dr. dubravec

Oral Cancer Among Men

man standing with arms crossedA recent study by the American Cancer Society reports that oral cancer cases in men is expected to increase in 2017 by 4%, while the rate of new cases among women stays the same year over year. “Oral Cancer”, which is a common way to refer to all head and neck cancers, involves cancer of the oral cavity, lips, tongue, pharynx and esophagus.

Unfortunately, oral cancers often go undetected until their later stages when they are more difficult to treat, giving them an even worse reputation than many other cancers.

Oral cancer is more likely in those who:

  • Drink Alcohol Excessively (more than 2 drinks a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women)
  • Smoke or Chew Tobacco
  • Have HPV (certain strains of the HPV virus are known to cause oral and other cancers)

HPV and Oral Cancer

Along with the rise of HPV among men has come the rise of oral cancers as well. Unfortunately, it has now been estimated that half of U.S. men are infected with HPV. While most of these will not go on to develop cancer, certainly, these increases may continue to create a rise in head and neck cancers until the disease is brought under control.

What You Can Do

Prevention and detection are the most important things when it comes to the fight against oral cancer. With early detection, we can do better for survival rates and, as we have seen with general cancer cases, prevention in the form of abstaining from tobacco and drinking in moderation can reduce the number of cases over time. In order to protect yourself and your family and help us with survival rates, we urge you to see us for an oral cancer screening. It only takes a few minutes for us to examine you – and it could save your life.

For more information on oral cancer, call us at Kankakee Phone Number 815-932-0554 or visit oralcancerfoundation.org.

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Rubber Tipping

healthy gummy smileRubber tipping, a method of introducing oxygen to your gums to fight difficult bacteria, as well as clearing out plaque and excess food debris from under your gums, is a new method of keeping gums healthy. There is good evidence that the bacteria that hide out in gums pockets, the space between your teeth and your gums, can be destroyed with the introduction of oxygen. You can find rubber tips at the end of some toothbrushes, or as an individual tool at your local drugstore.

How it works:

Using a rubber tip and massaging your gums increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your gums. Oral bacteria are “anaerobic”, meaning they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen, so by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the gums, oral bacteria die off.

Benefits of rubber tipping:

  • While brushing and flossing also helps to bring oxygen to the gums, rubber tipping brings it a step further by stimulating blood flow.
  • Rubber tipping helps to prevent periodontal disease by keeping your gums clean – free of plaque and food debris – and by stimulating blood flow to the area.

    How to massage your gums with a rubber tip:

  • After thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth, massaging your gums is the third step to keeping your smile clean and healthy.
  • Using the rubber tip tool at a 45-degree angle, gently massage your gum line for 10-15 seconds for each tooth.
  • If you experience bleeding gums at any point in this process, give us a call.
  • General soreness is to be expected up to three weeks after starting rubber tipping.While this may seem like another tedious way to clean your gums, this simple technique can be carried out while watching TV, reading, etc. and before you know it you will have amazing gums!If you have any further questions about how to use a rubber tip, or why we recommend it, give Dominik Dubravec, DDS, MMSc a call at Kankakee Phone Number 815-932-0554.

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Yes. You still have to floss.

woman flossing The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health.

Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed

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The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. You can prevent gum disease by maintaining a clean mouth over a long period of time. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explained: “gum disease is a very slow disease”. In his interview with the AP he recommended long-term studies which he believes would clearly show the difference between people who floss and people who don’t.

Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study? What do you think?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to.

Aldredge also pointed out that most people floss incorrectly, using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

It’s a shame that studies on an important tool such as floss have yielded poor results, but it’s a bigger shame that the studies themselves were poorly designed. Oral hygiene is a long term process, and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the mean time, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today at 815-932-0554!

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Missing Teeth: More than Just a Gap In Your Smile

man smiling with full smileWhile it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth

A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health

If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems

The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics

People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at Kankakee Phone Number 815-932-0554 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

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Periodontics: More than Just Gum Disease

woman smiling with healthy gumsIn today’s world, a beautiful smile translates to a more confident (and some say more successful) person. Whether you are talking about the business world or your social circle, the fact of the matter is that smiles simply look better now than they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

The fact that nearly half of patients spend $2,500 or more per year on cosmetic treatments in the dental office such as teeth whitening, veneers and orthodontics proves the significance of an attractive smile these days.

Did you know that as Periodontists, we can take your smile to the next level? Whether you were blessed to be born with perfect crowns or have paid substantial money to bring them up to par, we can further perfect your smile to make your investment really worth it with a cosmetic periodontal treatment. Whether you have a gummy smile (too much gum tissue covering your teeth) or the opposite, we can give you a smile boost that will ensure that you have the look you want for a happier and more confident you.

Benefits of Cosmetic Periodontal Work:

  • Affordable – you may be surprised to find that many of the cosmetic procedures we offer are actually cheaper than some of the general cosmetic work you have had done.
  • Permanent – Unlike the maintenance associated with veneers, whitening and braces (retainers for life, anyone?), periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening are permanent.
  • A Lifestyle Investment – A great smile gives you a competitive advantage in today’s world. Invest in your career and your personal life by making sure yours is bright, radiant, straight and well proportioned.

Is your smile just a little bit less than you’d like it to be? Give us a call at Kankakee Phone Number 815-932-0554 to set up your cosmetic consultation.

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What Is Periodontal Charting?

periodontal chartA Periodontal Chart is also referred to as a gum chart. It is a graphic chart dental professionals use for organizing the information about your gums. Periodontal charting is the best way to uncover the difference between patients that are periodontally healthy and those with periodontal disease.

The area between your gum and tooth is known as the “pocket”. Periodontal charting is simple and relatively painless, during the procedure you will hear your dentist or hygienist call out a series of numbers for each tooth. This is measuring, in millimeters, the cuff of your gum line and the point at which the gum actually attaches to your tooth.
Healthy gums have pockets that are usually 2-3mm, anything over 5mm means the bone that supports your tooth is being degraded by periodontal disease. Bleeding is also a sign of gingivitis and gum disease, as healthy gums do not tend to bleed.

Know Your Periodontal Measurements:

0-3mm without bleeding: Great! No problems and you’re doing great with your oral health!

1-3mm with bleeding: Signs of gingivitis. Improved at-home oral care as well as further professional cleanings are in order.

3-5mm with no bleeding:This means there is the potential for gum disease. A routine cleaning cannot go below 3mm, so further in-depth visits to the dentist will be needed.

3-5mm with bleeding: Early stages of gum disease, the beginnings of Periodontitis. This may require additional treatment, better home care and three to four visits to the dentist per year.

5-7mm with bleeding: This means soft and hard tissue damage, as well as bone loss. Definitive treatment is required, over several visits, greatly improved home care and many more hygiene visits to prevent tooth loss.

7mm and above with bleeding: It’s the advanced stage of periodontal disease so aggressive treatment is needed. Surgery will probably be needed to repair the bone loss. Periodontal maintenance is definitely required very frequently.

Periodontal charting is a very thorough process and can greatly improve your chances of keeping all your teeth! Is it time to see your Periodontist? Call Dominik Dubravec, DDS, MMSc today on 815-932-0554 to discuss your options!

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Oral Ecology

oral bacteria

Your mouth has entire colonies of microorganisms, and most of them do no harm. There have been over 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected in the human mouth, most of which are harmless. Sometimes, other disease-causing bacteria are thrown into the mix which can affect our health. They can be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.

Bacteria in biofilm (a thin film of bacteria which adheres to a surface) were first detected under the microscopes of Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. Bacteria in your mouth have both the ability to be harmful, but also to be beneficial and necessary to your immune system.

The plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease, is a type of biofilm. A biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in a watery environment, they excrete a glue-like substance which helps them stick to all kinds of materials. Dental plaque is a yellowish color type of biofilm that builds up on teeth.

Watch Out For These Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans
Lives in your mouth and feeds off the sugars and starches you eat. It produces enamel-eroding acids as it feeds, which make it the leading cause of tooth decay.

Porphyromonas gingivalis

Strongly linked to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious and progressive disease that can result in bone degeneration. It causes pain and leads to tooth loss.

A biofilm can contain communities of disease-causing bacteria, and if left uncontrolled, they can cause cavities as well as both gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacteria is also the cause of inflammation and pain of a root infection, leading to root canal treatment.
During root canal treatment, the root is dried extremely well and sealed, as to not provide any moisture for bacteria to colonize. A well-filled root canal offers bacteria a nutritionally limited space.

Biofilm can be controlled by proper oral hygiene; however, periodontitis requires an extra helping hand. Treatment of oral infections requires removal of biofilm and calculus (tartar) through non-surgical procedures followed by antibiotic therapy. Chlorhexidine and triclosan can reduce the degree of plaque and gingivitis, while preventing disease-causing microorganisms to colonize.

Don’t let oral bacteria be your “fr-enemy”! Call us Dominik Dubravec, DDS, MMSc today on 815-932-0554 to discuss your oral health options.

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Dental Implant Success

dental implantWhat do you use your teeth for? Eating, drinking, speaking, laughing, the list goes on! How are these affected when you have tooth loss?
If you have missing teeth, you could be missing a lot! A very reliable and safe method for replacing teeth is dental implants.
Dental implants permanently attach prosthetic teeth to small posts or “roots” that are embedded in the jaw. These posts are made of titanium, and securely fuse to the jaw bone, this helps restore the full functionality of previously missing teeth.
Dental implants not only effectively and reliably replace missing teeth, but also help prevent the loss of jawbone density, restore the support of facial structures, and provide you with the support you need to effectively use your teeth.

The procedure for dental implants can be a quick and easy, and in some cases, can be done in a single day. Your implants become part of you, so they eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures. They also prevent the embarrassment of removing dentures at every snack or meal, as well as the need for denture adhesives.
Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain. Nearby teeth are not altered in order to support a dental implant, thus more of your own teeth are left intact, improving oral health in the long-term as well as your oral hygiene.
Dental implants are very durable, lasting several years, and if they are in good care, can last a lifetime.
Don’t miss out with missing teeth, get your smile back and feel better about yourself!
Here at Dominik Dubravec, DDS, MMSc we specialize in dental implants, so give us a call today on [phone link = “true”] to discuss your future implant success!

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Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

 

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.

dental implant

What They Are

Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.

Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.

Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.

Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.

Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them

Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.

Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at Dominik Dubravec, DDS, MMSc to discuss your options with an implant specialist!

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Dental Implants 101

Whether you are missing a tooth, or at risk of losing many, dental implants may be a great solution   for you. Dental implants are an increasingly popular fix for missing or dying teeth, and have many benefits.

Dental Implants 101

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are high tech teeth. The root of your current tooth is removed, and replaced with a screw attached to a ‘cap’ that looks identical to a natural tooth. Many people report higher confidence and comfort after receiving their new tooth.

What’s so Great About Them?

The cool thing about implants is that if taken care of, they can last for life. Usually all that needs to be replaced, if anything, is the cap. The other great thing about implants is that they can’t die like natural teeth. You still have to clean and maintain them like your other teeth, but no roots are any longer at risk of causing that tooth to fail. In addition to that, many implants can last a lifetime!

What is the Surgical Process Like?

The process is done either all at once, or in steps. This depends on the recommendations for your particular case. The first step is to remove the root of your natural tooth, and place the implant in its place. If there is not enough bone to place the implant, we may encourage you to have bone grafting first. The gum is then stitched closed and allowed to heal. This can take five to six months. The next step is to reopen the gum and place an abutment on the implant, along with a temporary crown so you can heal while the permanent crown is made for you. You then return to get your permanent crown attached in a few weeks. In other cases, all of these steps can be done in a single visit, but it depends on your specific case.

If you have any questions, please call our office for more information, we would be glad to help!

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