Chicago: (312) 654-0606

Hinsdale: (630) 654-2900

You are Here: Blog




The History of Dental Floss

Dr. Jeff - Monday, May 08, 2017

The History of Dental Floss


Today, flossing is a hallmark of good oral hygiene and health. But it wasn’t always like that. You may be surprised to know how flossing became so important.


Flossing: An Age-Old Concept

While the exact beginnings of flossing remain largely unknown, we have always had the problem of occasional food stuck in our teeth requiring the use of an interdental cleaner. Some discoveries have been made suggesting that cleaning between the teeth dates back to the Prehistoric period!


Even some species of monkeys use a flossing technique! This is most commonly observed in Thailand. Long-tailed macaque monkeys have been observed using hair pulled from human visitors to use as floss. Additionally, coconut fibers and twigs have also been used. Mothers even teach their young how to floss properly!

The Leading Dentist to Recommend Flossing


The floss we know today was developed around 200 years ago. An American dentist in 1815 named Levi Spear Parmly introduced waxen silk thread as floss. Parmly’s book, “A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth” states that the silk thread should be run through the “interstices of the teeth” in order to remove the food debris stuck between the teeth.

Unfortunately, flossing didn’t become a big hit instantly. In the Victorian Era, many people still preferred toothpicks. Many wealthy men of that time period, including Charles Dickens, had a retractable ivory toothpick engraved with their initials. Elegant!

Eventually, Flossing Became Popular


Mid-20th century is when flossing became more widespread. “The Father of Preventative Dentistry”, also known as Dr. Charles C. Bass developed nylon floss during World War II.  It was noted that the nylon floss had more elasticity and durability than the silk thread. By the time the war ended, floss had become standard.

Keep Up The Flossing!


Most floss today is still made out of nylon. Better yet, there are now several different options such as waxed floss, woven floss, or dental tape. There is even specialized floss like the pre-threaded floss picks or floss threaders for patients in orthodontia as well as devices that use air or water to floss!

No matter what you use to floss, the important thing is that you are flossing! Proper daily flossing can make a huge impact on your oral health. After all, it is the easiest way to prevent tooth decay.

We urge all our patients to keep up the good work and floss on!

Thanks for choosing us!

Why are teeth sensitive?

Dr. Jeff - Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Truth Behind Sensitive Teeth


Do you ever cringe after biting into ice cream? Do you hesitate before drinking hot beverages? You are not alone. One of the most common complaints we get is about tooth sensitivity!

Teeth Are Sensitive When Nerves Are Exposed

The enamel is the outer protective layer covering each tooth. Over time the enamel can wear away to reveal the inner layer of the tooth which is known as dentin. This happens due to normal wear and tear, as well as poor oral hygiene and/or certain lifestyle choices.

Dentin consists of tubules filled with fluid that reach into the center of the tooth where the nerves are located. Sensitivity occurs due to the exposed nerves and worn away enamel.

Additionally, tooth sensitivity can also occur when the root of the tooth becomes exposed to drink, food, and air.

Try Desensitizing Toothpaste

Desensitizing toothpaste can really help the sensitiveness. It works by blocking the fluid-filled tubules in the dentin and protecting the nerves from exposure, essentially numbing your teeth so the sensitivity doesn’t register.

It’s important to remember that if you have sensitive teeth, the first person to see is your dentist. The sensitivity could be a sign of a larger problem involving more extensive treatment then the desensitizing toothpaste could provide.

Use These Tips To Avoid Sensitivity


The sensitivity can range from slightly annoying to extremely painful. To avoid tooth damage and sensitivity, try to follow these steps below:

  • Practice good oral hygiene. Tooth decay and gum disease are typical causes of tooth sensitivity. It’s also recommended to avoid any kind of tobacco use.
  • Gently brush your teeth. Don’t be aggressive when brushing your teeth! This could cause enamel erosion or gum recession.  Use a soft-bristled toothbrush; plaque is easier to get off than you think!
  • Protect your teeth. Clenching or grinding your teeth may require a nightguard provided by the dentist if you want to protect your teeth.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Sugar and carbohydrates should be consumed in moderation. Drink lots of water and consume things that are good for your teeth such as dairy products and veggies.

Don’t Put Up With Tooth Pain

No matter how much or how little the sensitivity bothers you, it’s our belief that no one should tolerate tooth pain. If you have sensitivity in your teeth, come and see us! We can find the root of the sensitivity and discover a way to treat it.


Thanks to our fabulous patients!

Preparing for A Dental Emergency

Dr. Jeff - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Preparing For a Dental Emergency

It seems that accidents happen when we least expect them. When tooth damage is involved, it’s good to know what to do. Knowing the steps to take when a dental emergency transpires can save the damaged tooth, ward off infection, and decrease the risk of extensive and expensive treatment.

Step 1: Discover Your Dental Home

It’s extremely important to have a dental home just in case of a dental emergency. Find a dental practice that is right for you and stick with them. When bad accidents happen, it’s a relief to have a dental practice you trust by your side.

Establishing a dental home means you are probably familiar with the hours and whether they provide emergency services. A relationship with a dental practice helps when an emergency occurs and will provide great care and support.

Step 2: Stay Prepared

To be prepared, you need to know what steps to take if and when an emergency occurs. Specifically, when a dental emergency happens, time can be extremely important in whether the tooth is saved.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry tells us how to deal with specific emergencies:

  • Baby tooth knocked out? Contact their dentist ASAP. Due to the possibility of damaging the developing permanent tooth, it most likely will not be replanted.
  • Fractured or chipped tooth? Get in touch with your dentist immediately as it important to get treatment as soon as possible. Rinse with water and search for any broken teeth fragments. Put the fragments in water or cold milk and bring to the dentist.
  • Permanent tooth knocked out? Again, seek treatment immediately from your dentist. Many teeth that are knocked out can be saved if you can see your dentist 30 minutes to an hour after the accident occurs. Rinse the tooth with water and place gently back into the socket. If you cannot put back into the socket, put in cold milk, saliva, or water.

We Are Here For You

When a dental emergency occurs, we are here for you. Any more questions? Let us know!

Thank you to our awesome patients!

Oral Cancer Screenings and what you should know?

Dr. Jeff - Thursday, March 02, 2017

All About Oral Cancer Screenings

Preventative health care check-ups such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and prostate exams, are highly important in detecting anything irregular—including cancer. The goal is to find out if something is going on as early as possible in order to get proper treatment. Essentially, these exams are saving lives. The same goes for oral cancer screenings.

Some might find that a regular oral cancer screening isn’t as detrimental as other preventative health care exams. Your six month check up isn’t just to see if you have cavities; it could literally save your life.

Oral Cancer: The Truth


With 100 new cases everyday in the U.S., the yearly average of people diagnosed with oral cancer reaches 400,000. Even more concerning is the fact that only half of these people will survive past 5 years from diagnosis.

While this news is certainly frightening, there is some good news: Survival rate is boosted 80 to 90 percent with early detection. Oral cancer is considered deadly because many patients receive their diagnosis later, after their cancer has had the chance to progress. Raising awareness about oral cancer and the importance of regular screenings is aimed at preventing this from happening.

Higher Risk Linked to Lifestyle Choices


There are certain lifestyle choices that may put someone at higher risk of getting diagnosed with oral cancer.

Here are some risk factors:

  • Tobacco—you are three times more likely to develop oral cancer with smoking or other tobacco use.
  • Age—2/3rds of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55
  • UV Exposure—the risk of lip cancer is higher when you get frequent and lengthy bouts of sunlight.
  • Alcohol Consumption—doubling the risk of oral cancer is linked to drinking alcohol.

Even if these risk factors do not apply to you, you are still at risk if you have HPV, or human papillomavirus. Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer. That’s even more likely than tobacco users!

Get Regular Cleanings

A canker sore or tender cheeks after accidentally biting it are both examples of common mouth sores. It’s important to remember that oral cancer starts as a painless sore that doesn’t go away.  If any of these symptoms are familiar, come see us as soon as possible:

  • Thickening of the cheek, or a lump
  • White or red patch in the inner mouth or throat
  • A sore that doesn’t heal within 2 weeks
  • Difficulties swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw

The best preventative measure is to get regular oral cancer screenings. Dental professionals will be able to discover any abnormalities you may have.

Ask about an oral health screening at your next check up! You can also call to set up a screening. We want your teeth to last a lifetime!


Thanks for putting your trust in us!

The Dangers of Piercing and your Oral Health

Dr. Jeff - Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Risks of Oral Piercings

Self-expression comes in many forms. Art, fashion, writing or even body piercing. Before you think about getting an oral piercing—such as labret, lip, cheek or tongue piercings—you should know the risks involved.

The Risks of Piercing


Getting an oral piercing is very different from getting your ears pierced. A piercing close to the mouth is also close to plenty of bacteria, nerves, and blood vessels. This can lead to certain health risks:

Bacterial Infection. There is a huge amount of bacteria that the mouth hosts. For this reason, the oral cavity is easily infected. Not using sterile tools or lack or proper aftercare can lead to bacterial infections.

Teeth and Gum Damage. The combination of tooth and jewelry and the frequent contact of both can lead to erosion of tooth enamel or even cracked or chipped teeth. Gum recession, which is irreversible, is a common side effect of oral piercings. Gum recession can cause tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss.

Speech, Swallowing, Chewing, and Tasting Difficulties. Oral piercings can stimulate saliva flow, sometimes making speech challenging. If a tongue piercing swells, the tongue will be unable to function properly and could block the airway. The taste of things can also be altered due to an oral piercing.

Allergic Reaction. Some metals in the jewelry can cause an allergic reaction.

Prolonged Bleeding or Nerve Damage. This especially applies to tongue piercings since the tongue contains so many nerves and blood vessels. Problems with movement or numbness as well as loss of sensation at the site of the piercing are signs of nerve damage. A punctured blood vessel can be severe and difficult to control.

Gum Disease. Periodontal disease is a risk factor in getting an oral piercing. Gum disease can lead to tooth or bone loss.

Still Getting a Piercing? Get It Done Correctly


If you understand the risks and still want to get an oral piercing, you must make sure it is done by a professional with sterile instruments. Your dentist can give you the information on proper aftercare as well as how to maintain your piercing so you can prevent any infections or complications.

Your health is important to us. Call us with any questions about this post or a piercing you may already have. We love to hear from our patients!

Tips for Soothing a Toothache Before Your Appointment

Dr. Jeff - Thursday, February 02, 2017

Tips for Soothing a Toothache Before Your Appointment


Getting a toothache out of the blue is painful as well as inconvenient. It’s important to get to the dentist as soon as you can for treatment and to prevent anything from getting worse.

Your Dentist Will Provide Treatment and Long-Lasting Relief


There is always an underlying cause for a toothache. Some common causes include tooth decay, gum disease, or erosion of tooth enamel. Whatever the cause is, it’s important to remember that it will not go away on its own and will get worse over time.

It is highly recommended to get to the dentist as soon as possible for any tooth pain. You will be provided long-lasting pain relief as well as treatment for the underlying cause of the toothache. This will prevent any tooth pain and damage from getting worse.



We know it can be difficult to work in a dentist visit into your schedule. We also know that the tooth pain can be very painful while waiting to get into the dentist. You can try these quick fix options for temporary relief at home.


Over-The-Counter Pain Medicine


Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can offer short-term pain relief. Do not put aspirin on the tooth or gums. Swallow as you normally would. Aspirin directly on the tooth or gums can damage soft tissue in the mouth.

Salt Water


Salt water as a mouth rinse can clean out an infected area and loosen up any food debris that may be stuck. Depending on the cause of the toothache, this may help relieve some pain.




Garlic is said to contain properties that prevent bacteria growth as well as offer some relief from the pain. You may chew on the garlic or make into a paste and apply directly on the tooth. Warning: this is a bad breath risk!


Clove or Peppermint Oil


These two contain natural anesthetics which have the ability to numb the pain. There is a risk of damaging your soft tissue, so it’s important to be careful. A drop or two of oil on a cotton ball can be applied to the tooth.

Before trying any of these at-home remedies, be sure to check in with your dental provider, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.


Don’t Delay in Getting Treatment for a Toothache


Don’t forget that toothaches will only get worse the longer they go on. These quick fixes are only for short-term relief and are meant to be used while waiting for dental treatment. They are not a substitute for the care you would receive from a dental professional.


We Love to Serve You!!

Care for your Tooth Enamel

Dr. Jeff - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Care For Your Tooth Enamel

Did you know that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body? It’s true! Although, that doesn’t mean it is indestructible. You could be doing things everyday to weaken your enamel, leading to a higher risk of cavities, tooth discoloration, and sensitivity. 

Tooth Enamel: A Protective Barrier


Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth and the first to defend the tooth against bacteria and harmful acids. Once enamel is damaged, it does not regenerate or have the ability to heal itself. Since enamel cannot be repaired, we want to give you tips on how to take care of your teeth and keep them strong!

Keeping Enamel Strong and Healthy


There are multiple things you can do to take care of your enamel and prevent it from eroding.

Be Careful Of What You Eat and Drink


Foods and beverages that are sugary, acidic, and/or starchy are the main culprits of weakening and eventually eroding tooth enamel. Food and drink rich in calcium help balance out the acids in your mouth and strengthen enamel. Calcium rich products include dairy, soybeans, sardines, and dark, leafy greens like kale.

The simplest advice to give is to eat healthy and cut back on sugar. Especially sugary drinks like soda which damages the tooth enamel due to its high sugar and acid content. When drinking something acidic and/or sugary, always use a straw!

Keep Hydrated


Drinking water prevents dry mouth throughout the day. It’s also good to rinse your mouth out after meals. This gets rid of food debris and stimulates flow of saliva. Saliva itself protects teeth and defends against bacteria. Even better, it contains calcium and phosphate, which helps build up tooth enamel.

Properly Brush and Floss Daily


Leaving bacteria-ridden plaque on the teeth for a long period of time produces acids that eat away at enamel. Regular brushing and flossing prevent plaque build up and get rid of food debris. Be careful not to aggressively brush your teeth, which will weaken enamel as time goes on.


Visit Your Dentist


Regular cleanings and exams are extremely important in maintaining healthy mouth. During your visits, we look for signs of tooth enamel wear, such as grinding your teeth and presence of cavities. We can give you advice on how to keep this under control in the future.

Help Your Teeth Out


Tooth enamel is protecting your teeth 24/7. Return the favor by taking care of your teeth. Have any questions? Comment below or send us a message!!

We Love Our Patients!!

What is the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

Dr. Jeff - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What’s The Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

Many of our patients wonder whether there is a difference between plaque and tartar and what distinguishes the two from each other. There is a crucial difference and the explanation will help explain the importance of your daily oral regimen as well as your 6 month check up at the dentist.



Throughout the day, plaque takes the form of that soft and sticky film that builds up on your teeth and under the gums. Plaque contains millions of bacteria! When you eat, you feed the bacteria on your teeth, especially when you consume carbohydrates and sugars. After the bacteria “eats”, an acid is produced that can erode enamel and lead to cavities.

Your daily oral routine is very important to prevent tooth decay and protect your teeth from plaque. To stop plaque build up, it’s essential to brush twice a day and floss daily. It can also be helpful to drink water and chew sugar-free gum after eating!



When plaque does not get removed from your teeth it begins to build up. If plaque is left on the teeth too long it will harden into tartar. Tartar is very hard to remove. In fact, it can only be removed by a dental professional. This is why visiting the dentist twice a year is so important!

Tartar doesn’t only cause cavities but can also cause discolored teeth, sensitivity, gum recession, and periodontal disease. To prevent this plaque buildup from happening, daily brushing and flossing is very important.

Come In Every Six Months


To maintain plaque and tartar buildup, come see us at least every six months! We want your smile to be plaque and tartar free!


We Want To Thank Our Patients For Their Loyalty!

Flossing is Essential

Dr. Jeff - Monday, December 19, 2016

Flossing: It’s Essential!


It is mentioned every time you go to the dentist…Flossing is incredibly beneficial to your oral hygiene. Some people think brushing their teeth is enough; others simply can’t stand flossing. As your dental provider, we want to make sure you know flossing is great for your health.


How Flossing Benefits Your Health


35% of tooth surfaces are missed when you just clean your teeth and don’t floss. Floss helps get in between those places that are hard to get to. Flossing ensures a full cleaning after brushing your teeth.


Daily flossing can:


  • Prevent cavities. Flossing removes not only the leftover food debris in your mouth, but gets out the plaque too! This prevents a cavity from forming between the teeth, which is a common place for tooth decay.
  • Fights bad breath. Leaving the food debris stuck in between your teeth can release a bad smell. Yuck!
  • Prevents tartar buildup and gum disease. Plaque, when left onto teeth for too long, hardens into tartar which can only be removed by a dental professional. Tartar’s presence can lead to gum disease and even tooth loss!
  • Improve appearance. Food debris and plaque doesn’t make a smile look good. Clean and healthy teeth make a smile shine bright!


After years in the dental industry, we know that flossing makes a huge difference in not only your oral health, but your overall health too!


You Must Do It Correctly For Flossing to Work


To get the benefits of flossing, you have to make sure you floss the correct way. A study from 2006 investigated whether flossing done at home reaped the same benefits of having it done by professionals. Researchers found that the professionally flossed teeth had a 40% decrease in the risk of cavities than the people who flossed at home. The study showed that flossing done properly has a very positive effect on oral health.


When flossing, make sure you curve the floss around the tooth, as if the floss was hugging it. While it is “hugging” the tooth, move the floss up and down to get the plaque off the tooth. Repeat this process throughout the whole mouth.


Try the Flossing Challenge!


We are challenging you to floss daily in the way described above. You will notice the difference! Questions about flossing? Call or visit us today!


We love to see our patients!!

Bad Habits That Affect Your Teeth

Dr. Jeff - Wednesday, December 07, 2016


Bad Habits That Affect Your Teeth


Did you know that tooth enamel is the hardest material in the human body? For this reason, it may be surprising to hear that while enamel has a reputation for being tough, it can break quite easily! Our daily habits can actually put our teeth at risk.

Beware of These Risky Habits


While these habits may not seem offensive, over time they can put your oral health at risk and even damage your beautiful smile!

Nail Biting


Even though we use the term “nail-biters” to refer to an exciting sports game, it doesn’t mean we should actually bite our nails! Nail biting can cause teeth to chip or break, and even damage our enamel! Our front teeth are typically the first to suffer from nail biting.

Even worse for your teeth, is biting your nails with braces. Due to the pressure sustained on the teeth from orthodontic treatment, nail biting puts you at a bigger risk for tooth resorption (the shortening of tooth roots) or tooth loss. I think it’s clear we should keep the term “nail-biter” as just an expression!

Utilizing Teeth as Tools


Can’t open that packet of ketchup? Your teeth may seem like a good solution, but using the teeth as a tool is a risky habit. Your teeth are not meant to be used as tools. Doing this can lead to broken or fractured teeth and even worse, tooth loss! Keep in mind that damage to your teeth leads to a greater risk of cavities and decay.

Biting on Pencils and Pens


You may be day-dreaming or trying to solve a problem, and suddenly you have the end of a pencil or pen in your mouth. This tends to be an unconscious habit. However, it is an important one to watch out for. We don’t realize the amount of pressure we are putting on our teeth when we bite on non-food items.

Gnawing on your pencil or pen is putting you at risk for broken teeth. If this becomes a constant habit, your dental works such as fillings and crowns can be at risk. This is definitely a habit we want to stay away from!

Chewing on Ice


Do you find yourself chewing on ice often? If this sounds familiar, you may be risking breaking, cracking, or fracturing your teeth! The cold can even weaken the teeth, leading to a bigger risk of breakage. Chewing on ice not only chips teeth, but breaks down enamel as well, which leads to severe damage over time. Just remember your teeth are not equipped to break down ice cubes; your teeth aren’t a blender!

Do Yourself (And Your Teeth) a Favor


Your teeth are made to chew on food, and only food. If you find yourself exhibiting one of these bad habits, please try to quit! If you were able successfully stop one of these habits, tell us in the comments below!


Our patients are awesome!

Recent Posts



Contact us

* Required

Captcha Image
Chicago Cosmetic Dentist | Chicago Implant Dentist | Restorative Dentistry Chicago | Chicago Cosmetic Dentistry | Chicago Teeth Whitening
Porcelain Veneers Chicago | Chicago Make Over

Weller Dental and Whitening Centers offer comprehensive adult dental solutions from preventative care to smile enhancements.

© 2013 Jeffrey A. Weller, DDS. Created and Maintained by M3SM.