General Dentistry for You and Your Family

How Your Chicago Hyde Park Dentist Can Help You

Our clinic performs a wide variety of services to help you get the smile you deserve. By leveraging today's advanced techniques and technology, Chicago dentist Dr. Louis Kaufman and our amazing staff can restore your beautiful smile to help you maintain your youthful appearance. Whether you need to get a tooth filled, have crooked teeth, or need a complete Chicago smile makeover, we can offer a treatment plan that's right for you. Read below to learn more about some of the procedures we offer.


Dental Cleanings

Twice yearly dental cleanings are one of the most important and frequently performed services by your dentist in Chicago. These professional cleanings, performed by one of our skilled hygienists, help remove mineralized plaque that may have developed in those "hard to reach" areas. Even with a great at-home oral health regimen, these cleanings are still needed every 6 months to ensure proper care.

Please note, the below information is intended for patients who have been seen in our office at 6 month intervals. There are some patients who may be in need of advanced periodontal treatment. Please consult our office for additional information.

How it's done:

Your cleaning should last between 30 minutes and an hour. Most patients find that these procedures do not cause any discomfort or pain.

First, one of our highly skilled hygienists will scale the teeth, using an electronic or hand tool, to remove plaque from the teeth. The gum line will also be targeted, as that is a location notorious for bacterial growth and disease.

Following this, your hygienist will polish the teeth to remove any final plaque and buff the teeth. Polishers generally have several different sized heads to clean hard to reach places.

One of our Woodlawn dentists will be stopping in after the cleaning to perform an exam.


Dental Exams and X-Rays

Usually performed at the same appointment as your dental cleaning, a dental exam is another component to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. By participating in these check-ups twice yearly, you can be catching any developing problems while still at an early stage. This allows for less damage to the teeth and less financial costs associated with larger treatments down the line.

How it's done:

Your dentist in Chicago will first examine the mouth visually, with the aid of certain dental tools such as mouth mirrors, high-intensity lights and more. Instances of cracked or decayed teeth will be looked for, as well as other important issues being reviewed:

Medical history: Your Chicago dentist will assess how any new medical conditions or illnesses may affect your dental health. Oral cancer screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer. Gum disease evaluation: Your gums and bone around the teeth will be checked for any evidence of periodontal disease. Examination of existing restorations: Current fillings, crowns, and other restorations are made sure to be in good order.

Diagnostic x-rays will also be taken in order to reveal any other hidden problems, especially in the areas below the gums. Bitewing x-rays are typically taken every 12 months and a panographic x-ray, which revolves around the head, is taken every 3-5 years.


Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. We can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings:

  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your Chicago dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however, this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings


Gold Fillings

The strongest and most durable material for dentistry today is still gold. Like other lab fabricated fillings, gold fillings require two appointments, a mold of your tooth, and a temporary.

Gold is much more esthetic than old silver fillings because gold fillings do not stain teeth. Some people may not care for the look of gold fillings, while others want the added strength. If the filling is in an area that does not show when you smile, gold is by far the best choice.


Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function. Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although, on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swellingand/or tenderness.

Reasons for root canal therapy:

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by your Chicago dentist or an endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.


Tooth Extractions

Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common procedure. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it means the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially.

When a wisdom tooth only emerges partially a flap of skin, called an operculum, may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the skin. This makes it easy for an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It will usually go away on its own, but it causes swelling and pain in the area.

Impacted teeth and wisdom teeth that can potentially cause problems, like infections, need to be removed. Extractions can range from a single tooth to removing all four wisdom teeth at once. Based on the preference of the doctor and/or the patient, a local anesthetic could be used to numb the areas where the teeth will be extracted. Others will prefer to go under a general anesthetic so that they will be sedated during the procedure.

The gum tissue around the wisdom tooth is cut open to reveal the tooth. The tooth is loosened by gripping it tightly and wiggling it back and forth until it can be lifted out of the gums. Sometimes a tooth may be impacted so tightly that it cannot be simply lifted out of the gums. In cases like this the tooth will be broken up into pieces first before being removed. Depending on the incision and extraction site, sutures may be needed to close the area. Soluble sutures are the best option, which will dissolve on their own.

After the surgery, you will need to rest. You need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your Chicago dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Our dental office in Chicago will prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. A cleaning solution to clean the extraction site may also be provided.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • And other food you can eat without chewing.

When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your Chicago emergency dentist for a follow-up.


Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings are a very important part of a visit for the patient. With the advances in modern technology, we are now able to pinpoint the start of a potential problem much earlier in its evolution. The ability to do so is extremely important in being able to treat any issues prior to them becoming a major irreversible problem.

The oral cancer screening is often completed with an ultraviolet light or similar device that allows us to view issues that can't always be detected by the human eye under normal conditions.

Certain lifestyle choices can have a great impact on the health of tissues and your overall health in the mouth. If you are a smoker or heavy drinker, make sure to get regular screenings when you visit your Chicago dentist.


Call (773) 643-6006 or request an appointment online to schedule an appointment today.

Kaufman & Kaufman SMILE DESIGN STUDIO

1525 East 53rd Street, Suite 734 | Chicago, IL 60615 | (773) 643-6006 | office@chicagodentistry.com | Schedule An Appointment

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