Dr. Ray Alavanja
Dr. Robert Pieters

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

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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.

Avoid These 4 Dental Health Problems During Your Pregnancy

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Pregnant women have a lot to look forward to during their nine months of anticipation. Friends and family members may shower you with gifts, you and your partner can remodel or redecorate to make a stimulating environment for the new baby, and you may even reprioritize your finances to plan your child’s bright future.

But among the many exciting tasks you face during pregnancy, don’t forget to take your health into account. Specifically, the physiological changes your body enacts to protect the baby during your pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on your dental and oral health. Even if you have strong teeth and healthy gums before your pregnancy, take care to get regular dental checkups and cleanings while pregnant before more serious problems develop.

Below, we’ve outlined the four most common dental health problems that plague pregnant women. If you identify with any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.

White fillings vs. Silver fillings: Get the Facts from Your Dentist

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Most Americans understand the importance of proper oral care. They may brush, floss, and take their family to the dentist for regular checkups. However, even the best dental care may not be enough.

Even if you do all you can to prevent cavities, you’re not entirely immune to them. Tooth decay can enter into even a small chip or crack in your enamel. And-as we mentioned earlier in this blog-cavities don’t hurt unless the decay reaches your tooth pulp.

However, once you get a cavity, you’re left with one option: getting a filling.

The question is, what type of filling is best for you? Your dentist can choose between silver fillings (amalgams) and resin-based fillings (composite). But you might want to know a bit more about these materials before your next dental visit.

White fillings Facts

White fillings, or dental composite, refers to tooth-colored resins your dentist can use to fill tooth cavities. This composite resin uses a blend of plastics and fillers such as silica and dimethylglyoxime to quite literally ‘bond’ with the tooth’s surface.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Dentists and patients alike prefer tooth colored fillings for cavities on front teeth, largely because of the material’s ability to match natural tooth color. White fillings also works well on the sides of teeth.

If properly applied, white fillings adhere well to teeth. Your dentist can also save more of your natural tooth’s material instead of removing it during drilling. Another reason patients appreciate white fillings is because of its relatively low cost. The cost difference is especially dramatic when compared to porcelain crowns.

Unlike silver fillings discussed later, white fillings attach directly to the tooth. Patients with a broken tooth can receive a white filling to restore the tooth’s shape. The same option may not work with silver fillings.

White filling’s resin composition won’t corrode with age. However, some bonded materials can chip away in time, particularly if patients have bruxism. For this reason, some dentists advise against using white fillings on biting surfaces, particularly on rear molars.

As for other potential disadvantages, composites can shrink during the curing process. Dentists follow strict procedures to avoid this problem, which may allow bacteria to invade unprotected areas.

White fillings also take longer than silver fillings, only because dentists have to keep teeth completely dry for the filling to adhere. In some cases, a longer procedure equals a higher cost. Check your insurance plan to see what coverage you have for white filling procedures.

Silver Filling Facts

Today, many people wonder about the safety of silver fillings. Over the past century, dentists have used silver fillings (which is really a blend of metals besides silver) for dental restorations.

Essentially, silver fillings are a mercury alloy that provides a strong, durable filling for tooth restoration.

Although some patients distrust the mercury element of silver fillings, the World Health Association considers silver fillings safe for dental patients. Mercury is essential for silver fillings’ strength and adhesion. Additionally, mercury occurs naturally in the environment, which makes it likely that people already carry low levels of mercury in their blood-even if they don’t have silver fillings.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The FDA recommends amalgams for any dental patient, age 6 and older, especially if the tooth decay is deep and/or in rear teeth. Silver fillings are less prone to wear than white fillings, which is one reason many dentists choose silver fillings for rear teeth that are more active in chewing.

The main advantages to silver fillings are their strength and durability, as mentioned above. Patients don’t have to worry about biting hard foods (although any filling can fail with enough repeated stress). Also, because silver fillings are so strong, they tend to last for many years with proper care.

Silver fillings also are the least-expensive option, partly because of their availability and partly because of their easy application. You’ll spend less overall time in the chair during a silver filling restorative procedure.

Of course-unlike white fillings-silver fillings do not match natural tooth color. Your dentist has to remove extra tooth material (even healthy areas) to make an adequate space for the silver fillings. Over time, some silver fillings discolor surrounding enamel, making teeth look slightly gray. And if patients drink excessively cold or hot drinks, the silver filling can expand or contract. When this happens, teeth may crack.

Finally, although the risk is small, about one percent of patients develop a mercury allergy. These patients may choose white fillings as an alternate treatment.

Dentist Facts

Your dentist stays up-to-date on dental fillings, whether they be composite white fillings or silver fillings. Take advantage of your dentist’s experience-simply ask if you have a question or concern about either filling option.

In some cases, especially if your natural tooth is weak or vulnerable to fracture, your dentist may recommend a ceramic or porcelain crown. Remember, your tooth’s integrity and strength are more important than any material you may prefer for your restoration. Always listen to your dentist’s advice and rely on his or her experience.

The next time your dentist finds a cavity, don’t be afraid to ask about your options. The more informed you are, the better your result.

Schererville Family Dentistry

1050 Caroline Ave
Schererville, IN 46375
Call or text us: 219.322.3232