Saturday, January 18, 2014

Braces, Orthodontics, Straight Teeth, Why? Crystal Lake Dentist

Why do so many people have crooked teeth?

straight teeth look great
Our ancient ancestors faced a different set of conditions which helped fit the size of their jaws to the size of the teeth. The reason is due to their diet. They did not have the luxury of highly processed vitamin and calorie enriched foods. Infants had to subsist on mother's milk instead of processed infant formulas with high calories and vitamin content. Children and adults also had to subsist on lower calorie harder foods that took much more effort to chew and extract nutrients. The result was that the jaws grew larger and the teeth would fit together perfectly. The result of our modern diet  and child rearing behavior is that children's jaws will not grow to their full potential... thus the teeth do not have room to fit into the smaller jaws and become crowded. Consequently 80% of the population raised on a modern highly processed, high calorie, and vitamin enriched diet will have crooked teeth.

OK so we will have crooked teeth, what is the big deal?

The big deal is twofold:
·        First as our jaws do not develop completely and mid face is pushed back. This smaller space means our airway does not develop fully. This can lead to many issues related to Sleep Apnea, enlarged tonsils, allergies, ear infections, and a multitude of related conditions including ADHD in a child. As the child becomes order Sleep Apnea can bring on many other serious conditions as well including heart disease, diabetes, stroke obesity, daytime drowsiness and other systemic inflammatory conditions.
·         Second is the problem that crooked teeth inherently affects to the longevity of the teeth. Crooked teeth will wear unevenly, lead to more tooth decay and periodontal disease, premature loss of teeth and extensive dental treatment like gum surgery, fillings crowns root canals, extractions, etc. These treatments are expensive, time consuming and possibly uncomfortable. Add to that the cost of medical treatment and the possibility of shortening of a person's life, and you quickly see that it is a big deal. 

OK so what are you recommending that we eat like our ancestors?

cave men ate raw foods

Well that would do the job, though it would be hard to do today. Instead I am recommending children be evaluated very early to get their growth on track before the adult teeth are in. Interceptive orthodontics can alter growth with easy to use removable appliances. The teeth and jaws can be aligned and growth encouraged so often no further orthodontic care is needed, or if it is needed, it will be minimal. The health benefits of interceptive orthodontics cannot be over emphasized. The other benefit may be that the full cost of treatment is lower.
interceptive orthodontic appliances
interceptive orthodontics

Can Adults as well can benefit from straighter teeth?

Absolutely they can. Teeth wearing excessively, gums receding, gum disease, and chipping, breaking cavities are all increased with crooked teeth. When the teeth are aligned well they will wear evenly, look better and stay healthier. The gum tissue will be healthier as the teeth are easier to clean which also means less cavities. Why would you not want to have this?

What other benefits would I have from straight teeth?

The most obvious one is a beautiful smile, and a better self-image. Your smile is one of your most important assets.

Many people don't want that "Braces Look", what are the options?


Invisalign has come a long way and continues to develop as the people's choice for orthodontics for adults and increasingly for teens. The clear aligners are easy to wear and the teeth are easy to clean. Clear braces and tooth colored orthodontic wires can also be used in some cases as well.
clear braces

Where can I find out more about interceptive orthodontics and adult braces?

beautiful healthy smiles for the entire family

We can help you determine the best choice for each and every family member. We have been treating adults and children for over 30 years. Most orthodontic offices wait until a child becomes a teenager where 90% of the growth has already taken place and the treatment options are limited. We recommend treating as early as possible to take advantage of the growth.

Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about Lifetime Dentistry, braces, Invisalign and interceptive orthodontics and root Canal Treatment at Crystal Lake Dental Associates.

Your comments are welcome

Monday, January 13, 2014

Do Root Canals Cause Cancer?-Crysral Lake Dentist

A little history lesson please!!!

Root Canal Treatment Goes Back Thousands of Years.

There are historical instances of all manner of objects and materials being placed in the root canal space of teeth including bird droppings as a means of treating teeth. Studies and published articles go back over three hundred years demonstrating various techniques and materials to treat infected teeth. The various theories of what is being done and why are all over the place. The good news from this is that even though these practices have been discontinued, over time a common sense approach,  improved methods, and materials has led to a very consistent high success rate for root canal treatment.

Modern Root Canal treatment Begins in the Last Half of the 20th Century.

The modern ideas for root canal treatment began in the 1950's with the use of certain irrigating techniques and standardized instruments and materials. Root canal treatment has continued to evolve with advances in technology and materials so that today root canals (endodontic treatments) are highly predictable and successful when all of the necessary steps are followed. Importantly the placing of a well-fitting crown and buildup are part of a properly completed root canal treatment.

What Does This Have to do with Cancer and Other Diseases?

In the early 1900's the "focal infection" theory was developed. This theory stated that essentially a tiny localized infection would cause inflammation and disease in other body organs and systems. In addition the bacteria causing the localized infection would quickly morph into other bacteria which were much more dangerous. These more dangerous bacteria and byproducts would travel freely through the body seeking organs and body systems to damage or destroy. So some claimed that this "focal infection" was leading to cancer. Once this localized infection was removed, the other body organs and systems would recover.  This focal infection theory was popular for about 25 years and led to the amputation of many body parts. This focal infection theory stated that since teeth that were infected had previously been successfully treated with root canals were still considered infected. Consequently, the idea was advanced that all of these teeth needed to be removed. In the 1920's, studies were done by a dentist "Dr. Weston Price". He showed that these infected teeth could kill lab rabbits quickly. He also attempted to document how by removing these teeth, many people who were previously suffering from all sorts of ailments were instantly cured. For the next 25 years, this theory and Dr. Price's reports led to the removal of countless teeth. 

What Have We Learned Since Then about "Focal Infections"?

The studies by Dr. Price were and others were flawed and had no valid controls. In addition, published studies since then have failed to produce or reproduce the same effect claimed be Dr. Price. The subsequent study of abscesses, bacteremia, and blood testing of individuals find that the bacteria found in these lesions show that bacteria from the mouth play almost no role in infections in other parts of the body. We now know that bacteria do not evolve/mutate at any rate close to what Dr. Price was showing. Dr. Price had several accomplishments that did advance dentistry, however his lab experiments and claims about focal infections have placed a dark cloud over his accomplishments. 

Our Immune System is More Than Capable of Handling Oral Bacteria!

The human race would not exist if it could not handle the bacteria from the mouth. The human immune system is dealing with bacteria from the oral cavity constantly from accidental lip, cheek, tongue biting, injuries, from hard foods, flossing/tooth-brushing, dental cleanings, etc. These injuries would have killed off the host shortly after birth if the immune system could not deal with the bacteria.

Why do claims like these about dentistry circulate?

There are several reasons:

  • Many in the Holistic community truly believe some of the claims that are made without any good science to back it up.  They refuse to seek out properly performed scientific tests for evidence for their beliefs.
  • Many people love a good conspiracy theory as well and think that large companies and organizations are covering up the truth. 
  • Many of these Holistic companies stand to make a lot of money and many are unscrupulously making false claims to do so just like the "Snake Oil Salesmen" traveling the country would do in the past.
  • Many people are desperate for simple low cost alternatives to proper health care.
  • Wives’ Tales and folklore abound with home brews and anecdotal miraculous recovery from illnesses that are often a coincidence.
Why Root Canals have a Bad Reputation in general?

Face it you don't just walk into your dentist's office and say hey doctor, I was just passing by and thought I would like to have a root canal treatment just for fun. Root canals and severe pain are linked in the media and society.  OK let’s dissect the reason. Many people who seek a dentist for a painful tooth have waited too long to have the tooth treated hoping the "pain would go away". Well it did not and now the tooth needs to either be removed or treated with a root canal.

So what causes the pain people associate with root canals?

 I will use another body part to explain the inflammation/infection process. If you injured your thumb by either getting an infected splinter in it or hitting it with a hammer, it would do several things at once. It would swell, turn red, and get hot. That is the way the body reacts to injury and infection. In this same way the pulp and periodontal ligament will react to inflammation and infection. Teeth are embedded in bone and the nerve (pulp) is consequently not able to expand when inflamed or infected. When a tissue tries to swell and cannot, the pain level increases dramatically. "Hot" abscessed teeth are much more difficult to numb and take longer for the anesthetic to work. That is just the nature of inflammation and infection anywhere in the body. If the tooth is removed, the pain will subside, but the area will still be sore because part of the body has been amputated. It is the same with a root canal treatment. The pain will improve but it may take some time for the body to recover from the toxic products of an abscessed tooth. Today we have better anesthetics, and better treatment methods as well as better antibiotics and pain relievers to prescribe. It is not the root canal treatment that is the reason people have any pain, but the waiting too long to seek treatment that is causing it. 

Common sense is needed!

The bacterial onslaught from periodontal disease is a much greater danger to a person's health than a tooth with a root canal in it. The modern root canal treatment  with the use of antibiotics, antiseptic rinses, electronic apex locators, magnification, digital x-rays, ultrasonics, rotary nickel titanium instrumentation, high tech  heated Gutta Percha have made it easier, faster and better. The judicious use of antibiotics, better anesthetics, conscious sedation, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and modern pain relievers have made every procedure in dentistry extremely predictable and more comfortable.

The Truth is Obvious, We Just Need to Face It!

Root canal treatment is one of the most successful procedures a dentist can provide. The cost of replacing a tooth is greater than the cost of the root canal and crown. Patients can avoid unnecessary pain and enjoy the benefits of teeth saved by root canals by seeking professional care as soon as possible rather than waiting till the problem is so serious. Many root canal treatments can be avoided altogether by getting regular dental care and checkups to catch a problem early and treat it with a minor procedure.

Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about Lifetime Dentistry and root Canal Treatment at Crystal Lake Dental Associates.

Your comments are welcome

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.