My Blog

Posts for: June, 2018

By Douglas Pennino, DDS
June 20, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

You may have been surprised by a new addition to your regular dental appointment routine—we took your blood pressure at the start. While you might expect this at a medical clinic, it seems unusual at the dentist’s office.

But not anymore: blood pressure checks at dental offices are quickly becoming routine, including during regular cleanings and checkups. Here are 3 reasons why checking your blood pressure is now part of your dental visit experience.

Your blood pressure could be an issue during dental work. While we do everything possible to make you comfortable, undergoing dental work can create stressful feelings. Blood pressure normally increases when stress occurs, including before dental procedures. If you already have issues with hypertension (high blood pressure), any circumstance that might increase it could lead to health problems or even an emergency like a stroke. If your blood pressure is high, we may forgo any planned procedures and refer you to a physician for further examination.

Local anesthesia can affect blood pressure. Local anesthesia is an important part of dental work—without it we couldn’t provide maximum comfort during procedures. But many anesthetics include epinephrine, which helps prolong the numbing effect. Epinephrine also constricts blood vessels, which in turn can elevate blood pressure. We may need to adjust the anesthesia drugs and dosages we use in your case if you have high blood pressure.

It could save your health—and your life. The symptoms for hypertension can be subtle and often go unnoticed. A blood pressure screening check is often the first indication of a problem. That’s why blood pressure screenings in a variety of healthcare settings are so important. A routine blood pressure check at your dentist (who hopefully sees you at least every six months) is one more opportunity to find out. Discovering you may have high blood pressure is the first step to controlling it and hopefully avoiding more serious conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

If you would like more information on monitoring vital signs during dental visits, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Monitoring Blood Pressure.”

By Douglas Pennino, DDS
June 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Many patients would immediately say that they are doing a good job of taking care of their teeth, but many don’t know that they may be in oral hygienethe early stages of dental or gum disease. Almost half of Americans have some level of gum disease according to the CDC, and many don’t realize it. If you can admit that may not have been keeping the best oral hygiene habits, then you can commit to doing better in the future. Start by seeing a dentist at Pennino Family Dentistry in Barrington, IL, for a hygiene check.

Best Practices in Oral Hygiene
You could be doing an amazing job caring for your teeth in one way, but neglecting your smile in another way. For instance, some people brush their teeth vigorously every day but never floss. They have beautiful white teeth, but their gums are red and swollen due to gingivitis. Remember these best practices when it comes to good oral hygiene:

- Brush for two or more minutes, twice per day.
- Brush your tongue.
- Floss before bed and between meals.
- Rinse with a doctor-approved mouthwash to remove leftover dental film.
- Replace sticky sweets with crunchy sweet fruits, like pears and apples.

Oral Hygiene Benefits
One of the first benefits you’ll notice when you commit to better oral hygiene habits is that your dental visits will be much easier and quicker. Your Barrington dentist will notice the positive change. Another potential benefit is better smelling breath. Some patients have stubborn mouth orders because of the odorous bacteria in the plaque around their teeth. You will also feel better about your smile and your appearance when your teeth are clean, attractive, and in good condition.

You and Your Dentist: A Team
As is often the case, missions are much easier to accomplish when you have someone on your team helping you. Look at your dentist as a teammate or coach helping you move toward your goal of a healthy smile. Go in for visits every six months (three months if you've had a dental condition in the past).

Have Your Teeth Cleaned
Going to the dentist for a checkup and necessary treatments is a lot like wiping a blackboard clean and starting over fresh. You’ll have a chance to begin observing better oral hygiene habits. Call 224-655-6384 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Douglas Pennino, Dr. Chase Pennino, or Dr. Connor Pennino at their office in Barrington, IL.

By Douglas Pennino, DDS
June 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

It’s absolutely critical to stop tooth decay and repair any damage to tooth structure. Hopefully, we’ve caught it early in the enamel and dentin where we’re able to repair any holes or “cavities” that might have developed by filling them.

But what if the decay has crept deeper into the interior of the tooth? In this case, you’re at a much higher risk of eventually losing the tooth. If the decay has spread into the bone, a root canal treatment is usually your best option.

The first sign that decay has invaded the pulp, the innermost layer of the tooth, and the root canals may be a severe toothache. It’s different from the wince of pain or discomfort caused by sensitivity to temperature or pressure. Inner decay pain is constant and often excruciating. This is because the infection is attacking the nerves bundled within the pulp chamber.

The pain can last for several days, and then suddenly stop altogether. No pain is good news, right? Wrong — the pain has stopped because the infected nerves have finally died and can no longer signal the brain. The infection, though, is very much alive and will continue to advance toward the root where the damage may eventually cause you to lose the tooth.

A root canal treatment removes decay in the pulp chamber and canals. We first drill an access hole to enter the pulp chamber. Once inside, we use special instruments to completely remove all tissue and disinfect the empty chamber. We then fill the chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the access hole to prevent further decay. A few weeks later we install a custom crown to protect the tooth further.

If you have a toothache, or you’ve had one that suddenly went away, you should schedule an appointment for a dental examination as soon as possible: this is the only way to accurately determine the cause of the pain. If a root canal is deemed necessary, the sooner we perform it, the less chance the infection will cause you to lose your tooth.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Signs and Symptoms of a Future Root Canal.”