Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dentistry is a Gas with Nitrous Oxide

Many people know nitrous oxide as laughing gas

In our office, we administer nitrous oxide to enhance patient comfort and relieve anxiety for patients of all ages. Laughing gas is an integral part of sedation dentistry After you're comfortably seated in the dental chair, you'll inhale the gas (a nitrous oxide and oxygen mixture) through a face mask. We will control the amount of nitrous oxide you receive to ensure your safety. You will begin to relax and will not recognize pain, so the dentist can perform your dental work while you stay completely comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide subside once we remove your mask, so if nitrous oxide is the only anesthesia you receive, you will be capable of driving yourself home following the visit and can continue your daily activities as normal.

Other Comfort Options to Help You Relax

At Crystal Lake Dental Associates, we offer many options to help you relax. Besides nitrous oxide, we offer oral sedation, pillows, blankets, hot hand wax, TV intreatment rooms, CDs with headphones, a DVD player with movie glasses and more. Dr. Neal know some patients fear getting numb and he utilizes a special super topical numbing agent along with The Wand ( a comfortable computerized anesthetic delivery system) as well as a special super comfortable anesthetic solution. these are just a few of the ways we strive to provide gentle dental care.

Dennis Kucinich and his dental bridge olive pit saga

 Dennis Kucinich has made headlines by threatening to sue a food company for $150.000 for an olive pit in a sandwich. True the pit did not belong there, and it could have caused a perfect dental bridge in a perfectly healthy mouth to fail splitting his tooth. This situation  led to loss of the tooth, a bout of antibiotics that upset his intestinal tract, and a few additional dental visits to correct the situation. Mr. Kucinich apparently settled the case successfully with the food company.

The text of the 2 news stories can be seen following these links.

As a dentist I am concerned about these types of cases.

No doubt the tooth had to be removed and either a new bridge or implants and crowns would replace the original. Was the food company liable for the cost of his dental care?  If the bridge was at risk of eminent failure, this olive pit was perhaps the last straw. Perhaps i f he had not eaten the sandwich, the bridge could have failed the next day while eating oatmeal. The purveyor  of the oatmeal could then be at risk I suppose (though this would have been harder to prove).

What do we know

 What we do know is that Dennis Kucinich apparently had a 5 or 6 unit bridge of some sort (fixed/removable or both). This is HUGE. The likelihood of failure is immense and unavoidable. An implant was placed and  failed, and another implant was placed which so far has worked. I am unsure however how long the current dental situation will last as Dennis has so many teeth missing. The food company did not cause Mr. Kucinich to lose all of the other teeth which is placing a great burden on the remaining teeth leading to continued failure. Who does he blame for that? Perhaps he should look in the mirror.

An explanation is in order

Let’s use a different example. Suppose you were driving down a private the road  and your hit a pothole and your tire blows out causing damage to your car. The owner of the road is liable for the damage right? But let’s focus in more closely. Suppose one or several of the factors listed below apply:
  • The tires were more than  10 years old.
  • The tires were bald.
  • The tires had 75,000 miles on them
  • They were cheap bargain tires and were not the right ones for your car or driving style and you did not have them balanced.
  • Your car was in poor shape with wheels out of alignment, and your shocks and ball joints  were bad causing excessive tire damage and wear.
  • You are constantly driving to a construction site and running over debris including nails
  • You drove like a maniac constantly screeching your tires, doing donuts etc.
  •  You never properly inflated your tires, or rotated them.
  • You regularly overloaded your car exceeding the weight and speed limits of the tires.
  • You liked hitting potholes, running over junk on the road cause is was kind of fun.
All we know is that you hit a pothole, which damaged your car, and you are suing the owner of the pothole. Now, however, we are not so fast to blame the owner of the property.

Back to dental bridges

There are almost 50 different reasons for a bridge to fail. The amount of abuse your teeth and dental work take on a daily basis is immense. We can exert up  300 pounds per square inch on our teeth. It is a testament to dentistry that anything lasts in the mouth for any length of time. Statically dental bridges only last on average 7 to 10 years. They have the highest cost per year of use of anything in dentistry averaging  300 to 500 dollars a year prorated.

In my experience 

I have heard many excuses for why something happened to a tooth that belie the actual facts. Usually there are extenuating circumstances that need to be factored in.  Too often we try to fix blame on someone else at their great expense when we have to assume greater responsibility for our own situation.

What do I think happened to Mr. Kucinich’s  bridge?

Was Mr. Kucinich’s bridge about to fail anyway? We will never know, but based on my experience with bridge failures, I think yes. With the limited information, I would bet that the tooth that split either had a preexisting crack in it or a post that cracked the root, or was so overloaded that it would fail without provocation. These conditions are perfect for the resultant failure.  In other words failure was eminent. The olive pit was just a catalyst, not the real cause.

Why bridges fail

I have listed on a separate PDF on my website the reasons that a bridge or crown can fail in no particular order.
You can click the link below to get a printable copy.
view pdf

What you can do in you have or need a bridge

If you have a dental bridge, make sure your dental office  is doing a thorough job of checking your bridge  and recommending proper care. This includes taking x-rays at regular intervals (average once a year). Ask your dentist to show you the x-rays and explain what is on them. Digital x-rays are a huge advantage as everyone can easily see the teeth and restorations.
If you need a dental bridge or you need one replaced, go to the most competent dentist you can find and pay a little more if you need to. Your chance of success goes up with the competence of your dentist, as he/she will be more careful about assessing your chances of success with a bridge and will be more assertive in making sure you take care of it properly.

Alternatives to bridges

Inquire about dental implants or other alternatives.  The initial cost of dental implants is about the same as a bridge, however the longevity of them and the other teeth is much greater. Don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion.
Before having a dental bridge placed.
It is important that a thorough assessment be done prior to dental bridge placement to insure that longevity is maximized. The patient has a responsibility to maintain dental work properly with homecare and diet as well as regular checkups.  

Learn more about dental bridges

I welcome your comments.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Healthy Recipes

Healthy life as well as healthy smile.

In an ongoing effort to promote healthy smiles and a healthy life, I will occasionally post recipes that I have tried and found to be healthy and nutritious. These recipes will offer alternatives to sugar and be low in fat.

Todays recipes are variations on conventional Chili.

Vegetarian White Chili
White Chili

 The first is White Chili by Nancie Thompson and has received 4.5 out of 5 stars by 167 reviewers

Servings  (Help)


Original Recipe Yield 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cooked, boneless chicken breast half, chopped
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans canned green chile peppers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 5 (14.5 ounce) cans great Northern beans, undrained
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 10 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add the chicken, chicken broth, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and add the beans. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated thoroughly. Pour into individual bowls and top with the cheese.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 521 | Total Fat: 13.9g | Cholesterol: 54mg

Vegetarian White Chili

The second recipe is my variation on one posted by Emeril Lagasse.
His recipe received 5 out of 5 stars by 159 reviewers.


·         2 tablespoons canola oil
·         1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
·         1 cup chopped red bell peppers
·         2 tablespoons minced garlic
·         2 small cans of chopped green chilis.
·         1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
·         2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) 0ptional
·         1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
·         2 tablespoons chili powder
·         1 tablespooon ground cumin
·         1 1/4 teaspoons salt
·         1/4 teaspoon cayenne
·         3 cups cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
·         3 cups vegetable stock, or water
·         Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish and/or shredded cheese

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
To serve, Ladle the chili into the bowls . Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, or yogurt and/or a sprinkle of cheese.
Nutritional info not available, but without chicken and chicken stock, the calorie count, and fat will be lower.
Note whenever possible use organic ingredients

I will be adding these and many more healthy recipes that I have tried and can recommend to a section on our website. for more healthy recipes click on the ink below.

Healthy Recipes

I welcome your comments.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nice videos on dental hygiene... brushing and flossing

I located these fine videos on dental hygiene and thought you would enjoy them.



Tongue Brushing

Flossing around Braces

Proxibrush around Braces

Flossing Bridgework

I welcome your comments.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gum Disease Killing Unborn Babies

Check out this news clip video on how gum disease bacteria can travel into the body of an unborn baby and kill it.

Here is a News Video I made last year on Fox News 

I am the only dentist in McHenry County who has this fantastic laser technology.

I welcome your comments.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dental Emergencies

Handling Dental Emergencies

Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment down the road.

Here's a quick summary of what to do for some common dental problems.
  • Toothaches. First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. See your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Chipped or broken teeth. Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there's bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Knocked-out tooth. Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it's dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it's facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it's not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth. In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.
  • Extruded (partially dislodged) tooth. See your dentist right away. Until you reach your dentist's office, to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Advil) if needed.
  • Objects caught between teeth. First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. If you can't get the object out, see your dentist. Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object. These instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface.
  • Lost filling. As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cayuse pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Lost crown. If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can't get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!
  • Broken braces wires. If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can't reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist's office. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.
  • Loose brackets and bands. Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If the problem is a loose band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it recemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).
  • Abcess. Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.

    Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.
  • Soft-tissue injuries. Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here's what to do:
    1. Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
    2. Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
    3. To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
    4. If the bleeding doesn't stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.
  • For a printable pdf of this page click here

(reprinted from Web MD)
I welcome your comments.

Phillip C. Neal DDS
Crystal Lake Dental Associates
280 B Memorial Court
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014
815 459 2202

    About Me

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    Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

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