expert type icon EXPERT

Grant W. Sims

Dentist

Dr. Grant Sims is a Dentist practicing in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Sims specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic procedures, and performing examinations, among many others.
Grant W. Sims
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • University of Illinois
  • Accepting new patients

Can a cavity spread to the next tooth?

If the cavity is in between the teeth , they will commonly spread to the next tooth. The first cavity creates kind of a "cave" where plaque bacteria can hide, and even good thorough READ MORE
If the cavity is in between the teeth , they will commonly spread to the next tooth. The first cavity creates kind of a "cave" where plaque bacteria can hide, and even good thorough brushing and flossing cannot reach "inside the cave", so the bacterial population tends to be higher thus spreading to the next tooth. It's always best to get a cavity filled as soon as it's noticed; hopefully with regular visits to your dentist and Xrays, called Bitewings, that are the best way for your dentist to "look" in between your teeth where cavities are often found-especially if you are not a daily flosser and eat or drink a lot of acidic foods, starchy foods, processed foods, candy, pop, and chips.

Why does my 5 year old daughter keep getting cavities?

Cavities are caused by the acidic toxins that the bacterial plaque that gets on everyone's teeth produces. These toxins are acidic and that's what demineralizes the outer enamel READ MORE
Cavities are caused by the acidic toxins that the bacterial plaque that gets on everyone's teeth produces. These toxins are acidic and that's what demineralizes the outer enamel coating of the tooth until eats through to the next much softer layer, the dentin. Basically if the bacteria is not getting fed (it loves sugar, starches, and even "natural sugars" in fruit juices and milk) AND the bacteria is being properly and completely removed after breakfast and before bed (with nothing to eat or drink after brushing) with a nice soft toothbrush, maybe you should get some "plaque disclosing solution" so you can check your daughter's teeth after brushing to make sure all of the plaque is getting cleaned off. Any drug store should have it in the tooth care aisle. Follow the directions on the package. Most people are pretty surprised how much plaque is actually left on the teeth after a "typical brushing". The plaque disclosing solution is used after brushing and colors any plaque that is left on the teeth so you can "see" what is being missed. If the plaque is not there, and it's not being fed, she should not be getting cavities. Most kids that age need help being effective brushers, and the plaque disclosing solution will help you to see it.

What should be done for a chipped "baby tooth"?

Doing nothing is always an option. At least have him checked by a dentist who will most likely want to Xray the teeth to see how soon the adult teeth may be coming in and to make READ MORE
Doing nothing is always an option. At least have him checked by a dentist who will most likely want to Xray the teeth to see how soon the adult teeth may be coming in and to make sure they were not damaged underneath. Then you can decide if fixing them is worth it to you, but at least you will have peace of mind knowing if there is not a bigger problem brewing underneath.

Why does only one tooth area bleed when I floss?

If it has been a while (more than 6 months) since you had a professional cleaning, you may have a piece of hard tartar stuck on that tooth under the gum in that spot. The tartar READ MORE
If it has been a while (more than 6 months) since you had a professional cleaning, you may have a piece of hard tartar stuck on that tooth under the gum in that spot. The tartar gives the plaque bacteria more surface area to grow on, and the more plaque bacteria, the more toxins. Like any living thing, the plaque bacteria take in "food" and give off a waste product, which is acidic. This acid irritates and inflames the gums and causes them to bleed and eventually, the gum will "back away" from the irritation leading to gum recession and bone loss. The best thing of course is go to your dentist and have the Dr or the dental hygienist check the area to see if they can find the cause. They may want to Xray the area as well to see if there is any tartar visible under the gum, or possibly a cavity that may be collecting food, but not really big enough to be painful. I also know that if I get "lazy" and maybe don't floss for several days or a week (I'm human too) , and then when I do floss again for that first time, my gums will bleed, but it's usually several spots and not just one spot. Best bet is have the dentist take a look. Hope that helps. Dr Sims

Can I do teeth whitening with a front half fake incisor?

Normally in our office, we have the patient whiten first so that we can match the new crown to the new lighter shade. The "fake" part of the tooth, or any type of dental restoration; READ MORE
Normally in our office, we have the patient whiten first so that we can match the new crown to the new lighter shade. The "fake" part of the tooth, or any type of dental restoration; be it bonding, a crown, a veneer, a resin filling, a white filling, will not be lightened by whitening materials.

My son's teeth are discoloured. Why?

Most likely the brown spots are from something in his diet. Many drinks can cause these stains. Apple juice is a common cause.

Will frequent teeth cleanings remove spots from my teeth?

That depends on if they are superficial or if they are "in" the enamel. If they are on top of the enamel layer, a regular "cleaning" should take care of it. If the spots are "in" READ MORE
That depends on if they are superficial or if they are "in" the enamel. If they are on top of the enamel layer, a regular "cleaning" should take care of it. If the spots are "in" the enamel, you may need to do enamel microbrasion which is a treatment you can ask your dentist about. It uses a topical acidic solution and special deep cleansers followed by a remineralization step to remove or significantly decrease the appearance of brown stains.

I had some bleeding in my gums while brushing. Could it be serious?

Healthy gums should not bleed when brushing or flossing! Bleeding is an early warning sign of gingivitis and other more serious forms of gum disease. Best to go to a dentist and READ MORE
Healthy gums should not bleed when brushing or flossing! Bleeding is an early warning sign of gingivitis and other more serious forms of gum disease. Best to go to a dentist and have a comprehensive examination including taking the periodontal probing depths. That will help determine what is going on.

Are electric toothbrushes any better for the teeth?

Quality electric (battery operated) toothbrushes are able to remove more plaque , the bacterial buildup that we all get on our teeth and gums, in the same amount of time than brushing READ MORE
Quality electric (battery operated) toothbrushes are able to remove more plaque , the bacterial buildup that we all get on our teeth and gums, in the same amount of time than brushing manually. I prefer to use ones with not only a timer for the entire brushing time, but with a "signal" when 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 of the way through to aid in brushing each quadrant evenly.

Why do my oral ulcers keep coming back?

The 2 most common types of recurring mouth ulcers are called apthous ulcer or canker sore, and herpes virus or fever blister. Both types will keep coming back once you start getting READ MORE
The 2 most common types of recurring mouth ulcers are called apthous ulcer or canker sore, and herpes virus or fever blister. Both types will keep coming back once you start getting them. Experts say they tend to recur more often when the body is under "stress", be it from a cold,flu or other systemic illness, but can also be from a dietary deficiency or from exposure to certain chemicals (some tothpaste ingredients for example). Keeping them from recurring depends on what type of ulcer you have. The best is to see a dentist or oral surgeon for the proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is the medication that the dentist will use as an anesthesia before my root canal?

The most common type of local anesthesia the dentist will use is Lidocaine with epinephrine. Most dentists today do not use "Novacaine" and have not since the 1950s due to a higher READ MORE
The most common type of local anesthesia the dentist will use is Lidocaine with epinephrine. Most dentists today do not use "Novacaine" and have not since the 1950s due to a higher incidence of allergic reactions. This is why dentists have switched to other local anesthetics. Most anesthetic makers do put some type of preservative in the solution. The type varies from manufacturer, but it is very rare that someone will be allergic to it. The most common "reaction" that people feel to the anesthetic is that their heart may race for a few minutes. This is because some people are more sensitive to the epinephrine (also called Adrenalin) and not the anesthetic itself. The epinephrine is included in with the anesthetic to help constrict the blood vessels in the area to help keep the anesthetic in the area longer. If the medicine does not suit you, there are several other types of local anesthetics that most dentists keep in the office. Finding one that suits you is rarely ever a problem.

Is a root canal in pregnancy safe?

Most experts agree that if dental treatment is NECESSARY, the 2nd trimester is the best time to do it. However, sometimes a toothache doesn't really care if you are pregnant at READ MORE
Most experts agree that if dental treatment is NECESSARY, the 2nd trimester is the best time to do it. However, sometimes a toothache doesn't really care if you are pregnant at all, let alone in the 2nd trimester, and it becomes an EMERGENCY. If the pain is too unbearable, you have no choice but to do something, right? Then root canal would be the best choice; or
extraction. Most OB/GYN that I have worked with in this situation recommend using local anesthetic without vasoconstrictor, if an Xray is necessary-use 2 lead aprons, and if pain control after the fact is necessary, then Tylenol (Acetominophen) or Tylenol #3 with codeine can be used. Hope you feel better.

Food getting stuck behind wisdom teeth

Rest of the answer. . . laser off or surgically remove the extra tissue. Typically, once the food starts to get stuck on a regular basis, it means something has changed and should READ MORE
Rest of the answer. . .

laser off or surgically remove the extra tissue. Typically, once the food
starts to get stuck on a regular basis, it means something has changed and
should be evaluated by a dental professional.

Clicking in my jaw

Personally, when I come across a patient with symptoms that I may not be familiar with, or just when I want another set of "eyes" on a particular set of presenting symptoms, I READ MORE
Personally, when I come across a patient with symptoms that I may not be familiar with, or just when I want another set of "eyes" on a particular set of presenting symptoms, I am either trying to confirm what I think is going on, or I have little experience with those symptoms and I need help in a diagnosis to make sure my patient is getting the best care and proper treatment for the condition.