Open Saturdays and Weekday Appointments Till 8pm

Smile with Our Answers to Your Dentist’s FAQs in Oak Forest, IL

Is it because you are greeting someone? Are you trying to reassure someone? Are you sharing joy? Are you “putting a good face on things”?

We not only use our smiles to communicate with others, we express ourselves with them. Along with clothes, hair, job, and home, our smiles convey who we are. Smiles also make us feel good. They release endorphins, giving us a natural high.

There are a lot of good reasons why we want you smiling. It’s our pleasure to have just the smile solutions that can give you the recognition that a warm smile can provide.

There are many ways we can improve the appearance of your smile. Here are just a few:

    • Whitening lightens the color of teeth which have darkened due to age or stains from smoking, coffee, tea, or medication.
    • Crowns cover broken, cracked, or poorly shaped teeth to create a natural appearance.
    • Veneers cover the front of teeth to hide discoloration, improve tooth shape, and straighten crooked teeth.
    • Bridges replace one or more natural teeth by attaching false teeth to two or more crowns.
    • Orthodontics (Braces or ClearCorrect®) correct crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, and incorrect jaw position.
    • Mercury-free composite fillings and porcelain inlays and onlays restore and strengthen teeth weakened by decay while looking like the original tooth color.

  • Bonding masks discolored teeth and can camouflage other flaws while straightening slightly crooked teeth.

When Should We Take Our Child for His or Her First Dental Visit?

I recommend that you bring your child in to see a dentist when they get their first tooth. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with a doctor and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. We can discuss how to best care for their teeth and prevent problems rather than wait for problems to develop. It is also best to develop a relationship with your child when they are young and have no problems. If possible, we allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap in the exam room. If you wait for a problem to develop, the visits can be traumatic emotionally and leave your child fearful of receiving dental treatment for the rest of their life. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel.

Why Should We Take Our Child to Visit the Dentist?

Innumerable studies have found that starting children with good dental hygiene and oral care early in their lives is very important. According to this research, the most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay, affecting 50 percent of children in first grade and rising to 80 percent of 17 year olds. Children miss 52 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems and experience about 12.5 million days of restricted activity every year from dental symptoms. Early treatment prevents problems affecting your child’s health well-being, self-image, and overall emotional health.

How Do I Care for My Child’s Teeth?

  • Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child practices good dental hygiene. Parents must introduce proper oral care early in a child’s life. The following is a good oral hygiene routine:
    • Thoroughly clean your infant’s gums after each feeding with a water soaked cloth. This stimulates the gum tissue and removes food.
    • Gently brush your baby’s erupted teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, using a pea-sized or smaller amount of (preferably non-fluoridated, infant) toothpaste.
    • Never put an infant to bed with a baby bottle. Discontinue the use of bottle feeding for infants by age 1.
    • Teach your child at age 2 or 3 about proper brushing techniques. Later, as your child masters brushing and his or her coordination improves, continue teach your child brushing techniques and add gentle flossing to their daily.
    • Take your child to regular visits with their dentist to check for cavities in the primary teeth and for possible developmental or growth problems.
    • Encourage your child to discuss any fears they may have about dental visits, but do not use words like “pain” or “hurt,” since this may place the possibility of pain in the child’s mind.
    • Determine if your drinking water is fluoridated; if not, discuss supplement options with your dentist.
  • Ask your dentist about sealant application to protect the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth and about baby bottle tooth decay, which occurs when teeth are frequently exposed to liquids containing sugars (both simple and complex carbohydrates).

How Do I Handle Teething Problems?

A child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or “baby” teeth push through the gums—the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.

Normally the first tooth erupts between ages 4 to 12 months. Gums are sore and tender, and the child is sometimes irritable as each new tooth erupts. This will continue until all of the primary teeth have erupted, around the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well for some children. Avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.

Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6. This starts with the first molars in back and the loss of the primary lower central incisors (which are quickly replaced by the permanent lower central incisors). This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 32 secondary (permanent) teeth, including the third molars (wisdom teeth).

While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping or used for drinking between meal times can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about 30 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away much of the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.

What Else Do I Need to Know about My Infant’s New Teeth?

The primary, or “baby,” teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (“adult”) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth beginning around age 6.

Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, children with missing primary teeth or children who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a space maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space, reducing the room available, and causing permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she will treat the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems—hence the need for regular care and dental checkups.

Why Are Primary Teeth Important?

Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth also allow for clear pronunciation and good speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.

Why Is a Good Diet Important for Healthy Teeth?

The teeth, bones, and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps prevent or minimize the development of cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy snack foods like raw vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and cheeses, which promote strong teeth.

What Is Infant Tooth Eruption?

A child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or “baby” teeth push through the gums—the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.

Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth—32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).

How Do I Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay from Happening?

Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed, as well as not allowing drinking of milk or juice between meal times. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.

How Do I Handle Dental Emergencies?


The best thing to do is get to a dentist as soon as possible. You can do some things to lessen the painful symptoms, but getting definitive treatment is the only way to eliminate cause of the pain. Begin by carefully and thoroughly cleaning around the sore tooth. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. To lessen the pain, you can use ice packs. Place the ice pack over the area of your face where the pain is located. Leave the pack in place for 15 minutes then remove it for 15 minutes. Repeat until you can get to the dental office. Also, you can take Tylenol, ibuprofen (Motrin IB®, Advil®, Nuprin®), or naproxen (Aleve®) according to the directions on the label. Only take medications to which you have no allergy. Under no circumstances should you use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek

Ice packs can and should be applied to any bruised areas (15 minutes on and 15 minutes off). For bleeding, apply firm (but gentle) pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after 15 minutes, go to an emergency room.

Broken Braces and Wires

Remove a broken appliance only if it comes out easily. If it is lodged or painful to remove, cover any protruding edges with wax, cotton balls, gauze, or chewing gum. Do not remove any wire caught in the gums, cheek, or tongue: see a dentist immediately. Emergency attention is usually not required for loose or broken appliances that cause no bleeding or discomfort.

Broken Tooth

Rinse the area with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area of the injury. Recover any broken tooth fragments. Get immediate dental attention.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

This is a true dental emergency! First and foremost, locate the tooth. Make sure to hold it by the crown (the white part you see when the tooth is in the mouth), and not the root (yellow part). Do not handle the tooth any more than necessary. Then, gently rinse it off to remove any dirt or debris. Do not under any circumstances scrub it or clean it with detergent or soap. If possible, place the tooth back in the socket (hole) from which it came and hold it in place with a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If it is not possible to replace the tooth, put it in a cup of cold milk or water. Then, because time is essential, see a dentist as quickly as possible. Every minute counts and the possibility of success goes down with every passing moment!

Possible Broken Jaw

In the event of an injury to the jaw, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie, or handkerchief. Go immediately to an emergency room.

Bleeding after a Baby Tooth Falls out

Fold a piece of gauze and place it (tightly) over the bleeding area. Have the child bite down on the gauze for 15 minutes; if bleeding continues, see a dentist.

Cold or Canker Sores

Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, visit your dentist.

What Is a Smile Analysis?

The way you see yourself and think others see you has a great deal to do with the way you feel about yourself. A radiant smile can remove barriers, help you make new friends, and encourage your loved ones. Simply put, your smile can be your calling card.

The following is a list of questions designed to get you to think about and appraise your own smile. The first group of questions reflects upon your inner image of your smile; the second is an objective approach.

How Do You Feel about Your Smile?

  1. Do you love the appearance of your teeth and smile?
  2. Do you find a way to smile without showing your teeth or do you put your hand in front of your mouth when you smile?
  3. Do you ever wish you had a smile like a model on a magazine cover?
  4. Are you hesitant to visit a cosmetic dental office due to the condition of your teeth?
  5. Does your smile make you feel confident?
  6. Do you close your lips when someone is taking your picture or turn away from the camera?
  7. Have you ever held back a laugh because you were uncomfortable with your smile?
  8. Has anyone ever told you that you have a beautiful smile? Would you like to hear this all the time?

What Is Your Smile Really Like?

  1. Are your teeth discolored? Are they yellow, gray, or stained?
  2. Are there any spaces between your teeth (from missing teeth)?
  3. Are there gaps in between your teeth?
  4. Are your teeth crowded or overlapped?
  5. Are the biting edges of your teeth straight across, or do they follow the curve of your lip?
  6. Is the midline of your two front teeth centered with your nose or off to one side?
  7. Can you see any gray, black, or discolored fillings?
  8. Do you have any crowns that are dark at the gums or don’t look natural?
  9. Are there any edges of your teeth that are worn or chipped? 10. Are your gums red, swollen, and puffy or receded?

These questions should help you pinpoint possible smile corrections that you may want or need. We would be happy to discuss your options with you.

What Causes Tooth Decay (“Cavities”)?

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting from the interaction of bacteria (which naturally occur on the teeth) and carbohydrate (sugars) in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of filling materials, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a root canal and a crown (a crown is a complete covering for the tooth, “capping” it, making it stronger). Avoiding decay simply requires a strict adherence to a good dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control, and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

What Causes Teeth to Be Sensitive?

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over a period of time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede, or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.

What Is Periodontal (“Gum”) Disease?

Periodontal simply means “the tissue around the teeth.” Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment (including surgery) of this area.

Plaque is the most common element causing gum disease. Unfortunately, periodontal related problems are often discovered after they have persisted for an extended period of time. Proper daily oral hygiene, regular dental care, dental exams, and professional cleanings will minimize the risk of gum disease. Gum disease ranges from mild gingivitis to moderate or severe periodontitis. Treatments are available for every type of gum disease, from the least to the most severe forms.

The following are common problems associated with gum disease:

  • “Long” teeth (receding gum lines expose the root portions of the teeth)
  • Discolored or deteriorating tooth structure
  • Gum depressions (holes in between the teeth in the gum tissue)
  • Infected gum line (discoloration, swelling, bleeding from or inflammation of the gum tissue)
  • Tooth loss or tooth mobility (looseness) or movement

According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report on oral health, poor oral health promotes the onset of serious systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, anemia, hemophilia, oral cancer, kidney and lung disease and premature birth. Millions of Americans die each year from these diseases.

An estimated 75% of Americans suffer from periodontal disease. Aside from playing a role in the serious diseases mentioned above, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Most adults show signs of this or other gingival diseases before major health impairment. Severe periodontal disease affects 4% of adults ages 45 to 54 and 23% of 65- to 74-year-olds. With a population that is living longer, what does this mean for patients who live to be 85 or 90 years old?

What Causes Bad Breath?

Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the buildup of food particles, plaque, and bacteria in your mouth. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of serious gum disease or another dental problem.

How Do I Know if I Have Oral Cancer?

Do you have a sore that has been present for a long time? Does it bleed? Is it painful? Oral cancer is one of the most deadly kinds of cancer, claiming more lives each year than cervical or skin cancer. We offer a new process known as an oral brush biopsy that allows doctors to easily determine whether a questionable lesion is cancerous. Results are known within one week and are 100% accurate.

What Are Common Smoking Policies?

Our office supports an initiative by the state of Illinois designed to reduce smoking among children.

Illinois Children’s Initiative

RESOLUTION TO REDUCE YOUTH SMOKING WHEREAS, Every year over 60,000 Illinois children begin smoking, of whom, 20,000 of them will die prematurely because of this addiction; and, WHEREAS, 260,000 of today’s Illinois children will eventually die of tobacco related causes; and, WHEREAS, Increasing the state’s excise tax on cigarettes by 75 cents per pack would greatly decrease the number of children who become addicted to tobacco; and, WHEREAS, This tax increase would generate $537 million per year in additional state revenues. These revenues could provide funding for human services, healthcare, and other services to improve the lives of Illinois families.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, That the undersigned organization endorses the Illinois Children’s Initiative, which will:

  • Increase the Illinois excise tax on cigarettes by at least 75 cents per pack.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the undersigned organization will:

  • Inform its members and if possible the general public of its endorsement of this resolution.
  • Inform the governor and members of the General Assembly of its endorsement of this resolution, to the extent permitted by law and urge its members to do the same.

Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco, 208 S. La Salle Suite 900, Chicago IL 60604 or fax to (312) 346-8236. Call (312) 346-4675 with questions about the Illinois Children’s Initiative.

How Can I Enhance My Smile?

A Beautiful Smile Is Priceless

  • Show the world your confidence!
  • Show the world who you are!
  • Show the world how proud you are!
  • Show the world your smile!

Don’t hold back that beautiful smile!

Don’t WISH for a smile you can be proud of!

Do You Feel Embarrassed of Your Smile Due to the Following?

  • Faded, chipped, or cracked teeth?
  • Crooked or crowded teeth?
  • Stained or worn teeth?
  • Uneven spaces in your teeth?

You don’t have to be ashamed of your smile anymore!

We can provide the results you are looking for at an affordable price. We understand our patients’ needs and will make every possible attempt to accommodate your schedule, concerns, and financial needs.

Don’t just smile in your dreams, make it a reality!

Contact Us

Thomas Krull D.D.S, P.C.

6320 W. 159th Street, Suite B
Oak Forest, Illnois 60452
Phone: (708) 687-0880