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Understanding and Preventing Hairy Tongue: Insights | Dentist Westchester

Dentist in Westchester, IL

At Midwest Dental Center, under the expert care of Dr. A.J. Salerno, DDS, we’re committed to educating our patients about common oral health concerns, including the often overlooked condition known as hairy tongue. While typically harmless, hairy tongue can be unsightly and uncomfortable. Understanding its causes and risk factors is essential for maintaining optimal oral hygiene. Here’s what you need to know about this condition and how to prevent it.

What is Hairy Tongue? Hairy tongue is a benign condition characterized by an overgrowth of bacteria on the surface of the tongue, giving it a furry or hairy appearance. This buildup occurs when the small, rough papillae on the tongue fail to shed properly, leading to an accumulation of debris and bacteria.

Who is at Risk? While anyone can develop hairy tongue, certain factors may increase your risk, including age and tobacco use. According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, up to 13% of the population may experience this condition.

Common Causes: The exact causes of hairy tongue remain unclear, but several factors may contribute to its development. Poor oral hygiene and a diet low in stimulating foods can inhibit the natural shedding of papillae. Additionally, excessive consumption of substances like tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea can exacerbate the condition. Dehydration and dry mouth may also disrupt the tongue’s normal refresh cycle, further promoting bacterial buildup.

Preventive Measures: Preventing hairy tongue begins with a robust at-home oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth and tongue twice daily, flossing regularly, and using antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce bacteria accumulation. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated can promote tongue health. Regular visits to Midwest Dental Center for professional cleanings are essential for detecting early signs of hairy tongue and addressing any concerns promptly.

Conclusion: While hairy tongue is generally harmless, it can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment. By understanding its causes and risk factors, you can take proactive steps to prevent this condition and maintain a healthy tongue. If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning or have concerns about hairy tongue, don’t hesitate to contact Midwest Dental Center for an appointment. Your oral health is our top priority, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Schedule your visit today for personalized care and comprehensive dental services.

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Midwest Dental Center of Westchester
Phone: 708-447-8422
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10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth | Dentist Westchester

Dentist in Westchester, IL

If you’re self-conscious about your smile due to missing teeth, modern dentistry offers a variety of tooth replacement options that look and feel like natural teeth. Here are three of the most common solutions to replace missing teeth:

Dentures

Dentures are ideal for those missing many or all of their teeth. Our team will take an impression of your mouth and send it to a lab to create customized dentures that fit your mouth perfectly. Regular cleaning with a non-abrasive cleanser is necessary to keep your dentures in good condition.

Bridges

Dental bridges are a partial denture solution for one or more missing teeth. They anchor to your existing teeth to prevent shifting and are designed to match the look of your natural teeth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants offer a long-lasting solution for missing teeth. They can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. Our team will evaluate your gum tissue and bone support to ensure that the implant has a strong foundation. Additional preparations, such as a bone graft, may be necessary for some patients.

Replacing missing teeth is important for preventing gum deterioration, teeth shifting, and improving speech and comfort. Our team can help you decide on the best tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. Don’t let missing teeth hold you back from a confident smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Midwest Dental Center of Westchester
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

How to Prevent Dry Socket | Dentist 60154

Dentist in Westchester, IL

60154 Dentist

Alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a temporary complication that can occur following a tooth extraction. Fortunately, it is rare, preventable, and short-lived. Here are some tips to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery. 

What is Dry Socket? 

When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris while the extraction site heals. In rare cases, the clot can be dislodged or not formed correctly, which can leave the site exposed. This is a dry socket.  

The most common sign of dry socket is a throbbing, deep-set discomfort from within the extraction area. A foul smell may emanate, causing bad breath as well as an unappealing taste in your mouth. If this occurs, contact our office right away. 

Risk Factors and Prevention 

Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Tobacco use, oral contraceptives, poor oral hygiene, or gum infection around the extraction site can increase your chances. To prevent dry socket, avoid using straws, brushing the extraction area, or rinsing your mouth vigorously during healing. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact our office if you have questions. 

Treatment and Recovery 

If you do develop dry socket, we will provide quick, effective treatment. Our team will flush the area to remove any debris, and pack the extraction site with gauze or other dressing. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery. 

Dry socket is rare, and is temporary and treatable when it does occur. Our experienced team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our office. 

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Caring For Dental Implants | Westchester IL Dentist

Dentist in Westchester, IL

Westchester IL Dentist

If you have received a dental implant, you have invested both time and money into the future of your smile. It is important to protect this investment in order to  maintain good oral health. There are certain steps you should take after undergoing a dental implant procedure in order to care for your mouth. 

After the procedure, your mouth might be tender at first. This tenderness only lasts about ten to fourteen days. Your dentist recommends a diet of warm soup, soft foods, and cold foods during this time. Additionally, you should refrain from smoking. Although the healing time for a dental implant tends to vary depending on the patient and the situation, it generally takes between two and four months for your mouth to fully heal after receiving a dental implant. You will not experience discomfort throughout this period, though. 

Once your mouth has healed, caring for an implant is very similar to caring for a natural tooth. Although an implant cannot develop a cavity, it can still undergo the same wear-and-tear as a normal tooth. When not maintained properly, there is a risk for peri-implantitis to occur, which is similar to periodontal disease. However, this is easily preventable through regular check-ups, as well as daily brushing and flossing. 

In order to maintain good oral health, it is important to continue to regularly visit your dentist. Your dentist can clean the areas that you are unable to reach. Additionally, they will be able to check the surrounding gums and bone to ensure that they are healthy. As always, your dentist recommends thorough brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Paying  attention to your oral hygiene will ensure that your implant survives. If you continue to maintain good oral hygiene, your implants can last for the rest of your life without a need for replacement.  For questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact our dental office.

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Are You Using the Right Mouthwash? | 60154 Dentist

Dentist in Westchester, IL

60154 Dentist

While it should never be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information, or for a personalized recommendation on the best mouthwash for you, contact our team today! 

Choosing the Right Mouthwash 

Though there are plenty of brands and varieties of mouthwash available, most fall into one of two general categories as recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes treat symptoms only, such temporarily masking bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwashes aim to treat the cause of an issue. Fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes are designed to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content. We can help you better understand the difference and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs. 

Should I Use Mouthwash? 

If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit your dentist at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on the unique needs of your teeth, it might be beneficial to talk to our dentist about working a specialized mouthwash into your routine.  

Though mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge any food that might be stuck in your teeth and mask any odor that might be lingering on your breath. 

Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine 

Generally, you want to use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds and avoid rinsing, eating, or drinking for at least 30 minutes afterwards to give the mouthwash time to work. 

Side Effects of Mouthwash 

When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation in your mouth. If the sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask our dentist about different alcohol-free options. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous. 

Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our team during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of working mouthwash into your oral care routine. 

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our dental team today!

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health | Westchester IL Dentist

Dentist in Westchester, IL

Westchester IL Dentist

Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth. 

How it Works 

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.  

Look for the ADA Seal 

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack. 

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum? 

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.  

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum. 

To schedule your next visit, please contact our dental office.

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Understanding Periodontal Disease | Dentist Westchester

Dentist in Westchester, IL

Maintaining your gum health is vital to your overall health. When you visit our office for an examination, our trained hygienists perform a periodontal exam. In fact, during your dental examination, our team is quietly assessing your oral health by performing a number of checks. Here’s what you need to know about periodontal disease. 

Many Names, One Illness 

You may have heard periodontal disease referred to as gum disease or gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of your gums. These names are frequently used interchangeably. 

Signs & Symptoms 

Periodontal disease may be marked by swollen and red gums. Bleeding, especially while brushing and flossing, may also occur. Another symptom of periodontal disease is persistent bad breath. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, please contact our office. 

Periodontal Disease Can Impact Your Overall Health 

Your gum health is linked to your overall health. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. The effects of periodontal disease extend well beyond your mouth. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, the disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

While you may think of your teeth as the primary reason to visit our office for a regular examination, understand that our team is looking beyond your teeth to assess your oral health and potential impacts on your overall health. Talk to our experienced team if you experience any signs or symptoms of periodontal disease. Our dentist in 60154 is trained to identify signs of periodontal disease. When detected early and managed properly, periodontal disease is treatable.  

For more information regarding your gum health, please contact our Westchester, IL dental office, or schedule a visit to see us.

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Oral Cancer Risk Factors | Dentist in 60154

Dentist in Westchester, IL

During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dentist in Westchester is trained and educated to identify oral cancer. 

Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer. 

Age 

Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age. 

Gender 

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.  

Tobacco 

Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for a dental examination.  

Alcohol 

Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination. 

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 

This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office. 

Sunlight 

People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team. 

Diet 

Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination. 

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact our dentist to schedule a comprehensive oral examination at our dental office in Westchester, IL.

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

8 Great Ways to Improve Your Smile | Dentist in Westchester

Dentist in Westchester, IL

​​We all know the importance of making a great first impression. Whether you’re going into a job interview or about to go on your first date with someone new, you want to have the confidence that comes with a great smile. After years of wear and tear however, a lot of people end up with teeth that they’re not completely proud to show off. If you feel unhappy with the way your smile looks, don’t worry; there are plenty of options that can help. 

Figuring out the best ways to improve your smile can be a daunting task, but our dental team is here to help, offering a range of services dedicated to helping you look and feel your best. 

8 Ways to Improve Your Smile 

  1. Teeth Whitening 
  2. Dental Crowns 
  3. Veneers 
  4. Tooth Bonding 
  5. Braces or Invisalign® 
  6. Dental Implants 
  7. Brushing and Flossing 
  8. Regular Dental Visits 

There are a myriad of ways you can improve your smile. Whether you decide to pursue a more in-depth treatment at our clinic or simply want advice on how to improve your oral health routine at home, our dentists are happy to help. Our highly trained dentist in 60154 offers all the state of the art services necessary to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile shining bright. 

It’s clear that there are a lot of treatments available for anyone looking to improve their smile. With options for any budget, there’s no reason to wait to begin your journey towards a better smile. To schedule a professional cleaning or to speak with someone about a personalized treatment plan, contact our Westchester, IL dental office today!

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

The Dangers of Grinding | 60154 Dentist

Dentist in Westchester, IL

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what our dentist in 60154 needs you to know about teeth grinding.  

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth? 

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing. 

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors. 

What Grinding Does Your Teeth 

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night. 

What We Can Do 

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment. 

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage. 

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our dental office in Westchester, IL. We look forward to assisting you!

Midwest Dental Center
Phone: 708-447-8422
10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Visit Our Westchester Dental Office

Dentist in Westchester, IL

10535 West Cermak Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

(708) 447-8422

Office Hours:
Monday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Friday: By Appointment Only
Saturday: By Appointment Only
Sunday: Closed

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