Posts for: June, 2015

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
June 25, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Visit  

When to Visit the DentistUnfortunately, many people don't visit the dentist until they're experiencing major pain and extensive dental work is needed. Some patients assume that the problem will go away on its own, or they have severe anxiety that prevents them from getting a checkup. The truth of the matter is the more regularly you visit Dr. Mazhar Butt at his Carbondale, IL dentist office, the better the chance that he can spot problems early on and resolve them with minimal dental work. 

Regular Checkups
According to the experts at the American Dental Association, you should see your dentist at least two times per year for regular checkups. A standard checkup includes a visual exam, cleaning and treatment recommendation. You may also have to get new X-rays to properly evaluate your dental health. A good rule of thumb is to set up one checkup after the holidays (think of your exposure to all of those holiday sweets!) and another six months later during the summertime or early fall.

Urgent Reasons to Visit the Dentist
There are some cases when you should see your Carbondale, IL dentist urgently. Here are a few signs that an urgent visit is necessary:

  • Bleeding teeth or gums
  • Severe pain that makes it difficult impossible to chew
  • Chipped, broken or loose tooth due to injury
  • Object lodged in the gums

If you have any of these symptoms, call to ask for an appointment as soon as possible. The earlier you come in, the better the chance that your dentist can fix the problem quickly.

At Home Dental Care
There are simple actions you can take daily at home to ensure that you have good checkups at the dentist and avoid the need for urgent dental care.

  • Brush twice per day (preferably with an ultrasonic brush) and floss after meals to remove food particles.
  • Rinse with mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide regularly.
  • Examine your teeth and gums carefully every day.

Call Today for an Appointment
Is it time for a visit with your Carbondale, IL dentist? For peace of mind, call our office today at (618) 457-2123 today to schedule an appointment.


While braces are a tried and true method for achieving a more attractive smile, they may also give rise to problems with dental disease. This is because their hardware — the brackets and bands that serve as tracks for the tensioning wires — make it more difficult to access the tooth and gum surfaces to clean away plaque. This thin film of food remnant may then become a haven for bacteria that cause gum disease or tooth decay.

One of the more common conditions to occur while wearing braces is gingivitis. This is an initial inflammation of the gum tissues caused by bacterial plaque that hasn’t been removed by brushing or flossing. As the inflammation grows unchecked, the infection could advance deeper into the tissues to become a more serious form of gum disease that threatens the survival of affected teeth.

Difficult as it may be for those wearing braces, the best way to avoid gingivitis is through more thorough oral hygiene practices. Fortunately, there are many hygiene products that can help you get around many of the access difficulties posed by braces. Smaller toothbrushes known as interproximal brushes and floss threaders, small aids that thread dental floss under braces wires, can access the spaces between teeth more readily than conventional brushes or floss. Water flossers (which use water under pressure to remove plaque between teeth) and motorized toothbrushes can further increase efficiency. We can also reduce bacterial growth in the mouth if need be with prescription-strength antibacterial mouthrinses.

If, however, gingivitis or gum overgrowth (another common occurrence during orthodontic treatment) continues to be a problem, we may need to take other actions including surgery. In extreme cases, the braces may need to be removed to adequately treat the gums and allow them time to heal before proceeding with orthodontics.

Extra care with daily hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleanings in addition to your orthodontic visits will help keep gum problems at bay while you’re wearing braces. Taking this extra care will stop or minimize the effect of disease as you continue on to the ultimate goal of your orthodontic treatment — a more beautiful smile.

If you would like more information on dental care during orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
June 02, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”