My Blog

Posts for: April, 2018

By Douglas Pennino, DDS
April 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Douglas Pennino, DDS
April 11, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

The classic movie Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, still brings back sweet memories of childhood to people everywhere. Recently, the news broke that a remake of the beloved 1971 film is in now development in Hollywood. But at a reunion of the original cast members a few years ago, child star Denise Nickerson revealed that her role as gum-chewing Violet Beauregard caused a problem: she ended up with 13 cavities as a result of having to chew gum constantly during the filming!

It should come as no surprise that indulging in sugary treats can lead to cavities: The sugar in your diet feeds harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay and other dental problems. Yet lots of kids (not to mention the child inside many adults) still crave the satisfaction that gum, candy and other sweets can bring. Is there any way to enjoy sweet treats and minimize the consequences to your oral health?

First, let’s point out that there are lots of healthy alternatives to sugary snacks. Fresh vegetables, fruits and cheeses are delicious options that are far healthier for you and your kids. Presenting a variety of appealing choices—like colorful cut-up carrots, bite-sized cheese bits and luscious-looking fruits and berries can make it easier (and more fun) to eat healthy foods. And getting kids off the sugar habit is a great way to help them avoid many health problems in the future.

For those who enjoy chewing gum, sugarless gum is a good option. In fact, chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of healthful saliva in the mouth, which can help neutralize the bacteria-produced acids that cause cavities. Gums that have the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance have passed clinical tests for safety and effectiveness.

But if you do allow sugary snacks, there are still a few ways to minimize the potential damage. Restrict the consumption of sweets to around mealtimes, so the mouth isn’t constantly inundated with sugar. Drink plenty of water to encourage saliva flow, and avoid sugary and acidic beverages like soda (even diet soda) and “sports” or “energy” drinks. Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. And don’t forget to visit our office regularly for routine checkups and cleanings. It’s the best way to get a “golden ticket” to good oral health.

If you would like more information about sugar, cavities and oral health, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Nutrition & Oral Health” and “The Bitter Truth About Sugar.”

By Douglas Pennino, DDS
April 05, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Sure, a broken dental implant may have you freaked out, but it can be implants

A dental implant is one of the most durable and long-lasting restorations you can get, and no other restoration looks or functions like a real tooth the way implants do. Once you go through the lengthy treatment process you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful new restoration. Of course, problems can occur during the implant treatment process and even after and it’s important that you turn to our Barrington, IL, dentists, Drs. Douglas, Chase and Connor Pennino, right away when it does.

In most cases, when we talk about a dental implant breaking we are talking about the dental crown, the restoration that is cemented over top of the implant. While the implant is made from titanium and naturally fuses together with the jawbone this means that the implant itself could last the rest of your life if you care for your smile properly. Of course, a dental crown isn’t designed to last forever.

Sure, a crown is made from a durable tooth-colored material like porcelain or ceramic but it doesn’t mean that it can’t break or fall off. Unlike the implant, which lies underneath the gums where it’s part of the jawbone, the crown is more exposed to damage. If you cracked or damaged the dental crown or if the crown fell off it’s important that you call our Barrington family dentists right away for care. If the crown just fell out it can be cemented back into place; however, if the damage is extensive we may need to replace the crown with a new one.

In many cases, a dental crown is attached to the implant by a piece known as an abutment. The abutment’s sole purpose is to be able to connect the dental crown, which sits above the gums, with the implant that lies under the gums. In some cases, a direct blow or trauma to the mouth could lead to the abutment breaking or becoming damaged. If this happens it’s important that you seek dental care right away.

Do you want to find out if dental implants are right for you? Do you want to talk to us about some of the other dental services we provide? Then call Pennino Family Dentistry in Barrington, IL, to schedule your next visit with us.