Anatomy of a Tooth

Despite their small size, your teeth are actually very complex and constantly changing as you age.  All teeth, though different in shape, have the same anatomical parts. Each tooth has a crown – the part that is exposed to the oral cavity – and roots. The tooth is attached to the underlying alveolar bone with fibers known as the periodontal ligaments.

Each tooth is made up of the same components, including:

  • Tooth crown – This is the part of the tooth we see in the mouth.
  • Enamel –The hardest, semi-translucent outer part of the tooth. Enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate, a rock-hard mineral.
  • Dentin – Dentin is the softer structure that comprises the majority of the tooth substance. It is full of tiny tubes that can transmit such signals as hot, cold, and painful stimuli to the pulp of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are found. It causes that yellow or blue/grayish color that we see in our teeth.
  • Pulp –The softer, living inner structure of teeth. Blood vessels and nerves run through the pulp of the teeth. It is often called the dental nerve. The nerves and blood vessels from the pulp are connected to the nervous and circulatory systems of the body.
  • Gums – Firm flesh around the roots of the teeth.
  • Root – Beneath the surface, embedded from the bone of the jaw, is the complex structure of the root of the tooth.
  • Cementum – A layer of connective tissue that binds the roots of the teeth firmly to the gums and jawbone.
  • Periodontal ligament – Tissue that helps hold the teeth tightly against the jaw.
  • Jawbone – The bone which forms the framework of the mouth and which holds the teeth.

Northwest Implant Dental Spa is dedicated to providing you with unparalleled and efficient care, including Chicago dental implants. Call our dental office at (847) 629-4875 today for a free consultation of your oral health.

Five Types of Teeth and Their Function

Your teeth are important for many reasons. They help you to eat, drink, talk, and give you that radiant smile. But beyond knowing those obvious advantages, many people don’t know enough about the anatomy of the mouth. Like a good sports team, there are many part and players that all work together to make up your mouth.

A normal adult mouth has 32 teeth, which (except for wisdom teeth) have erupted by about age 13. Each tooth has a specific job. Here’s an overview of the different types of teeth in your mouth.

Incisors (8 total) – The sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower) are used for cutting food.
Canines (4 total) – Sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points and are used for tearing and grasping food.
Bicuspids (8 total) – Teeth between the canines and molars. These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes referred to as bicuspids. The premolars are for crushing and tearing food.
Molars (8 total) – The flat teeth in the rear of the mouth are used for grinding and chewing food. These teeth have several cusps on the biting surface to help in this process.
Wisdom teeth or third molars (4 total) – These teeth erupt at around age 18 but are often surgically removed to prevent displacement of other teeth.

While the mouth is the smallest part of our overall anatomy, teeth are the hardest substance in the human body! They play an important role in not only chewing but speech as well. Taking care of your teeth means finding a dependable dentist in Wheeling, IL. The team at Northwest Implant Dental Spa provides you with reliable care services, making sure that your smile looks great and your mouth is at its healthiest!

Root Canal Treatment & Procedure

Oftentimes, anxiety is derived from fear of the unknown. Going into any dental procedure, especially a root canal or teeth implants in Chicago, can be scary for the first time. Let us help dispel some of the fear by outlining the process from start to finish.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, this is the first indication something is wrong. The intensity of the pain can range from mild to severe; it may lessen or intensify throughout the day, or it may get worse only when you eat. If you notice this, contact your dentist.

When you come in for an appointment, our staff will examine your tooth and take X-rays in order to diagnose the cause of your problem. From there, we’ll determine if a root canal is the best course of action. A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth.

If it’s determined that a root canal is necessary, local anesthesia is administered to the tooth. If you’ve ever had a filling, you’ll be familiar with this process. After that, the endodontist will drill an access hole into the tooth and use special tools to remove the damaged nerve and pulp tissue. Next, once the infected material is removed, your dentist will either seal the tooth or put in a temporary filling until a customized crown is ready. Finally, to complete the process, a crown, filling, or other tooth restoration completes the process of relieving your root canal pain.

Only your dentist or an endodontist can determine whether a root canal will adequately treat your problem. Don’t delay. If you’re experiencing persistent tooth pain, or gum or jaw sensitivity, contact our office immediately.

Why Do I Need A Root Canal?

If ever there were two words uttered by the dentist that invoked immediate fear in the hearts of patients, they would be “root canal.” No one wants one. Heck, we even cringe when we know someone else has to have one.

However, the fear and anxiety of getting a root canal is oftentimes the issue and not the procedure itself. If you’ve had serious tooth pain that has required root canal treatment, you know that you’ll do almost anything to make that pain stop immediately. Sharp, stabbing pains and an aching jaw can cause immense discomfort.

So, what precisely is a root canal and why do you need one? Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year thanks to root canals. This endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected.

Common causes of root canal pain include:
Decay: Tooth decay that has penetrated the outer layers of the teeth which causes root canal pain.
Damage: Cracks or chips in teeth can cause tooth decay and root canal pain.
Disease: Risk factors for infection in the tooth pulp include severe tooth decay, trauma to the tooth, recent dental procedures, large fillings, and cracks or chips in the teeth.

Not all tooth pain means you need a root canal. Signs that imply your tooth may need a root canal include pain, sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, or darkening of the tooth.

If you notice or experience any of the symptoms above, contact Dr. Kim and the staff at Northwest Implant Dental Spa. We’ll arrange for a dentist in Wheeling, IL, to examine you as soon as possible in order to have the problem tooth looked at.

Dental Care and Diabetes

Diabetes, a disease which affects the body’s ability to process sugar, affects an estimated 29.1 million people in the United States. With Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, the hormone that carries sugar from the blood to the cells that need it for energy. In Type II, the body stops responding to insulin. Both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of the body.

So what does diabetes have to do with your teeth and gums? A lot, actually. If you’re one of the 9% of the population living with diabetes, taking care of your teeth and mouth is especially important because the condition results in a greater risk of oral infection and often slows the healing process.

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), diabetes raises your risk of gum disease. Having gum disease then raises your risk of diabetes complications due to the fact that gum disease makes it more difficult for a diabetic to keep their blood sugar levels under control. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more likely you are to have plaque buildup on your teeth. Being proactive about treating your condition and caring for your mouth can help you avoid additional dental work beyond regular cleanings.

Gum disease prevention efforts are essential when you have diabetes. Along with getting your diabetes under control, caring for your teeth is an important component. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss morning and night, and rinse daily with an antiseptic mouthwash.

Talk with your dentist in Wheeling, IL, about your condition, being open and honest about the state of your health. Together you can devise a plan to help you have the healthiest mouth possible.

Oral Care Tips for Bridges and Crowns

Now that you’ve gotten a crown it’s important that you’re taking proper care of it. While a crown or bridge seamlessly takes the place of your original tooth, and you can expect to eat and chew without a problem, you will want to make some changes to your dental care routine to protect it. While dental implants in Chicago, IL, can last 10 years or longer, they can sometimes come loose or fall out prematurely. To prevent this from happening, the most important thing you can do to ensure the longevity of your new crown or bridge is by practicing good oral hygiene.

Tooth decay is one of the biggest threats to dental crowns and bridges. Food can become stuck between the teeth or under the false tooth. If decay sets in, the natural teeth on either side of the false tooth are weakened, and the bridge can fail.

By following a few simple steps, you can keep your dental crown healthy and prolong its life.

  • Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily.
  • To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.
  • Visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for a professional cleaning.

Speak with your dentist about how to care for your dental bridge and continue regular visits so they can inspect the crown regularly.

What to Expect in a Dental Crown Procedure

Your dentist may recommend a crown for a number of reasons: you have a missing tooth and need a bridge; you have a tooth that is cracked, worn down or otherwise weakened; you have had a root canal treatment; or you wish to improve your smile for cosmetic reasons.

A crown is a cover or cap your dentist can put on a tooth. The crown restores the tooth to its normal shape, size and function. The purpose of a crown is to make a damaged tooth stronger, improve the way a tooth looks, and as a bridge for missing teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, which can result in a bad bite. Bridges and crowns help prevent this from happening.

The procedure for installing a dental crown normally takes two separate dentist visits. At your first appointment, your dentist will examine the tooth to make sure that it can support a crown, then begin filing it down to prepare for the crown. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, the dentist may build up the core of the tooth.

After the tooth is filed or filled to the proper shape, an impression is made to provide an exact model for the crown. The impression will then be sent away to a dental lab for the permanent crown to be made. You will get a temporary crown while you wait for the permanent crown to be ready – which typically takes around two weeks.

When the permanent crown is ready, you will have your second visit. At this appointment, the temporary crown is removed, and then the dentist will position and fasten the new crown to the tooth with a special adhesive.

Once complete, and after a short adjustment period, your new crown should look, function, and feel like a regular tooth. If you have any questions about your dental implants in Chicago, IL, after your procedure, be sure to talk to your dentist.

Preparing for a Visit to the Dentist

It doesn’t matter if your next dental appointment is for a dental cleaning, a crown, or even a full mouth restoration, there are precautions and steps you should take prior to visiting a dentist in Wheeling, IL, to ensure it’s a positive experience.

Preparing for your next trip to the dentist requires more than just brushing and flossing before you arrive. Here are a few tips that are useful in preparing for the big day:

Confirm the appointment: Verify the appointment time 24 hours in advance.
Get a good night’s sleep: Giving the brain ample time to rest will soothe the nerves and anxiety.
Come early: Avoid rushing and give yourself time to feel comfortable and relaxed.
Confide your dental anxiety: Whether your fears arise from the sounds, smells, tools, or needles, it’s important to talk with your dentist about what’s worrying you so you can work together to find a solution to help you relax during your appointment.
Discuss dental problems: Bring a list of oral health questions and concerns you may have for your dentist and/or hygienist. Discussing dental issues before they become dental problems can help in determining a preventive treatment plan.
Be truthful with your answers: When a dentist asks you about your oral hygiene practices and past and current dental issues, be straightforward and thorough in your answers.

So that you don’t forget to come in regularly for cleanings and checkups, schedule your next appointment with Dr. Daniel Kim and his team at Northwest Implant Dental Spa before you leave your appointment. Early detection of dental problems are possible with regular dental check-ups and will prevent further serious complications.

Reasons to Schedule Your Dental Appointment in the Summer

Dentist Wheeling ILTypically, dentists recommend coming in for a dental appointment at least twice a year for a routine checkup and cleaning to make sure your teeth are healthy. When you visit a dentist in Wheeling, IL, twice a year, the dentist is more likely to notice something minor before it turns into a significant concern. Check out some reasons below to schedule a dental appointment in the summer.

Enjoy Your Smile on Vacation- You don’t want to go on vacation and worry about your teeth, especially if you are traveling out of the country. Have your teeth checked before you leave for peace of mind and to capture a vibrant smile in all of your photographs.

School is Out- If you have children, summertime is the best time to book a dental checkup because they will not miss any classes. You can easily find time to schedule a dental appointment because there is more flexibility in your child’s daily routine.

If you book a dental appointment in June, then you can have your teeth cleaned around the holidays. Your teeth will be fresh and clean just in time for family gatherings and photos. Check out our appointment availability by calling our dental office at (847) 629-4875 right now.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Picking a new toothbrush should be an easy task, right? One would think so, but have you ever really looked in the toothbrush aisle? It’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused by all of the choices. Some toothbrushes make big promises, like whitening your teeth, freshening your breath, or even giving it a deep cleaning. The choices seem overwhelming. You just want healthy teeth and gums. Is there one for that? Luckily, there are some toothbrush basics tips from your dentist in Wheeling, IL, that will make your search for the best toothbrush a whole lot easier!

Size: You might think bigger is better, but that’s not always the case. If you have a small mouth, a toothbrush with a big head might make it difficult to angle your toothbrush to brush hard-to-reach areas. Go for something that complements the size of your mouth.

Bristles: The American Dental Association recommends toothbrushes with soft bristles. Avoid using medium- and hard-bristled brushes, as they could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel.

Cleaning: While the toothbrush is the most important part of dental hygiene, they can also be a hotbed for germs. In order to prevent bacterial growth you should never share your toothbrush. Also, keep your toothbrush stored somewhere open, with airflow. Keeping a toothbrush in a closed, moist environment creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

After daily use, your toothbrush can lose its effectiveness and even become a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria. To get the most out of your toothbrush, replace it at least every 1-3 months. And if you recently had a cold or infection, be sure to use a new toothbrush.