Dentistry Blog

Good Foods for Dental Health

Have you been looking for foods that taste great and are also good for your teeth? Congratulations! You’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover great healthy eating tips. Because fluoride strengthens teeth against acids, fluoridated water is the number one beverage when it comes to maintaining dental health. A 2012 poll reported that approximately 75% of American homes have access to fluoridated water, making it a snap to keep your teeth in prime condition. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, are naturally low in sugar, making them great for oral health. The protein and calcium contained in these products offer strengthening properties for your teeth. Because fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, the sugars they contain are efficiently balanced. Chewing these foods helps stimulate the release of salvia, which contains natural antioxidants. Because nuts are a low-sugar source of protein, they are great for dental... read more

Early Childhood Caries

You might guess that the most common chronic childhood illness is asthma or diabetes. Actually, it’s Early Childhood Caries or ECC. Chronic tooth decay in children is a disease that far outranks other illnesses by at least five times. An ever increasing body of knowledge continues to establish links between oral and overall health. Notable examples linking one’s oral health to overall health and wellness include: cardiovascular disease, oral cancer, aspiration pneumonia, pregnancy complications, and other health issues. Many people focus on preventing and treating tooth decay when dealing with children’s oral health care needs. Tooth decay is important to address, but it is also part of a bigger picture. Children’s overall oral health is really the essential focus for healthy living. We recognize that early education can help set up children for a lifetime of good habits and good health. If you would like to know more about these connections, please let us know at  It’s important to develop good oral health habits early, particularly in light of the Oral Systemic... read more

New Guidance from American Dental Association on Routine Dental Visits

Recently released guidance from the American Dental Association (ADA) has shed some new light on how often patients ought to be seeing their dentist. According to the ADA, patients should follow a schedule determined by their own practitioner in order to maintain the best possible oral health. This recommendation follows on the heels of research printed in the Journal of Dental Research which emphasized the point that dental care visit schedules need to be crafted on an individual basis, taking existing oral health and dental history into consideration. The study, found in the June 10 edition of the journal, was conducted by University of Michigan researchers who reviewed the risks faced by patients both with and without certain key periodontal disease risk factors. In the end, it was determined that high-risk patient populations stood to benefit from frequent visits to the dentist, while those without substantial risk could visit less frequently. Ultimately, the study revealed that personalized treatment decisions made in collaboration with a dentist are the best way to identify risk factors and determine appropriate care and maintenance... read more

Gum Sensitivity: What to Do About It

You’ve just taken a sip of hot coffee, or a bite of ice cream, and you feel a searing pain in your gums. This unpleasantness is quite common, and many people suffer from sensitive gums. What’s the best way to reduce sensitivity and enjoy your favorite foods without discomfort? Let’s explore the factors that cause gum sensitivity, and review some ways to prevent it. Why Your Gums Are Sensitive There are several reasons you might be experiencing pain in your gums: Your gum tissue is delicate, and you might be brushing it too hard. You might have a cavity. Your gums might have receded and now expose the roots of your teeth. You might have gum disease. You are pregnant. You have an abscess. You wear ill-fitting dentures. Your gums may react to hot or cold foods/beverages, or short breaths of cold air, or they may throb consistently. Either way, it’s understandable that you want to seek relief! Tips to Manage and Prevent Gum Sensitivity Since some gum sensitivity is linked to oral hygiene, the first step is to evaluate your hygiene habits and make some tweaks if necessary. Brushing and flossing keeps your teeth and gums healthy and free of any food-related debris. Ideally, you should brush at least twice a day. Choose a brush that has soft nylon bristles with blunted ends, and refrain from making vigorous brushing motions. Instead of making a back-and-forth motion, make gentle circular motions to massage and clean the teeth and gums. Floss at least once a day to keep the teeth and gums healthy. It’s also a good idea to avoid... read more

Perk Up Your Smile with Porcelain Veneers

Have you ever wondered about the secret to Hollywood stars’ flawless smiles? Many of Tinseltown’s most famous actors have had cosmetic dentistry treatment at some point in their careers. Porcelain veneers are the gold standard of cosmetic dental treatment, so it’s no surprise that they’re very popular in Hollywood. Even if you’re not a glamorous A-Lister, with the placement of porcelain veneers your smile can still resemble that of Julia Roberts or George Clooney. Chicago cosmetic dentist Jack Manikowski is able to remedy many tooth imperfections and improve your smile with a set of porcelain veneers. What Porcelain Veneers Improve Veneers are small pieces of porcelain that slip over the surface of the tooth to improve its appearance. They can conceal imperfections such as: Small chips/cracks in the teeth Extreme wear and tear A generally dull smile Abnormal spacing between the teeth Stains Discoloration You can have one veneer placed, or a set of them to even out the appearance of teeth that are more visible in the front of your mouth. Treatment Details Porcelain veneers are placed during a two-part process. First, the tooth is shaped and prepared for the placement. This involves removing a small bit of tooth structure in order to make space for the veneer. Dr. Jack will take impressions and measurements to send to the dental lab, which will customize the veneer to match your surrounding teeth. While your customized, permanent veneer is being crafted, you will wear a temporary veneer. Wearing a temporary restoration is a good way to try out your new smile with veneers. You can provide feedback to Dr. Jack... read more

Dealing with a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can happen at any time, and are scary and stressful. If you or a loved one has a dental emergency, please call Lincoln Park Smiles dentistry at 312-337-1665, and we will schedule you in as soon as possible. If an accident occurs after hours, and you cannot get in touch with us, please go to your local emergency room. Having a little bit of knowledge can help you remain calm until you are able to receive professional help. Here are some of the most common dental emergencies, and how to deal with them: Knocked-Out Tooth: If a permanent or adult tooth falls out, there is a good chance the tooth can be saved and reinserted by a dentist. However, time is of the essence, and the longer you wait to re-implant the tooth, the less chance that strategy will be successful. Call us immediately for an emergency appointment. Try to pick up the tooth by its top (crown) and avoid touching the root(s). Carefully rinse the tooth to get rid of debris. You may try placing it back in the socket, holding it gently in place while trying to bite down. If you cannot reinsert the tooth into the socket, put it in a small container or cup of milk until your appointment. Cracked Tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply cold compresses to your face to minimize any swelling. Take acetaminophen for pain, but avoid aspirin, as it can thin the blood and lead to excessive bleeding. If your tooth is chipped and doesn’t hurt, you can wait a few days to see us.... read more

Why Preventive Dental Care Is Important

Preventive dental care is important at any stage of life to maintain the health of the teeth and gums and ward off serious problems like cavities, gum disease and excessive tooth enamel wear. Preventive dental care includes at-home habits like brushing, flossing and following a nutritious diet, as well as periodic visits to the dentist for exams and professional cleanings. At Lincoln Park Smiles, Dr. Jack strongly believes in educating his patients about the importance of preventive dentistry. Let’s take a closer look at common preventive dental care strategies. At-Home Dental Care The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recommends brushing for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, to remove food particles and bacteria. Use a toothpaste containing fluoride, which will strengthen the teeth and freshen the breath. Don’t forget to brush the surface of your tongue, which can trap food particles and cause bad breath. Daily flossing is also important for removing plaque and debris stuck to the teeth and gums between the teeth. Flossing will polish the tooth’s surface and control bad breath. Spend at least two to three minutes per day flossing the teeth. Be mindful of your diet, too. Follow a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Keep sugary foods and beverages to a minimum, and choose calcium-rich foods to keep your teeth and jawbone strong. Foods like raw vegetables, plain yogurt and cheese are all smile-friendly choices. Regular Office Visits Brushing and flossing are most effective when combined with regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. The American Dental Association recommends a minimum of two dental visits per year, but this number may vary, based... read more

How to Beat Bad Breath

No one is immune to bad breath: whether it’s a quick bout or a lingering problem, everyone has stinky breath at some point. Popping a mint or piece of gum covers up the smell, but only temporarily (it’s similar to spraying cologne to cover up body odor). For longer-lasting fresh breath, try these tips from Dr. Jack Manikowski, a Chicago dentist at Lincoln Park Smiles. Be Diligent about Dental Care Your mouth is home to 700 kinds of bacteria that emit an odorous byproduct as they interact with food. Getting rid of food particles and keeping the teeth clean are essential in the battle against bad breath. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss at least once a day. Visit Dr. Jack twice a year for a dental exam and professional cleaning. Scrape Your Tongue The rough surface of the tongue is a haven for bacteria; it builds up in the ridges of the tongue and causes pungent breath. Use a tongue scraper and make a few strokes down the tongue from back to front to dislodge food debris and bacteria. Do this once daily. Watch Your Diet Most people are usually careful around garlic and onions, which are common odor-causing foods. But did you know that certain foods are actually good for sweet-smelling breath? For example, crunchy fruits and veggies help remove plaque and food particles from the teeth. Cinnamon may kill odor-causing bacteria, and Greek yogurt lowers hydrogen sulfide (a bacteria byproduct that contributes to smelly breath). Foods rich in Vitamin C prevent bacteria from multiplying and neutralize odors from stinky foods. Fresh parsley is... read more

In-Office vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening

A few years ago, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry conducted a survey in which they asked adults, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?” The majority said they’d like whiter and brighter teeth. One of the most economical ways to enhance the color and appearance of stained or discolored teeth is through teeth whitening treatment. Teeth whitening can be performed at our Chicago dental practice, Lincoln Park Smiles, or at home. Let’s compare the two methods. In-Office Teeth Whitening: Quick and Effective The more popular teeth whitening option is our in-office treatment with Dr. Jack Manikowski, which is a more controlled, safer experience and produces better results. Also, if you are worried about gum sensitivity to the whitening products, Dr. Jack can manage those issues. To begin, we will cover your gums with a special shield to prevent them from coming into contact with the whitening gel. We will thoroughly apply the whitening gel to your teeth and it will be kept in place for approximately 15 minutes. A special LED light may be used to accelerate the whitening product and break down tooth staining faster. The whitening gel will be removed, and the process will repeat up to 3 more times. Results: teeth that look up to eight shades lighter, in less than an hour. At-Home Teeth Whitening: Comfortable and Convenient Some of our teeth whitening patients prefer to use a take-home whitening kit because it is more comfortable and convenient to whiten at home. They are also less expensive than in-office whitening. The kits include custom-fitted trays (similar to mouth guards) and a... read more

5 Reasons to Straighten Your Teeth

Crooked, crowded teeth are more than a visible eyesore – they are also a potential threat to your oral and overall health. Though orthodontic treatment is traditionally thought of as a rite of passage for adolescents, you are never too old to straighten your teeth and beautify your smile. Chicago Invisalign dentists Jack Manikowski and Karina Zaygermakher of Lincoln Park Smiles have put together a list of reasons why straightening your teeth is a good idea at any age. 1. Straight Teeth Are Easier to Clean. Patients with crowded or crooked teeth have a harder time keeping them clean. Overlapping teeth create pockets where plaque can build up and bacteria can multiply. Straight, properly spaced teeth are easier to clean, as there is more room for the toothbrush bristles and floss to get in between the teeth and remove trapped food particles. 2. Straight Teeth Promote Healthy Gums. As previously noted, crooked or crowded teeth are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and can lead to swollen, red, bleeding gums. When the teeth are straight and properly aligned, the gums can wrap around them more comfortably and securely, promoting a healthy defense against periodontal issues. 3. Straight Teeth Make Chewing Easier. A proper bite (i.e., the way the teeth fit together when the jaw is closed) is essential to normal chewing and biting function. If the teeth are crooked, overlap or meet in an abnormal way (or don’t meet at all), chewing and biting becomes cumbersome. Straight teeth that are properly aligned help us bite and chew our food more effectively. 4. Straight Teeth Are Less Stressful on the... read more