Neal Nealis DDS, Dentist

Neal Nealis DDS

Dentist | General Practice

737 North Michigan Avenue 910 Chicago IL, 60611


Neal Nealis is a Dentist practicing in Chicago, IL. Dr. Nealis emphasizes in prevention, diagnosing difficult problems and treating aesthetic and functional problems of the mouth. The outcome of his veneers and Invisalign orthodontic treatments are unsurpassed as evidenced by his many before and after photographs. However in addition to cosmetics he also focusses on function treating broken teeth, sore muscles and TMD (TMJ). He has combined his understanding of engineering and art to create a comprehensive dental service that makes restorations both aesthetic and functional. 

Education and Training

University of Illinois -Urbana BS engineering 1974

University of Illinois-Chicago DDS dentistry 1979

Dawson Institute occlusion 2010

Piper Academy TMJ 2013

Provider Details

Neal Nealis DDS
Neal Nealis DDS's Expert Contributions
  • Porcelain Veneers

    Any dentist can make a porcelain veneer. However, the real key is to make veneers that look natural. Many details are required to attain that natural appearance. Each individual detail is not overly essential, but when incorporated into the design, can make dramatic end results. The attached...

  • New Guideline on an Aspirin a Day to Keep the Heart Attack Away

    New Perspective in Medicine on a Baby Aspirin a DayFor decades, the belief was that taking a baby aspirin daily would be effective in the prevention of a heart attack, and it has been. Originally it was just a benefit for men, until someone realized that the original study included only men. A...

  • Can I eat before my wisdom tooth removal?

    You should discuss this with your surgeon. If you are receiving a general anesthetic (you will be put to sleep) for the procedure, then there are strict guidelines regarding eating and drinking prior to surgery. However, to be absolutely certain, you should contact your surgeon. Neal Nealis, DDS READ MORE

  • Why are my gums swollen?

    Gums can swell from a variety of causes, some trivial but others serious. You absolutely need to have a dentist take a look. READ MORE

  • Why are my gums turning brown?

    You need to have a dentist look at this. Gums should not be changing colors. READ MORE

  • Can eating betel leaves cause oral cancer?

    Betel leaves can cause oral cancer. Maybe switch to Tums? READ MORE

  • How often do I need to get the crowns on my teeth replaced?

    If they are made precisely, they should last forever. READ MORE

  • My surgery is in an outpatient facility. What happens if I have any complications?

    You had better discuss this with your surgeon. READ MORE

  • How can I help my child stop grinding his teeth?

    Grinding teeth is a natural and automatic response to a misfit of the teeth. Most everyone is programmed to grind their teeth when the brain senses an interference in the teeth to what it considers the ideal bite or “occlusion.“ It’s nature’s way of doing its own dentistry. Your child will eventually grow out of it as the teeth find their proper fit. It would be okay to let a dentist have a look at your child’s teeth. He would be better able to understand the occlusion. READ MORE

  • What could happen when I get my gum surgery?

    Healing from gum grafting should be fairly uneventful. If the surgeon harvests the graft from your palate, the roof of your mouth will be sore, like major burn from hot pizza. My first question would be, "How did the recession occur in the first place and what kind of shape is the underlying supporting bone?” READ MORE

  • How long should my child be brushing their teeth?

    This is a very interesting question. We never think about whether there is a proper length of time to brush our teeth, and also we don't consider that there is a proper amount of force to be applied to the brush. If we don't brush thoroughly, we get cavities and gum disease. If we brush too hard, we get receding gums and damage to the teeth and bone. To handle both of these considerations I recommend to my patients of all ages to invest in an Oral B electric tooth brush that comes with built in two minute timer and a stress gauge. This brush pauses every thirty seconds signaling it's time to change quadrants, and has an extended pause at two minutes signaling it is time to stop. If too much pressure is applied, the handle lights red. Brilliant. I use this brush as do each of my grown daughters. Neal Nealis, DDS READ MORE

  • The tooth where I need a root canal isn't bothering me. Why do I need it?

    I understand your confusion. Root canals are done for teeth with damaged pulps (nerves and blood vessels deep inside the teeth). Sometimes pulps die silent deaths and never give the tooth any pain. However abscesses (balls of pus) will form at the tips of the roots deep in the bone. The abscess will continue to enlarge at the expense of the bone until it reaches the surface of the bone. Then you will get sudden and severe swelling. A dentist can usually identify abscesses before they reach that crisis level. It would help to ask the dentist who told you that you needed the procedure why you need it. READ MORE

  • Would my son need surgery if he keeps grinding his teeth?

    Nighttime grinding of teeth is called "bruxism or bruxing". It is nature's way of milling a better fit for the teeth. Sometimes the bruxing can get out of control and people do serious damage to their teeth, bone or TMJ's. Best to have a dentist with good understanding of 'occlusion' give him an exam before you do anything on your own. You do not want to create an even bigger problem. A good way to find a dentist who understands occlusion is to call either the Dawson Academy or the Pankey Institute. Both of these teaching institutions are located in Florida but teach dentists from around the country about advanced occlusion. They keep records of their dentists who have taken these courses. Good luck. READ MORE

  • Invisalign, dental bonding, and gum grafts?

    You ask a good question. The grafting and bonding should be done either before or after Invisalign. READ MORE

  • Should I avoid eating certain items with an artificial tooth?

    You should have been given instructions on how to care for an implant. You should chew lightly because the implant does not contain nerves that respond to biting forces as do natural teeth. You should get the implant professionally cleaned four times yearly. You should rinse daily with an antibiotic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine. READ MORE

  • Are dental veneers permanent?

    Porcelain veneers should be permanent. If you are concerned about maybe not liking them and you should be, then ask the dentist to show you of photographs of other people who he has treated with concerns similar to your own. Also your dentist can place bonding material on your teeth but not attach it permanently in order to get an idea of what veneers would look like on your teeth before your teeth are permanently changed. Hope this all makes sense. READ MORE

  • Can teeth grinding cause headaches?

    Teeth grinding absolutely can cause headaches because muscles are involved in the grinding and if you grind too much, then you will fatigue the muscles. Fatigued muscles can be painful. You should get an occlusal equilibration from someone who has advanced training in "Occlusion". READ MORE

  • Are braces the only way to fix buck teeth?

    Buck teeth can be caused by a variety of problems. Not knowing more about your problem limits the help I can provide. I do understand the cosmetic and social considerations and I will try to help. Perhaps you could provide more information and perhaps some photographs. Consider these possibilities and note if any pertain to you. If childhood thumb sucking was a habit and lasted beyond age 12, then the upper bone formed around the thumb and stopped growing in that position. In this situation either advanced orthodontics called "rapid palate expansion" will be needed or perhaps even a surgical procedure to reposition the bone or both. If you fell as a child as all children do and impacted your chin with your mouth open, the lower jaw would have been driven backward and perhaps damaged the growth plates. This would have led to the lower jaw not fully expressing itself, and with natural remodeling created excessive overjet (overjet is the professional term for buck teeth). In this case simple orthodontics might be the answer, or if severe enough then perhaps some advanced orthodontics and/or maxillofacial surgery. If the overjet is simply natural, simple orthodontics well might be the best answer.  Other options would not be practical such as crowning all the teeth, front and back. I hate cutting into perfectly healthy teeth because no matter how good we dentists get at what we do, our materials are never a substitute for natural tooth enamel. In my practice I go through an entire month providing exams on patients of record without finding a single cavity. My point is that you want to be as conservative as possible. I treat many orthodontic problems, but yours sounds like something that should be handled by a trained orthodontist. I hope this helps. Neal Nealis, DDS READ MORE

  • Is dry mouth possible because of my inhaler?

    Yep, your dry mouth absolutely can be caused by your inhaler, and in fact it is one of the most common side effects. If you have chronic dry mouth, you need to get extra fluoride treatments otherwise you will develop extensive tooth decay. READ MORE

  • How often should my daughter get her braces tightened?

    The frequency that braces are tightened depends upon the size of the wire used, the type of movements being made and the dentist's preference. You really need to ask your dentist. READ MORE

  • When is a root canal recommended?

    The center of every tooth houses the "pulp". The pulp is comprised of soft tissues like nerves, veins and arteries. If the pulp becomes infected, then a root canal removes the infected soft tissue. READ MORE

  • How many times a year should kids get a teeth whitening?

    Whitening varies greatly from person to person. Whiten the teeth until they are the color you want. READ MORE

  • When should I get my fillings replaced?

    I'm not sure what your filling was made of. If it were either composite (which is mostly plastic) or amalgam (which is silver and mercury), those materials last about nine years. If you make them from either gold or ceramic, they will last indefinitely. They cost more in the short term but being a one time expense, they become cost effective in the long term. They are also better for your health as you don't keep whittling down the teeth. READ MORE

  • Can you get a root canal during pregnancy?

    Third trimester should be safe. Minor concern if it were in the first trimester. Good luck with the baby. My two daughters each had babies last year! READ MORE

  • Are home remedies for teeth whitenings safe?

    Yes, those home remedies are safe. They are also absolutely not effective. Crest White Strips are not very expensive and will whiten teeth. The ones sold over the counter are diluted; so they will take longer, but they will work. Even hydrogen peroxide rinse will whiten teeth, but might take decades. READ MORE

  • What are the rubber bands on braces for?

    The rubber bands hold the wire onto the brackets. Without the rubber bands the wire would fall off. READ MORE

  • My heart won't stop beating after my extraction. Is this because of the anesthesia?

    The anesthetic should have completely worn off by now. You should call your dentist. READ MORE

  • What should I expect from my first periodontist visit?

    You should expect an examination and consultation. I am surprised that your dentist did not check for periodontal disease. It's pretty easy to find. READ MORE

  • Is tooth sensitivity a sign of decay?

    Tooth sensitivity can be the sign of decay. It also can be a sign of an interference in your bite. Visit a dentist who understands occlusion. READ MORE

  • What will be done if my crown falls off?

    That all depends upon why the crown fell off. If it's because of recurrent decay, then you might lose the tooth. If the crown were well made, it should last a lifetime. Be sure to properly care for it by flossing, brushing and avoiding between meal snacks on carbohydrates. Also get your teeth checked and cleaned twice yearly. READ MORE

  • Is general anesthesia sometimes used for wisdom tooth extractions?

    General anesthesia can be used for oral surgery. Be sure to listen to the potential side effects before deciding. READ MORE

  • What tooth implants are used?

    Dental implants are most often made of titanium though there have been a few recently made of zirconium and zirconium/titanium blend. READ MORE

  • How often should I mouthwash?

    First let me state that in my practice, often I give exams on patients of record for an entire month without finding a single cavity. My patients simply do not get cavities. It is not by accident. My team and I spend an enormous amount of time teaching prevention because we believe that nature is the best dentist. What I tell them is this: 1. Use an electric toothbrush two minutes daily, 2. Floss at least every other day, 3. Avoid carbohydrates between meals including fruits, grains, dairy and starches, 4. Have your teeth cleaned and examined twice yearly. Typically I only mention mouthwashes in unusual situations. For example patients who have had dental implants should rinse with an antibiotic mouthwash daily. This would be either chlorhexidine or Tooth and Gum Tonic. For patients with uncontrolled tooth decay such as those with diabetes or prediabetes I recommend a mouthrinse with fluoride such as Fluorigard, ACT or Listerine purple. For all others who want to use mouthwashes I suggest after you have done the above prevention routine, rinse once or twice daily or as needed for fresher breath. READ MORE

  • What calcium supplements do you recommend for my son's calcium deficiency?

    Calcium deficiency will have a minimal effect on his gums and teeth; however, the following foods are rich in calcium: Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens; fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (they have a lot of calcium in one serving); fortified orange juice, soybeans, fortified soy milk (not all soy milk is a good source of calcium, so it's best to check the label). Enriched breads, grains, and waffles will not have an affect on his gums and a minor effect on his teeth. READ MORE

  • How can I strengthen my teeth?

    Absolutely, the most important way to strengthen tooth enamel is to avoid carbohydrates between meals. Your teeth actually absorb calcium when there is no sugars in the mouth healing any damage caused during a meal. Interfering with these healing periods too frequently will lead to those holes in the teeth that we call 'cavities.' The whole point is frequency, not quantity. Eat whatever you want at meal time. Between meals, avoid all carbohydrates including fruits, dairy, grains, and starches. This will include beer, wine, and any other form of alcohol. READ MORE

  • I have brownish discoloration around the inside of my teeth. What could be causing this?

    Try rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. READ MORE

  • Can drinking water prevent tooth decay?

    The frequency of carbohydrates causes cavities. Not only do you not want to drink sugary beverages between meals, but you also do not want to consume fruits, dairy, grains or starches because they are all basically sugar in hidden forms. At meal time eat anything you desire, but between meals avoid carbohydrates. This is because our teeth actually heal between meals, and consuming carbohydrates during these healing periods interfere with healing. READ MORE

  • How can a toothache cause a headache?

    Your aches could come from a variety of causes; however the most likely is that there is something in the fit of your teeth that your brain does not like. The brain then instructs the muscles to chew away that interference with enormous forces while you are asleep. This is called 'bruxing' and it can cause sore teeth and sore muscles. Have your teeth checked by someone who understands "occlusion". READ MORE

  • Why is my child's tongue white?

    She most likely has an overgrowth of a fungus called 'candida albicans' which affects the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems. Best to have her checked by a dentist. READ MORE

  • Should I wait to have my wisdom teeth extracted?

    Go see a dentist and get some x-rays of these wisdom teeth. The answer to your question really depends upon the shape of your mouth and the angle that the impacted teeth are at. READ MORE

  • What can cause gingivitis?

    First of all most everyone has gingivitis. It isn't a serious problem; however if you don't treat it, then it will progress into periodontitis and that is a huge problem because it involves bone loss. If you were to floss three days in a row and use an electric toothbrush for two minutes daily, your gingivitis should go away. READ MORE

  • Should my child be wearing their headgear every night?

    He should wear it every night if you want the teeth to move. Not wearing it can prolong treatment and even possibly damage the teeth. READ MORE

  • How long should I not eat before my procedure?

    If you are only having local anesthetic, which should be adequate, eating before the visit should not be a concern. READ MORE

  • What's done to prepare for porcelain veneers?

    Preparation of teeth for veneers vary considerably depending upon the various problems being corrected. For most porcelain veneers an egg shell thick layer of enamel is removed, molds are taken and provisional veneers are placed. The molds are sent to a dental laboratory where a technician will make the veneers with his specialized equipment. Good luck. Some dentists make better looking veneers than others. READ MORE

  • Is jaw surgery painful?

    Jaw surgeries vary greatly. I would ask these questions of the person doing the surgery. READ MORE

  • Are there any warning signs of gingivitis?

    First of all, gingivitis isn’t a big deal. The word “gingiva” means gums. If your gums bleed, you have gingivitis. For most people, not flossing for a few days will cause their gums to bleed because the undisturbed germs organize and create ulcers in the gums. Blood leaks out through those same ulcers the germs pass through into the underlying tissues. The bone senses the germs and breaks down. Now what began as gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, and periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss. So, where gingivitis in and of itself is no big deal, if you don’t take it seriously and start flossing, it will progress into something that is a big deal. So, which would you prefer, floss daily or one day experience gum surgery? Hmm, flossing sounds much better.  READ MORE

  • My tongue is white. Is this really bad?

    The white coating on your tongue could be as simple as a plaque build-up similar to what accumulates on your teeth following a meal. Do you ever brush your tongue? If not, you should. In fact, you should also brush the roof of your mouth and the insides of your cheeks to remove dead skin cells. Neal Nealis, DDS READ MORE

  • What can sensitive teeth mean?

    Sensitive teeth can mean many things. Assuming that you get your teeth checked and cleaned regularly you probably do not have cavities and your sensitivity is most likely related to your 'bite' in which case you would need an "occlusal adjustment". If you do not see a dentist regularly, then you might have cavities and be on the verge of needing a root canal, and if this is the case, get an examination immediately. READ MORE

  • What procedures require anesthesia at a dentist's office?

    Local anesthesia (shots) are used to prevent pain. No one likes to feel pain. Today's local anesthetics are extremely effective. General anesthesia where you are put to sleep can be used for more advanced surgical procedures like removing impacted wisdom teeth or surgically breaking and realigning a jawbone. READ MORE

  • Is a broken tooth a dental emergency?

    If you don't get that tooth restored, it will decay and become worse requiring more treatment and cost. If you play hockey, wear a mouthguard. READ MORE

  • How can I prevent tooth erosion?

    Tooth erosion can be a difficult problem. First, identify why the erosion is happening. Acid reflux? Aggressive brushing? Clenching the teeth? The treatment will depend upon the cause. READ MORE

  • Does an impacted tooth require surgery?

    If a tooth is impacted in the bone deeply enough, then often it does not require removal. You will need an x-ray and opinion from a dentist/oral surgeon. READ MORE

  • Why do I need to go to an oral surgeon for my tooth extraction?

    Wisdom teeth can be impacted in a variety of different ways. Some are more difficult to remove than others. An oral surgeon has the most experience at removing these difficult teeth. A general dentist is capable of removing the tooth, but he will take more time and your recovery will be more painful. READ MORE

  • If I have mild tooth pain, should I be going to the dentist?

    Sounds like you might have a cavity. You should visit a dentist twice yearly to prevent advanced problems. If you do have a cavity, it will get worse, damage more of the tooth and become much more costly to repair. If you do not have a cavity, then you need an "occlusal adjustment". READ MORE

  • Can a normal dentist replace my braces and filling?

    A general dentist can place braces; however not all general dentists have taken the advanced training necessary to provide this service. So check with the dentist and investigate his training and experience. READ MORE

  • How often should I be going to the dentist?

    The rule of thumb is to see the dentist twice a year. Some patients are more resistant to dental problems than others and once a year seems to be okay. Others need to be seen more often. One important consideration to remember is that as we age our bodies change, and where once a year visits are okay in the beginning, eventually more frequent visits become necessary due to aging. Exactly when your metabolism will change is impossible to predict. One thing is for certain having an extra visit yearly will do no harm. READ MORE

  • I grind my teeth while I sleep. Should I get a mouth guard?

    Grinding is nature's way of milling a better function in our teeth. It actually is a good thing; however when the grinding becomes excessive, you can cause damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues. Often an "occlusal adjustment" will eliminate the places on the teeth which are triggering the grinding. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes an adjustment isn't possible. Those are the people who need night guards. READ MORE

  • What should I do for a toothache?

    If you have a nasty toothache, it's nature's way of telling you something is seriously wrong. If you don't treat the tooth, the pain will probably get much worse. There are not any over-the-counter medications that will deal with this type of pain. READ MORE

  • When is a periodontist preferred over a dentist?

    Periodontists specialize in damaged bone surrounding the teeth which becomes the number one cause for tooth loss. If you have serious periodontal disease, you might want to see a periodontist before the bone loss becomes worse. READ MORE

  • How are overbites treated?

    Overbites are difficult to treat. Orthodontia can usually move the teeth to create a better appearance. If you go this route, you want to be sure that after the teeth move, they function properly in addition to just looking better. Make sure the dentist/orthodontist understands occlusion. Then once the overbite is corrected, you will need to wear a retainer the rest of your life. Discuss this with the dentist/orthodontist. READ MORE

  • Will asprin help my tooth pain?

    Something is causing the tooth pain. Nature is causing the pain because it is telling you that something is seriously wrong. Aspirin will help mask the symptoms but do nothing for the cause. The longer you wait to see a dentist, the greater chance that the problem becomes worse and more expensive to treat. Good luck. My advice is to see a dentist immediately. READ MORE

  • Is TMJ genetic?

    First of all let's get our terminology right. TMJ means "Temporomandibular Joint" and everyone has two of them; however when they don't function correctly, it's then termed Temporomandibular Dysfunction or TMD. The most frequent cause of TMD is an impact to the chin while the mouth is open, and the lower jaw bone (the Mandible) is forced backward stretching the ligaments that hold the joint tightly together. This will cause the joint to click which is a sign that it is damaged. Sometimes TMD is not really the joint but the muscles that control jaw movements, and this can be related to tooth position. This is easier to fix than damage in the joint. Tooth position can be genetic. Joint damage usually isn't genetic. READ MORE

  • Does bottle feed impact the teeth in a baby?

    Bottle feeding can damage the teeth if the baby eats too frequently after teeth have erupted because not only does the baby eat the food but so do all the germs in the mouth. If you feed the baby formula or milk four times daily and plain water the other times, the baby should be okay. READ MORE

  • What causes cold sores in a person?

    Cold sores are caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex. In the old days it was called the "kissing disease" because a parent with an ulcer would kiss a child and transfer the virus. The virus then becomes part of the nucleus of the skin cell, and when the cell divides, it also replicates the virus. Acyclovir is a medication designed to treat these infections. READ MORE

  • Why do I have a thick white coating on my tongue?

    Try brushing your tongue. Also tongue scrapers are available at pharmacies. READ MORE

  • Can antibiotics cause mouth ulcers?

    Antibiotics will not cause mouth ulcers. READ MORE

  • What is the best way to treat dry mouth?

    Dry mouth can be an enormous problem leading to rampant tooth decay. Make sure you get plenty of fluids and extra fluoride protection. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications and cancer therapies. As average age of the population increases, people are taking greater numbers of drugs and this side effect is becoming more common. Talk to your dentist. READ MORE

  • I have tooth loss at the age of 34. Is it normal?

    Definitely be concerned and see a periodontist immediately. You do not want to lose all your teeth by age 40. READ MORE

  • After a root canal do I need a follow up?,

    You should have a followup x-ray six months to a year after a root canal is completed. Also you should get a crown on the tooth ASAP to prevent it from cracking. READ MORE

  • My daughter's milk teeth have still not fallen. What is the normal age?

    This is probably a good thing. There is no way of predicting when primary teeth fall out, but the older the child, the more mature and capable of cleaning the permanent tooth replacement. READ MORE

  • My lower back teeth are starting to decay. What should I do?

    If you are feeling pain, then the decay is deep into the tooth and affecting the pulp which is in the core of the tooth. You need to first treat the cavities and then figure out why you are getting cavities. Cavities do not just happen. Frequently they are related to your diet, and how often you eat carbohydrates is very important. READ MORE

  • How can sore gums be treated?

    Treat sore gums with a thorough professional cleaning. At home use an electric tooth brush and floss daily. READ MORE

  • Every time I change my toothbrush, my gums bleed. Why?

    Soft brushes clean better than stiffer brushes unless you are over 90 years old. If you aren't also flossing, then the gums between the teeth can be infected because the brush cannot reach there. Floss at least every other day and see a dentist at least twice a year. READ MORE

  • Other than braces, is there a better way to close the gap between my teeth?

    Depending upon the size of the gap and the teeth you might be able to place some type of filling/veneer on the tooth to close the space. READ MORE

  • Are there any home remedies to treat gingivitis?

    Yes, a great way to treat gingivitis at home is with a brush and floss. You have to use both. The bleeding is nature's way of telling you something's wrong, and if you ignore the bleeding the infection will progress into the bone. When that happens, you then have serious trouble. Go see your dentist to determine if the bone is infected. READ MORE

  • How bad is teeth grinding?

    Grinding in our sleep is called "bruxing" or "bruxism". It's nature's way of milling a better bite. Our brain wants our teeth to fit together in a very specific way, and when it senses a flaw in the ideal fit, the brain instructs the muscles to chew away whatever is in the way. This is actually a good thing unless the grinding becomes excessive. Excessive bruxing can cause broken teeth, bone loss, headaches, sensitive teeth as well as other symptoms. So if you are grinding you should have your bite adjusted to polish away those tooth interferences and possibly wear a night guard. READ MORE

  • Are there any natural ways to whiten your teeth?

    The only way I have found to whiten the teeth is with custom trays made by a dentist. I have never found an over the counter alternative that is as effective or as safe. READ MORE

  • Mouth Ulcers Keep Coming Back

    You are talking about fever blisters or aphthous ulcers. I've heard that they are related to stress, caffeine, chocolate and nuts. READ MORE

  • I have a pain coming from my back tooth. What should I do?

    This could be a fractured tooth. It could be an infected pulp. It could be a deep cavity. You should see a dentist immediately before it becomes worse. READ MORE

  • Why does my dental filling keep coming off?

    Fillings come off when either there is not enough tooth structure remaining to hold the filling in place, when the adhesives are weak or there is something off in the bite (occlusion). READ MORE

  • I have halitosis. Is there a permanent solution to help with this?

    Check for post nasal drip. READ MORE

  • Is a root canal safe for a 3 year old?

    What the dentist means is a "pulpotomy" which is the equivalent of a root canal but on a baby tooth. Make sure you understand why the cavity happened in the first place. READ MORE

  • Can a cavity spread to the next tooth?

    A cavity will not spread, but whatever caused the cavity to happen in the first place can cause cavities on other teeth. Figure out what is causing your cavities and fix the cause. READ MORE

  • Fear of local anaesthetic allergy

    Allergies to local anesthetics are extremely rare and when the do occur, they are usually related to the preservative rather than to the anesthetic itself. For those people there is carbocaine which has no preservatives and no other additives. Unfortunately the numbing effect only lasts 30-60 minutes; so find a fast dentist if that is the route you take. READ MORE

  • I have a black stain on my tooth. How can I get it removed?

    It all depends upon what is causing the stain. You need to see a dentist and have him see it directly. READ MORE

  • I have some pain around the right side of my jawline. What could it be?

    Sounds like an abscess. Better get it checked out before you wind up in the hospital. READ MORE

  • How effective are sensitivity toothpastes in treating the problem?

    This all depends on what is causing the problem. If you have erosion/abrasion at the gum line then these dentifrices are quite effective. If you are grinding your teeth, then they aren't. READ MORE

  • Can mouthwashes cause erosion of teeth calcium?

    ADA approved mouthwashes will not damage your teeth. READ MORE

  • Is bad breath during cold and cough normal?

    The bad breath will be coming from post nasal drip. READ MORE

  • Will I have to be on a liquid diet post my oral surgery?

    Your diet will depend upon the type of surgery. Best to ask your surgeon. He should be well versed in how to handle post surgery care for diabetics. READ MORE

  • I am having excessive saliva secretion in my mouth. Does it mean an infection?

    Hmm, this is an unusual complaint and one that certainly will not enhance dating opportunities. Saliva includes proteins and minerals in addition to water. All of this is necessary to prevent tooth decay. So in exchange for this important social problem, you will have fewer cavities. A more common complaint is that people do not produce enough saliva. READ MORE

  • How is TMD diagnosed?

    This is a good question and I am glad that you recognize the term "TMD". TMD can involve either the joint or the muscles. If it's the muscles than they will be painful to pressure. If it is the joint, you will hear a clicking in mild cases and feel locking in advanced cases. Most people with mild TMD go through life without any significant complications. You really need to be examined by someone who understands TMD and how it is treated. READ MORE

  • What is the treatment for mouth ulcers?

    Mouth ulcers can be aphthous ulcers (fever blisters) or cold sores (herpes virus) and both are very painful. OTC medications simply do absolutely nothing other than provide a little numbing. A Biolase erbium soft laser will reduce the ulcer from two weeks to four days. Contact Biolase to see who in your area owns one. Also red laser pointers actually reduces duration of the ulcers. READ MORE

  • How long will I have to be on painkillers after a root canal?

    For most root canal procedures ibuprophen the day of treatment should be adequate. You well could feel mild discomfort for up to a week afterward. READ MORE

  • My baby is 7 months old and has 4 teeth. Should I use a brush to clean his teeth?

    Yes, absolutely clean those teeth! You want your baby growing up with an understanding that brushing AND flossing are important to good health. READ MORE

  • How does oil pulling help In maintaining clean teeth?

    It is absolute nonsense, but it will do no harm. Doesn't provide any benefit, but does no harm. READ MORE

  • How often should I get a cleaning for my teeth?

    Frequency of tooth cleanings varies with each patient. I have some patients who visit my office once a year while others are four times a year for cleanings. Those who come once yearly run the risk of their metabolism changing with age which will happen to us all at one age or another. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing exactly when your metabolism will change; so to be safe most people should honor the twice a year standard. READ MORE

  • What kind of foods should I avoid after a root canal surgery?

    Avoid anything that hurts to chew which is hard, firm foods. READ MORE

  • Is there a safe mouthwash for toddlers?

    If your toddler is brushing and flossing and not consuming carbohydrates between meals, the rinse probably is not necessary. A rinse without alcohol will not do harm, but isn't necessary. READ MORE

  • Can a tooth infection be the cause of my fever?

    If you let a cavity penetrate to the pulp in the core of the tooth, the germs will be carried throughout your body and can cause a fever. More important it can cause brain or heart infections. I've known this to happen to four different people, and one died at age 34 from an infection that started in her mouth. Don't mess around with tooth decay or gum disease. READ MORE

  • Is my digestive system responsible for mouth ulcers?

    Probably not, but if you are experiencing oral ulcers like Aphthous Ulcers or Cold Sores, then find a dentist with a soft tissue erbium laser such as the Biolase Ilase. It will lessen the ulcer from two weeks to four days. READ MORE

  • I have had a second root canal on the same tooth. Why?

    A canal was missed. Root canal specialists are more frequently offering CBCT cat scan type x-rays to help find secondary canals. I certainly would only visit a specialist who has that technology. READ MORE

  • Is delayed teething in kids normal?

    Later is better because the child will be older and better able to care for his teeth. The teeth will erupt when nature is ready, and not before. Don't worry. Also take your child for his first dental appointment around 18 months. READ MORE

  • How long does it take for the teeth to get alligned with braces?

    The duration of orthodontal care depends upon the type of movements necessary to align the teeth. If you do not like the idea of wearing braces, consider clear aligners such as Invisalign. READ MORE

  • How effective are natural remedies in treating a toothache?

    Natural remedies do not work at all unless there is a gaping hole. Pain is nature's way of telling you something's wrong. Go see a dentist before it becomes worse, and it can get much worse. READ MORE

  • Are herbal toothpastes good for dental health?

    When it comes to toothpastes, you want fluoride and flavor. You do not want excessive abrasion which could damage the teeth. I would stick with the major brands because they have spent so much time and expense researching the best ingredients. READ MORE

  • Why do I have a thick white coating on my tongue?

    I'm not completely sure why that coating develops though I see it often. You can control it by brushing your tongue and using a tongue scraper which is available at most pharmacies. READ MORE

  • What can I do for my bad breath?

    Bad breath is most often caused by post nasal drip. This means it is a problem for an allergist more than for a dentist. You seem to be doing all the right things from a dental perspective. Have a physician check you for allergies. READ MORE

  • After my tooth extraction, I have swelling in my face. Is it normal?

    Some swelling is normal following removal of wisdom teeth. You can use cold packs, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. If it lasts more than a day or two, is getting worse or if there is pain, call your doctor immediately. READ MORE

  • Can water cause my teeth to discolor?

    Water will not discolor your teeth. Assuming they have been recently professionally cleaned, the discoloration was probably there and you are just now noticing. Speak to a dentist about whitening options. READ MORE

  • Is bad breath a sign of an underlying infection?

    Bad breath is most often a sign of post nasal drip. READ MORE

  • What can I do to maintain my dental implants?

    The care for dental implants is very important. Clean daily with an electric toothbrush (two minutes), floss and use a mouthrinse containing chlorhexidine (hold in mouth two minutes before spitting out). Visit your hygienist four times yearly and have x-rays taken of the implants annually. READ MORE

  • My gums are turning blackish-pink. Is this something that comes with aging?

    If your gums are changing color be sure to visit your dentist and get checked for gum disease. READ MORE

  • My 3 year old daughter grinds her teeth. Is this okay?

    Tooth grinding is nature's way of creating a better bite. The 3 year old will have baby teeth which if damaged will be replaced by the permanent teeth later on. READ MORE

  • Why are my dentures not setting right?

    Certainly see your provider. Either the fit isn't right or the occlusion (the bite) is off. Dr. Neal READ MORE

  • Is thumb sucking bad for my child's teeth?

    Time to stop the habit unless you want expensive orthodontal bills later on. Try putting boxing gloves on her hands at bed time or soak her thumb in something that is bad tasting like pickle juice. READ MORE

  • What causes bad breath in a toddler?

    This is probably post nasal drip. READ MORE

  • How can I prevent tooth decay?

    Tooth decay most often develops from eating carbohydrates too often between meals. At meal time they are okay, but not in between. Also get the fissures sealed on the back teeth. READ MORE

  • Can I give my child Tylenol for a toothache?

    Tylenol should be okay, but certainly make an appointment with a dentist. READ MORE

  • My daughter occasionally eats candy. Will this damage her teeth?

    Eating candy as a dessert at the end of a meal is okay. Eating any carbohydrate between meals is risky, even fruits. READ MORE

  • Every time I get a new toothbrush, my gums end up bleeding. Is there something wrong?

    Are you flossing? The tooth brush only cleans half the tooth. Floss cleans the other half. READ MORE

  • Is an electric toothbrush good for your teeth?

    Electric toothbrushes are absolutely fantastic and enormously better than manual toothbrushes. READ MORE

  • Is tooth pain normal during pregnancy?

    If you are pregnant, your hormones will be raging. Good luck with that! The germs that attack your surrounding bone will be particularly damaging; so flossing and extra professional cleanings are extra important. READ MORE

  • My son is complaining of tooth pain, but is very afraid of the dentist. What should I do?

    Take him to the dentist. READ MORE

  • I think I have oral thrush. What does this usually look like?

    Oral thrush looks like a white patch on the tongue or cheeks. It is easily peeled off. It usually attacks those with compromised immune systems. READ MORE

  • Why are my father's gums swollen?

    He might have gum disease. Get him to a dentist ASAP. READ MORE

  • I never grew out of my buck teeth. What should I do?

    See a dentist who performs Invisalign. Preferably visit an orthodontist. You certainly cannot go through life without smiling. Fixing your buck teeth will absolutely change your life. Do it today! READ MORE

  • What health precautions do dentist take?

    Good question. In my office my team and I change gloves between all patients. After patient care we wipe down all surfaces with a disinfectant. Suction tips and air syringe tips are disposed. Instruments and drills are sterilized with heat under pressure which gets all of the germs, both bacteria and viruses. Most dentists are germ conscious. This should not be a concern. READ MORE

  • What are the side effects of teeth whitening?

    Whitening will not cause permanent damage to your teeth. At worst they might become temporarily hypersensitive. If that happens, then stop whitening for a night or two and then use the whitening gels for less time. READ MORE

  • Can eating ice harm my teeth?

    Good question. I'm a dentist and I have cracked two teeth because of ice. One needed a root canal. The other needed a crown. I have stopped chewing ice. READ MORE

  • Does a wisdom tooth need to be removed?

    Wisdom teeth do not always need to be removed. A dentist can tell you if there is enough room for the tooth and if it is erupting upright. From his x-rays he should be able to answer your question. READ MORE

  • I had pulpectomy on my lower left tooth. It still hurts. What should I do?

    Might be some nerve tissue left behind. If so, the procedure needs repeating. Also you might be experiencing a normal post treatment sensitivity. Best to call your dentist. READ MORE

  • I am a 27 years old, and one my adult teeth still hasn't come in. What happens now?

    Some teeth do not form. Others erupt on an angle and get hung up on adjacent teeth. Have your dentist take an x-ray to see what is causing your problem. READ MORE

  • What age do baby teeth usually fall out?

    Exfoliation of baby teeth is quite variable. The average is at age six the lower two front teeth go first and the first permanent molars erupt way in the back. However this varies greatly. READ MORE

  • My daughter's filled cavity is causing her pain again. What should I do?

    She might have an infected pulp deep in the center of the tooth. A dentist can decide whether to remove the tooth or do a pulpotomy. More importantly find out why she got the cavity in the first place and modify her diet. READ MORE

  • My baby has been diagnosed with nursing bottle caries. What is it?

    Nursing bottle caries refers to extensive tooth decay on multiple teeth. It is caused by over consumption of carbohydrates. It isn't the quantity of carbs that are consumed but how often because between meals teeth actually heal themselves and interfering with the healing process will result in cavities. When it comes to carbohydrates, even healthy foods can cause damage if taken too often during the day, including fruits, dairy, breads and starches. READ MORE

  • Can two root canals on the same tooth be a problem?

    Lucky you! Two root canals on a single tooth in itself should not be a problem. READ MORE

  • I have a gap between my two teeth. Why?

    You need to determine why the gap is there. Are the teeth too small? Is one jaw growing faster than another? You might want to visit an orthodontist. Closing the gap can be done with either braces or with addition of tooth colored materials to the teeth to make them wider. Every situation is different. READ MORE

  • How can I select the best toothpaste for my teeth?

    Toothpastes. They make your mouth taste better and they deliver fluoride which helps fight cavities. However the actual mechanical action of brushing and flossing is far more important in cavity prevention than toothpaste. However when choosing a toothpaste, get one that is low abrasive and contains fluoride. Also get the one that tastes best. READ MORE

  • When can I get braces?

    You do not necessarily need to wait for baby teeth to exfoliate before getting braces. Have an orthodontist take a look. READ MORE

  • How often should a 7-year-old go to the dentist?

    Usually twice yearly. READ MORE

  • My daughter fell and broke her front two teeth. What should we do?

    You need to see a dentist right away. She might need sedation if she is that afraid. Good luck. READ MORE

  • Why do I feel sensitivity even after a root canal?

    Root canal procedures are a minor form of surgery. During the process sometimes debris is forced through the tip of the root and into the bone. Your body will clean this up through a process which will include some internal swelling which you perceive as sensitivity. Unless there are germs involved, this sensitivity should subside soon. READ MORE

  • I can feel a certain pressure on my gums. What could it be?

    This could be gum disease. It could be an abscess. It could be too stiff a brush bristle. You should get this checked out by a dentist. READ MORE

  • I had three of my crooked teeth extracted and they won't stop bleeding. What should I do?

    A good way to slow bleeding is to bite on a tea bag. Tea has properties that lessen bleeding. Also your mouth will taste better. READ MORE

  • What is the life of a dental implant?

    Most dental implants will last a lifetime, but they do need regular maintenance. READ MORE

  • How do you know when you need a dental crown?

    You will get a crown when there isn't enough tooth structure left to support a filling. Best to prevent problems than it is to restore damaged teeth whenever possible. READ MORE

  • After my oral surgery I got mouth sores. What could cause this?

    The stress of the procedure could have stimulated fever blisters. Ouch. READ MORE

  • Can braces cause injury?

    Braces will not cause injury unless you impact your mouth on something hard. Do you play contact sports? You will have some discomfort the first day or two, but not much beyond that. You will not have your mouth numbed unless you elect to include an accelerated tooth procedure such as Propel. READ MORE

  • What is the earliest age someone can get braces?

    This is a difficult question to answer because the timing of braces depends so much upon the problem and the development of the dentition. Have your child examined by an orthodontist. Perhaps he can recommend something that will shorten the time and lessen the cost of treatment. READ MORE

  • Help! I'm away on vacation and a filling fell out of my tooth.

    Go to a pharmacy and in the dental section you will find temporary filling material. They are easy to administer and work quite well. READ MORE

  • One of my incisors is longer than the other. I'm ready to fix this, but how?

    The solution to uneven front teeth really depends upon why the teeth are uneven. Without understanding the 'why', the treatment well could relapse over time. READ MORE

  • My dentist told me I need a bridge. What is the process of getting a bridge?

    A bridge is made by shaping the teeth for crowns which are adjacent to the space created by the lost tooth. Crowns are then made with a false tooth connecting them together. The multiple teeth together are called a bridge and will bridge over the space created by the lost tooth. READ MORE

  • I'm terrified about having my wisdom teeth pulled! Can I request general anesthesia?

    You can have general anesthesia. Whether the surgeon administers the anesthesia or hires an anesthesiologist, depends upon the surgeon and his training. READ MORE

  • My son is having a cavity filled. Will he need anesthesia?

    If he doesn't like pain, and who does like pain, then get anesthesia. The first rule in my office is "no pain". My patients like not having pain. READ MORE

  • Can I get anesthesia two times in a time gap of just one month?

    No problem having local anesthesia twice in a month. You might research why you are in need of the root canal; so that it doesn't happen to other teeth. READ MORE

  • Can extreme gingivitis be life threatening?

    Gingivitis is caused by germs, and these germs cause ulcers to form in the gums. Blood can escape through these ulcers causing bleeding gums and mouth odor, but moreimportantly the germs can penetrate through the same ulcers, get into the blood stream and set up shop anywhere in the body. I've personally known three people who developed brain infections from oral germs, one died, and another person who developed a heart infection. Maybe flossing and getting teeth cleaned regularly is more important than you realized? READ MORE

  • In a fall, my tooth broke off in half. How can this be fixed?

    Ouch! How horrible fracturing your front tooth! The restoration of this tooth involves many options. Depending upon how much tooth was lost, a crown or a veneer will be the best long term option and look the most natural. If you decide to go this route, as the dentist to see photographs of previously made anterior restorations. Matching the color for a single tooth can be difficult and require a dentist with some expertise. Though most durable, these types of restoration will also come with the greater initial cost because of the lengthy process. It will last indefinitely making long term costs cost effective, but initial expense will be significantly greater. If cost is the primary concern, then have the tooth restored with composite which is primarily acrylic plastic. It is easier to apply, will cost less initially but will not last long term eventually requiring its replacement. So long term costs are greater and appearance is not as excellent. READ MORE

  • Are teeth whitening toothpastes actually good?

    Over the past forty years I've had patients use all the available methods for whitening teeth. I have not been impressed with any whitening toothpaste. Over the counter whitening aids are also not very effective. For that matter "power whitening" methods which are done in a single visit by a dentist also are very transient and the original color returns in a few weeks. For best results and longevity I have found that custom fitting whitening trays made by a dentist with a carbamide peroxide gel applied at home works the best. READ MORE

  • The food gets stuck often in my braces. What is the best way to keep them clean?

    This is a great question. You have probably found by now that flossing is impossible. This is the one time that I would recommend a WaterPic over floss. READ MORE

  • Are mouthwashes safe for kids?

    Mouthwashes are safe for kids so long as they are not swallowing large quantities. Many washes are predominantly alcohol; so check the label for ingredients. If you are concerned about preventing cavities, then more important is to brush thoroughly, floss a few times weekly, AVOID carbohydrates between meals and see a dentist regularly. READ MORE

  • What is dentalveolar surgery?

    Dentalveolar surgery involves removal of a small amount of bone hiding an impacted tooth. READ MORE

  • I need a bite alignment procedure. What is this?

    Sounds like you have a good dentist and oral surgeon. There is a very specific way that nature wants our teeth to contact with one another, both when biting straight down and when sliding the jaw side to side. Interferences in the bite can cause a whole host of problems. I adjust bites often and 90% of the time my patient looks at me and says their bite feels "better". READ MORE

  • I have small boils developing around my gums. What could they be?

    These boils are probably abscesses. You'd better see your dentist before the infections travels to another part of your body like your brain or heart. READ MORE

  • The spaces between my teeth is increasing. What could be causing it?

    Gaps develop later in life for a variety of reasons. If you have lost teeth, even back teeth, then the tooth contacts will not be stable and gaps can develop. Also after puberty our jaw bones continue to grow at around a millimeter per year. The upper and lower bones do not necessarily grow at the same rate which will create a need for either gaps or crowding. READ MORE

  • Can spicy food cause mouth ulcers?

    You are probably referring to aphthous ulcers or fever blisters. I've read that they are stimulated by stress, nuts, caffeine or chocolate. Not heard anything about spicy foods. READ MORE

  • What foods should I avoid with braces?

    Avoid nuts and firm foods like steak. You don't want the brackets popping off and requiring additional trips to the dentist. READ MORE

  • Would anesthesia be used during my root canal?

    I would definitely recommend local anesthetics where the tooth is put to sleep. Otherwise you could experience excruciating pain. With anesthetics you will have no pain at all. READ MORE

  • Is it possible for my braces to become loose?

    If they are loose, you will probably feel some movement in the brackets. Teeth will feel tight when braces are first adjusted, but as the teeth move, the tightness will go away. READ MORE

  • Should I get Invisalign?

    This is a complicated question. First what about your smile do you not like? Is it crowding, gaps, tooth color or tooth proportions? Invisalign will help with crowding, gaps and proportions. Color change can be accomplished by placing whitening gels in the Invisalign aligners. If the problem is tooth proportion, then Invisalign could be used in conjunction with veneers. If you do do Invisalign, be sure to get your bite adjusted at the end of treatment. It is often omitted but very important. READ MORE

  • My son cracked his tooth and won't get if fixed. Are there any risks?

    Cracked teeth expose the layer of tooth beneath the enamel called dentin. The dentin can develop tooth decay and it can allow germs to penetrate into the core of the tooth and infect the pulp requiring the need for root canal therapy. Your son should see a dentist immediately and get a first hand opinion. READ MORE

  • Does a teeth whitening have long-lasting effects?

    This is a good question. Some teeth whitening methods are not long lasting. However I have found the best long term results from having a dentist make custom fitting trays and apply whitening gels at home. This benefit should last for years. READ MORE

  • How do I know if I need a root canal?

    Root canals are done when the pulp in the center of the tooth becomes infected. You might feel pain or have swelling in the gums above the tooth. However you might not have any symptoms at all, but a dentist will be able to take an x-ray to see if there are any infections in the bone. Best to find a dentist who does not scare you and prevent dental problems. Prevention is healthier and cheaper in the long run. READ MORE

  • Do cavities ever need to be refilled?

    Cavities can be filled with a variety of materials, but basically there are the direct and indirect materials. Direct materials include silver amalgam and its tooth colored composite which is primarily acrylic plastic. They are placed in a single visit making them relatively cheap in the short term but on the average last only nine years making them expensive in the long term. Indirect restorations are gold and its tooth colored alternative ceramic. These are more difficult and time consuming to make but they last indefinitely, especially gold. Therefore the initial cost and health benefits are greater but the long term cost is less. READ MORE

  • Will my increased sugar levels cause a problem to treat my gum disease?

    High sugar levels will be greatly related to healing gums and bone. More importantly you are at risk of diabetes. Maybe best to reduce the intake of carbohydrates before things get worse. READ MORE

  • I need surgery on two impacted wisdom teeth. How long is the recovery after this procedure?

    A week should be enough, but as with any surgery if complications happen, healing could take longer. READ MORE

  • I have had 6 root canals in the past. I need another one now. Why is this?

    You should find a dentist who emphasizes prevention. In my practice I go through entire weeks without finding a single cavity on patients of record. Most dentists do not emphasize prevention, and I think that is wrong because there is nothing that I can put into your teeth that is better than what you were born with making prevention so very important and healthier. READ MORE

  • One of my molars is severely worn down. Can this be repaired?

    It can be repaired, but first find out why it wore done and address the cause rather than just treating the symptom. You don't want other teeth to also wear down. Find a dentist who understands Occlusion. READ MORE

  • One of my front teeth is shorter than the other. How to fix?

    Hmm, this is a tricky question because unless you determine why the tooth is shorter, then any attempt to align the lengths will relapse. See your dentist and get a first hand opinion. READ MORE

  • Should I go for teeth cleanings more often?

    Cleanings help prevent cavities, but there are more important things that you should be doing to prevent them. I seldom find cavities in patients of record in my practice. First of all do not eat carbohydrates between meals including fruits, breads, dairy and starches. You can eat nuts and veggies. Also floss at least every other day and use an electric tooth brush. If you haven't already, then get sealants on back teeth which have not yet decayed. Lastly find a dentist who emphasized these ideas as well as other forms of prevention. At your rate you will live to 100 but your teeth won't. READ MORE

  • My front tooth just cracked. How can it be fixed?

    How you repair your front tooth depends upon the size of the crack, how long you want the repair to last, how good you want the repair to look and how much you are willing to spend on treatment. There are so many options that you really should visit a dentist and ask to see photographs of past front teeth that have been restored. READ MORE

  • I have some back teeth missing. Should I consider dental implants?

    You absolutely should consider implants before your teeth shift and the bone deteriorates. You don't have forever to get the implants placed. READ MORE

  • Can my silver fillings be replaced with white fillings?

    Here is the deal with silver fillings. They do a great job restoring a tooth for nine years on the average and then fall apart. Their tooth colored composite fillings look better but are no more durable. They each cost about the same which is reasonably inexpensive in the short term, but because they don't last long term, they both become expensive in the long term both in terms of cost and in terms of health. Indirect restorations, gold and ceramic, cost more in the short term but last indefinitely making them both healthier and less costly in the long term. READ MORE

  • Is gum disease hereditary?

    Yes, when it comes to periodontitis (gum disease), genetics is enormously important. However more than half of the population has periodontitis and it is the leading cause of tooth loss. For that reason everyone should assume that they are prone to this damaging disease and take preventive precautions to protect their oral health. Of the most important preventive methods do the following: 1. visit a dentist at least once a year and get a periodontal probing done 2. use an electric toothbrush 3. floss at least every other day 4. have a dentist examine your teeth for occlusal interferences. 5. Absolutely do not use tobacco products. There are other things to do, but these are the most important. Remember that we are expected to live to 100, and to have teeth in our old age, we must care for them when we are young. READ MORE

  • I wear dentures. My gums are aching! What can I do?

    Dear denture wearer, Your sore gums may be caused by a variety of problems and to receive the correct care you should visit a dentist who makes dentures. The most frequent cause for soreness is ill-fitting dentures. As we age, our jaw bones remodel, and dentures which at one time fit correctly can often need adjustments or replacement. The average denture lasts five years. If the dentures were never comfortable, then either there are pressure spots that press harder and need to be relieved or the teeth are not in harmony. This harmony is called “occlusion“ and can be difficult to refine but ever so important. This is where a more knowledgeable dentist can be valuable. I hope this helps and good luck. Dr. Neal READ MORE

  • Is root canal the only way to treat a tooth cavity?

    This is a complicated answer because root canals do not treat cavities. Let me explain the parts of a tooth. What you see is an enamel shell. The enamel shell is supported by dentin which is similar to enamel in hardness; however is filled with fluid filled tubules which are intended to transfer nutrients from the core of the tooth. When germs get into the dentin they damage the tooth eight times faster than when they were localized only in the enamel. For that reason decay is 'watched' by a dentist when in enamel or perhaps treated with a sealant to prevent further penetration. When it is deemed through the enamel and into the dentin, it then is treated with a filling which can be of a variety of materials which is a whole discussion of its own. The core of the tooth is the pulp which involves the center of the tooth and canals which extend down the center of the roots into the bone. Blood vessels and nerves are in the pulp. When germs penetrate completely through the dentin and infect the pulp, then there are two infections. One in the dentin and the other in the pulp. A 'root canal' treats the infected pulp. A filling treats the infected dentin. Best to see a dentist regularly and prevent decay from penetrating into the pulp. READ MORE

  • Does yellow teeth ever mean tooth decay?

    Teeth derive their yellow coloring from the dentin which lies beneath and supports the enamel protective shell. Tooth decay is usually more grey than the enamel, not yellow; however often it is the same color and can only be detected with an x-ray or diagnostic laser instrument. READ MORE

  • What are the different ways of filling in the oral cavity?

    These are great questions. First fillings come in many varieties. If you are going to have them filled in one session, then your dentist probably is planning on using a direct material such as composite which is predominantly acrylic plastic with porcelain powders for color and strength. These types of direct fillings last on average nine years. Indirect fillings which are either gold or ceramic are more difficult and expensive to place; however can last a lifetime making them less expensive and more healthy in the long term. I always explain the difference to my patients and let them choose which they prefer. For myself and my family I always use indirect materials because they are better for my health and I do not then redrill the same tooth every nine years. As for your second question regarding anesthetic, in my practice the number one rule is "no pain". My patients do not like to feel pain; so we put the tooth to 'sleep' with an anesthetic. Then while it is taking a little nap we clean out the decay and place a filling painlessly. As for you, you have to ask yourself how much do you dislike pain. READ MORE

  • Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

    This is a good question and you will find many different opinions on the need to remove wisdom teeth. Most important are how are they impacted and where are they relative to the next tooth forward, the second molar. You do not want to keep the wisdom teeth if there is a chance that they will lead to damage in the second molars later on. READ MORE

  • How do I care for my dental implants?

    This is an excellent question and one that many dentists couldn't answer! Dental implants are different from natural teeth in how they attach to the bone. Due to this difference their care also varies. One certainty is that because of the expense and time of this investment, you do not want to ever lose this implant. Here is what I've learned over the years regarding postoperative care. Have the implants cleaned by an hygienist four times yearly. Have x-rays taken of the implants yearly. Use an antibiotic mouthrinse daily and hold it in your mouth for two to three minutes, three is better. The standard of care for antibiotic mouthrinses is Chlorhexidine but chlorhexidine can leave an unlightly surface stain on the teeth. Tooth and Gum Tonic is also excellent for killing germs and does not leave that stain. Have the implant examined by a dentist twice yearly. READ MORE

  • How are crossbites treated?

    Great question. Crossbites can be treated before age 12 by expanding the bones as they grow. After age 12 this expansion process is highly unpredictable with a high percentage of relapse. The amount of bone on the outer side of the implant is a huge consideration, and it can be evaluated by having a CBCT type xray taken. READ MORE

  • Can my braces ever rust?

    Braces are made of stainless steel. They do not rust. READ MORE

  • Are ayurvedic toothpastes better than flouride?

    Nothing is better than fluoride in preventing cavities. READ MORE

  • How often can I use a mouthwash in a day?

    Bad breath is often caused by either postnasal drip or bleeding gums. Mouthwash will mask the odor but not address the cause. Better to address the cause. READ MORE

  • Are there any natural treatments for oral thrush?

    Oral thrush most often affects people with compromised immune systems. The only treatment that I am aware of is oral anti-fungal medications. READ MORE

  • Can flossing causes spaces between my teeth?

    Flossing will not cause spacing between your teeth and is essential for healthy gums. Floss at least every other day, preferably daily. Enormously important. READ MORE

  • How do I reduce plaque buildup?

    Plaque forms when sugars bond to proteins in the saliva. Sugars come from any carbohydrate including dairy products, fruits, grains and starches. Eat low carbohydrate foods between meals such as nuts, veggies and meats will reduce both plaque and cavities. READ MORE

  • How long does one need dental bridges?

    A dental bridge will replace a lost tooth, and you will need to have that tooth replaced for your lifetime. READ MORE

  • Why do I have a metallic taste in my mouth?

    Several possible conditions can cause a metallic taste. The most common is related to not enough brushing and/or flossing. Poor oral hygiene will lead to bleeding gums, and the blood has a high iron content. Other than that some prescription drugs and vitamins can cause such a taste. READ MORE

  • Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist G4 implants

    G4 is a brand of implants. Any implant will support a prosthesis. I'm not familiar with the G4 brand as I typically only use the more common implant types. My concern with any immediate loaded implant system is over stressing the implant and causing the supporting bone to break down. All of my All on 4 procedures have been done is stages where the patient wears a denture while the bone heals to the implant. So far I have not lost an implant. READ MORE

  • My wisdom teeth haven't come in. Is this normal?

    Wisdom teeth can erupt at any age. More often they are impacted on an angle where they grow into the next tooth forward and stop there. Depending upon their proximity to the surface will determine whether they need to be removed. Best to have a dentist take x-rays to see just where they are. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones and were born without wisdom teeth. READ MORE

  • My teeth are suddenly sensitive. What caused it?

    There are many causes for intermittent tooth sensitivity; however the most common cause is grinding of our teeth in our sleep, a process termed 'bruxing'. When we grind our teeth in our sleep we generate enormous forces which rock the teeth side to side in the bone. The delicate nerves get caught in between and can be sensitive during the day. Best to have a dentist check your bite and if necessary perform an occlusal adjustment. READ MORE

  • Can I replace my silver fillings with a different substance?

    Silver fillings and their tooth colored alternative, acrylic composite, are the most common types of 'direct' filling material. They are placed in one visit and last around 9 years on the average. They are relatively inexpensive in the short term because they can be placed so quickly. However when they need replacement nine years later, the damage and subsequent filling will be larger and deeper. Restore a tooth often enough and it will break or the nerve will become involved requiring a root canal. The long term solution is with 'indirect' restorations which include gold or its tooth colored counterpart ceramic. These materials will last indefinitely but are harder and more time consuming to create. This makes the short term costs more expensive but the long term less expensive. Most important not having to repeatedly drill the same tooth will be far more healthier for the tooth in a lifetime. READ MORE

  • My tooth is cracked, can it heal itself?

    Cracked teeth cannot be healed like a broken bone. Depending upon the location of the crack the tooth can either be covered with a crown or it may need removal and replacement. To determine the best course of care will require a visit to the dentist. READ MORE

  • My crown fell out. What should I do to protect?

    Best to try and get to the dentist ASAP to prevent the problem from becoming worse. No one likes getting root canals. If you absolutely can't get to a dentist immediately, then keep it as clean as possible and chew on the other side. READ MORE

  • My son grinds his teeth. What can you do to help him?

    Grinding of teeth is misunderstood as a bad thing. It isn't. Nature wants our teeth to fit and function in a very specific way. When they don't meet quite right, our brain is programmed to tell the muscles to grind away whatever is interfering with ideal contact. It's nature's way of doing its own dentistry. If it continues into the permanent teeth, then a dentist should be consulted to reshape the teeth with gentle forces using a process termed "occlusal adjustment". READ MORE

  • I have really bad breath, even though I brush and floss. What could be causing it?

    Try brushing your tongue, cheeks and inside of your lips. If that doesn't help see a physician to determine if you have post nasal drip. READ MORE

  • Can my abscess go away on its own?

    An abscess will not go away on its own. Until you get it treated it will be pumping dangerous germs into your blood stream. People have died from this. See a dentist ASAP. READ MORE

  • My daughter's braces are too tight. Is there anything I can do?

    There isn't anything you can do to lighten the forces of the braces. If it's been a few weeks and they are still too tight, you should notify the dentist/orthodontist because moving teeth too fast can damage the roots. READ MORE

  • Are there any medicated pastes for gum health?

    Medicated toothpastes for gum health are of limited benefit. For healthy gums flossing, use of an electric tooth brush and regular cleanings by a dental hygienist are usually essential. Gum disease is the number one cause for tooth loss. Better to prevent it than to let it develop and try to reverse it. Prevention is less expensive too. READ MORE

  • Is it necessary to brush my 2 and a half year old's teeth twice per day?

    Try making tooth brushing into a game. Let your daughter first brush your teeth, and then brush hers. You can also let her floss your teeth and then floss hers. READ MORE

  • Is a baking soda rinse safe for my teeth?

    Baking soda is overly emphasized. You need to floss at least every other day. You need to brush daily, preferably with an electric tooth brush - it makes an enormous difference. You need to see a dental hygienist twice a year. This will be good to prevent gum disease in most people. READ MORE

  • How do I know if I have an infection in my gums or teeth?

    Infections in teeth or gums usually hurt; however sometimes tooth infections are painless. If you have an infection, you need to resolve it immediately because it could become life threatening. Have your teeth checked by a dentist including full mouth x-rays. READ MORE

  • Are there any home remedies to treat dry mouth?

    Dry mouth can lead to rampant tooth decay. I've recently had to remove all of a patient's upper teeth and make a full denture because of this problem. Biotene has a popular product to rinse with. Using a prescription tooth paste with a high fluoride concentration will help prevent decay. Also your hygienist can provide fluoride treatments. READ MORE

  • What are the signs of mouth cancer?

    Mouth cancer can be either a lump or an ulcer that does not go away. Don't wait on getting this examined because early detection is critical to success. When the lesion grows to a size greater than a marble, the survival rates drop dramatically. If you think you have mouth cancer, get it checked immediately by an oral surgeon. READ MORE

  • What could be the reason for my mouth ulcers?

    Mouth ulcers develop for a variety of reasons. Aphthous ulcers (fever blisters) are quite painful and are related to stress, nuts, chocolate and caffeine. READ MORE

  • How is an overbite fixed?

    Overbites can be complicated and they are not all the same. I tend to agree with the opinion that overbites happen because of trauma to the jaw joint from a fall as a child. The lower jaw then does not grow to its full size creating the over bite. Orthodontics can usually make things much better, but wearing some form of retainer lifetime is typically necessary. Go see a good orthodontist and get a professional opinion. READ MORE

  • Are there any quick remedies to remove stains from my teeth?

    There are a multitude of whitening systems and over they years I've tried them all. What works best is having a dentist make whitening trays. Bleaching gels (carbamide peroxide) is then placed in the tray and the tray is inserted over the teeth. It is worn from two to eight hours daily for ten to fourteen sessions. This should work great for tobacco and coffee stains. READ MORE

  • What causes tooth abscess?

    Tooth abscesses are usually caused by germs that get deep into the pulp of a tooth. When that happens a battle begins between the germ and the immune system. The stronger of the two wins. If it's the germ, then the inside of the tooth becomes a breeding ground for the germ which escape through the tiny hole at the tip of the root where the nerves and blood vessels once entered. The immune system then comes in to fight this infection which has now extended to the bone. Odds are that the germ wins that battle also. If you don't treat it, it will get into your blood stream and set up infections elsewhere like in your brain or heart. Best to get it treated by a trained professional ASAP. READ MORE

  • Is tooth extraction safe for people with diabetes?

    Diabetics can safely have teeth extracted, but extra precautions are indicated. First of all get the diabetes under control. Then have a well trained oral surgeon treat the tooth. He will know what precautions to take. READ MORE

  • My tooth just chipped. Will it have to be extracted?

    That all depends on the size and angle of the chip. You will have to let a trained dentist actually see the break first hand to determine the best course of care. READ MORE

  • I am not very happy with my new dentures. Can they be modified?

    Dentures can be tricky to fabricate and making them is far more difficult than what some dentists think. If they are uncomfortable, they can be adjusted. There are either pressure points in the plastic that press too hard causing ulcers. Those are easy to fix. Also there might be a high spot in the teeth that interferes with proper function. This can be adjusted but is more difficult to identify. Either way a licensed dentist should be able to handle it. READ MORE

  • Why does my son have pain in his gums?

    Maybe teeth are erupting? First permanent molars and permanent central incisors erupt at age 6. READ MORE

  • What could be the reason for my jaw stiffness?

    Jaw stiffness is often caused by night time grinding (bruxism). This is fixed most often through a process termed "occlusal adjustment". Every dentist is taught how to perform this process, but it does not make complete sense when they are students, and to fully understand it often requires additional training following dental school. Four years is not enough education for some problems. You can get names of dentists in your area who have additional training by contacting academies such as the Dawson Academy or the Pankey Institute. READ MORE

  • Can the yellow stains on my teeth be reversed?

    If your stains are from food or tobacco, they are easily removed by at home bleaching systems. The ones offered by dentists are far more effective than over the counter systems, though they will also cost more per application. If the stains are deep within the tooth, a porcelain veneer may be necessary to cover the front of the tooth and hide the stain beneath. READ MORE

  • How can I treat cold sores in my child?

    Cold sores are caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex. It lives within the nucleus of a skin cell and when the cell divides it replicates the virus. It has been called the "Kissing Disease" because often a mother who has an ulcer will kiss her child and transmit the virus which is highly contagious. There are medications such as acyclovir which are somewhat effective. Best to discuss with a dentist. READ MORE

  • How is oral thrush treated?

    Thrush is an over growth of a fungus in the mouth. 40% of the population has this fungus in their mouths at all times. Overgrowth typically occurs in people with compromised immune systems such as the very young or very old. There are antifungal medications which can be prescribed by your dentist. READ MORE

  • What is the best treatment for mouth ulcers?

    Treatment of mouth ulcers varies depending upon the cause of the ulcer. Have the ulcer examined by a dentist and get the appropriate treatment. READ MORE

  • How can I make the process of losing teeth easier for my son?

    Hmm, you might try changing his psychological perspective by making it sound like tooth loss is a good thing. Perhaps emphasize that it is a sign of him growing up, or that his permanent stronger teeth will come in to replace the delicate baby teeth. READ MORE

  • What are the early signs of dental trouble?

    I'm not sure that the jaw pain and the bleeding are signs of the same problem. The bleeding is probably a sign of gum disease. Get that checked and treated before you lose your teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of gum disease. Easier to prevent than to treat. But if you don't either prevent or treat it, you will lose your teeth. READ MORE

  • When should I consider getting dental implants?

    Get dental implants when you lose teeth. A dentist or oral surgeon will be able to tell whether you have the right amount and density of bone to receive an implant. READ MORE

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

    Depends upon how badly the teeth are chipped and which teeth are involved. He will start losing his central incisors at age 6. Have a dentist take a look and x-ray to get the best answer. READ MORE

  • Why does my breath smell even after brushing my teeth and using mouthwash?

    You might have post nasal drip. Try brushing your tongue and cheeks. If that doesn't help, then see an allergist. READ MORE

  • Does a charcoal toothpaste really work?

    It's nonsense. READ MORE

  • Why does my 5 year old daughter keep getting cavities?

    This is a great question. I have answered it so many times these past forty years that I made a public service video which can be found on my website. Cavities don't just happen. They are caused by eating carbohydrates too frequently. Between meals our teeth absorb calcium to replace what was lost during the meal. Interfering too often with this healing process will lead to cavities. The two keys are: 1)understanding that it is the frequency of eating carbohydrates that is more important than the quantity and 2) understanding that all fruits, grains, dairy and starches comprise carbohydrates. Snack on nuts and veggies instead of crackers and fruit. READ MORE

  • Can teeth whitening strips damage your enamel?

    The whitening strips will not damage the enamel. READ MORE

  • What can I do about my sensitive teeth?

    Have your occlusion (bite) checked and adjusted by a dentist who understands occlusion. READ MORE

  • What can be done for chipped tooth?

    Chipped teeth will require various remedies depending upon the size and location of the chip. When it comes to cost you have to weigh price versus durability. A $400 fix that lasts five years will eventually become more expensive than a $1500 fix that lasts a lifetime. READ MORE

  • I have tooth sensitivity but no cavities. What could be the reason?

    It's probably in your bite (occlusion). Find a dentist who can adjust your bite with what is termed an occlusal adjustment. READ MORE

  • How long will a teeth whitening treatment last?

    Following most teeth whitening treatments there will be a rebound of color, but the final color is usually much lighter than where you started. From then the whitening will last years depending upon how often you consume staining foods such as tobacco, coffee, berries, etc. READ MORE

  • I recently read an article that said poor dental health could cause respiratory problems. Is it true?

    Poor dental health can cause a whole host of systemic problems. It is associated with much greater incidence of cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Is that important enough to floss daily? READ MORE

  • Can brushing my teeth with salt whiten my teeth?

    The only way you can eliminate those tobacco stains is with professionally made bleaching trays and carbamide peroxide gels. See your dentist. The salt thing will not be of any benefit whatsoever. READ MORE

  • What should I do for my chipped tooth?

    Depends upon how badly it is chipped and at what angle. Typically a chipped tooth can be restored using either composite bonding or porcelain veneer. One costs more but looks better and lasts much longer. The other is less costly intially but doesn't last more than ten years. READ MORE

  • What are natural ways to deal with tooth sensitivity?

    Most tooth sensitivity is a sign of an interference in your bite. Have a dentist check your occlusion and do an occlusal adjustment. READ MORE

  • Rash in the mouth

    Better get this checked by an oral surgeon. Might be oral cancer. READ MORE

  • How can I prevent yellowing of my teeth?

    Any pigmented food will stain teeth, such as coffees, berries and chocolate. Of course tobacco is the worst. Fortunately these extrinsic stains are easily removed by a professional whitening system. READ MORE

  • What are the steps involved in maintaining good oral hygiene?

    The gargling is not as important as brushing with an electric tooth brush, flossing at least every other day and having your teeth professionally cleaned and checked twice yearly. Also do not eat carbohydrates between meals. Nuts and veggies are okay, but not fruit, grains, dairy or starches. READ MORE

  • Is higher or lower pressure better with water flossers?

    Depends upon why you are using the water flosser. If it is to get hunks of food out from braces, then I'd use higher pressure. If it is to tickle your gums, I'd use lower pressure. If it is to clean between your teeth and prevent dental diseases, I'd use floss. READ MORE

  • What are the ways to close the gap between two frontal teeth?

    There are many ways to close a midline gap. Orthodontics is just one way. However before you decide on a method, first figure out why the gap is there. Are the bones too big in comparison to the teeth? Are the lateral incisors proportionally too small compared to the front teeth? Coincidentally I'm giving a lecture to dental students tonight on tooth proportion. READ MORE

  • I have white dots on both of my gums and tongue. What could these be?

    Hmm, I have no idea why you have white dots. Better get it checked by a dentist or an oral pathologist. READ MORE

  • My daughter has a cut inside of her mouth from falling. How can I rule out any infection?

    You can't necessarily rule out infections; however the mouth is very protective of cuts. The mouth creates its own antibodies which are very effective in fighting germs. You should notice a steady improvement in the healing, but if there is any relapse, then see a dentist immediately. READ MORE

  • What could be the reason behind the burning sensation in my gums?

    Burning gums is not particularly common; however it does occur. It could be caused by a fungus, by hormonal changes or by a disorder of the skin lining, among other things. If it doesn't resolve in a few days, you should get it checked by a periodontist. READ MORE

  • Can using mouthwash frequently negatively impact the health of my teeth?

    Mouthwash shouldn't have much affect on the teeth; however depending upon the makeup of the rinse it could have an affect on the gums. More important than mouthwash is flossing. READ MORE

  • I had my wisdom tooth removed yesterday. When can I start eating solid food again?

    Better ask your dentist. The difficulty of wisdom tooth removal varies so greatly and you would not want to disturb the surgery site. Typically the blood clot fully matures in three days and then you can be a little more aggressive with your diet. READ MORE

  • What are the best ways to get rid of tooth sensitivity?

    Usually the best way to deal with tooth sensitivity is with an occlusal adjustment. The sensitivity is often nature's way of telling you something's wrong in the harmony of your bite. There are other causes for tooth sensitivity such as cavities. So better see your dentist. READ MORE

  • What causes yellowing teeth?

    Yep, smoking will yellow teeth. If it does that to teeth, can you imagine what it is doing to your lungs and arteries? READ MORE

  • I feel pain and pressure on my gums. What could this be from?

    Pain in your gums most likely is from some dental infection. Better get it checked by a dentist promptly. READ MORE

  • How long after my extraction stitches are removed can I drink or eat?

    You do not need to wait. READ MORE

  • What could be the cause of my throbbing tooth pain?

    Throbbing tooth pain is nature's sign of a serious concern. You might have a nasty infection or a fractured tooth which is causing a nasty infection. Better get it checked by a dentist before it gets worse, and it can get much worse. READ MORE

  • How long does it take for permanent teeth to come after his primary teeth fall?

    Tooth eruption varies greatly. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Have a dentist take xrays to confirm that the permanent teeth do indeed exist. When they erupt depends upon his genetics and nothing can be done to change that. The older he is when they come in, the better able he will be to prevent cavities. READ MORE

  • Are whitening toothpastes bad for the teeth?

    Be sure the toothpaste has been approved by the American Dental Association. However if you are using the whitening toothpaste to whiten your teeth, you will have a long wait as they work so slowly. You would be better having a dentist whiten your teeth professionally. It isn't overly expensive and usually works fast with great results. READ MORE

  • What is the possible cause of swelling and numbness on the right side of my tongue?

    Could be cancer. You might want to have a professional dentist have a look. Don't want to lose your tongue. READ MORE

  • Are there any home remedies to treat bleeding gums?

    Bleeding gums can be the symptom of a far more serious problem. If his teeth have been recently cleaned by a dental hygienist, then he should get a blood test to make sure his white blood cells are normal. READ MORE

  • My nephew has one tooth erupting and he is just 1 month old. Is it normal?

    Makes breast feeding more challenging, but dentally this is normal. READ MORE

  • My gum is swollen but only in the back of my mouth. What could this be?

    Swollen gums is often an abscess caused by an aggressive germ. Better get it checked by a dentist before it spreads to other parts of your body like your brain or heart. You could wind up in a hospital if you procrastinate. READ MORE

  • Does brushing with salt help remove yellow stains from the teeth?

    Sorry, salt will not remove stains. Have your dentist make you custom fitting trays and use a carbamide peroxide whitening gel. It should be fairly inexpensive and works great! READ MORE

  • My molars are hurting. I already had my wisdom teeth all taken out. What can this be?

    Most likely the alignment of your molars is off. This can be resolved with a procedure termed an "occlusal adjustment". The pain is nature's way of telling you something's wrong. READ MORE

  • I had a root canal and the area still hurts. Is something wrong?

    This is not normal and you should see the dentist immediately. Pain is nature's way of telling you something's wrong. READ MORE

  • Can an iron deficiency affect my teeth health in any way?

    I am not aware of any way Iron deficiency can affect teeth. The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is a disharmony in your occlusion or "bite". This can usually be corrected by a dentist who understands occlusion. READ MORE

  • My tooth infection keeps coming back. Can it signify something more serious?

    I'm not sure what you mean by tooth infection. You may need a root canal. This is not something to wait on as it could spread to other parts of your body like your brain or heart. See a dentist immediately. READ MORE

  • My front tooth got chipped at the bottom. What can be done about it?

    Chipped front teeth can be treated in a variety of ways. Each method involves differences in longevity, appearance and costs. See a dentist to learn which would be best for you. READ MORE

  • Will mouthwash erode my teeth enamel?

    Any mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association should be safe. READ MORE

  • Can pomegranate cause teeth staining?

    Pigmented foods can stain teeth, but it takes a long time. Fortunately the stains are on the outer surface of the teeth and are easily removed with whitening systems offered by dentists. READ MORE

  • Are my medications staining my teeth?

    Minocycline is a form of tetracycline antibiotic that has caused severe staining in teeth and bone. I'm not aware of any other medications or supplements that will cause tooth stain. Most likely your stains are superficial and are easily removed with common bleaching systems provided by your dentist. READ MORE

  • Why are my 5 year old son's teeth rotting?

    My patients do not get cavities because I spend significant amount of time explaining the causes of cavities. Most misunderstand is exactly what constitutes 'sugar' and how sugar causes damage. The answer is not simple to describe in a written text, but I will try. There are two key points to remember. First the amount of sugar is not as important as the frequency that it is ingested. In other words it is snacking between meals that is most important. Second all carbohydrates are nothing more than sugar chains and are broken down into simple sugar on contact with saliva. Carbohydrates include all dairy products, all grains, all fruit and all starches. What it doesn't include are vegetables, nuts, meat, fish and eggs. So do this: Let your child only eat nuts and veggies between meals, and then at meal time let him eat as much carbohydrate as desired. Your child can even eat candy as a desert so long as he does not consume any carbohydrates between meals. This works. READ MORE

  • What is this brownish tinge on my teeth around the gums?

    The brownish tinge at the gumline is probably plaque that has absorbed calcium making it hard and firmly attached to your teeth. The problem with this "tartar" is that it harbors nasty, aggressive germs which will attack the bone surrounding your teeth. Losing enough supporting bone will lead to the loss of teeth. This is why you see a dental hygienist. READ MORE

  • How can I stop my husband from grinding his teeth in his sleep?

    Nighttime grinding is termed "bruxism". It is nature's way of milling a better fit. There is something that the brain does not like about how your husband's teeth fit together and is instructing the muscles to chew away the interference. The best way to deal with this is to have a dentist mill away those interferences with an "occlusal adjustment", and if that isn't possible then wear a night guard. READ MORE

  • Braces

    That all depends on how crooked the tooth is. Teeth are wider at the chewing edges than at the gumline because when straight the wide area holds the roots apart and makes room for the surrounding bone. If the roots of teeth come too close together, the bone can be compromised and you might lose a couple of teeth. Would that be a problem? READ MORE

  • Is teething delay in children normal?

    There is no way of predicting tooth eruption. Any delay up to 18 months is okay. READ MORE

  • My gum hurts where my wisdom tooth was taken out. Is this normal?

    You should have the dentist take a look to rule out the possibility of an infection. READ MORE

  • Will being on a liquid diet affect my teeth in any way?

    A short term liquid diet will not necessarily affect the teeth; however there are some potential risks. Only consume carbohydrates three or four times daily. Between those meals consume noncarbohydrate beverages such as water, black coffee and tea without any milk or honey. READ MORE

  • Is it okay to swallow the gel applied for a mouth ulcer?

    Gels applied for mouth ulcers are usually benzocaine which when swallowed is neutralized by the stomach. These gels do nothing to promote healing. They just numb the tenderness. READ MORE

  • Why do I have sensitivity in all my lower teeth?

    Sensitivity can be a result of many causes; however the most common cause is a disharmony in your occlusion or 'bite'. Have your occlusion checked by a dentist and if there are any interferences to the ideal bite, the dentist can gently polish them away. The sensitivity should subside within a day or two. READ MORE

  • How can I prevent loss of calcium from my teeth?

    The protective enamel of your teeth is predominantly calcium. When a hole penetrates through the enamel and into the dentin, it is called a 'cavity' and needs to be filled. The best way to prevent calcium loss is to limit consumption of carbohydrates between meals, including fruits, breads, dairy and starches. READ MORE

  • What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?

    There are plenty of options for replacing missing teeth including implants, bridges and dentures. These remedies will vary in durability, aesthetics and cost. Talk to a dentist to learn your options and which is best for you. READ MORE

  • What is causing the white layer on my tongue?

    A white layer on the tongue is often a fungus called Candida Albicans. It is present in mouths of 40% of the population but doesn't usually overgrow unless the immune system is compromised. READ MORE

  • Is excessive gum chewing harmful in any way?

    Excessive gum chewing is not harmful unless it contains sugar. If it does contain sugar then the sugar can cause cavities. The gum itself actually exercises your gums and helps prevent gum disease. READ MORE

  • What are sealants? Are they really advisable?

    Your back teeth form with tiny grooves running down the centers of the chewing surfaces. These grooves are narrower than tooth brush bristles and unless cleaned and sealed will develop into cavities. A sealant is a hard acrylic plastic that is bonded into the grooves eliminating the places that germs most often hide. I strongly recommend my patients receive sealants at any age and have them replaced as they fall out which will happen periodically - about every ten years. READ MORE

  • Is it normal to keep getting oral thrush?

    Thrush is caused by a fungus that 40% of the population has in their mouths at all times. The fungus gets out of control usually when the immune system is compromised and most often in the very young or very old. You better check with your dentist and/or physician. READ MORE

  • Are there any natural remedies for dry mouth?

    Dry mouth is a huge problem these days and is caused by many drugs and cancer therapy. The most serious dental complication is rampant tooth decay. There are some mouth rinses that can help and some sugarless lozenges that you can let dissolve in your mouth. READ MORE

  • What can I do to help with my bad breath problem?

    This might be coming from your throat or tongue. Be sure to brush your tongue, cheeks and palate after brushing your teeth. Have a dentist check your tonsils. READ MORE

  • Are there any home remedies to treat canker sores?

    I am not aware of any home remedies to treat those painful canker sores. I have heard that they are caused by chocolate, caffeine, nuts, and stress, but that has not been confirmed. READ MORE

  • How long would It ideally take to get teeth aligned with the help of braces?

    Depending upon the extent and location of the spacing treatment can take six to twentyfour months. Best to have an orthodontist take a look. READ MORE

  • My daughter is 8 years old and her baby teeth have still not fallen out. Is it normal?

    There is no way of predicting tooth eruption. Have a dentist take an x-ray to confirm that the permanent teeth indeed exist which they probably do. In the meantime children who lose teeth later will be older and better able to prevent cavities. READ MORE

  • Why is my face swollen after a root canal treatment?

    You have an infection in your face from that nasty germ that killed your tooth. You better get on an antibiotic before it hurts you. Call your dentist immediately. READ MORE

  • What are the symptoms of a spreading tooth infection?

    Tooth decay that penetrates the enamel protective covering will spread eight times faster and needs to be treated immediately. Procrastinating will allow it to reach the center of the tooth where the blood vessels are located. If that happens, you no longer have a simple cavity and then need a root canal and crown which will cost thousands of dollars or the loss of the tooth. It is a far better idea to intercept problems early. In fact it is an even better idea to identify why the cavity happened in the first place and modify your eating habits. My patients seldom get cavities. READ MORE

  • Why isn't my baby teething?

    Don't worry about teething unless it exceeds 18 months. READ MORE

  • What is the importance of using dental floss?

    Floss cleans between the teeth where the brush will not reach. You would be far better off brushing AND flossing once daily than brushing three times daily and not flossing. READ MORE

  • My son is a year old, and isn't teething. Is this abnormal?

    Better to get later when a child is older and better able to clean them. There is no reliable way to predict when teeth will erupt. If they don't start erupting in the next six months, see a dentist. READ MORE

  • Is fever after a root canal normal?

    A fever is a sign of bacteria in the blood stream. This can possibly be cause by the germs coming from the tooth. You should take an antibiotic for 7 to 10 days. Call your dentist immediately. READ MORE

  • Do teeth get affected during pregnancy?

    When pregnant there are a few things to remember in order to prevent dental problems. First cravings can cause excessive snacking, and consuming carbohydrates too frequently will lead to cavities. Also the woman's body is chock full of estrogen which makes supergerms of the germs that cause bone loss and periodontal disease. So brushing, flossing and professional cleanings are particularly important. READ MORE

  • What causes dental erosions?

    There are many causes for dental erosion. The most common cause when it occurs at the gumline is brushing with too stiff of a tooth brush, with too much force or with too abrasive of a tooth paste. Also heavy nighttime grinding can cause 'abfraction' which is grooves in the necks of teeth at the gumline. Abrasion of the sides of teeth, particularly the insides of the bottom back teeth, can be caused by acid reflux or bolemia. READ MORE

  • I have a boil on my gums. What should I do to treat it?

    A boil on the gums is a sign of an abscess. You have some aggressive germ that killed your tooth and is now being spread by the blood stream throughout your body. This is extremely dangerous and requires immediate treatment by a dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist). DO NOT WAIT! READ MORE

  • Can braces get rusted?

    Braces cannot rust. You must have some deposits on the braces. READ MORE

  • Is it bad that I leave food in between my teeth?

    Leaving food between the teeth can be bad depending upon how long it is allowed to remain. What is more important than food particles is the soft plaque or "biofilm" because these soft deposits are where the nastiest germs live. For that reason flossing at least every other day is essential to protect both the teeth and the bone. READ MORE

  • What causes erosion of teeth?

    There are many causes for tooth erosion. 1. brushing too hard 2. brushing with too abrasive of a toothpaste 3. acids such as lemon juice 4. excessive night time grinding of teeth. 5. acid reflux READ MORE

  • Do I need braces to get rid of the gap in my teeth?

    You could close your gap using some type of veneer, either direct or indirect. Direct veneers are made primarily of acrylic plastic and can be placed in a single visit making them relative less costly in the short term. Unfortunately the acrylic wears and discolors creating the need to periodically replace them. Indirect veneers are made from porcelain and will last indefinitely and not discolor. They are more difficult to make requiring two visits and the hiring of a dental laboratory in between which makes them more costly in the short term but because they are so durable, they do not require periodic replacement. READ MORE

  • What are the best home remedies for toothache?

    Best to see a dentist to understand what is causing the toothache. Toothaches are nature's way of telling that something is wrong. Pain medications mask the symptoms without addressing the cause. He probably either has cavities or is grinding his teeth in his sleep. READ MORE

  • What is causing my teeth to yellow?

    Teeth are mildly porous and with time will accumulate pigments from any dark foods such as chocolate, berries and teas. These pigments are located on the outer surface of the teeth and are easily removed with the tooth whitening products. The ones dispensed by a dentist are more effective and efficient than over the counter alternatives. READ MORE

  • What are the early signs for gum disease?

    Gum disease can be quite tricky. Usually there are no early signs that can be recognized at home. Dentists can perform simple measurements of bone levels and actually these measurements should be done routinely for all adult patients. Symptoms can include bleeding gums and bad breath, but often patients lose supporting bone without any noticeable symptoms. READ MORE

  • What is the treatment for dry mouth?

    Dry mouth can be a serious problem because our saliva contains minerals that help teeth actually heal early cavities. Without a healthy flow of saliva people can develop severe tooth decay in a short time. Unfortunately dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. If you have dry mouth you can try using sugar free tart candies which can be found on line. Biotene rinse also can be quite helpful. If you have dry mouth, then regular visits to your dentist become vital. READ MORE

  • Can tooth sensitivity be cured by changing toothpaste?

    Tooth sensitivity can be nature's way of telling you that something is wrong in how your teeth interact. Your teeth are designed to function in a very specific manner, and if the brain detects any interferences to this ideal pattern, it instructs the muscles to chew away the interferences using enormous forces while we are asleep. This is nature's way of adapting to changes in the mouth. Tooth sensitivity is a common symptom of the is nocturnal grinding, and if let go untreated can lead to fractured teeth and/or loss of supporting bone. You should have your "occlusion" examined. READ MORE

  • What causes bleeding gums in kids?

    Children need to floss just like adults. Daily is not necessary, but at least every other day is. Bleeding gums is nature's signal to us that we have ulcers in the gums caused by germs. By simply flossing these germs get stirred up and confused which temporarily stops them from attacking the gums. Remember the old dental saying, "You don't need to floss all of your teeth. Just the ones you want to keep." READ MORE

  • What is the best way to whiten my teeth?

    The most effective way to whiten your teeth is with custom fitting bleaching trays made by a dentist. Whitening gels, usually carbamide peroxide, is injected into the trays which are then inserted into the mouth and worn from two to eight hours per treatment. Typically seven to ten treatments are necessary to attain the desired whiteness though whitening effects vary significantly between patients. READ MORE

  • Does a root canal take longer to heal for a diabetic?

    Root canal healing should be the same for a diabetic than for any other person. READ MORE

  • Can you be prone to getting cavities?

    Cavities seldom just happen for no reason. Identifying the cause is essential to prevention of future problems. Cavities typically come from two sources. Have your son's back teeth sealed by a dentist and that will eliminate the first cause. The second cause is more important and also complicated to explain. Basically any carbohydrate is sugar and will include all dairy products, grains, fruits and starches. What isn't included are nuts, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs. You can eat carbohydrates three or four times daily but no more because carbohydrates interfere with nature's natural ability to heal our teeth. The key to remember is that the frequency NOT the amount of carbohydrate is what is important. Snack on nuts and veggies between meals, and incorporate all other foods into the main meals. This will prevent most of the cavities that I see. READ MORE

  • My son has a habit of biting ice. Will this harm his teeth?

    If he countinues to chew ice, his teeth will begin to crack. I have one patient who has cracked three teeth this way and needed two root canals. Best to keep foods as close to body temperature as possible. READ MORE

  • How can I get rid of teeth stains caused due to smoking?

    Smoking stains are one type of "extrinsic" stains which are concentrated on the surface as opposed to "intrinsic" stains which is the color of the teeth that we are born with. Extrinsic stains are easily removed with surface whiteners. The most effective whitening systems are ones that involve placing whitening agents into custom fitting trays made by a dentist and work from two hours to over night. Typically 7-14 applications are necessary to achieve the desired whitened shade; however no two people's teeth whiten the same way. READ MORE

  • My daughter has a gap between her front two teeth. Is it normal?

    Midline gaps can be cause by a variety of reasons. The size of the upper teeth is less than the available space. There are ways to evaluate the size of the teeth to one another and to the size of the face. This evaluation is important to determine the proper corrective treatment which could include orthodontics and/or veneering two or more teeth to change the tooth size. READ MORE

  • I suddenly have a gap in between my front teeth. Why?

    The most probable reason for the sudden formation of a upper midline gap is a late growth spurt by the lower jaw which is not equally matched by growth of the upper jaw. The lower teeth get squeezed together and exert outward forces on the upper teeth. The lower teeth gain support from the surrounding teeth whereas the upper teeth are forced away from each other. The end result is formation of gaps on the top and possibly crowding of the bottom. Most people including dentists do not realize that our jaws never stop growing after puberty and increase in size about 1mm per year. READ MORE

  • Are there any home remedies to treat canker sores?

    Hmmm, canker sores! So painful. I've heard that they come from caffeine, chocolate and nuts plus a little stress thrown in. The only home remedy that I am aware of is breaking an aspirin tablet into a size similar to the sore and letting it rest on the spot for a few hours. The aspirin changes the canker sore into a chemical burn which heals in a few days as compared to a couple of weeks for a canker sore to heal on its own. READ MORE

  • Are raisins good for your teeth?

    Raisins or any fruit, whether fresh or dried, is chock full of sugar. Consuming sugar or any carbohydrate at meal time is good for your health. Too frequent consumption of fruit between meals will lead to cavities. So be careful with what you eat between meals. Try to limit carbohydrates intake to three or four times daily. Between meals the better snack is nuts or vegetables which are low in carbohydrate. READ MORE

  • Can cola be the cause of discoloration in my teeth?

    Any pigmented food will discolor your teeth. These extrinsic stains are easily removed with the whitening systems offered by dentists. Be careful with carbonated beverages as they can cause serious decay in the teeth which is far worse a problem than a little discoloration. READ MORE

  • Why does only one tooth area bleed when I floss?

    If you have one tooth area bleeding, most likely you have hardened tartar deposits hiding below the gumline. You will need to have a professional hygienist or dentist remove these deposits. Note that not only is blood leaking from these ulcers, but germs are penetrating the other direction and if left untreated will eventually lead to breakdown of the bone and other supporting tissues. READ MORE

  • How often should you floss?

    Most dentists will recommend daily flossing but a classic study conducted in Sweden back in the '70's showed that flossing every other day is just as effective as daily flossing. READ MORE

  • Do dental whitening toothpastes contain bleach?

    If you mean the type of bleach that we add to our wash machines to whiten clothes, then the answer is 'no'. However there are whitening ingredients which are called 'bleaches' even though they are chemically very different from household bleach. The dental bleaches are peroxides and are broken down into hydrogen peroxide which is the chemical that white blood cells manufacture to kill germs. So the dental ingredients are not harmful to your body. READ MORE

  • My dental filling keeps coming out. What should I do?

    Hmm, could be a variety of reasons. If your dentist cannot provide a good reason and assurance that it can be restored more durably, then a second opinion would be okay. READ MORE

  • Swollen and localised pain after done a deep cleaning; is this normal?

    You receive a deep cleaning because you have developed some nasty germs below the gumline. It is impossible for a hygienist to scrape these deposits off the roots without poking some into the gums. The swelling is your immune system fighting the germs in these deposits. The outcome depends on which is stronger, your immune system or the germ. READ MORE

  • How long will I have to wait for my next session after first round of root canal?

    You should be okay, but don't screw around with root canals. If you wait too long, you will get a new meaning for pain. READ MORE

  • What is the best way to treat dental plaque?

    Use an electric toothbrush two minutes daily. They are fantastic. READ MORE

  • What causes swelling in the gums?

    You’d better see your dentist. Gum swelling is from either gum disease or an infected tooth. Either way you need professional help. READ MORE

  • Are OTC products recommended for teeth whitening?

    Some OTC products whiten but the ones provided by your dental professionals are usually more effective and safer. READ MORE

  • What is the course of treatment for periodontitis?

    Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss. Its treatment depends upon many conditions. Best to see a periodontist because they specialize in this disease. READ MORE

  • I had a root canal and the same tooth is hurting again. What should I do?

    Go back to whoever treated the tooth. There is something wrong that only a professional can treat. READ MORE

  • Loose tooth

    Get the tooth temporarily attached to the adjacent teeth to stabilize the bone. Have periodic X-rays taken because the pulp well could die and cause an abscess. READ MORE

  • What is the right age for kids to brush their teeth on their own?

    Children mature at different rates. Let them try on their own but watch to be sure they are cleaning all teeth, front and back. READ MORE

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

    Whiten first. Then match the crown to the new color. Porcelain crowns do not whiten. Also everyone’s teeth whiten differently. So whiten first and then make the crown. READ MORE

  • Do fillings need to be replaced?

    Fillings can be made from a variety of materials. Direct fillings, silver and its tooth colored counterparts composite, last an average of nine years. Indirect materials, gold and its tooth colored counterpart ceramic, last indefinitely. Direct fillings are less costly short term but expensive long term; whereas indirect materials are more costly short term but less expensive long term because it’s a one time expense. From a health perspective indirect fillings are better because you do not periodically redrill the same tooth. READ MORE

  • Does clove oil really work in easing tooth pain?

    Clove oil only works on an exposed nerve which would only occur with a broken tooth or a massive cavity. And then you only treat the symptoms and not the cause. Better to get your dental advice from a dentist. READ MORE

  • Can an infected tooth spread the infection to the other teeth as well?

    An infected tooth will not spread to other teeth; however what caused the tooth to become infected can affect other teeth. Tooth decay can be prevented; so if you have cavities you better find out why and stop the bad habit. READ MORE

  • Did my dental x-rays harm my baby? (first trimester)

    The standard cover will provide plenty of protection for your baby. Don’t worry. READ MORE

  • I am getting abscesses in my infected tooth. How do I treat them?

    That abscess will pump dangerous bacteria into your body. Depending upon the location of the tooth you run the risk of developing an infection in your brain or heart. See your dentist immediately. READ MORE

  • Can a gum infection pass to other parts of the body?

    The human mouth breeds more germs than any other place on earth. The germs causing gum infections do get into your blood stream and travel throughout your body. Healthy gums is essential to good overall health. READ MORE

  • Why are some people's canine teeth sharper than others?

    Canine teeth are genetically shaped and then get modified through daily use. READ MORE

  • How can flossing help in maintaining the health of teeth and gums?

    Floss cleans between the teeth which is a place that a brush, mouthwash or water pick cannot reach. Not flossing allows bacteria in these places to mature into aggressive bugs that create holes in the gums. Blood leaks out of these holes and germs crawl into your body. Floss at least once very other day to prevent these infections. READ MORE

Areas of expertise and specialization

Cosmetics, Occlusion, TMJ

Faculty Titles & Positions

  • Clinical Instructor University of Illinois-Dentistry 1984 - 1985
  • Clinical Instructor Loyola University-Dentistry 1983 - 1985
  • Lecturer Triton College-Dental Technology 1982 - 1983

Professional Memberships

  • Illinois State Dental Society
  • American Dental Assistants Association
  • Chicago Dental Society
  • Odontographic Dental Society
  • Chicago Dental Study Club

Charities and Philanthropic Endeavors

  • Coprodeli

Neal Nealis DDS's Practice location

Neal Nealis, DDS

737 North Michigan Avenue -
Chicago, IL 60611
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New patients: 312-266-9487

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