oxygen and triggers a panic response, waking the sleeper.
This sleep disorder can exacerbate existing health issues and prompt the development of new ones, like heart disease and stroke. In addition, most sleep apnea sufferers never get a full night of sleep — seriously impairing a person’s ability to think clearly or stay alert.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, daytime sleepiness and fatigue, irritability, and inability to concentrate at work or school. A simple at home sleep study test can determine if you have sleep apnea. Our partner company conveniently brings the test to your home. You don’t even have to go to a hospital or a sleep lab.
If needed, we make you a custom-fitted mouthpiece to be worn during sleep. The appliance guides your jaw outward, keeping the airway clear so you can breathe throughout the night. Oral appliance therapy provides an ideal alternative to the CPAP machine. Soon, you’ll begin feeling more rested. As we all know, a good night’s rest does your body good!
Ozone (O3) is oxygenated water that kills microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, helps improve cellular function, and promotes healing of damaged tissue. This anti-microbial, antiseptic water is also used to treat periodontal disease, cavities, and to disinfect surgical sites. It also helps you heal faster and reduces sensitivity.
Ozone has been used in Europe since 1856, but was only introduced to American holistic dentists in the early 1990’s. Ozone therapy is great for patients with periodontal disease because it can reach below the gum line to target and destroy bacteria without toxic chemicals, surgery, or pain. On occasion, ozone dental therapy can repair tooth decay without anesthesia, drilling, or filling. Simply applying ozone to the tooth helps the natural healing process of remineralization or recalcification, making the area stronger. The entire procedure takes minutes to complete, making it an ideal treatment for children. Ozone dental therapy is natural, safe, and side-effect free, unless you’re allergic to oxygen. As us for more details.
Safe Amalgam Removal
Your safety is our priority, especially when removing silver-amalgam fillings. We are one of the few practices in Chicago to follow IAOMT guidelines for safe mercury amalgam removal. This means that we are trained to remove these metal fillings, and have specialized tools and protocols to keep you, us, and our environment safe. Without these precautions, your body ingests or inhales the mercury vapor, which can lead to mercury toxicity.
To ensure your safety, we follow the IAOMT protocol:
- Cut in chunks – Cut the amalgam in a big chunk to minimize mercury vapor exposure.
- Keep it cool – Use lots of water to minimize the vapors that come from the fillings.
- Suction – We use one suction directly over the tooth, another for the saliva, and a third one by your chin to help remove any aerosol and vapor. The suction by your chin also has a HEPA filter which filters the room air.
- Supplemental air – We provide you with oxygen so you don’t breathe any harmful fumes.
- Pre-rinse protection – A charcoal rinse prior to removing the fillings ensures that if any mercury particles get in the body, the charcoal will capture and eliminate them.
- Post-op care – After, we give you 1,000mg of Vitamin C to support your immune system.
Please let us know if you have any other requests, and we can accommodate them. Our goal is to keep you safe!
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Orthodontic therapy does more than straighten teeth. It also resolves:
- Crowded teeth that are difficult to clean properly and are more prone to cavities
- Protruding teeth that are more prone to chipping
- Malocclusions (uneven bites) that cause uneven tooth wear and damage to the enamel, or soft tissues of the inner cheeks and tongue
- TMJ problems
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
- Open bites that can lead to speech impediments or improper nutrition
Metal braces take an average of two years to complete. That’s a long time to live with discomfort and a metal-mouth grin. That’s why we offer Invisalign clear aligners.
Invisalign uses clear, BPA-free plastic, customized mouthpieces (called aligners) that fit over your teeth. Invisalign is so subtle that most people will not notice that you’re wearing the aligners. Treatment time ranges from 4-24 months, but averages about 12 months.
Invisalign is a better alternative to traditional braces because:
- Aligners can be removed during mealtimes and when you need to brush and floss. This means you maintain better oral hygiene and don’t experience tooth discoloration.
- It is more comfortable.
- They require fewer visits to the dentist for tightening and changing wires.
- Less irritation to the gums, cheeks, and lips.
- It’s more biocompatible.
- They look nicer while you’re in treatment (especially in pictures!)
In addition to Invisalign, Wrigleyville Dental is now offering PROPEL — an in-office treatment that shortens your treatment by half.
Invisalign and braces work by slowly shifting your teeth into place. When there is pressure applied to bones, they become temporarily inflamed and lose a little density for a short while. When teeth are less dense, they are easier to move. Propel takes advantage of this fact and slightly increases inflammation to allow the teeth to move faster. Occasionally patients are a little sore in the first 48 hours, but afterwards symptoms are rare. Typically one treatment is enough to cut treatment time by half.
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