Alpha Dental

 

 

 

 

Alpha Dental
Your Dental Health Is Our

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teeth

OFFICE HOURS

Monday

10am-7pm

Tuesday

10am-7pm

Wednesday

10am-7pm

Thursday

10am-7pm

Friday

10am-4pm

Saturday

10am-4pm

Cash, Check, Visa, Master Card and Discover Cards are all accepted.
Most major insurance plans are accepted and payment plans are also available.

General Patient Information

The information below was obtained by permission of the Academy of General Dentistry.
For more information visit
knowyourteeth.com.

When Should My Child First See a Dentist?
Your child's first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child's teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?
Your child's first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child's teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.

How can I protect my child's oral health at home?
Parents typically provide oral hygiene care until the child is old enough to take personal responsibility for the daily dental health routine of brushing and flossing. A proper regimen of preventive home care is important from the day your child is born.

  • Clean your infant's gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
  • As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush andwater. If you are considering using toothpaste before your child's second birthday, ask your dentist first.
  • To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off of the breast and bottle by one year of age, and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.
  • Help a young child brush at night, the most important time to brush, due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then the parent can follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. Usually by age 5 or so, the child can learn to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.
  • The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant's teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria in plaque. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid produced by these bacteria attack the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin.

The condition also is associated with breast-fed infants who have prolonged feeding habits or with children whose pacifiers are frequently dipped in honey, sugar or syrup. The sweet fluids left in the mouth while the infant is sleeping increase the chances of cavities.

How to prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Never allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids. Clean and massage the baby's gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around the finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissues. This should be done after every feeding.

Plaque removal activities should begin upon eruption of the first baby tooth. When brushing a child's teeth, use a soft toothbrush and water. If you are considering using toothpaste before your child's second birthday, ask your dentist first. Parents should first bring their child to the dentist when the child is between 6 and 12 months old.

How To Change A Child's Diet To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
A series of small changes over a period of time is usually easier and eventually leads to better oral health. To incorporate these changes:

  • Gradually dilute the bottle contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
  • Once that period is over, if you give a child a bottle, fill it with water or give the child a clean pacifier recommended by a dentist. The only safe liquid to put in a bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is water.
  • Decrease consumption of sugar, especially between meals.
  • Children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as they can drink from a cup, usually by their first birthday, but the bottle should not be taken away too soon, since the sucking motion aids in the development of facial muscles, as well as the tongue.

Why Should I Worry About Tooth Decay?
Giving an infant a sugary drink at nap or nighttime is harmful because during sleep, the flow of saliva decreases, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child's teeth for an extended period of time. If left untreated, decay can result, which can cause pain and infection. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth. Healthy baby teeth will usually result in healthy permanent teeth.

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Why Is Oral Health Important For Men?
Men are less likely than women to take care of their physical health and, according to surveys and studies, their oral health is equally ignored. Good oral health recently has been linked with longevity. Yet, one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental checkups is just being male. Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises. When it comes to oral health, statistics show that the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancer and periodontal (gum) disease.

Why is periodontal disease a problem?
Periodontal disease is a result of plaque, which hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced and released by bacteria found in tartar irritate gums. These acids cause the breakdown of fibers that anchor the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more bacteria. Researchers have found a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. See your dentist if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or separating teeth

Do you take medications?
Since men are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, they also are more likely to be on medications that can cause dry mouth. If you take medication for the heart or blood pressure, or if you take antidepressants, your salivary flow could be inhibited, increasing the risk for cavities. Saliva helps to reduce the cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth.

Do you use tobacco?
If you smoke or chew, you have a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Men are affected twice as often as women, and 95 percent of oral cancers occur in those over 40 years of age. 

The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. More than 8,000 people die each year from oral and pharyngeal diseases. If you use tobacco, it is important to see a dentist frequently for cleanings and to ensure your mouth remains healthy. Your general dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer.

Do you play sports?
If you participate in sports, you have a greater potential for trauma to your mouth and teeth. If you play contact sports, such as football, soccer, basketball and even baseball, it is important to use a mouthguard, which is a flexible appliance made of plastic that protects teeth from trauma. If you ride bicycles or motorcycles, wear a helmet.

Taking care of your teeth
To take better care of your oral health, it is important to floss daily, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Here are some tips to better dental health:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach every surface of each tooth. If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent or frayed, buy a new one.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or after you've been sick.
  • Choose a toothpaste with fluoride. This can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40 percent.
  • Brush properly. To clean the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion using short, gentle strokes. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue. Spend at least three minutes brushing.
  • Floss properly. Gently insert floss between teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. Curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and then the other.

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Important oral Health Considerations for Women at All Life Stages
Women can attribute bloating, irritability, moodiness, and the occasional hot flash or emotional outburst to hormones. But, according to an article in the May 2009 issue of AGD Impact, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) monthly newsmagazine, the state of one's oral health is hormone-dependant as well.

Hormonal changes occur throughout a woman's life, and related to these hormonal changes are changes in oral health. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all can have an effect on a woman's oral health.

During puberty, fluctuations in hormones can make gums more susceptible to gingivitis. As a result, the gums may appear red and swollen, and they can bleed. During menstruation, women who have a tendency to develop canker sores and cold sores may develop a pattern in which these sores recur during every menstrual cycle.

During pregnancy, gingivitis may develop. In fact, gingivitis is the most common oral condition associated with being pregnant. Also during pregnancy, the chemical composition of saliva changes, thus reducing saliva's antimicrobial capacity. Sometimes, however, women will avoid dental checkups for fear that treatment might harm the developing baby. In fact, untreated decayed teeth can put a mother and her baby at risk for infection.

Some women also experience dry mouth while pregnant. "Since too little saliva can make you prone to cavity formation, it's important to alert your dentist to this symptom," says AGD spokesperson Gigi Meinecke, DDS, FAGD. "Frequent sips of water and using toothpaste which does not contain sodium laurel sulfate, a drying agent, can help. It's important to avoid mouth rinses containing alcohol as they can be very drying as well," she adds.

Menopause can be accompanied by a number of oral conditions. "Symptoms can include dry mouth, altered taste perception, pain, and burning sensations, says Dr. Meinecke. "Patients with these symptoms should see their dentist to rule out any other cause for their condition as well as receive recommendations for treatment," she adds.

Together, a patient and his or her dentist can create a treatment and prevention plan that specifically meets their needs. For more information about women's oral health, visit www.knowyourteeth.com.

Types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Food addiction
  • Pica

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How Can I Take Care of My Teeth as I Age?
Proper oral care can keep you smiling well into retirement. Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush are as important as ever. Flossing can help you save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gumline that your toothbrush cannot reach

What are some problems I should watch for?
Gingivitis. Most people don't realize how important it is to take care of their gums. Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attack the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush. If you have any of these symptoms, see a dentist at once. Gingivitis can lead to periodontal (gum) disease if problems persist. Most adults show signs of gum disease. Severe gum disease affects about 25 percent of 65- to 74-year-olds. In gum disease, your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth. In the worst cases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone. All this can lead to tooth loss if untreated, especially in patients with osteoporosis. If regular oral care is too difficult, your dentist can provide alternatives to aid in flossing and prescribe medication to keep the infection from getting worse.

What if it's too difficult to brush?
If you have arthritis, you may find it difficult to brush and floss for good oral health care and prevention of disease. Ask your dentist for ways to overcome this problem. Certain dental products are designed to make dental care less painful for arthritis sufferers. You may want to try strapping the toothbrush to a larger object, such as a ball, to make the brush more comfortable to handle, or electric toothbrushes can help by doing some of the work for you.

What are the signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. See a dentist immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, and watch for sores that fail to heal within two weeks. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily. Your dentist can perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.

Should I be concerned about dry mouth?
Dry mouth (xerostomia) happens when salivary glands fail to work due to disease, certain medications or cancer treatment. This can make it hard to eat, swallow, taste and speak. In certain cases, such as radiation therapy, dry mouth can lead to severe complications, which is why it is important you see a dentist immediately before beginning any form of cancer treatment. Drinking lots of water and avoiding sweets, tobacco, alcohol and caffeine are some ways to fight dry mouth. Your dentist also can prescribe medications to fight severe dry mouth.

Maintaining your overall health.
Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy mouth may keep your body healthier and help you avoid diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The best way to achieve good oral health is to visit your dentist at least twice a year.

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847-669-6533

FindUs110886 N. Route 47
Huntley, IL 60142

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