Even though you might have a good oral health and regular dental visits, cavities can still happen.

What is a cavity?

Cavities are damaged areas in your enamel which happen as a result of plaque, which is a sticky film on your teeth caused by bacteria and feeds on food and drinks you take. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly enough to remove plaque, it can create holes in your teeth.

How does it develop?

When a tooth is exposed frequently to acid, especially foods containing sugar, the repeated cycle of acid attacks ends up making holes in a tooth’s enamel. This is an early sign of tooth decay. At this point, it is still possible to prevent a cavity using remedies.

If tooth decay continues, the dentin will start to decay and a cavity starts to form. A cavity is permanent and has to be repaired with a filling.

Signs to look out for:

  • Tooth sensitivity: One of the first things you might experience when a cavity is developing, is sensitivity. It is the uncomfortable tingling in your teeth whenever you eat something cold or hot, acidic or sugary.
  • Bad Breath: If you have a cavity, the bad breath will be persistent and will not go away even with regular cleaning and flossing.
  • Cracked Tooth: Cracked tooth can also be caused by cavities because the bacteria weaken the enamel in the process. If you do crack a tooth, go to your dentist immediately.
  • Surface Stains: As enamel is further weakened, you might see a gray, brown or black spot. That spot means that bacteria are getting into your enamel slowly. If not treated, actual holes will develop.
  • Visible Holes: This is a very strong sign of a cavity. Sometimes they develop on the chewing surface of the tooth. These are easy to see, and treat. However, cavities are often on the sides that are up against other teeth, and are harder to see without proper tools.
  • Toothache: At first, the pain is noticeable when biting something hard. Over time, you will feel pain even when you bite something soft. If left untreated, you will have a constant toothache.
  • Nothing At All: In early stages, there are few or no symptoms. This is the best time to treat the cavity, before it gets worse.

What does a dentist do, once a cavity is found?

It depends on how bad it is. Usually, your dentist will examine your teeth thoroughly, and may take x-rays. If a cavity is discovered, it is first repaired by removing the rotted part of your tooth with a drill. After this, the hole in your tooth is filled with a special material, either silver alloy, gold, composite resin or porcelain. This is called a filling.

If the tooth is so badly decayed that not much remains, crowns are used. Your dentist will remove and repair the damaged part of your tooth and then he will fit a crown made from gold, porcelain over the rest of the tooth.

A root canal might be needed if the root of your tooth is injured in a way that is irreparable. The dentist will remove the nerve, blood vessels and tissue of the tooth. Then, he will fill the root with a sealing material

Factors leading to cavities

  • Location of tooth: Dental decay often occurs in your back teeth. They are harder to keep clean, thus more prone to bacterial attacks.
  • Sugary or acidic food and drinks: Foods that cling to your teeth for a long time are more likely to cause decay e.g sugar, soda, cake, cookies, candies, chips
  • Frequent snacking: When you frequently snack or drink sugary drinks, you end up giving more food to the bacteria.
  • Inadequate brushing: If you do not brush your teeth often, and properly, plaque forms and tooth decay begins.
  • Not getting enough fluoride: Fluoride helps prevent cavities and can even reverse early stages of tooth decay.
  • Worn fillings: Over the years, dental fillings can become weak. This allows plaque build up easily.

How can we avoid a cavity?

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and preferably after every meal. Carry a portable toothbrush around so you don’t forget to brush after you eat.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush properly
  • Floss once a day to remove food stuck between your teeth
  • Limit sugary food and drinks and avoid them if you can. These stick to your teeth for a longer period of time and attract more bacteria.
  • Use a mouthwash to rinse off extra food residue. Some mouthwashes also have antiseptic ingredients to help kill bacteria.
  • Drink a lot of water since it helps wash out extra food residue and doesn’t promote cavity.
  • Eat a healthy diet like leafy greens, fresh fruit and dairy products.
  • Visit a dentist at least twice an year

To find out more about dental issues and treatment plans, visit My Smiles Center in Joliet and Des Plaines, IL. We have affordable dental plans and treatments, and offer a variety of orthodontic treatments for all ages with the best results possible. Keep your smile constant and wide! To book an appointment, call us or just book an appointment online.

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Are you passing up on hot or cold drinks, or perhaps ice cream, because you know they’ll make your teeth hurt? If the answer is yes, you are probably suffering from sensitive teeth. It may be a temporary issue, or a chronic problem, and can affect one tooth, several teeth or all of them.

Why are sensitive teeth so painful?

Teeth are covered by an outer layer, called enamel. It helps protect the inner layer called dentin, and once the enamel is compromised, dentin ends up being exposed and pain follows through. Cavities, receding gums or root erosion are some common causes that cause sensitive teeth.


Some common triggers for sensitivity include:

  • Hot food/beverages
  • Cold food/beverages
  • Acidic food/beverages
  • Cold water
  • Brushing or flossing
  • Cold air


  • Gum disease or tooth decay: If your teeth are sensitive when you aren’t eating or drinking something cold, you could be in early stages of tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Plaque buildup: Plaque breaks down the surface of teeth and after it is removed, the tooth exposed will end up being more sensitive to sugar, hot or cold things.
  • Teeth grinding: Excessive tooth grinding, or bruxism, wears away the enamel and ends up exposing nerves, which then can lead to sensitive teeth.
  • Overusing products: External factors can contribute towards teeth sensitivity like brushing too hard, overusing whitening treatments, acids from food and drinks like coffee, tomatoes and wine that damages enamel.
  • Cracks: If tiny cracks develop in your teeth, they can expand or contract over time due to exposure to hot and cold temperatures. These cracks lead to the nerves which leads to teeth becoming sensitive.
  • Receding gums: If you note consistent sensitivity, give your teeth a better look and check your gum line to see if your gums are pulling away from your tooth. Some causes include gingivitis, over-brushing or problems like heart disease or diabetes.
  • Over-brushing: Over-brushing your teeth can wear down the enamel over time which leads to teeth sensitivity.
  • Chronic Inflammation: Diabetics can experience inflammation which causes pain while chewing food. This condition is known as chronic inflammation.
  • Dental Procedures: You may get sensitivity after any kind of dental procedure.


When to visit the dentist?

In general, sensitivity that ends up impacting your whole mouth but is not severe, is caused by factors that can change. On the other hand, if the pain is impacting only one or two teeth, and is severe, you need to go to a dentist.

What will the dentist do?

For severe pain, your dentist will determine the source of your sensitive teeth using a process called differential diagnosis. Your dentist will look at the health of your teeth and check for potential problems like loose fillings, cavities or recessed gums. He/she may do this during your routine dental cleaning by cleaning your teeth and also doing a visual exam. The exam commonly includes touching your teeth using dental instruments to check for sensitivity, and may also tell you to get an x-ray done.

How to treat sensitivity?

Because teeth sensitivity can be caused by many possible causes, it is difficult to put treatment methods in one category. However, some of the possible methods are following:

  1. Repairing damaged tooth: For single-tooth sensitivity, there may be damage that requires a dental visit. A cracked tooth, for instance, must be repaired with a root canal.
  2. Tooth abscess removal: If your teeth are sensitive due to an abscessed tooth, it needs to be treated either by draining it to relieve the pressure or by other methods available.
  3. Gum-disease treatment: If the pain is being caused by your receding gums, or severe gingivitis, you may need to get a thorough cleaning.
  4. Dietary changes: A healthy diet is very important for good teeth. Foods that are acidic can wear away the enamel and lead to cavities. Drink plenty of water and limit these food items. Sugary foods and simple carbohydrate lead toward tooth decay, and should be avoided.
  5. Dental hygiene: For the best results, use a soft bristled toothbrush, and replace it once a month and use a gentle toothpaste. Flossing everyday is recommended and ditch mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
  6. Regular dental visits: Going for regular dental visits ensures an early detection of problems, before they end up causing sensitivity. Regular cleanings to remove plaque are very important and prevent sensitive teeth.
  7. Dealing with bruxism: According to research, night grinding is related to sleep apnea. So instead of a mouth guard, try to do something about apnea.
  8. Stress reduction: Chronic stress can lead to inflammation, which then turns to pain. You need to reduce some stress in your life to prevent or reduce teeth sensitivity.
  9. Reducing chronic inflammation: Try to eat foods that fight inflammation, and avoid the ones causing it.


Have any dental issues or need a good dental treatment plan? At My Smiles Center in Joliet and Des Plaines, IL, you can get the best treatment plans which are easy on your pocket. Our staff is always there to answer your questions, and will help you with your dental issues. You can contact us via a call or just book an appointment online to always have an everlasting, confident smile.


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Keeping teeth and gums healthy has to do more than just regular brushing and flossing twice a day. We tend to underestimate how dental checkups are as important and significant as other medical checkups. Many people do the mistake of visiting a dental professional only when their oral health has deteriorated immensely or when they need an emergency treatment. This attitude ends up in you having to spend a huge amount of money on expensive procedures which could have been prevented by a regular dental visit.

It is recommended for you to visit your dentist at least once, and ideally twice a year. Not only will it save money in the long run, but will also detect some non-dental conditions that tend to have symptoms that appear in the mouth. Dental examination can reveal signs of various deficiencies, osteoporosis and even cancer, diabetes, HIV, amongst others.


What happens during the dental exam?

First, the soft tissues are checked for lesions, alongside the jaws and associated muscles. After this, the teeth are checked for cavities or broken fillings and other possible problems with the tooth. Every tooth is checked to make sure nothing is missed. Then the dentist will check gums and general oral hygiene to make sure there are no issues. The dentist may also take Dental X-Rays if needed. These show any hidden decay between teeth, gum diseases, problems with wisdom teeth and more. After the exam is done, the dentist will usually clean your teeth.


Numerous benefits that you can get out of regular dental care are:

Good Oral Health

Your teeth and gums are examined, and a thorough cleaning procedure is done so you can get a healthy, and clean smile. These visits ensure that you have proper oral health which helps eliminate any risks of gum issues, tooth decay or bad breath.


Oral Issues Detection

You could be spared a lot of dental issues if they are identified at an early stage. This is why, visiting your dentist on a regular basis is such a good idea. Your dental concerns will be answered and issues you never knew existed, will be solved before becoming an eerily complex issue.


Prevention of Gum Disease

If teeth are not taken care of for a long time, plaque and tartar accumulates which ends up increasing the chances of severe gum diseases and tooth decay, amongst many other dental problems. Regular teeth cleaning will remove any tartar or plaque that stays on even after brushing.


Good Physical Health

Having your teeth and gums regularly checked up can reveal signs and symptoms of additional health issues that you don’t even know about. Symptoms of many diseases like heart, diabetes, HIV, oral cancer can manifest in the mouth and can be an early indication of a particular disease.


Diabetes Control

People with diabetes are more susceptible of developing severe gum issues. Regular dental visits lowers the risk of having gingivitis, which then makes it easier to control blood sugar levels.


Oral Cancer Screening

Dental checkups include a screening for oral cancer and early detection can help increase chances of survival.


Cutting Out Surprises

By having your regular dental checkups, your communication with the dentist will let you have a better idea of not only your treatment plan, but also how much your dental insurance can cover. This will make sure you don’t have sudden surprises with your bill.


Helps Boosting Self-Esteem

Your smile plays an integral part in who you are, it has an important role of creating a good, lasting impression. Getting a regular dental care done will keep your teeth and gums healthy and will give you the confidence you are seeking for.


Helps with Sleep Issues

If you are having a difficult time trying to get a good night’s sleep, you might be suffering from sleep apnea, which is a common problem when there are pauses in breathing. If diagnosed, your dentist an provide you with a customized mouth guard to eliminate snoring and opening the airway.


Elimination of Bad Breath

Bad breath is a common issue caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease or particles of food stuck in between your teeth. Regular dental care helps with this and prevents it from occurring.


Avoiding Loss of Teeth

Periodontitis can result in destroying the bone which supports the teeth due to plaque. A thorough cleaning during your regular dental care, alongside a good habit of brushing and flossing, will keep the teeth healthy and strong.


At My Smiles Center in Joliet and Des Plaines, IL, our staff has some of the best treatment plans for any dental care issues, so if you have any queries, you can contact us via a call or just book an appointment online to ensure that you always have a healthy and beautiful smile.


Why Do I have Bad Breath?


Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that can affect any person at any age, regardless of personal health. Bad breath can have many possible causes, but most issues with halitosis come down to preventable problems originating with poor oral hygiene. Other factors, such as diet or smoking, may also influence the occurrence of bad breath. In some more severe cases of bad breath, potentially serious health related conditions might be to blame. And at My Smiles Center we know all about it!


What the Symptoms of Bad Breath?

Living with symptoms of bad breath can be an embarrassing and stressful experience that can also negatively affect confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes, however, not everyone who suffers from bad breath may even be aware of the symptoms. It is important to recognize the symptoms of bad breath in order to properly diagnose possible causes and initiate proper treatment. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it might be helpful to seek advice from your dentist or physician.

Common symptoms of bad breath

  • Greater levels of bad breath in the morning, also known as “morning breath.”
  • A constant sour or bitter metallic taste
  • Buildup of plaque and tarter around teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Thickened saliva and mucus
  • White coating on the tongue

There is no one single cause of bad breath. These symptoms can have multiple different causes and potential treatments. Some of these causes are described below.


What Causes Bad Breath?

Here ay My Smiles, we want you to better understand the causes of bad breath, and we need to understand the different forms of the condition. Bad breath can present as either short-term symptoms or as longer-term chronic bad breath. Short-term bad breath may involve completely different causes and different methods of treatment than longer-term chronic issues with bad breath.


Short-term (transient) Bad Breath

Short-term bad breath is characterized by transient symptoms that do not persist over time. These symptoms are most often only active in the presence of specific compounds, such as those in certain foods or other consumables. These temporary symptoms will also typically subside as halitosis inducing compounds are eliminated from diet.

Transient symptoms of bad breath often result from the process of bacteria breaking down food in the mouth. As bacteria consumes and breaks down the food, it can produce an unpleasant smelling gas as a byproduct. This gas is a primary contributing factor to bad breath. When oral hygiene is poor, more food particles will tend to be present in the mouth or trapped between teeth. This will lead to a greater number of bacteria present in the mouth and contributing to bad breath.

Foods containing higher levels of sulfur or animal proteins may also negatively affect breath more than others. Certain bacteria can become more active in the presence of sulfur rich foods and some other compounds to produce greater volumes of unpleasant smelling gas. Avoiding these foods will decrease the likelihood of developing symptoms of halitosis. Below is a list of common foods and substances that can contribute to short-term bad breath.

Common foods and consumables that can contribute to bad breath:

  • Coffee
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods which can affect digestion contributing to bad breath
  • Fish and products containing fish which can break down into protein products that affect breath.
  • Foods high in sulphur content such as garlic, onion, cabbage or meats
  • Smoking cigarettes

Changes in diet and behaviors are the most successful methods for reducing transient symptoms of bad breath. If symptoms continue to persist despite following recommended changes in diet and behavior, it may be helpful to seek advice from your dental professional.


Long-term Chronic Bad Breath

Long-term symptoms of bad breath may result from more serious health conditions such as oral diseases and infections. In some cases, this may be indicative of tooth decay, infection in the mouth or elsewhere, or gastrointestinal issues. If you are suffering from long term bad breath, we advise that you book an appointment with us here at My Smiles Center, located in Des Plaines and Joliet, IL.

The build up of plaque associated with gingivitis and periodontitis, also known as gum disease, may contribute to the development of long-term chronic symptoms of bad breath. Bacteria which reproduce in the plaque can be directly responsible for development of bad breath and eventual gum disease. In cases of tooth decay, dental plaque will accumulate in the cavity giving more space for bacteria to grow and reproduce to cause bad breath.

Gastrointestinal issues such as limited digestion can further promote bad breath when only partially digested food is broken down further by bacteria in the stomach. Similar to bacteria in the mouth, these gut bacteria will produce gas as a byproduct which can lead to smelly burps and bad breath. Smoking or illness causing dry mouth can also become a major contributor to bad breath. Saliva helps wash away bacteria and food particles in the mouth, and when it becomes diminished, odor causing bacteria while have a greater effect on our oral health.


Treatments for Bad Breath

Short-term Treatment

Many over the counter options are available to treat bad breath such as gum, mints, and mouthwashes but these products do not address the underlying causes of the condition. Changes in diet or oral health must ultimately occur in order to treat or reverse short-term issues with bad breath. These changes can include reducing contact with high sulfur content foods such as garlic or onions, reducing carbohydrates in diet which promote bacterial growth, and consuming more water at meals. Further short-term treatment recommendations and options can be available. For more information on how to treat bad breath, call us here at My Smiles and our dentists will be available to help you find a solution.


Long-term Treatment

Longer-term chronic bad breath issues may require a more thorough diagnosis and treatment regimen by a medical professional. Many long-term symptoms of bad breath result from more severe oral health issues or issues related to illness or infection elsewhere in the body. For this reason, it is strongly encouraged to contact your dentist, My Smiles Center before self-diagnosing and attempting treatment.

Long-term treatment options for bad breath can include dental procedures such as surgery to remove plaque or tooth decay, nutritional supplements to combat digestion issues, and further testing to reveal any issues relating to diabetes, organ function, or gastrointestinal distress. The best options for diagnosis and treatment will be available at My Smiles Center and our dentists will be able to find the best and easy treatment for you.



Most issues associated with bad breath can be alleviated with daily flossing and brushing of teeth to improve oral health. This will reduce the buildup of food particles, tarter, and plaque which can lead to bad breath. Anti-microbial mouthwashes can also provide relief while temporarily combating the reemergence of odor causing bacteria. Seeing your dentist twice a year is also a great preventative measure to ensure you stay informed about the state of your oral health and receive the best treatment options.  And to help you stay on top of your dental health, at My Smiles, we provide many discounts and easy access to our dentist via the booking tool online. We recommend you book an appointment at Des Plaines or Joliet, in order to take advantage of our great offers.


Our dentists at My Smiles, hope to see you soon and helping you with any issues that you may have. We believe that everyone should have a beautiful and healthy smile!


  • 1475 E Oakton St Suite 2, Des Plaines, IL 60018, USA
  • 323 E Cass St, Joliet, IL 60432, USA


Des Plaines


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