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Posts for category: Oral Health

By Miswak Dentistry
February 23, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum recession  

If it seems like your teeth are getting longer as you get older, it's unlikely they're magically growing. More likely, your gums are shrinking or receding from your teeth. Besides the negative effect on your appearance, gum recession exposes you and vulnerable tooth areas to harmful bacteria and painful sensitivity.

Although common among older adults, gum recession isn't necessarily a part of aging: It's primarily caused by periodontal (gum) disease, in which infected gum tissues can weaken and detach from the teeth. This, along with bone loss, leads to recession.

But gum disease isn't the only cause—ironically, brushing your teeth to prevent dental disease can also contribute to recession. By brushing too aggressively or too often (more than twice a day), you could eventually damage the gums and cause them to recede. Tobacco use and oral piercings can also lead to weakened or damaged gums susceptible to recession.

You can lower your risk of gum recession by abstaining from unhealthy habits and proper oral hygiene to prevent gum disease. For the latter, your primary defense is gentle but thorough brushing and flossing every day to remove harmful dental plaque. You should also see your dentist at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings and checkups.

If, however, you do experience gum recession, there are a number of ways to restore your gums or at least minimize the recession. To start with, we must treat any gum disease present by thoroughly removing all plaque and tartar (calcified plaque), which fuels the infection. This reduces inflammation and allows the gums to heal.

With mild recession, the gums may rejuvenate enough tissue to recover the teeth during healing. If not, we may be able to treat exposed areas with a tooth-colored material that protects the surface, relieves discomfort and improves appearance.

If the recession is more advanced, we may still be able to stimulate gum regeneration by attaching a tissue graft with a micro-surgical procedure. These types of periodontal surgeries, however, can require a high degree of technical and artistic skill for best results.

In any event, the sooner we detect gum disease or recession, the quicker we can act to minimize the damage. Doing so will ensure your gums are healthy enough to protect your teeth and preserve your smile.

If you would like more information on gum recession, 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 “Gum Recession.”

By Miswak Dentistry
February 19, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Implants  

While dental implants really do work like your real teeth, they’re not vulnerable to dental issues like the tissues in your natural teeth. However, this doesn’t necessarily make their care and maintenance less crucial.

Our dentists, Dr. Tariq Riyal and Dr. Thomas Kaminski, and our entire team here at Miswak Dentistry in Chicago, IL, always arm our patients with proper knowledge of dental implants maintenance after dental implantation surgery. In line with this, here are four tips to help keep your dental implants in top shape:

  1. Brush Your Teeth Thoroughly, But Gently

Cleaning your dental implants, including the crowns on top, is similar to how you would clean your real teeth. You must brush at least two times a day with fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles. While brushing thoroughly is recommended to effectively eliminate plaque, it’s also vital to brush gently to avoid harming your gums. 

        2. Floss At Least Once A Day

For some people, flossing might be harder with dental implants. To remedy this, you can opt to use a floss threader that you can easily insert between the dental implants. You can likewise use a tiny interdental toothbrush that’s specifically designed to clean spaces between implants and teeth. Gargle with antimicrobial mouthwash after for further cleaning and protection.

        3.Protect Your Dental Implants

Yes, implants are very resilient and sturdy. They’re not, however, indestructible. Besides plaque control, you should never use your implants for other things, like chewing on pens, opening packages, or biting nails, apart from chewing food. These activities, done consistently over time, could damage and weaken your implants. Additionally, you should quit smoking. Aside from obvious health problems linked to tobacco use, the rates of gum disease are higher in smokers.

        4. See Your Dentist For Regular Teeth Cleanings and Oral Health Exams

During these vital visits to your dentist in the Ukrainian Village, IL, your dental implants will also be professionally cleaned and thoroughly inspected to make sure that they’re still working properly and are in good shape. Any potential issues like an inflamed area or loosened screw can be resolved right away before it becomes harder to treat.

Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out to Us For Questions or More Advice on Caring for Your Dental Implants. Call Miswak Dentistry in Chicago, IL, at (773) 661-0330 to get in touch with Dr. Riyal or Dr. Kaminski today!


Fans everywhere were recently saddened by the news of musical legend Eddie Van Halen's death. Co-founder and lead guitarist for the iconic rock group Van Halen, the 65-year-old superstar passed away from oral cancer.

Van Halen's rise to worldwide fame began in the 1970s with his unique guitar style and energetic performances, but behind the scenes, he struggled with his health. In 2000, he was successfully treated for tongue cancer. He remained cancer-free until 2018 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer to which he succumbed this past October.

Van Halen claimed the metal guitar picks he habitually held in his mouth caused his tongue cancer. It's more likely, though, that his heavy cigarette smoking and alcohol use had more to do with his cancers.

According to the American Cancer Society, most oral cancer patients are smokers and, as in Van Halen's case, are more likely to beat one form of oral cancer only to have another form arise in another part of the mouth. Add in heavy alcohol consumption, and the combined habits can increase the risk of oral cancer a hundredfold.

But there are ways to reduce that risk by making some important lifestyle changes. Here's how:

Quit tobacco. Giving up tobacco, whether smoked or smokeless, vastly lowers your oral cancer risk. It's not easy to kick the habit solo, but a medically supervised cessation program or support group can help.

Limit alcohol. If you drink heavily, consider giving up alcohol or limiting yourself to just one or two drinks a day. As with tobacco, it can be difficult doing it alone, so speak with a health professional for assistance.

Eat healthy. You can reduce your cancer risk by avoiding processed foods with nitrites or other known carcinogens. Instead, eat fresh fruits and vegetables with antioxidants that fight cancer. A healthy diet also boosts your overall dental and bodily health.

Practice hygiene. Keeping teeth and gums healthy also lowers oral cancer risk. Brush and floss daily to remove dental plaque, the bacterial film on teeth most responsible for dental disease. You should also visit us every six months for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups.

One last thing: Because oral cancer is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, be sure you see us if you notice any persistent sores or other abnormalities on your tongue or the inside of your mouth. An earlier diagnosis of oral cancer can vastly improve the long-term prognosis.

Although not as prevalent as other forms of cancer, oral cancer is among the deadliest with only a 60% five-year survival rate. Making these changes toward a healthier lifestyle can help you avoid this serious disease.

If you would like more information about preventing oral cancer, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “How a Routine Dental Visit Saved My Life” and “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”

By Miswak Dentistry
January 29, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Inlays   Onlays  

Sometimes a simple dental filling is not sufficient to restore a tooth affected by decay. Yet the tooth might not be so damaged that it needs to be capped with a dental crown. In such cases, an inlay or an onlay might be the right option for restoring the tooth. Dr. Tariq Riyal and Dr. Thomas Kaminski, the skilled dentists at Miswak Dentistry in Ukrainian Village, Chicago, IL, can determine if inlays or onlays can be used to restore your damaged tooth.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are restorations that can be thought of as indirect fillings. Regular dental fillings, or direct fillings, are applied directly to the tooth right away when treating a cavity. Inlays and onlays are applied later during a subsequent appointment.

After removing all signs of decay, instead of immediately filling the tooth, a physical or digital impression is made. The impression will be used by a dental laboratory to fabricate a metal, ceramic, or resin restoration. In the interim, a temporary filling is attached to the affected tooth to protect it until the inlay or onlay is ready. Once ready, the patient returns to the dental office to have the restoration placed on the corresponding tooth.

Inlays and onlays are typically used to restore teeth or molars. Restorations that fit within or between the small points or cusps of a molar are called inlays. If the restoration covers one or more of the points or cusps it is referred to as an onlay. The experienced dentists at our office in Ukrainian Village, IL, can restore your tooth with an inlay or onlay.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

There are many benefits to restoring damaged teeth with inlays or onlays. For instance, they are strong, durable, and can last for many years. Another significant advantage of these restorations is that less drilling is needed to place an inlay or onlay as compared to a dental crown, which requires significant reshaping of the natural tooth.

Five reasons to choose inlay and onlay restorations include:

  • Strengthening and restoring teeth damaged by decay
  • Stopping decay from spreading
  • Restoring teeth damaged by decay
  • Preserving more natural tooth structure than crowns
  • Restoring biting and chewing functions

There are many reasons to choose an inlay or onlay restoration to repair a damaged tooth. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Riyal or Dr. Kaminski to learn more about inlays and onlays by calling Miswak Dentistry in Ukrainian Village, Chicago, IL, at (773) 661-0330.

By Miswak Dentistry
January 24, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sensitive teeth  

If a breath of crisp winter air makes you say, “Ouch!” you're not alone. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, one of every eight people suffers from tooth sensitivity. And for those individuals, winter can be a particularly challenging time of year.

Tooth sensitivity can result when the inner part of the tooth, called dentin, is exposed. Dentin is normally protected by enamel above the gum line and cementum below, but if the protective coating is lost, then temperature, pressure and acid from food and drinks can activate the nerves inside the tooth.

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, these tips may help:

Avoid acidic foods and beverages. It may be common sense to stay away from foods and drinks that are hot or cold enough to make you wince, but also avoid those that are acidic, as acid can erode tooth enamel and increase tooth sensitivity.

Wait an hour to brush your teeth. After consuming acidic food or beverages, give your saliva time to neutralize the acid and strengthen the enamel surface to prevent erosion.

Brush gently. Gums can recede due to over-aggressive brushing, exposing sensitive tooth roots. So brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse with lukewarm water.

Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Toothpaste that is specially formulated for sensitive teeth blocks the pores in the tooth's surface where sensitivity can occur. It may also to help to rub the toothpaste on sensitive areas.

Sometimes, however, sensitive teeth result from dental problems that need professional treatment in the form of an at-home prescription, an in-office treatment like bonding or sealants, or a procedure like a gum graft or root canal. Accordingly, here's the most important tip of all:

Schedule a dental appointment. In an exam, we can look for the cause of your tooth sensitivity so it can be treated properly. Sensitivity may result from receding gums, tooth decay, erosion of the enamel, or other dental problems, such as the following:

  • Tooth-grinding. If we detect signs of a nighttime tooth grinding habit that you may not even be aware of, we may recommend a nightguard to wear while sleeping.
  • A root infection. If your tooth remains sensitive 30 seconds after eating or drinking something hot or cold, the pulp inside your tooth may be damaged. You may need root canal therapy to remove the infection and stop it from spreading.
  • A cracked tooth. A crack in a tooth may not be visible due to its size or location, but a compromised tooth surface can cause sensitivity and could lead to bigger problems if not treated.

Don't let tooth sensitivity get you down this winter. Come see us so we can discuss the right treatment for you.

If you would like to know more about treating sensitive teeth, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity.”

Office Hours
Monday: 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday: 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM 
Friday:  9:00 AM - 2:00 AM (Receptionist Only)
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Sunday: Closed