University Associates in Dentistry
UAD's general dentists are leaders in placing dental implants (including the All on 4 dental implant procedure) as well as sleep apnea alternative treatment, invisalign®, and All your dental needs!

Printing a New Tooth: Is 3D Printing the Future of Dentistry?

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With the advent of 3D printing technology, tech enthusiasts have created everything from a DIY violin to a bust of King Richard III. This technology has even been used to build a biocompatible implant to replace most of a man’s damaged skull, and printable organs aren’t too far off, either. So it isn’t much of a stretch to envision dentists using 3D printers to create dental implants, veneers, and crowns someday—especially since some dentists have already invested in CEREC technology.

A Closer Look at CEREC
CEREC is advanced technology that isn’t yet widely available. If your dentist has invested in it, he or she can fabricate your new, custom-made crown, onlay, or veneer, all right in the office. This means you won’t have to wait for impressions to be sent to a lab so that you can receive custom restorations. CEREC is similar to 3D printing, but it’s only used for ceramic restorations. A scan of your mouth is uploaded to the computer. The dentist customizes your treatment digitally, and then sends the final design to the CEREC milling machine for fabrication. The milling machine carves the restoration out of a block of ceramic.

3D Printing in the Dentist’s Office
If 3D printing does find a home in dental offices, it will enable dentists to print new teeth in fewer than 10 minutes. Unlike CEREC, which mills restorations, 3D printers would build them one tiny layer at a time. It’s thought that this would offer advantages over CEREC, as 3D printers could recreate all of the intricate little details of a real tooth. One major obstacle is that, currently, 3D printers can generally only print in one material—plastic. (Highly specialized 3D printers have “printed” human stem cells.) Experts envision a time in the not-too-distant future, in which 3D printers are capable of shaping zirconia into teeth.

Here at University Associates in Dentistry, we understand that your time is valuable, and we want to send you on your way with a healthy, beautiful smile as quickly as possible. That’s why our dentists in Chicago are proud to offer one-visit crowns with CEREC technology. Call (312) 704-5511 to request your dental consultation.

Learning About Christopher Columbus via Dental Studies

christopher columbus dentistry

In 1494, more than 1,000 of Christopher Columbus’ crew members established a settlement on the coast of the present-day Dominican Republic. La Isabela was abandoned after just a few years, and much of the ruins were mistakenly bulldozed into the sea. However, skeletons of the crew members remained, and thanks to new technology, their teeth have been carefully analyzed. They’ve revealed some surprising information about the crew members’ lives.

Teeth are chemically examined by analyzing their isotopes. Carbon isotope ratios can indicate a person’s typical diet. European skeletons would have greater concentrations of carbon 12, because they ate grains like barley and wheat. Oxygen isotopes can be used to determine the climate of where the person lived. And strontium isotopes indicate whether the person lived in an area with very old bedrock, like West Africa. Based on their isotope analysis, researchers have concluded that some of Columbus’ crew members were likely free black Africans. They would have arrived in La Isabela well before the slave trade was established. Less surprising findings include that the crew members suffered from scurvy, malnutrition, and physical stress.

Dental technology is constantly improving, and here at University Associates in Dentistry, we embrace new innovations that help our patients have a healthier smile. Call (312) 704-5511 for an appointment with a dentist in Chicago.

What Dentists Want You to Know About Chemotherapy

chemotherapy and the dentist chicagoChemotherapy can be a lifesaver. It can also cause serious, unintended consequences, like a suppressed immune system, severe nausea, and weight loss. These effects are well-known, but what many cancer patients don’t realize is that chemo can also adversely affect oral health. If you’re expecting to undergo chemo, you’ve already receiving it, or you’re anticipating radiation therapy to the head region, talk to a dentist as soon as possible.

Visiting Your Dentist
During your dental consultation, provide as much information as you can about your medical condition and the drugs you’ll be taking. The dentist will examine your X-rays, and the hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth. A professional cleaning is important because it curbs problems like gum disease. When your immune system is suppressed during chemotherapy, you’ll be more susceptible to illnesses, and bacteria from infections in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and make you sick. If you have any other oral health problems, you’ll receive appropriate treatment for them. Your dentist will also help you learn how to care for your mouth during chemo.

Watching Out for Side Effects
Chemo doesn’t affect every patient the same way. You may not experience all of the following side effects, and it’s possible that you won’t experience any of them. But you should be familiar with the side effects, just in case.

  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in taste
  • Infections
  • Painful mouth and gums
  • Swelling or peeling of the tongue
  • Burning sensations of the tongue

Caring for Your Mouth
Inspect your mouth every day. Become familiar with how it should look, and notice whether there are any unusual changes. If your mouth becomes sensitive, use an extra soft toothbrush and waxed floss, and brush very gently. Choose mouthwash without alcohol. Fight dry mouth by sipping water frequently and chewing sugarless gum. When your mouth hurts, choose soft foods that don’t require a lot of work to chew and swallow.

At University Associates in Dentistry, the well-being and safety of our patients are our top priorities. We provide compassionate, personalized care to meet the sensitive needs of patients with other serious health issues. Call us at (312) 704-5511 to request a prompt appointment with a general dentist in Chicago.

How Does Your Dental Implant Stay in Place?

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Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant is a simple, straightforward, and non-stressful procedure. What many patients don’t understand, however, is how the artificial implant integrates into your mouth and becomes a permanent part of your smile. This process is known as osseointegration. Here is a closer look at how this natural process completes the dental implant procedure.

What is osseointegration?
Osseointegration is the process by which the dental implant melds with your living bone. When your human cells come into contact with the metal cells of the implant post, they naturally form bonds, which ultimately allows the metal part of your implant to stay in place. It’s a widely used process; any type of implant surgery that involves metal parts, such as hip replacement or knee replacement surgery, relies in part on osseointegration.

Is osseointegration safe?
Osseointegration is a natural process, so it is completely safe for treatment. It also makes dental implants much more likely to be stable over time, which means that patients now have a safe, effective, and reliable means of replacing lost teeth—which is great news for your oral health.

How long does osseointegration take?
For dental implants, osseointegration generally takes about two to six months. The denser and healthier your existing bone is, the faster the process will tend to be. Your dentist may recommend bone grafting if you have a significant amount of bone loss, so that your implant has a stronger foundation and so that osseointegration can more easily occur.

If you think that you may need dental implants, it’s time to schedule a dental consultation at University Associates in Dentistry. Our experienced dental providers will help you understand all of your options for tooth restoration and what you can expect during your treatment. To make an appointment at our Chicago office, please call (312) 704-5511.

Here's How Neanderthals Did Dental Care

Dentist Chicago

When you think of dental care, the Neanderthals might not be the first group that comes to mind. However, there is evidence that dentistry was a part of Neanderthal life. Their treatments were a little different than what you encounter when you see the dentist today, of course, but they did take steps to improve their oral health.

Although not much is known about any sustained, organized approaches to dentistry in Neanderthals, teeth from the population show signs of scratches and grooves consistent with using a toothpick to treat the discomfort of impacted teeth. The toothpicks were likely made of pieces of bone or stiff grass. This discovery may not be surprising, given that toothpick use has been discovered in even older civilizations.

At University Associates in Dentistry, we rely on much more modern equipment to provide cosmetic and general dentistry in Chicago, including dental implants and porcelain veneers. To learn more or to make an appointment, call (312) 704-5511.

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