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Dr. Robert Pieters

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Grind Your Teeth in Your Sleep? Why a Night Guard Is the Solution

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Grind Your Teeth in Your Sleep? Why a Night Guard Is the Solution

Written by Schererville Family Dentistry on . Posted in Uncategorized

Do you ever wake up in the morning with tenderness or pain in your jaw? Or, do you often have headaches when you get up? This discomfort is usually a sign that you grind or clench your teeth in your sleep. On average, everyone grinds or clenches their teeth in their sleep at some point in their lives, but some people have a tendency to grind or clench their teeth more than others.

Unfortunately, there is no real cure for grinding. However, many dentists recommend night guards to lessen the impact of teeth grinding and clenching. Read on to discover how this dental device is the solution to your source of jaw pain, headaches, and other pain in your mouth.

What Is a Night Guard?

Like a mouth guard, a night guard protects your teeth from damage. And like the name suggests, a night guard is a device you wear at night when you sleep.

You wear the guard over your top or bottom row of teeth. The device prevents all of your teeth from coming into contact with one another. As a result, your teeth are protected from grinding-caused damage and you don’t feel pain in the morning. The guard also corrects your bite to keep your muscles relaxed and loose.

Night guards are typically made from the following materials:

  • Soft plastic. This kind of night guard is ideal for patients who suffer from mild teeth grinding and clenching. It’s also perfect for individuals who only grind their teeth occasionally rather than every night.
  • Dual laminate. This night guard works best for people who grind their teeth more often or with more force. It’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside, providing dental patients with better protection and a stronger night guard.
  • Hard acrylic. This material is more rigid than the other two, and it’s the most durable option for night guards. If you suffer from severe teeth grinding, use a guard made from this material.

Additionally, these materials require regular cleaning if you want the device to last. To determine which kind of guard will work best for you and how to care for it, visit your dentist.

Why Should You Get One?

As previously mentioned, if you grind or clench your teeth, you likely experience jaw pain, headaches, ear aches, or other pain when you wake up in the mornings. But this pain is just a minor side effect of grinding and clenching.

However, if you continue to grind your unprotected teeth, you could accidentally chip, crack, fracture, loosen, or lose some of your teeth. Or, the grinding could cause your teeth to wear down to stumps. The only way to treat these dental issues is to receive more costly dental treatment like root canals, crowns, bridges, implants, or full or partial dentures.

And, you’re more likely to experience severe headaches, migraines, neck pain, back pain, and shoulder pain as well.

A night guard is the best and quickest solution for teeth grinding. While you could undergo other forms of treatment like stress reduction and prevention, diet changes, and teeth straightening, night guards provide a long-term and more cost-effective treatment.

What Benefits Will You Experience?

We’ve already mentioned that sleeping with a night guard reduces the pain you feel in your mouth, jaw, or head when you wake up. These devices also protect your teeth from damage, but night guards also provide another great benefit.

By wearing a night guard as you sleep, you can improve how you sleep. Grinding and clenching cause you to tense up the muscles in your jaw. And, the motion puts a great deal of force on those muscles. As your muscles tighten and use consistent force, you tend to experience more stressful and restless sleep.

The night guard reduces the pressure and helps your muscles relax. When your muscles are more relaxed, you can sleep much better.

Who Should You Work With to Obtain a Night Guard?

While you could purchase a cheap, boil-and-bite guard at your local grocery store or pharmacy, the best solution is to schedule an appointment with your dentist to get fitted for a night guard.

During your appointment, your dentist will first examine your teeth, then take a mold of your mouth. The mold is then sent to a production lab, and the technicians in this lab use the mold to create a custom night guard that perfectly fits your mouth. Once the night guard has been made, you’ll return to your dentist. He or she will then ensure the device fits properly so you get the best results when you use it.

Your dentist will also teach you how to clean and care for your night guard. When properly maintained, your night guard can last up to 10 years.

If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, call your dentist and get a night guard as soon as possible.

Root Canals: Are They Actually Painful?

Written by Schererville Family Dentistry on . Posted in Uncategorized

When someone utters the word “root canal,” most people can’t suppress the niggling urge to cringe. Many imagine a whining drill and a constant throb of pain. And if your dentist suggests a root canal, you may instantly feel anxious and nervous about the procedure.

But root canals aren’t nearly as bad as many believe. So, what can you expect from a root canal procedure? Below, we’ll discuss what a root canal treatment is, why it’s necessary, and what the procedure is like.

What Is a Root Canal Treatment?

Our teeth are fairly strong, but they can sometimes meet an ill fate. Rough sports or a smack to the mouth can crack teeth or cause other trauma. And if decay sits too long, it can result in cavities or other dental issues.

When a tooth’s roots are damaged through decay or physical trauma, they can become inflamed or infected. To keep this infection from becoming problematic, the affected roots and pulp are removed from the innards of the tooth, which is generally what a root canal treatment is.

If your dentist has determined you need a root canal treatment, your root canals will be cleared of infected roots and pulp using a drill and other tools, and the canals and hollow portion of the tooth will be filled and sealed off to prevent future damage and decay.

Why Would Root Canal Treatment Be Necessary?

As mentioned before, a root canal treatment is meant to clear infected roots and pulp from a tooth and prevent more extensive dental issues. But why would this be a better option than removing the tooth entirely?

Extracting the tooth is much more traumatic than a root canal treatment, and doing so can actually get more bad bacteria in your bloodstream. Also, it’s always best to preserve the natural tooth as much as possible to prevent potential problems with your biting, chewing, or jawbone strength.

Getting a root canal is also more cost- and time-effective than a tooth extraction. When you get a tooth extraction, you may have to take several trips to the dental chair for the extraction and for an implant, and an implant can be costly compared to a root canal treatment.

With a root canal procedure, you spend limited time at the dentist, and you save a lot of money while keeping your natural tooth in place. And you’ll find it’s actually much more pleasant than you expected.

What Is a Root Canal Procedure Like?

If your roots are inflamed or infected, you might experience a sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or you might have a toothache. Your tooth may also change color and the surrounding tissue might swell. However, damaged roots don’t always result in pain or discomfort.

In any case, if the dentist suspects there’s a problem with a tooth’s roots, he or she can take an X-ray and perform other examinations to determine if a root canal procedure is required.

If a root canal is necessary, don’t fret. Before the procedure, you’ll be given a local anesthetic to dull the pain. And if the nerves in the tooth are dead already, you might not feel any pain in the tooth at all.

The dentist will then drill an opening in the tooth and use a specialized file to remove the pulp and roots and shape the hollowed areas for filling. Before filling the space, the dentist will clean and irrigate the area to ensure all the debris is removed.

Once the tooth has been filled and sealed, a crown will cap the tooth to protect the filling. Sometimes, if the dentist thinks the crown needs additional support, he or she may insert a post into the natural tooth for a more solid crown.

The great news is that you should feel minimal pain, if any at all, and if you do have increased discomfort, you can tell your dentist right away. The filling that comes with a root canal lasts a long time, and it won’t result in lifelong pain or discomfort. You won’t even know it’s there unless a rare problem arises.

If you do feel any pain or discomfort after your root canal treatment, schedule an appointment with your dentist to take a look.


Familiarizing yourself with the procedure before undergoing a root canal treatment can help you feel more at ease. But if you have any questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist. He or she can walk you through the process and help you feel more comfortable.

At Schererville and Chesterton Family Dentistry, we understand that some dental treatments might seem intimidating. We do our best to accommodate your needs and address your concerns, and we make the extra effort to create a comfortable environment for all of our patients. If you’re feeling any tooth pain, give us a call today, and we’ll help determine what the problem might be.

Choosing a New Dentist

Written by Schererville Family Dentistry on . Posted in Uncategorized

Looking for a new dentist can be a bit of a chore. There are numerous factors to consider, and you may not know where to begin or who to ask. And when you do find a new dental practice, it may not have everything you need, or you may find it difficult to fit into its limited hours.

Before you start your search, it’s a good idea to brush up on how to narrow down your choices and what to look for in a new dentist.

How Can You Find a Great Dentist?

When you’re searching for a new dental practice, don’t be afraid to ask around. Talk to trusted family members and friends, and ask them what they appreciate about their dentist and what they don’t like. Be sure to discuss different aspects of the practice, such as payment options and available services.

You can also look at online reviews to gather more information. When you’ve whittled down your choices to about one or two practices, call and ask questions, and then schedule a consultation so you can get a feel for what the practice is like as a whole.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Dentist?

People have busy lives and busy jobs, so it’s important to ensure a dentist can easily fit into your hectic schedule. Check the practice’s hours and see if they work for you and your daily routine, and look for a dentist that isn’t too far from where you live. You should also find a dentist who can easily accommodate dental emergencies.

While it’s important to know if a dentist will accept your insurance, it’s also a good idea to ask about costs. Dental expenses can vary from practice to practice.

One of the most significant factors to consider is if you’re comfortable with the dentist and the staff. You should feel like you can easily ask questions and that the staff will listen to your concerns. You should also feel comfortable with the dental practice’s expertise. The staff should be able to answer any of your questions quickly and thoroughly, and you should feel confident in their skills.

Why Should You Choose Our Dental Practice?

Our family dentistry has served Schererville, IN; Chesterton, IN; and the surrounding areas for over 20 years, and our staff regularly attends trainings to stay up to date on dental practices. Our three dentists are members of the Chicago Dental Society, the Indiana Dental Association, the Northwest Indiana Dental Association, and the American Dental Association.

To better accommodate our patients, we have two locations in Chesterton, IN, and Schererville, IN. We also maintain convenient hours so you won’t have to worry about planning around your work schedule and daily activities.

We’re open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and we’re open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. If you’re only available on weekends, we can schedule you in on a Saturday if necessary. And if you have an emergency, we’ll promptly get you in and taken care of.

If you’re worried about cost, we aim to offer affordable services for our patients, and we also provide coupons and other offers to help you save money and get the dental treatment you need.

To schedule an appointment or consultation, contact us today.

Toothpaste 101: Your Guide to Choosing the Right Paste

Written by Schererville Family Dentistry on . Posted in Uncategorized

Every culture in the world recognizes the importance of dental hygiene. Whether you live in Senegal and use a twig called a sothiou to scrub your teeth or you live in Japan and grew up brushing your teeth as a class after every meal, you learned the importance of brushing your teeth early on in life.

Not every culture incorporates toothpaste into their daily brushing routine, though. For instance, the tooth-cleaning twig called a miswak used in Arabic countries keeps teeth clean and even kills bacteria without any extra paste. However, in the West-where sugary diets and acidic sodas are the norm-most people use both a toothbrush and toothpaste to keep gum disease and cavities at bay.

Not all types of toothpaste are created equal, though. For the rest of our blog, we’ll tell you how toothpaste works, what ingredients it includes, and what your options are when it comes to choosing the right toothpaste for your unique grin.

What Is Toothpaste Made Of?

Your tooth’s surface seems solid, but it’s actually made of a porous material called enamel. The bacteria that live in your mouth transform the food you eat into sticky plaque that adheres to your enamel and gradually wears it away unless you remove the plaque with toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Toothpaste needs to be abrasive enough to scrub away plaque, but it needs to be gentle enough that it doesn’t harm your enamel.

Most types of toothpastes contain one or more of the following types of ingredients to protect your enamel:

  • Detergents. Like regular detergent, the detergent in your toothpaste creates a foam that helps remove stuck particles.
  • Abrasives. Chemicals like calcium carbonate are just abrasive enough to scrub stains away and remove plaque without damaging your teeth’s surface.
  • Flavors. Some people use flavorless toothpaste, but others find the thick, white paste distasteful and even gag on the odd flavor. You don’t need a minty flavor to keep your teeth clean, but it can make the brushing process more enjoyable-and it leaves a pleasant tingle behind.
  • Thickeners. These substances ensure that your toothpaste maintains its form and doesn’t trickle into a hard-to-use liquid.
  • Humectants. As the name implies, humectants keep the toothpaste humid enough-or moist enoughthat it lasts in the tube without drying out.

Not every type of toothpaste contains every type of ingredient. For instance, not every toothpaste uses flavors or thickeners. Typically, though, any toothpaste you grab off the shelf will contain some mixture of the above materials, and any toothpaste you choose helps you scour cavity- and gingivitis-causing plaque from your teeth.

How Should You Choose Your Toothpaste?

Any toothpaste that has been certified by the American Dental Association (ADA) is safe to use and effective at preventing cavities. However, different types of toothpastes target different problems with your mouth. Based on your dentist’s recommendation, try one of the following types of toothpaste.

Fluoridated Toothpaste

The vast majority of toothpastes include fluoride, and most people should choose toothpastes with fluoride whenever possible. Fluoride strengths your enamel so it isn’t as susceptible to cavities, and you don’t consume enough fluoride through your diet alone. Even if your city uses fluoridated water, you should still purchase fluoridated toothpaste.

Tartar-Fighting Toothpaste

If you don’t remove the plaque on your teeth, it gradually hardens into a substance called tartar that wears down your teeth and is harder to remove than plaque. The longer tartar stays on your teeth, the more likely you are to develop a problem like gingivitis or periodontitis.

If you have a lot of tartar on your teeth, your dentist might recommend that you choose a toothpaste that directly targets tartar.

Whitening Toothpaste

Some toothpastes contain whitening agents that help your teeth shine. Although this type of toothpaste can help remove stains from your teeth, it probably won’t make a noticeable difference in your teeth’s coloring. You can use whitening toothpaste to maintain your smile, but if you want to make a larger difference, visit your dentist for professional teeth whitening.

Sensitivity Toothpaste

Some people have more sensitive teeth than others. If you constantly wince when you consume hot or cold foods, you can use a sensitivity toothpaste to strengthen your teeth. Apart from switching toothpastes, talk to your dentist about the possible causes behind your tooth sensitivity-you might find that you grind your teeth at night or need to treat a cavity.  

All-Natural Toothpaste

Some people dislike having detergents, flavors, or coloring added to their toothpaste. If you want a toothpaste that contains fewer chemicals or detergents, you can switch to a brand like Tom’s of Maine. You can also use Crest or Colgate baking soda toothpastes that trim down the amount of ingredients.

Remember to check the ingredients list when you buy a new toothpaste. Some toothpastes that are marketed as “all-natural” don’t contain fluoride but do contain sugar or other tooth-damaging substances. Always choose an ADA-approved toothpaste. Also, remember that fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that all types of toothpaste should include.

Children’s Toothpaste

Children are more apt to swallow toothpaste than adults, and adult toothpaste can be hard on little kids’ tummies. Use a children’s toothpaste as you teach your kids how to clean their teeth. Again, remember to choose a fluoridated toothpaste. If you have a picky child, you can find healthy, safe children’s toothpastes in fun flavors like bubblegum.

Visit Your Dentist for More Help

Using the right toothpaste is crucial to maintaining your smile, but it doesn’t replace a semiannual visit to the dentist. During your twice-yearly dental visit, our hygienists polish your teeth with a slightly more abrasive paste that removes tartar and ensures your smile gleams.

The next time you visit, feel free to ask us about the right type of toothpaste for your unique mouth. We’ll help you make an informed decision as we work alongside you to maintain your lifelong dental health.

Why Is Flossing Important?

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You do your best to keep your teeth clean and in good condition. But when you’re rushing out the door in the mornings, cutting out regular flossing for a few free minutes seems an easy choice. You always brush your teeth thoroughly with the occasional use of mouthwash, so is flossing really that important?

Flossing can actually have more of an impact on your health than you realize, and putting it off can affect more than just your gums. For more information about why flossing is important, read on.

Is Gap Banding Safe? Why You Should Avoid This Rising Trend

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Your teeth are important to you. They’re not only useful for eating and chewing, but they can also make a huge impact on your appearance. With every photo, you may wonder if your smile is too gummy or too toothy. You may wonder if you should get your teeth whitened or otherwise altered.

And perhaps your greatest concern is a noticeable gap between your front teeth. These gaps aren’t uncommon, but some people are eager to rid themselves of the extra space.

One particular quick solution has been on the rise, and many have seriously considered it. For all those thrifty DIYers that want to close a gap, the use of rubber bands has made a more prominent appearance. But what does this method involve, and is it safe?

3 Teeth-Whitening Methods You Can Benefit From

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We all want whiter smiles. Years of drinking coffee and eating teeth-staining foods, combined with aging, have made our smiles yellow, gray, or even a little brown. That coloring can make us all feel a little more self-conscious of how our teeth look. 

Plus, if you need to take photos for an important life event or make a good impression at a job interview, you want to feel confident in your smile. 

If you’re like many people in the above situations, you want to whiten your teeth. But with so many options available, you might not know which methods will work best for you. Below, we’ll discuss three of the best whitening methods you can use and how you can benefit from them.

7 Tips for a Calm Visit: Help Your Child Cope With Dental Anxiety

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You know that your kids need healthy teeth and good oral hygiene habits. But every time your child encounters a new, unfamiliar situation, he or she dissolves into hysterical tears and frightened sobs. How do you help your children have healthy teeth if they won’t go anywhere near the dentist?

Your dentist understands that some children feel frightened and overwhelmed when they visit for the first time. Below are seven tips to help you prepare your children for their first appointment. Nip dental fear in the bud and help your kids feel comfortable and safe in the dentist chair.

Oral Side Effects of Medication and How Your Dentist Can Help

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If you’ve ever taken medication, you know that along with managing your symptoms, the medicine can produce some side effects. These side effects range from making you drowsy to making you jittery and everything in between.

But did you know that some medications can have side effects that impact your oral health? In fact, most medications, whether you inject them or take them orally, produce side effects that cause problems with your mouth, teeth, tongue, and gums.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common oral side effects of certain medications and tell you how a dentist can treat these issues.

How to Properly Care for your Toothbrush

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Your oral care routine typically consists of several steps. You brush and floss your teeth daily. You use mouthwash to freshen your breath and eliminate bacteria. You visit your dentist a couple of times a year for routine checkups. You may even undergo cosmetic dentistry to improve the overall look of your smile.

But if you don’t properly care for the tools you use in your daily routines, your efforts to maintain a healthy smile might not do you much good.

In the blog below, we discuss seven tips to help you properly care for your toothbrush. You use this cleaning instrument at least twice a day (if not after each meal) to care for your teeth. To further enhance your cleaning regimen, read on to learn how you should take care of your toothbrush.

Schererville Family Dentistry

1050 Caroline Ave
Schererville, IN 46375
Call or Text Us: 219.322.3232

Chesterton Family Dentistry

751 East Porter Ave, Suite 1
Chesterton, IN 46304
Call or Text Us: 219.929.9289