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Premier Family Dentistry in Barrington  847-382-3500

Dr. Napolitano and hygienist Donna Grzegorek at oral cancer screening event with oral cancer survivor and national speaker, Eric Statler

Doctor's Corner

Everyday, my patients ask me questions about a variety of topics, so I've decided to record my answers here in my own "Doctor's Corner."  Hope you find this page helpful.  You can also send additional questions to my email (drjohn@innovativedentalprofessionals.com).

Why is it important to have good oral health?

Over the years, I have developed a holistic approach to dentistry.  What I mean is that I strive to help my patients reach and maintain overall wellness.  I don't just straighten teeth and fill cavities.  I believe it is my responsibility to address the source of oral maladies, so my patients can enjoy optimal health.

With this in mind, I focus on inflammation because it is inflammation that causes so much disease.  The inflammatory process (a natural stress response to certain foods, bacteria, repeated injury, etc.) is very hard on the body and, over time, can lead to diseases such arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer.  No other part of the human body has the potential for causing inflammation like the mouth.  Each day, plaque begins to form on teeth and, if not removed, leads to decay (tooth rot); decay releases toxins into the body, which cause inflammation.  When plaque and decay are present within the mouth, gum tissue is also affected.  It becomes red and inflamed and often bleeds (a condition known as gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease). This inflammatory condition is extremely hard on the body and can eventually weaken the body's ability to fight infection and disease.

In short, good oral health is the cornerstone of a healthy life! 

Are crooked teeth really a big deal?  Do crooked teeth affect your health?

I actually get this question a lot because we all know a seemingly healthy person with crooked teeth.  My response focuses on quality of life.  Can you have a better quality of life with straight teeth?  The answer to this question is a resounding yes!

Crooked teeth impact the body in a negative way because they cause poor occlusion (tooth alignment). Poor occlusion traumatize the teeth, gums, and muscles of the head and neck.  Over time, such trauma can cause tooth sensitivity and tooth loss, headaches, and muscle spasms.

It is certainly possible to live with such symptoms, but I always encourage my patients to avoid such painful conditions.

How do I know my airway is restricted?

Oxygen is critically important to human life.  Without oxygen, tissues begin to suffer, especially the brain.  After only one minute, brain cells begin dying when deprived of oxygen; and after three minutes serious damage can occur.  As a result, we need to keep our bodies supplied with a constant supply of oxygen.

Unfortunately, many people are living with a restricted oxygen level.  This has many negative consequences, such as diminished sleep quality, mental fogginess, muscle weakness, impaired speech, drooling, bed wetting, snoring, and sleep apnea.

When we suspect a lack of oxygen, a cutting edge piece of technology helps us diagnose proper oxygenation.  The cone beam CT scanner at Innovative Dental Professionals allows us to inspect a patient's airway to determine whether the opening is large enough.  When we discover that the airway is restricted, we begin treatment to open the airway.

Using removable appliances, we can actually broaden the dental arch and make more room for the tongue.  With more room, the tongue comes forward, out of the throat, opening the airway.  Amazingly, increased oxygen routinely eliminates the negative side effects, allowing patients to live a higher quality of life.

How long is treatment?  Is it painful?

Orthodontic treatment varies, but usually it takes 1-2 years to bring teeth into alignment.  In some cases, however, we need to initiate some preliminary phases of treatment to broaden the dental arch and make room for all the teeth.

I'm asked about pain often.  My patients ask, "Is this going to hurt?"  My answer is always the same: Today, dentists can make every procedure painless.  At Innovative Dental Professionals, customer comfort is a priority, so we have the latest technology and techniques to eliminate pain and anxiety.

That said, braces still remain a little annoying.  There's just no way around it.  With brackets and wires on teeth, it's going to require that patients get used to something new; over time, they find efficient ways to keep their braces clean.  It's worth the hassle, however, because when the braces come off, you will be happy with your knew smile!
When is the best time to begin treatment?

It's always best to begin treatment as soon as possible.  Experience has taught me that early detection and treatment eliminates a larger and more costly problem.  For example, when we detect a cavity in its earliest stage (using our DIAGNOdent, early cavity detection sensor), we can use our dental laser instead of a drill; this not only saves tooth structure, but it often means that we don't need to use anesthetic.  When it comes to orthodontics, the younger the patient, the easier it is to move teeth and broaden the dental arch.  We've had patients as young as four who were quite successful with growth appliances, which allowed for a smooth transition into braces.  Sometimes, early treatment to broaden the dental arch and make room for the adult teeth actually eliminates the need for braces altogether because the teeth come in straight.

What sets  you apart from other dentists and orthodontists?  Why should I come to Innovative Dental Professionals?

At our office, we believe in a holistic approach to treatment.  We locate and address the source of the problem instead of temporarily relieving symptoms.  This approach leads to better long-term oral health and quality of life.  Because so much of our overall health originates in the mouth, it's critically important that we help our patients achieve the best oral health possible.

In addition to our holistic approach, we have the latest technology and a highly qualified and enthusiastic staff.