Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Can Wearing Braces Improve Your Health?

Getting braces or other orthodontic procedures can be a major milestone in a person's life, and there are many possible reasons to have them done.

For starters, dental misalignment isn't just a cosmetic issue; certain problems can make it difficult to brush or floss properly and can ultimately lead to tooth decay. Keeping gums healthy is essential for reducing the buildup of the plaque and bacteria that can contribute to heart disease.

What’s more, braces can correct jaw alignment to help prevent headaches, biting and chewing problems, earaches, speech problems and issues with the jaw joint.

You also can’t underestimate the cosmetic benefits of straighter teeth. A healthy-looking smile leads to confidence and high self esteem and also influences how people think of you.

People who have the following dental characteristics might consider braces for both cosmetic and health reasons.


An underbite is the condition in which one's lower teeth extend further than the upper teeth, causing the upper teeth to sit behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed. Severe cases can even cause face distortion.


Gaps of air between teeth are known as dental spacing, and they can be caused by missing teeth or can be strictly a cosmetic issue. Spacing, or diastema, can also be corrected using dental bands or direct dental bonding.


Protrusion occurs when either the upper front teeth extend too far forward or the lower teeth are not extending far enough forward.


Dental crowding takes place when there is not enough room for teeth to erupt from the gum. Individuals with a small or underdeveloped jaw can be afflicted by this condition. Ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, retainers, appliances or braces as well as severe jaw injury can also cause crowding.


With a crossbite, a person's upper teeth rest inside lower teeth on one or both sides of the jaw, which can cause tooth stratification or misaligned jaw growth. Depending on the severity of the issue, crossbites can also be treated by quad helix, clear aligner therapy, removable plates or an orthodontic mask.


In an overbite, the upper teeth extend over the lower teeth, sometimes causing the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth. Trauma can develop if the condition doesn't naturally fix itself as the child grows.


Openbites can be caused by thumb sucking or tongue thrusting and cause the upper and lower teeth to not overlap at all, which can impact chewing. Correcting this problem can reduce the risk of tooth decay and also help relieve excess pressure on the jaw joint.

Midline deviation

Dental midlines that don't match can be caused when the back bite doesn't properly align.

Of course, it’s best to talk with your dentist and an orthodontist to determine whether you need braces, when you need them and what type would work best.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Treating for Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can have several causes, but it's most frequently a side effect of medications or medical treatments. Treating dry mouth is important, as the saliva that coats your mouth keeps bacteria and fungi under control, minimizing your risk of tooth decay. To combat dry mouth, Dr. Alin Alkass suggests that you drink plenty of water, avoid smoking and using tobacco products, use a humidifier at night, limit your caffeine intake, and breath through your nose as much as possible. You should also brush with fluoride toothpaste and use a fluoride rinse frequently to build up your enamel and fight tooth decay.  Lastly, there are saliva substitutes available if necessary.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tooth Sensitivity - What You Can Do

If everyday activities like brushing, chewing, flossing, and drinking or eating hot or cold food items cause pain in your teeth, you may suffer from tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity is commonly caused by worn tooth enamel or gums that have receded to the point where the roots are exposed. To treat sensitivity, Dr. Alin Alkass recommends visiting your dentist to determine the cause and work out the best solution. Your dentist may suggest using fluoride treatments to build up enamel, using sensitivity toothpaste, or undergoing a sealant treatment to fill in receded gums.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Are Dental Abscesses?

A dental abscess forms when pus from a bacterial infection accumulates in the soft tissue of your mouth. There are three types of abscesses. A gingival abscess occurs only in the gums, and doesn't affect the surrounding tooth. A periodontal abscess occurs in the soft tissue that surrounds the bone structures that support your teeth. And a periapical abscess occurs in the soft pulp within a tooth. For treatment, your dentist will drain the abscess and remove the infection. Dr. Alin Alkass notes that it's imperative that you receive treatment for an abscess right away, as an untreated abscess can become life-threatening if an overwhelming amount of bacteria from the abcess enter the blood stream.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Some Things to Know About Dentures

While they do take some getting used to, dentures are a great solution to tooth loss. Many people believe that once you receive dentures, you're set for life. However, Dr. Alin Alkass notes that this isn't actually the case. Dentures stain and wear down and, because the bone and muscle structure in your face is always changing, they need frequent adjustments to ensure that they fit properly and work as efficiently as possible.If you have dentures, you should visit your dentist at least once a year for a refitting, and you should replace your dentures every five to seven years.  Are your dentures loose?  Do they shift when you eat?  Are you using an excessive amount of denture paste?  There is a way to secure your dentures using dental implants.  Usually two to four implants are surgically placed in the jaw and special adapters connect the dentures to the implants!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dr. Alin Alkass: A Passion for Smiles

Chicagoland native Dr. Alin Alkass Alin has a passion for smiles, and his professional education and experience help him bring smiles to many. Both at the office and during his time off, he enjoys bringing this gift to everyone he meets, and like most Chicagoans, his smile is broadest when the Chicago Bears are at the top of their game.

Dr. Alin Alkass received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois Chicago. From there, he continued on to receive his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from New York University College of Dentistry. In addition, throughout his professional career, Dr. Alkass has participated in extensive continuing education, completing many more hours of schooling than required to maintain licensure.

Professional Experience

For seven years after receiving his doctorate, he
worked alongside other dentists, gaining practice in a wide range of dental procedures. He is particularly skilled in periodontal maintenance or gum care; replacing fillings, crowns, bridges and porcelain veneers; tooth nerve therapy, also known as root canals; denture fabrication; tooth extraction; treating children and more.

Dr. Alkass is a different kind of dentist. Warm, patient and caring, he takes the time to listen and then provide you with the best care possible. He is also well-regarded by his patients for his thoroughness. Rather than being rushed, he believes in personal quality over quantity and is complimented for his light, gentle touch.

Chair-side Manner

Dr. Alkass enjoys bringing smiles to everyone. His demeanor both in and out of the office prove the patience with which he goes about this task. He takes the time to listen to patients and explain procedures in order to set them at ease. One patient referred to being treated by Dr. Alkass as “a great experience” and noted, “I used to be afraid of going to the dentist since I had my wisdom teeth removed in the army. He was very understanding and gentle.”

You will find the level of commitment to high-quality dental care provided by Dr. Alin Alkass and his team to truly be a treat for you. Everyone at Smiles on Elston is persistent in helping you achieve results you will notice. Our team strives for excellence through perfection in high-tech, yet down to earth dentistry.

Personal Interests

When he isn’t fixing smiles at the office, Dr. Alkass puts a smile on his own face by cheering for his Chicago Bears, spending time with his family and traveling. He also enjoys supporting charities such as the American Cancer Society, the Red Cross and Mart Mariam Catholic/Chaldean Church.

All his life, he has shared his contagious smile. Now he brings the gift of smiles to others in a more powerful manner because he believes everyone needs a reason to smile.