Dr. Ray Alavanja
Dr. Mystie Pieters
Dr. Robert Pieters

Hours of Operation:
Monday- Thursday 7:00am- 8:00pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm

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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.

Top 5 Dental Goals for the New Year

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Top 5 Dental Goals for the New Year

If you haven’t taken perfect care of your teeth in the past, the New Year is a great time for a new beginning. While you set goals to exercise more or to act nicer towards your family, why not set goals to treat your teeth kindly as well?

Boosting your tooth care habits gives you a brighter smile and helps you avoid problems like cavities. Below, you’ll find five simple, but incredibly effective, goals you might set.

Ghouls and Ghosts: 7 Scary Foods That Damage Your Teeth

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As a parent, you teach your children good oral hygiene habits. You show them how to brush and floss properly, and you schedule regular checkups with their dentist.  You even make sure their diet contains foods that strengthen their teeth. And this Halloween, you’ll closely monitor your kids’ candy consumption so they don’t develop cavities.

But do you pay such close attention to your own diet?

Because of the foods and beverages they consume daily, adults are more susceptible to damaging their teeth. Below, we’ve listed the most ghoulish foods and drinks that harm your teeth so you can better protect your smile.

Schererville Family Dentistry

1050 Caroline Ave
Schererville, IN 46375
Phone: 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