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3/3/2017 8:00:00 AM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

Often, a family trip to the dentist will feature the use of an x-ray camera. The dental hygienists will cover you or your children with a heavy apron and make you chomp on some bitewings, while the camera moves and clicks around you. Of course, the images produced by the x-rays have a purpose: cavities, jawbone degradation, and other oral health issues are made easily visible, allowing the dentist to address these issues directly. However, x-rays are a form of radiation, and some people are concerned with that exposing someone to dental x-rays will cause cancer. These concerns are especially strong for parents taking their children to the dentist. 

X-rays are a type of ionizing radiation, and ionizing radiation has been shown to cause cancer. Ionizing radiation, upon passing through the body, strip electrons from the atoms this energy passes. The resulting protons, known as free radicals, then can damage the cells of the body. While these cells return to normal most of the time, on rare occasions the cells will heal with some abnormalities. These abnormal cells, consequently, can grow into cancer. From this alone, people believe that dental x-rays will cause cancer. 

However, you’re always exposed to ionizing radiation. On average, your body is exposed to 3.1 millisieverts (mSv) of natural radiation alone per year. At .005 mSv, the radiation you receive from the aforementioned dental x-ray is less than 1.6% of your daily background radiation exposure. You are exposed to the same level of radiation just from sunlight each day. Additionally, each x-ray is an individual dose rather than constant exposure, which is another factor in the cancer risks of radiation exposure. X-rays only increase the odds of dying of cancer by 1 in 2,000; compare this to the natural 1 in 5 chance you have of dying of cancer. 

Moreover, there are precautions in place for younger patients to help minimize their exposure. Technically, children do have a higher risk of developing cancer from radiation than adults, so dentists make up for it with stricter safety measures. Lead aprons are almost ubiquitous, but many doctors will also reduce the amount of radiation emitted by the camera when taking x-ray images of pediatric patients. The same precautions can be given to pregnant women, as fetuses are assumed to be just as vulnerable as children. Your children could be receiving special considerations regarding radiation exposure risks already. 

Ultimately, the benefits of detecting an oral health issue as early as possible far outweighs the negligible cancer risk. Not only are healthy teeth and gums alone something worth keeping, but many recent studies have shown connections between oral health and overall bodily health as well. Being able to detect and address these issues is paramount to your health and your children’s health. So, the next time your dentist readies the bitewings and camera, don’t be afraid. The benefits are high, the risk is low, and the dentist is likely being extra careful with your children anyways.

12/21/2016 11:17:00 AM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

When you hear jingles in the stores and see decorations on your neighbor’s house, you know that the holiday season has arrived. Among other traditions, you can also expect food to play a big part during the holiday, whether it’s snacks for a party or a family dinner. Unfortunately, a lot of traditional holiday foods can be harmful to your teeth, from sticky candy canes to alcoholic eggnog. Thankfully, there are also lots of seasonal dishes and treats that can keep your smile as healthy as ever. 

You probably already have a sizable list of foods you know to be bad for your teeth: soda, coffee, and candy. However, what about the crackers you set out as hors d’oeuvres? Even without extra-sweet ingredients added in, bread and related snacks are full of carbohydrates – that is, sugar – and their crumbly, dissolvable nature means that these bacteria-feeding carbs get stuck to your teeth. Alcohol, not counting the sugar it is often made of or mixed with, will dry out your mouth; dry mouths are the perfect environment for bacteria. Even the cough drops you take for colds and the flu not only have sugar in them, but also expose you to that sugar over a long period of time. Cough syrup, despite having similar amounts of sugar in it, is quickly swallowed and doesn’t expose the teeth to that sugar too long. Simply put, too many holiday edibles encourage the decay of your teeth. 

Not to worry! Lots of holiday foods diminish, if not reverse, the damage other foods can do. Two common party snacks, for example, are meat and cheese. The calcium and proteins provided by meat and cheese can actually strengthen your teeth and gums. Nuts, like meat, also provide your mouth with a burst of protein and saliva production that help defend your teeth from bacterial build-up. Instead of sweetened cranberry sauce in your dishes, try using fresh cranberries; they can interrupt the bonding process of the decadent bacteria. Though dried fruit is a bad idea, crunchy fruit and raw vegetables can help scrub plaque off of your teeth. 

The holidays and their traditions are fast approaching. If you eat too much of the wrong kinds of traditional foods, or you find yourself chewing on that food for a long period of time, your teeth can suffer. However, holiday tradition have also given us a lot of food to protect and strengthen our teeth as well. So, when planning out the next holiday party or dinner, keep these foods in mind. They may just save your smile.

9/29/2016 12:02:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

What it is
Periodontal disease, known as gum disease or periodontitis, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. In the United States, it is estimated that half of Americans aged 30 or older have advanced gum disease. While highly prevalent, this dental condition is preventable with a good oral health regimen.

Periodontal disease symptoms become apparent as bacteria and debris accumulate around teeth and below the gum line and hardens into tartar. If not removed by a professional, tartar and bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums and weakening of teeth.

There are variables that can increase your risk of periodontitis that range from genetic predisposition and underlying health conditions, to certain lifestyle habits. Diet, taking certain medications, decreased immunity, and hormonal changes can also increase your chances of developing gum disease.

Periodontitis begins with the onset of gingivitis. In this early stage, bacteria builds up, irritating the surrounding gums. As bacteria accumulate and plaque builds and hardens into tartar, there is a weakening of bone and connective tissue that keeps teeth in their sockets. As bacteria spreads, pockets that trap further bacteria begin to form around teeth and under soft tissue. In patients with advanced periodontal disease, teeth become loose and fall out.

One of the most difficult aspects of spotting periodontal disease without help from a dentist is that the condition can progress slowly in patients and may not always produce obvious signs. Patients may notice:
- Gum tenderness
- Gum recession
- Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth or a change in teeth alignment

Diagnosis of gum disease typically involves visiting a dentist for a visual examination of your oral condition, as well as charting pocket depths and using X-Rays to check bone loss in areas with deeper periodontal pockets.

Early diagnosis gives patients the greatest chance of reversing damage with nonsurgical treatments. These procedures include root scaling and planing, which removes tartar and bacteria from surfaces of teeth and beneath the gums and smooths root surfaces,. Antibiotics that are either taken orally or topically as a rinse, can also be used to reduce bacteria and inflammation.

For patients with advanced periodontitis, dental surgery may be the most effective option to reduce pocket size and restore the healthy appearance and supportive structure of soft tissue.

Periodontal disease is preventable by practicing consistent and good oral hygiene. As a rule of thumb, you should be taking between 3-5 minutes twice day to care for your teeth and gums by flossing first to loosen any food particles and bacteria, and brushing to clean all surfaces of teeth. You should also visit your dentist twice a year for thorough teeth cleanings. Patients displaying early signs of gum disease may require more frequent dental visits throughout the year.

If are exhibiting signs and symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you can receive treatment, the more likely you will be able to reverse any damage caused by periodontal disease.

7/13/2016 1:00:00 PM | Staff Member

Dr. John Dano is a firm believer in utilizing the best that dentistry has to offer for his patients, including the latest proven dental technologies. As such, Bull Valley Dentistry uses several cutting-edge tools for the dental procedures we provide. One of these is the soft-tissue dental laser, which can kill bacteria and help tissues heal more quickly after a procedure. When used in tandem with traditional procedures, dental lasers such as the one we use can improve the success rate of your dental treatments.

Gum Disease Treatments

Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, which exposes your gums to that same bacteria. The earliest form of gum disease, gingivitis, is the irritation of the gums due to bacterial exposure. Later stages of gum disease, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis, occur when the bacteria makes its way below the gum line and begin to eat away at the ligaments and bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated or improperly maintained, the bacterial infection which causes gum disease will lead to tooth loss.

Traditional gum disease treatment and maintenance revolves around scaling and root planing, in which a traditional dental instrument scrapes away the plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. The treatment is effective, but runs the risk of leaving some bacteria behind. The periodontal dental laser, however, can kill the bacteria almost completely. By using a dental laser to assist in this process, however, our McHenry dentist helps maximize the success of scaling and planing.

Tongue Tie Frenectomy

Dental lasers are not just good at eliminating oral bacteria, but are also idea for other oral surgical procedures. When compared to traditional surgery implements, lasers tend to encourage faster healing times and improved tissue regeneration.

Dr. Dano would use this laser as part of the frenectomies he performs. An instrumental treatment for ankyloglossia (tongue tie), the particular frenectomy in which our dentist specializes is the removal of the tissue which restrains the tongue’s movements. By applying a dental laser to the site of the surgery, the tongue and floor of the mouth will heal quickly and comfortably.

Call Us Today!

Bull Valley Dentistry provides laser dentistry to patients and their families in McHenry. To learn more about how dental lasers can help you, call us today!

6/29/2016 1:16:00 PM | Staff Member

Is your baby having trouble breastfeeding, or does your child have problems with speaking?

If so, your child may be suffering from ankyloglossia, or tongue tie. In order to treat tongue tie, Dr. John Dano of Bull Valley dentistry can perform a surgical procedure, a frenectomy, to resolve the developmental issues that may arise from this condition. But, why does the frenectomy resolve the condition, and is it truly necessary?

Why Is a Frenectomy Used?

On the underside of your tongue is a fold of connective tissue that keeps your tongue from moving around too freely. This piece of connective tissue is the lingual frenulum. If you look in a mirror, open your mouth, and touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue, it will be easily visible to you.

Some people will be born with a frenulum that is too short, severely limiting the mobility of the tongue. This hampered movement, ankyloglossia, can then cause several problems throughout the lives of people. As babies, tongue tie patients can have difficulty breastfeeding; as they grow older, their general ability to eat may also be affected. Tongue tie patients will also have a difficult time learning to speak and maintaining an oral hygiene routine, as the tongue will not be able to move out of the way of a toothbrush as easily. In addition, ankyloglossia also forces the tongue to press against the teeth, potentially altering the alignment of a patient’s smile in a detrimental way.

If detected early enough, a frenectomy can remove the lingual frenulum if it is too short. All issues caused by tongue tie are stopped before they can develop more thoroughly.

Is a Frenectomy Necessary?

The frenectomy procedure is completely effective at treating tongue tie, but some doctors may recommend against the procedure if your child is very young.

As a child grows up, particularly between six months to six years of age, the lingual frenulum should recede. Most mild and moderate cases of tongue tie could be naturally resolved during this time, as the tongue’s mobility greatly improves over this period. Only severe cases of ankyloglossia will keep the tongue tied down, in which case a frenectomy is the only treatment. That being said, however, the issues caused by tongue tie are still present during this recession of the frenulum; misaligned teeth and problematic eating habits could still develop in moderate cases.

Ultimately, you will want to take your child to our McHenry dentist for a discussion about tongue tie and whether a frenectomy is the right treatment.

Call Us for Your Tongue Tie Needs

Bull Valley Dentistry provides dental health services to McHenry, including ankyloglossia consultation and the frenectomy procedure. To see if your child needs this treatment, call and schedule with Dr. John Dano today!

6/17/2016 4:30:00 PM | Staff Member

Among Dr. John Dano’s repertoire of dental procedures includes neuromuscular orthodontics, the science of understanding how the facial muscles interact with the alignment of the jaw and bite. The facial muscles, like cogs in an old clock, work in a certain related sequence; if that sequence faces any interference, then the muscles may operate out of sync and lead to a misalignment of the jaw and bite. Such muscular problems are known as orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs), and Bull Valley Dentistry can help the people of McHenry resolve such disorders through orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT).

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Disorders of the facial muscles can have several causes, although two common origins include thumb sucking habits and mouth breathing due to obstructed airways. Such disorders can cause a wide variety of health problems, including interference with any dental work you may receive.

OMDs often cause an improper positioning of the tongue, wherein the tongue presses onto the bottom row of teeth. This position of the tongue against the bottom teeth is called “tongue thrust.” The weight of the tongue against the teeth, as well as the pressure caused by the tongue when swallowing, causes the teeth to position outward. The misaligned bite that results from tongue thrust can lead to difficulties in chewing, swallowing, and digesting the food that you eat. OMDs are also closely related to mild cases of sleep apnea, as tongue thrust makes it easier for the soft tissue of the mouth and throat to relax too much and obstruct the airway.

Orofacial myofunctional therapy, therefore, can help minimize the effects of a misaligned bite, sleep apnea, and sleep disordered breathing. Conversely, failing to treat these disorders may disrupt any orthodontic treatments you are receiving and exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms.

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

The therapy for treating OMDs involves a simple exercise that must be practiced daily for six to twelve months. Our McHenry dentist will help you practice the routine and monitor the results. The purpose of this exercise is to develop an awareness of the facial muscles and slowly retrain them to a proper sequence. Ultimately, the tongue should change positions and stop pressing against the bottom row of teeth.

Once your therapy is complete, your McHenry dentist can use his dental experience to help you recover from an orofacial myofunctional disorders. The malocclusion – that is, the misaligned teeth – caused by tongue thrust may require orthodontic treatment in order to properly realign. Dr. Dano can provide various orthodontic treatments, including Invisalign® clear braces for discreet teeth straightening and Six Month Smiles® for faster orthodontic treatments. Dr. Dano can also provide sleep apnea appliances and help fit you for a CPAP machine, in order to treat sleep disruptive breathing patterns an OMD may have affected.

Call Us Today

Having trained and practiced in neuromuscular orthodontics, Dr. Dano of Bull Valley Dentistry can assist the people of McHenry, IL with orofacial myofunctional therapy and overall orofacial myofunctional disorder recovery. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call us today!

6/3/2016 12:49:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

We're excited to announce the official launch of our Bull Valley Dentistry blog.

We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Bull Valley Dentistry, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

Here's to your best oral health ever!


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