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Posts for: March, 2021


A wave of madness is about to sweep across Indianapolis and onto television screens across America—March Madness, that is. That's right: After its cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19, the famed NCAA men's basketball tournament is back with all 68 games scheduled to be played in and around Indianapolis. As you can imagine, there will be numerous health precautions, and not just for the pandemic—there should also be mouthguards aplenty.

Why mouthguards? Although you might think football and hockey would be rougher on players' teeth, gums and jaws, basketball actually tops the list of sports with the most dental injuries. Such an injury occurring from a split-second contact with another player could take years to overcome.

Fortunately, mouthguards are a proven way to reduce sports-related mouth injuries among professional and amateur basketball athletes. Made of a pliable plastic, mouthguards cushion against blunt forces to the mouth generated during play (and not only formal games—practices and scrimmages too).

But while wearing a mouthguard is a no-brainer, choosing one can be a little intimidating. True, they all work on the same principle, but there are dozens of types, designs and price ranges.

We can, however, distill them down to two basic categories: “boil and bite” and custom mouthguards. You'll find the first kind online or in a local retail sporting goods store. It's named so because you first place it in hot water to soften it, and then place it in the mouth and bite down to create an individual fit.

As an inexpensive option, boil and bite mouthguards provide a level of protection. But they also tend to be bulky and uncomfortable, which can tempt players to wear them less. And the softer plastic (compared to custom guards) allows for a lot of jaw (and in turn, teeth) movement, which can cause teeth to loosen over time.

Custom mouthguards, on the other hand, are created by dentists based on impressions made of the wearer's mouth. As such, the fit tends to be more precise, requiring less material than the boil and bite variety, thus affording a greater degree of comfort. And there's less potentially damaging jaw movement with a custom mouthguard. As you might imagine, custom mouthguards are more expensive, but compared to the potential treatment cost for a sports-related dental injury, it's money well spent.

Investing in a custom mouthguard for your family basketball (or football, hockey or baseball) player is a sound way to protect their dental health. And that's not madness at all.

If you would like more information about athletic mouthguards, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.”


Introduced to the United States in the 1980s, dental implants have quickly become the go-to restoration for tooth replacement. And for good reason: they're not only incredibly life-like, they're highly durable with a 95% success rate.

But as desirable as they are, you may face a major obstacle getting one because of the condition of the bone at your implant site. To position the implant for best appearance and long-term durability, we must have at least 4-5 mm of bone available along the horizontal dimension. Unfortunately, that's not always the case with tooth loss.

This is because bone, like other living tissue, has a growth cycle: Older cells die and dissolve (resorb) and newer cells develop in their place. The forces transmitted to the jaw from the action of chewing help stimulate this resorption and replacement cycle and keep it on track. When a tooth is lost, however, so is this stimulus.

This may result in a slowdown in cell replacement, causing the eventual loss of bone. And it doesn't take long for it to occur after tooth loss—you could lose a quarter of bone width in just the first year, leaving you without enough bone to support an implant. In some cases, it may be necessary to choose another kind of restoration other than implants.

But inadequate bone isn't an automatic disqualifier for implants. It's often possible to regenerate lost bone through a procedure known as bone augmentation, in which we insert a bone graft at the missing tooth site. The graft serves as a scaffold for new bone cells to grow upon, which over time may regenerate enough bone to support an implant.

Even if you've had a missing tooth for some time, implementing bone augmentation could reverse any loss you may have experienced. In fact, it's a common practice among dentists to place a bone graft immediately after a tooth extraction to minimize bone loss, especially if there will be a time lag between extraction and implant surgery.

Bone augmentation could add extra time to the implant process. But if successful, it will make it possible for you to enjoy this popular dental restoration.

If you would like more information on dental implant restoration, 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 “Dental Implants After Previous Tooth Loss.”


Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs wrapped up the NFL regular season in January, setting single-season records in both catches and receiving yards. The Bills handily beat the Miami Dolphins, earning themselves the second seed in the AFC playoffs, and Diggs certainly did his part, making 7 catches for 76 yards. But what set the internet ablaze was not Diggs' accomplishments on the field but rather what the camera caught him doing on the sidelines—flossing his teeth!

The Twitterverse erupted with Bills fans poking fun at Diggs. But Diggs is not ashamed of his good oral hygiene habits, and CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan expressed his support with “Dental hygiene is something to take note of, kids! There's never a bad place to floss” and “When you lead the NFL in catches and yards, you can floss anytime you want.”

We like to think so. There's an old joke among dentists:
Q. Which teeth do you need to floss?
A. Only the ones you want to keep.

Although this sounds humorous, it is borne out in research. Of note, a 2017 study showed that people who floss have a lower risk of tooth loss over periods of 5 years and 10 years, and a 2020 study found that older adults who flossed lost an average of 1 tooth in 5 years, while those who don't lost around 4 teeth in the same time period.

We in the dental profession stress the importance of flossing as a daily habit—and Stefon Diggs would likely agree—yet fewer than 1 in 3 Americans floss every day. The 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that only 30% of Americans floss every day, while 37% floss less than every day and 32% never floss.

The biggest enemy on the football field may be the opposing team, but the biggest enemy to your oral health is plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on tooth surfaces. Plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss among adults. Flossing is necessary to remove plaque from between teeth and around the gums where a toothbrush can't reach. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by the specialized tools used in the dental office. Regular professional dental cleanings are also needed to get at those hard-to-reach spots you may have missed.

If Diggs can find time to floss during a major NFL game, the rest of us can certainly find a couple minutes a day to do it. While we might not recommend Diggs' technique of flossing from one side of the mouth to the other, we commend his enthusiasm and commitment to keeping his teeth and gums healthy. Along with good dental hygiene at home—or on the sidelines if you are Stefon Diggs—regular professional dental cleanings and checkups play a key role in maintaining a healthy smile for life.

If you would like more information about keeping in the best dental health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”

Are you unhappy with some aspect of your smile? A cosmetic dentistry service or treatment offered by your Palatine, IL, dentist, Dr. Herman Salzberg, can help you improve or correct your dental issue.

Are your teeth dull? Teeth whitening can brighten your smile!

Anything white, whether it's a tee-shirt or your teeth, tends to look a little duller over time. Although aging and tobacco use are common causes, dullness can also be caused by eating and drinking foods and beverages that contain dark pigments. Coffee, tea, red wine, dark-colored soft drinks, berries, ice pops, and candy are common culprits.

Teeth whitening bleaches away stains, leaving your teeth up to eight shades whiter. Whitening only requires a single, one-hour visit to the Palatine, IL, dental office.

Do you need to hide flaws or repair damage?

Depending on your problem, your dentist may recommend one of these options:

  • Bonding: Bonding, one of the least expensive cosmetic dentistry services, involves applying flexible, tooth-colored composite resin to the tooth. After the resin is shaped, it's hardened with a curing light. Bonding can improve the shape or length of a tooth, cover discolorations or cracks, and fill in chips and other imperfections.
  • Veneers: Veneers are thin shells that are cemented to the fronts of your teeth. Veneers can change the shape or length of teeth and might be a good option if you want to conceal discolorations, chips, cracks, and gaps. Veneers also offer a long-lasting teeth whitening option.
  • Crowns: Crowns, commonly called caps, are hollow restorations that fit over teeth after they've been reduced in size. A crown can restore a broken tooth, protect a fragile tooth, or completely change the shape, length, or appearance of your tooth.

Have you stopped smiling because your teeth are crooked?

Invisalign may be the perfect option if you'd like to straighten your smile discreetly. The system uses a series of clear, removable aligner trays that slowly but surely realign your teeth. Invisalign is a good choice for both teenagers and adults with mild to moderate orthodontic issues.

Improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry! Call your dentist in Palatine, IL, Dr. Salzberg, at (847) 359-6766 to schedule your appointment.

Ideally, we would avoid cavities altogether, if our wish was to have a smile without the unsightly traditional fillings. But few things ever go according to plan, that's why pencils have erasers after all. Cosmetic fillings virtually erase the fact that you had a cavity that needed work, and you'll be surprised with the results. If you would like to learn more about these fillings contact Dr. Herman Salzberg in Palatine, IL.

Cavities Happen

Cavities form on our teeth because of the bacteria that linger on them in the form of plaque and tartar. They expel acids that damage our protective enamel as they feast on the sugars we consume.

Plaque is the sticky film that clings to teeth every day, it's why dentists recommend daily brushing and flossing to remove as much of it as possible. But however diligent we are there is usually some plaque left over, and this is even more likely if we suffer from spacing problems in our smile. Plaque can also harden into tartar thanks to the minerals in our saliva, making it much more difficult to remove.

Thus, brushing and flossing are great first steps in preventing cavities, but regular checkups and cleanings are just as important. So that even if we do develop a cavity, it can be caught in time and filled before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Types of Fillings

Amalgam fillings have been and will continue to be an excellent option for anyone in need of a filling. Though silver in color they are actually made of an alloy made up of mercury, tin, copper, and of course silver. The metals mixed with mercury make it safe and stable.

Though amalgam is a very durable, and cost-effective, material for a filling, they have as a downside their very visible silver appearance.

Cosmetic fillings, on the other hand, are tooth-colored and not easily noticeable, even under close inspection. These are made of a composite resin which is a mixture of plastic and glass. It's the same material your dentist may use to repair teeth that have been chipped or are worn down.

These filings are strong, and with modern materials, they will last almost as long as their amalgam counterparts.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Palatine, IL

You want a healthy smile that looks the part, so whether it's treatment, or even just prevention, don't forget to visit your dentist. Make an appointment today with Dr. Salzberg in Palatine, IL, by dialing 847-359-6766.