At Elmhurst Smiles, helping our patients maintain a healthy smile is one of our main goals. Whenever possible, Dr. Gotsch and his great Team advocate preventative care since it often saves time and money. He’s also a firm believer in helping patients understand the benefits of how their oral health contributes to their overall systemic and emotional health.
Cleanings And Exams
Checkups and regular cleanings support the preventative approach that we promote at Elmhurst Smiles. They help prevent tooth, gum, jaw and supporting bone problems, and they catch problems before they get worse. Dr, Gotsch, along with his hygienist, love to celebrate with patients when their oral health improves based on more thorough brushing and flossing.request an appointment
Dr. Gotsch places composite fillings, sometimes called “bonding”. Many of us still have silver fillings, sometimes called “amalgams”. Dr. Gotsch feels that composites are a healthier alternative, and patients like them because they’re tooth-colored and long-lasting. Some patients even choose to replace their old silver fillings with composite fillings; if this interests you, ask us if it’s a good option for you!request an appointment
We might recommend a night guard if we suspect you’re clenching or grinding your teeth. Clenching/grinding can lead to weakened enamel, chipped teeth, broken fillings, or jaw-joint problems (called TMD). Fortunately, Dr. Gotsch’s assistant is trained as an in-house laboratory technician. This Team member helps expedite making night guards, which can be crucial for TMD patients in pain. Night guards don’t prevent or stop grinding; they relieve jaw joint and muscle tension.
Word to the wise: We do NOT advocate over the counter or on-line ordered boil-and-bite night guards since they create and/or exacerbate TMD symptoms. Scroll down to learn more about TMJ treatment.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Dr. Gotsch performs an oral cancer screening for every new patient and at your hygiene check-up. If he notices anything that doesn’t look normal, he will immediately refer you to a specialist, usually an oral surgeon, for a second opinion. Fortunately, this rarely happens.
Word to the wise: if you maintain your oral health, see us for bi-annual cleanings and check-ups, and refrain from tobacco use and frequent alcohol consumption, the chance of being diagnosed with oral cancer is rare.
We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice daily to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth and along the gumline. Dr. Gotsch might suggest a sonic toothbrush, one like the Sonicare or Oral-B sonic models. Please note: the battery-operated ones that cost $12.99 are not good at removing plaque.
And sorry, there’s no substitute for string-flossing. Water-flossers, toothpicks, interdental brushes, and WaterPiks are great at removing plaque, but you still need flossto maintain healthy teeth and gums.request an appointment
No one likes hearing, “I think you need a root canal.” The main reasons for a root canal are deep decay; an infection; or sometimes a fractured tooth. In most instances, a root canal is a very uneventful procedure; in fact, patients often fall asleep during the appointment. Dr. Gotsch might refer you to a root canal specialist, called an endodontist; we’ll make sure you’re as well cared for there as you are at our office.
request an appointment
Sealants are plastic coatings that are painted on a child’s adult molars. These teeth normally grow in, or erupt, at the age of six-years and twelve-years old. Initially these molars have deep grooves on their chewing surfaces and are prone to decay, so sealants can prevent them from developing cavities. Dr. Gotsch is a strong advocate of using sealants to prevent tooth decay.
Did you know that some people can be treated for sleep apnea with a custom-fitted oral appliance? And this same appliance helps people stop snoring too! Here’s what it looks like:
This appliance fits over your top and bottom teeth. It pushes your bottom jaw forward, which pulls your tongue forward, which opens up your pharynx (upper airway).
Dr. Gotsch cannot diagnose sleep apnea; however, there are some oral signs that might convince him to suggest you visit your physician to discuss it. If your physician confirmsthis diagnosis, he/she might suggest a CPAP, which involves wearing a mask with a hoseattached to it that gently blows air through your nose. Unfortunately, many people find this device too uncomfortable to wear. Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, some of our patients are able to wear a more comfortable appliance called a Mandibular Advancement Device.
Most of us know someone who’s been diagnosed with sleep apnea. These people struggleto get a good night’s sleep because they either stop breathing or don’t breathe efficiently;both of which rob our bloodstreams of oxygen. Decreased oxygen frequently leads to a number of health problems, including hypertension (high blood pressure); increased risk of diabetes; and possibly ADHD.
Please note, these are considered “medical devices”, so please don’t buy one from online stores. If not properly monitored by a healthcare provider, sleep apnea and other healthproblems can worsen with these over the counter knockoffs.request an appointment
Patients frequently confess “I wish my teeth were whiter!” Certain foods, drinks, and tobacco usage stain our teeth. Whitening, sometimes called bleaching, is a simple, safe, cost-effective, and predictable way to brighten your smile. People normally see results within the first two applications.request an appointment
The jaw joints are called the Temporal Mandibular Joints or TMJ, while jaw joint problems have the medical terminology TMD for Temporal Mandibular Disorder. TMD is caused by inflammation in joints or from chewing muscles.
Not until you’ve suffered from this type of pain do you realize how often you use your jaw and their supporting muscles. People can have trouble swallowing, chewing, sleeping, even talking. Other symptoms may include headaches; inability to open or close (often called “lockjaw”); nagging pain in the jaw joints and their supporting muscles; clicking or popping in the joints. This disorder can come from a recent injury, amisaligned bite, or from constant clenching and grinding.
Here’s the good news: At Elmhurst Smiles, Dr. Gotsch has helped many patients overcome TMJ pain. Frequently he’ll provide a special biteplate called a night guard, which re-aligns the jaw joints; in most cases, this means less pain, or total relief. In many instances, relief is immediate; however, it can take a few weeks. The key is treating TMD before symptoms arise.
Dr. Gotsch performs a TMJ on every new patient and frequently diagnoses who already has TMD, or if a patient is destined to develop it. Another word to the wise: Please, please do not buy a mouthguard from a neighborhood pharmacy or website. These appliances are usually soft and rubbery, like a sports guard, and will exacerbate TMD symptoms.