Dentist - Chicago
220-222 W. Huron, Suite 4002
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 548-7579 (Office)
(312) 573-2032 (Fax)

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Posts for: November, 2011

By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 27, 2011
Category: Oral Health

Dental decay is an infectious and very common disease, but it's also very preventable. Today's dentistry has many tools at its disposal to accurately determine your risk for tooth decay, lower it, turn it around, and completely prevent it. What's more, we can even reverse early decay. You might never have to see or hear the drill again.

Striking the right balance between factors that promote oral health and those that cause disease is of the utmost importance. And knowing whether or not you have indicators of disease or risk for tooth decay is a great place to start.

We will scientifically calculate your risk for tooth decay by:

  1. Recording and monitoring your oral and dental health: Our risk assessment/evaluation form allows us to gather information about critical dental health habits. Oral hygiene habits, use of fluoride toothpaste, tobacco smoking, frequent snacking on sugary foods and beverages, and past experience of decay are all examples of disease indicators that will help gauge your level of risk. For example, using fluoride toothpaste decreases your risk, but smoking and between-meal snacking increases it.
  2. Testing for decay producing bacteria: You've probably heard of dental bacterial plaque, the biofilm that sticks to your teeth, forming in the tiny little grooves on the biting surfaces of the teeth where decay starts (and along the gum line). Today, acid-producing bacteria responsible for causing decay can be tested by simply sampling your biofilm on a swab, and placing it in a meter to accurately determine acid-producing activity. A high number indicates high risk. You can see it for yourself in less than a minute.
  3. Saliva testing: A simple history will tell us whether your mouth is dry or moist most of the time. A saliva test will tell us if your saliva is acidic or neutral. A dry acidic mouth promotes decay, while a moist neutral mouth with healthy saliva promotes health. Measuring salivary “pH,” the measure of acidity, is another factor for determining your risk for decay and reversing it. Special rinses can help reduce decay-producing bacteria and reduce acidity.
  4. Very early decay detection: Modern ultra-low-dosage x-ray equipment allows us to determine the very earliest signs of decay. Decay that is detectable with the naked eye (or feel with a dentist's instrument, an explorer) is already at an advanced stage. Catching the disease very early with the help of this sophisticated equipment can allow us to reverse early decay before it has even turned into cavities. It can actually be reversed with remineralizing fluids, rinses that put calcium back into the tooth surfaces reforming and hardening them.

This is a new and exciting era in the fight against tooth decay and we have all the tools to determine your decay risk and reverse it.

If you would like us to determine your risk for tooth decay, please call the office to schedule an appointment. To read more about disease indicators and risk factors for dental caries, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Decay: How To Assess Your Risk.”


By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

Your teeth were designed to last you a lifetime, so you should do everything you can to protect them. This includes guarding them against dental erosion. However, many people may not know for sure what dental erosion is, much less how or why they need to guard against it.

Dental or tooth erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth enamel from chemical attack by acids. Eating or sucking acidic foods such as lemons is a good example. But most people are shocked to discover that it can also be caused by their favorite sodas (carbonated beverages), natural fruit juices, energy and sports drinks — especially with excessive consumption. It takes the saliva, nature's protection, at least 30 to 60 minutes to neutralize the effects of acid, so only one acidic drink an hour causes your teeth to be continually bathed in acid. And this is an important fact to know, because if your mouth is acidic all the time, this will promote tooth decay.

Will brushing help out with prevention?

When it comes to dental erosion, brushing immediately after acid consumption can actually make it worse by accelerating the erosion process. This is because the acids in these drinks (and some foods) actually dissolves tooth enamel and softens the tooth surface. These newly softened surfaces can literally be brushed away if you brush before your saliva has a chance to try to reverse the process. If done often, you could even brush away your enamel! For this reason, you should wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before you brush your teeth after consuming any of these products.

So what can you do to prevent dental erosion?

One important step that you (and your family) can do to help prevent dental erosion is to limit the amount of these beverages you drink. Instead, try drinking calcium-rich milk or water and saving your favorite acidic beverage for a special treat that you consume preferably with a meal. Try reducing the number of these drinks you consume over a period of time. If you must drink an acidic beverage avoid swishing it in the mouth and use a straw to reduce the contact between the acid and your teeth.

Just remember that once your dental enamel has eroded, it is gone forever. So you should follow these simple tips now to protect your smile and future.


By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 13, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: laser dentistry  

For years, lasers have revolutionized the medical industry and now they are beginning to do the same within the field of dentistry. However, anytime new technologies are introduced, people naturally will have questions. Here is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).

What is a laser?

Lasers are beams of light that are a single wavelength and color. Laser is an acronym derived from “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”

How are they different from regular sunlight?

White light is made up of light with many wavelengths corresponding to the visible spectrum comprising the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). Laser light consists of beams of a single color and hence a single wavelength of light, concentrated to a high energy level, which can penetrate living tissue.

How are they used in dentistry?

Dental laser usage typically falls into three categories: disease diagnosis; soft tissue procedures of the gums, lips and tongue; and hard tissue procedures of the bone or tooth enamel and dentin. Examples of the most common hard tissue treatments include the diagnosis and removal of tooth decay, while the most common soft tissue treatments include the removal of gum tissue as it relates to cosmetic dentistry and the treatment of gum disease.

Are they safe?

Absolutely! Before blazing a trail in the field of dentistry, lasers have been used for years in the medical field with research evidence and the FDA approving both their safety and efficacy. In fact, they are minimally invasive and can result in less tissue removal, less bleeding and less discomfort for patients after surgery. And what could be better than that?

Want to learn more?

To learn more about lasers and how they are used in dentistry, read the article “Lasers Shine A Light On Dentistry.” And if you want to schedule an appointment, contact us today.


By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

While the long-term success rate for a dental implant is well over 95%, there are factors that can compromise their success. For this reason, our office has put together this list so that you can be prepared should you ever need a dental implant. We feel that by providing our patients with this type of easy-to-understand information, we can educate, address any concerns and help produce the best results.

The three most common categories for classifying factors that influence dental implant success are: general health concerns, local factors and maintenance issues. As you may suspect, general health concerns include factors such as:

  • Whether or not you smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking or have recently taken.
  • If you have or have a family history of osteoporosis (“osteo” – bone; “porosis” – sponge-like).
  • If your medical history includes any cancer or radiation treatment to the jaws.
  • Or if you have a compromised immune (resistance) system.

The second category is “local factors” and includes bone quantity and quality — there must be sufficient bone to anchor implants. Other considerations that fall into this category include whether or not you clench or grind your teeth or have additional bite concerns, as all of these can have negative impacts on both the short and long-term success of an implant.

The last category concerns maintenance. While dental implants are superior works of technology that can last a lifetime and produce results that are nearly identical to natural teeth in looks and durability, they do require routine maintenance. This includes daily cleaning (brushing and flossing) and routine visits to our office for evaluation and professional care to make sure they are functioning properly.

To learn more on this subject, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Factors which can influence implant success.” You can also contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants.