Ask Dr. Jack
Do you have a question about your dental health & care? Dr. Jack is here to help. Please click here to email us.
You’ve just taken a sip of hot coffee, or a bite of ice cream, and you feel a searing pain in your gums. This unpleasantness is quite common, and many people suffer from sensitive gums. What’s the best way to reduce sensitivity and enjoy your favorite foods without discomfort? Let’s explore the factors that cause gum sensitivity, and review some ways to prevent it.
There are several reasons you might be experiencing pain in your gums:
Your gums may react to hot or cold foods/beverages, or short breaths of cold air, or they may throb consistently. Either way, it’s understandable that you want to seek relief!
Since some gum sensitivity is linked to oral hygiene, the first step is to evaluate your hygiene habits and make some tweaks if necessary.
Brushing and flossing keeps your teeth and gums healthy and free of any food-related debris. Ideally, you should brush at least twice a day. Choose a brush that has soft nylon bristles with blunted ends, and refrain from making vigorous brushing motions. Instead of making a back-and-forth motion, make gentle circular motions to massage and clean the teeth and gums. Floss at least once a day to keep the teeth and gums healthy. It’s also a good idea to avoid clenching or grinding your teeth, which can irritate the gums. Eat a healthy diet full of nutritious foods.
Part of your oral hygiene routine is seeing your dentist for regularly scheduled exams and cleanings. During your next dental visit, mention your gum sensitivity to Dr. Jack, so he’s aware. He can treat any cavities that are causing sensitivity. Or, if your gums have receded, he may apply a sealant to cover the exposed tooth roots, or recommend another course of action better suited to your condition.
If your gum sensitivity is accompanied by red or white spots, this could be a sign of oral cancer. Dr. Jack will use VELscope oral cancer screening technology, which identifies precancerous and cancerous cell changes that are invisible to the naked eye.
Don’t suffer from gum sensitivity in silence anymore. To find out what is causing your gum sensitivity, and to explore possible solutions, please book an appointment with our Chicago dental team. Call 312-337-1665 or send us an email today.
Have you ever wondered about the secret to Hollywood stars’ flawless smiles? Many of Tinseltown’s most famous actors have had cosmetic dentistry treatment at some point in their careers. Porcelain veneers are the gold standard of cosmetic dental treatment, so it’s no surprise that they’re very popular in Hollywood.
Even if you’re not a glamorous A-Lister, with the placement of porcelain veneers your smile can still resemble that of Julia Roberts or George Clooney. Chicago cosmetic dentist Jack Manikowski is able to remedy many tooth imperfections and improve your smile with a set of porcelain veneers.
Veneers are small pieces of porcelain that slip over the surface of the tooth to improve its appearance. They can conceal imperfections such as:
You can have one veneer placed, or a set of them to even out the appearance of teeth that are more visible in the front of your mouth.
Porcelain veneers are placed during a two-part process. First, the tooth is shaped and prepared for the placement. This involves removing a small bit of tooth structure in order to make space for the veneer. Dr. Jack will take impressions and measurements to send to the dental lab, which will customize the veneer to match your surrounding teeth.
While your customized, permanent veneer is being crafted, you will wear a temporary veneer. Wearing a temporary restoration is a good way to try out your new smile with veneers. You can provide feedback to Dr. Jack on the fit, feel and appearance, so he can make any last-minute adjustments to your permanent restoration before placing it.
Porcelain veneers not only mask dental flaws, but also blend in seamlessly with your surrounding teeth. With veneers, your smile will appear more even, and your teeth will look uniform in size, shape and color. Because porcelain is an inherently strong material, the veneers will last for many years with the proper care.
Over his years of practice, Dr. Jack has mastered veneer techniques and used them in countless smile makeovers. His active involvement with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry enables him to stay abreast of the latest veneer-related techniques and technology.
If you’d like to learn more about improving the appearance of your smile with veneers, we would be happy to speak with you. Please contact our Chicago cosmetic dentist by calling 312-337-1665 or sending an email.
Dental emergencies can happen at any time, and are scary and stressful. If you or a loved one has a dental emergency, please call Lincoln Park Smiles at 312-337-1665, and we will schedule you in as soon as possible. If an accident occurs after hours, and you cannot get in touch with us, please go to your local emergency room.
Having a little bit of knowledge can help you remain calm until you are able to receive professional help. Here are some of the most common dental emergencies, and how to deal with them:
The American Dental Association has several suggestions for avoiding a dental emergency.
Wear a mouth guard while playing sports or other physical activities (especially sports where contact is likely, such as football or hockey). Custom-fitted mouth guards are personalized to the exact dimensions of your teeth and mouth. Boil and bite mouth guards (found in sporting goods stores and drugstores) may not fit as well as custom-fitted guards, but are designed to adapt to the shape of your mouth and are a more economical choice.
Try to avoid biting down on hard foods like ice, hard candy and popcorn kernels, all of which can cause a tooth fracture.
Don’t use your teeth to cut things. Reach for a pair of scissors instead.
It’s also a good idea to keep a small dental first aid kit at home or in your car, just in case. This kit should contain a small container with a lid (to hold a tooth), acetaminophen for pain, gauze, a handkerchief and the contact information of your dentist.
If you would like more information about dental emergencies, or need to schedule an appointment, please call us at 312-337-1665. If you need immediate medical attention and cannot reach our office, please call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room.
Preventive dental care is important at any stage of life to maintain the health of the teeth and gums and ward off serious problems like cavities, gum disease and excessive tooth enamel wear. Preventive dental care includes at-home habits like brushing, flossing and following a nutritious diet, as well as periodic visits to the dentist for exams and professional cleanings.
At Lincoln Park Smiles, Dr. Jack strongly believes in educating his patients about the importance of preventive dentistry. Let’s take a closer look at common preventive dental care strategies.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recommends brushing for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, to remove food particles and bacteria. Use a toothpaste containing fluoride, which will strengthen the teeth and freshen the breath. Don’t forget to brush the surface of your tongue, which can trap food particles and cause bad breath.
Daily flossing is also important for removing plaque and debris stuck to the teeth and gums between the teeth. Flossing will polish the tooth’s surface and control bad breath. Spend at least two to three minutes per day flossing the teeth.
Be mindful of your diet, too. Follow a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Keep sugary foods and beverages to a minimum, and choose calcium-rich foods to keep your teeth and jawbone strong. Foods like raw vegetables, plain yogurt and cheese are all smile-friendly choices.
Brushing and flossing are most effective when combined with regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. The American Dental Association recommends a minimum of two dental visits per year, but this number may vary, based on your oral health history and current health status.
During your preventive dental visit, our dental hygienists will thoroughly clean and polish your teeth. They have special instruments that allow them to reach all the nooks and crannies that your toothbrush cannot access. Our hygienists will also share helpful dental care tips and tricks with you. Think of them like personal trainers for your teeth!
Dr. Jack will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums and oral structures. He will check the condition of any existing restorations (e.g., fillings or crowns) and he will evaluate your bite. Dr. Jack may use technology such as digital X-rays, Cone Beam CT Scan, the VELscope oral cancer screening system, or DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection to look at your teeth and gums in more detail.
If Dr. Jack detects a problem in your mouth, he can immediately begin treatment to keep it from progressing. Early detection and intervention can prevent the discomfort and aggravation of a more serious dental problem (and the need for more costly care in the future!).
Regular dental visits are important on a larger scale, too. Studies have shown a link between oral disease and other systemic diseases. In fact, it is believed that the mouth can show signs of systemic diseases and infection sooner than any other part of the body. The AGD claims that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms.
Keep in mind that it is difficult to spot problem areas on your own. You may not know what exactly you are looking for, or have the resources to find it. Dr. Jack is trained to spot the warning signs and symptoms of oral disease, and he has the technology to assist him with detection and diagnosis.
After examining your teeth and gums and getting a clearer picture of your oral health, Dr. Jack will make a recommendation as to how often you should come into the office for cleanings. He will also provide information about special products to use at home (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, floss) and whether you should make any changes to your current dental care routine.
Remember that by taking care of your teeth, you’re taking care of your whole body. Dr. Jack invites you to schedule your next appointment at Lincoln Park Smiles. Please call 312-337-1665 or send us an email today.
No one is immune to bad breath: whether it’s a quick bout or a lingering problem, everyone has stinky breath at some point. Popping a mint or piece of gum covers up the smell, but only temporarily (it’s similar to spraying cologne to cover up body odor). For longer-lasting fresh breath, try these tips from Dr. Jack Manikowski, a Chicago dentist at Lincoln Park Smiles.
Your mouth is home to 700 kinds of bacteria that emit an odorous byproduct as they interact with food. Getting rid of food particles and keeping the teeth clean are essential in the battle against bad breath. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss at least once a day. Visit Dr. Jack twice a year for a dental exam and professional cleaning.
The rough surface of the tongue is a haven for bacteria; it builds up in the ridges of the tongue and causes pungent breath. Use a tongue scraper and make a few strokes down the tongue from back to front to dislodge food debris and bacteria. Do this once daily.
Most people are usually careful around garlic and onions, which are common odor-causing foods. But did you know that certain foods are actually good for sweet-smelling breath? For example, crunchy fruits and veggies help remove plaque and food particles from the teeth. Cinnamon may kill odor-causing bacteria, and Greek yogurt lowers hydrogen sulfide (a bacteria byproduct that contributes to smelly breath). Foods rich in Vitamin C prevent bacteria from multiplying and neutralize odors from stinky foods. Fresh parsley is also great for the breath.
Drinking lots of water washes away odor-causing bacteria and food particles, and prevents dry mouth, which causes bad breath. Green tea has also been found to lower the levels of bacteria’s sulfur compounds that can cause odor.
Choose a mouthwash or rinse that has been approved by the American Dental Association (it will display the ADA seal on the label); this shows that the product is safe and effective not only for freshening breath, but also for reducing plaque and preventing gum disease. Mouthwash should be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing (not as a substitute!).
On occasion, mouth odor can signal a health issue like a sinus infection, diabetes, bronchitis, a problem with the gastrointestinal tract or organ malfunction. Schedule annual check-ups with your primary care physician to keep your health on track.
For more information about keeping your breath fresh and your teeth beautiful, please call Lincoln Park Smiles at (312) 337-1665 or send us an email.
A few years ago, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry conducted a survey in which they asked adults, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?” The majority said they’d like whiter and brighter teeth. One of the most economical ways to enhance the color and appearance of stained or discolored teeth is through teeth whitening treatment.
Teeth whitening can be performed at our Chicago dental practice, Lincoln Park Smiles, or at home. Let’s compare the two methods.
The more popular teeth whitening option is our in-office treatment with Dr. Jack Manikowski, which is a more controlled, safer experience and produces better results. Also, if you are worried about gum sensitivity to the whitening products, Dr. Jack can manage those issues.
To begin, we will cover your gums with a special shield to prevent them from coming into contact with the whitening gel. We will thoroughly apply the whitening gel to your teeth and it will be kept in place for approximately 15 minutes. A special LED light may be used to accelerate the whitening product and break down tooth staining faster. The whitening gel will be removed, and the process will repeat up to 3 more times.
Results: teeth that look up to eight shades lighter, in less than an hour.
Some of our teeth whitening patients prefer to use a take-home whitening kit because it is more comfortable and convenient to whiten at home. They are also less expensive than in-office whitening. The kits include custom-fitted trays (similar to mouth guards) and a whitening gel.
The whitening trays can be worn at your leisure, while you’re watching television or loading up the dishwasher. Since they’re portable, you can take them with you on vacation.
The disadvantage of at-home teeth whitening is that it typically takes longer to see results than it would using the in-office systems.
Results: teeth that gradually start to look whiter.
If you’d like to learn more about in-office or at-home teeth whitening, we would be happy to answer your questions. Please call us at (312) 337-1665 or send us an email.
Crooked, crowded teeth are more than a visible eyesore – they are also a potential threat to your oral and overall health. Though orthodontic treatment is traditionally thought of as a rite of passage for adolescents, you are never too old to straighten your teeth and beautify your smile. Chicago Invisalign dentists Jack Manikowski and Karina Zaygermakher of Lincoln Park Smiles have put together a list of reasons why straightening your teeth is a good idea at any age.
Patients with crowded or crooked teeth have a harder time keeping them clean. Overlapping teeth create pockets where plaque can build up and bacteria can multiply. Straight, properly spaced teeth are easier to clean, as there is more room for the toothbrush bristles and floss to get in between the teeth and remove trapped food particles.
As previously noted, crooked or crowded teeth are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and can lead to swollen, red, bleeding gums. When the teeth are straight and properly aligned, the gums can wrap around them more comfortably and securely, promoting a healthy defense against periodontal issues.
A proper bite (i.e., the way the teeth fit together when the jaw is closed) is essential to normal chewing and biting function. If the teeth are crooked, overlap or meet in an abnormal way (or don’t meet at all), chewing and biting becomes cumbersome. Straight teeth that are properly aligned help us bite and chew our food more effectively.
Alignment and bite problems can lead to excessive tooth wear and put unnecessary stress on the jaw joint and the supporting jawbone. Straightening the teeth and moving them into the proper position reduces the strain on the jaw and muscles.
Let’s not overlook the cosmetic benefits to straightening your teeth! With an attractive smile, you will likely experience a big boost in your self-confidence, which can enable you to pursue goals like advancing your career and widening your social network.
Traditional orthodontics (think: a mouthful of metal brackets and wires) are outdated. Invisalign, a more modern alternative, is a great option for orthodontic patients of any age. The advantages of Invisalign include the following:
If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign treatment, our Chicago dental team would be happy to speak with you. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call (312) 337-1665 or send us an email.
It’s understandable that some of our patients experience anxiety or fear about dental treatment. Trips to the dentist aren’t as pleasurable as, say, spending an evening with friends or enjoying a warm cup of coffee and a good book. Your comfort and relaxation are important to our team of Chicago dentists and support staff. We have resources available to make your dental visit less anxiety-inducing. We can’t promise that your dental visit will be as enjoyable as a spa appointment or finding the perfect pair of jeans, but you should not be in pain at any point during treatment.
Sedation dentistry is an umbrella term for medications that relax and calm you during dental treatment. The sedation dentistry techniques that we employ are safe and effective, and may be suitable if you:
Sedation dentistry is sometimes called “sleep dentistry,” but this term is somewhat misleading. You will not be asleep during your treatment, but the medication will put you in a very relaxed, sleep-like state to prevent you from feeling discomfort. Some patients have described feeling sleepy or groggy during and right after treatment with sedation medications.
Not every doctor is able to offer sedation dentistry techniques. According to the American Dental Association, dentists must have special training in sedation techniques, medications and equipment in order to practice sedation dentistry. Dentists must also be trained to properly analyze a patient’s medical history to ensure that the use of sedative techniques is appropriate and safe in each case. The Illinois State Dental Society requires Chicago sedation dentists to meet certain educational requirements to become licensed to provide conscious sedation or general anesthesia to patients.
In general terms, sedation dentistry helps you attain and maintain a relaxed, safe and pain-free state through the use of medication. There are different ways to administer the medication. Medication can either be:
The technique used in your case depends on your preferences and level of comfort.
If you have chosen to take oral sedation medication, you will need to take it approximately 30 minutes prior to your appointment to give the medicine time to take effect. You will need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment. Once at our office, you will feel extremely relaxed and perhaps a little tired. You will be able to respond to our dentists’ verbal directions, but you will have very little recollection of your visit after it is over.
Nitrous oxide is more commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” and it is great if you suffer from mild to moderate dental anxiety. We will slip a mask over your mouth and you will breathe in the nitrous oxide, which will put you in a relaxed conscious state. We can adjust the delivery of the laughing gas as needed during your appointment, according to your level of anxiety.
The last option is intravenous (IV) sedation which is delivered via injection directly into the blood vessels in the hand or arm. If you are very anxious around needles, we don’t recommend this option, and will suggest one of the alternatives.
To learn more about how we can make your dental appointment a calm and relaxed experience through sedation dentistry, please contact Lincoln Park Smiles at (312) 337-1665, or by sending us an email.
The first official day of spring is nearing, and bringing with it feelings of fresh, new beginnings. Spring is the perfect season to think about rejuvenating your appearance and pampering yourself. If you are feeling motivated to make over your smile, our Chicago cosmetic dentists, Drs. Jack Manikowski and Karina Zaygermakher, have a few ideas for you to consider.
Teeth whitening treatment improves the color of your teeth and adds a sparkle to your smile. There are two types of teeth whitening treatments: at-home and in-office. DIY at-home kits are usually cheaper; however, for many of our patients, these products don’t produce the desired results (and some can even be harmful to the teeth). We offer in-office teeth whitening treatments, which are quick, convenient and effective.
During an informative consultation, we will work with you to determine the root cause of your tooth discoloration, which will help us to come up with a plan that targets your individual needs. Depending on your ideal cosmetic outcome, we may recommend one treatment or a series of several sessions.
Old silver or metal fillings can draw attention from an otherwise beautiful set of teeth. Silver and metal are outdated and should be replaced with a more contemporary material. Replacing old fillings with white fillings will eliminate the cosmetic eyesore of metal and can brighten up the overall appearance of your smile. Our cosmetic dentistry Chicago office uses white or tooth-colored filling material that blends in beautifully with the surrounding teeth. If we are replacing a silver or metal restoration, we will color-match the acrylic resin filling to the exact shade of your natural tooth. The filling material will also mimic the translucent quality of natural tooth enamel.
If you want dramatic, high-wattage results, we may recommend a set of porcelain veneers. Veneers are small pieces of natural-looking porcelain that slip over the surface of the teeth to conceal dental imperfections and make your smile look like a movie star’s. We can place porcelain veneers to improve the symmetry of the teeth, hide chips or small cracks and permanently whiten or brighten a dim-looking smile. At our office, we refer to veneers as the “gold standard” of cosmetic dental treatment because of their versatility and effectiveness.
If you’re interested in learning more about these smile-brightening options, please contact our cosmetic dentists in Chicago by calling (312) 337-1665 or sending us an email.
Need proof? A few years ago, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey in which more than a third of respondents admitted their partner’s disruptive sleep habits affected the quality of their relationship.
Our Chicago sleep apnea team, Drs. Jack Manikowski and Karina Zaygermakher, has heard from numerous patients about the ways that sleep apnea affects relationships. If you relate to the scenarios described below, we encourage you to contact us today to explore your treatment options.
Chronic snoring is one of the markers of obstructive sleep apnea. You may not realize you snore incessantly, but your partner probably does! A study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., reported that spouses of snorers woke up nearly as many times during the night as the snorer (average of 21 times compared to the snorer’s 27 times). Researchers in Finland found that half of bed partners of snorers reported that they were disturbed every night or almost every night by their partner snoring. One third of the partners described relationship problems stemming from chronic snoring.
However, there is hope: researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., found that once a snorer participating in their study received treatment, their spouses experienced a surge in their quality of life.
It’s also common for someone with sleep apnea to involuntarily choke or gasp during their sleep. Normally these noises indicate some sort of emergency, so choking or gasping can be disruptive and ruin a good night’s sleep for your partner.
Without enough quality sleep, you may feel sluggish throughout the day, and have trouble focusing, demonstrate poor judgment or experience memory loss or mood swings (all of which can affect your relationship).
If you’re repeatedly failing to get a good night’s rest because of sleep apnea, you probably feel drowsy and ready for a nap during the day. This may cause disagreements with an active partner who wants help with errands, taking care of the children or simply companionship.
Surprisingly, another side effect of sleep apnea is a low libido. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that 17 to 23 percent of respondents noted an effect of disruptive sleep habits on their sexual relationships and cited being “too sleepy” to be intimate.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, make a promise to yourself (and your significant other!) to do something about sleep apnea. Contact Lincoln Park Smiles today to speak with Drs. Manikowski and Zaygermakher about sleep apnea.
Do you have a question about your dental health & care? Dr. Jack is here to help. Please click here to email us.