Kim Battisto, DDS

Dentist - Carol Stream

141 Hiawatha Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188

(630) 221-8501
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Carol Stream, IL 60188

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By Kim Battisto, DDS
May 15, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

Preventive maintenance (PM) can help extend the longevity of many things we own, from automobiles to electronic devices. But preventive maintenance is also useful for more than tangibles like cars or computers—your teeth and gums, for instance. Performing oral PM can help keep your mouth healthy and help you avoid costly treatments in the future.

In recognition of National Dental Care Month this May, here are 5 preventive maintenance tips to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.

Daily oral hygiene. Dental plaque is a thin, bacterial film on tooth surfaces that's most responsible for dental disease. Accumulations of plaque and its hardened form, tartar, can trigger tooth decay or gum disease, both of which have the potential to rob you of your teeth. Daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque buildup is a great PM investment in your oral health.

Plaque disclosure. If you do brush and floss every day, how effective are you? One way to find out is to use a plaque disclosing agent, a product containing a special dye that only activates when it comes in contact with bacterial plaque. After applying it, you can see any plaque you've missed highlighted with a bright color, providing you valuable feedback toward improving your hygiene practice.

Dental cleanings. Even if you're a ninja at brushing and flossing, there's always a chance of missing some plaque. It can then calcify into the aforementioned tartar, which is impossible to remove with only brushing and flossing. Semi-annual cleanings by your dentist removes residual plaque and tartar, helping to boost your already low risk for tooth decay or gum disease.

Prompt treatment. When you hear a "knock" or some other odd occurrence with your car, it's wise to have it checked ASAP to avoid more extensive damage. The same goes for your mouth. Symptoms like dark spots on teeth, slow-healing mouth sores, or swollen, reddened and bleeding gums should prompt you to make an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you do, the quicker we can treat the problem at the least amount of expense.

Sports protection. Disease isn't the only threat to your mouth—a hard blow to the face or jaws can cause severe injuries that could reverberate for years to come. You can prevent injuries by wearing appropriate safety equipment during contact sports or similar activities, including helmets fitted with face shields or athletic mouthguards.

Most dental problems don't happen overnight—they're often the result of a lack of attention to your teeth and gum health. But adopting a PM mindset for your mouth could help you avoid serious issues—and expenses—down the road.

If you would like more information about best ways to take care of your oral health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”

By Kim Battisto, DDS
May 05, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental implants have made a big splash since their arrival over three decades ago. Removing and replacing a troublesome tooth with an implant now often seems like a no-brainer.

But before we go straight to extraction, there's still something to be said for attempting a rescue mission for a tooth, even one in major distress. That's because even a highly advanced implant (the closest restoration we now have to the real thing) can't match even a sub-par tooth for dental function and protection against infection.

Not every tooth can be saved—which is why it's great to have a durable, life-like restoration like dental implants handy. But you might be surprised by what we can do to bring a tooth back from the brink. In recognition of Save Your Tooth Month this May, here are 3 treatments that could save your tooth.

The humble root canal. Tooth decay can extend well beyond a cavity in the enamel or outer dentin—even working its way deep into the tooth to infect the pulp and root canals. Teeth with this kind of decay, especially if it involves the supporting bone, teeter on the edge of survivability. But root canal therapy and related techniques can stop the infection process by removing diseased tissue inside the tooth. Then, by filling the pulp and root canals, we can prevent further decay and save the tooth.

Gum disease treatment. You may not know it, but periodontal (gum) disease is right up there with tooth decay as a leading cause of tooth loss. This bacterial infection can spread deep within the gums, weakening and loosening their attachment to teeth, as well as cause bone deterioration. But prompt treatment to remove plaque and tartar (which fuels and sustains a gum infection) stops the disease in its tracks, helping the gums to heal and regain their attachment to the teeth.

Crowning. Years of drilling and filling cavities can significantly weaken dental structure, to the point that any further treatment along this line for a tooth isn't practical. So, you might think, "Sayonara, tooth," but if the root remains viable, we may still be able to preserve what remains of the tooth by crowning it. Usually made of a tooth-colored porcelain, a crown is basically a cap that fits over and permanently bonds to a tooth. Not only does it provide stability and structure for the tooth, it can also bring back its attractiveness.

As we said, the best option for a troubled tooth may be to replace it. Just don't be too hasty! Depending on the situation, we may be able to give your tooth a second chance.

If you would like more information about preserving the health of your teeth and gums, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”

By Kim Battisto, DDS
April 25, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   oral health  

Although your dentist plays an important supporting role, you are actually the starring actor in your dental care. What you do daily at home makes the greatest impact on the dynamic state of your oral health.

The more you can become a "master" in your own dental care, the more likely your teeth and gums will remain healthy. It's also less likely you'll have much of a need to see the dentist beyond your regular cleanings and checkups.

Here, then, are 3 things you can do to improve personal teeth and gum care.

Improve your brushing. Brushing your teeth is primarily a physical skill. The more you do it, the better at it you'll likely become. And, the better you are, the more effective you'll be with removing disease-causing dental plaque. It begins with the right equipment: preferably a soft-bristled, multi-tufted toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand. Technique-wise, focus on being thorough but gentle to avoid damaging your enamel and gums.

Floss daily. Although a lot of people think of brushing and flossing as two different tasks (with many doing the former while neglecting the latter), it's better to think of them as two parts of the same goal of removing dental plaque. While brushing clears away plaque from broad surfaces, flossing removes it from between teeth where a toothbrush can't reach. If flossing isn't your thing, try floss picks or water flossers.

Put the brakes on sugar. Of all the things you eat, refined sugar is probably the most detrimental to your dental health. The oral bacteria that cause disease readily consume any sugar lingering in the mouth, which fuels their growth. It's especially problematic when constant snacking on sweets (or drinking sweetened beverages) provides a continuous supply. So, cut back as much as possible on sweets, or limit your consumption of sugary foods to meal times.

As we said before, your dentist does have a role to play in your oral health, so be sure you're paying them a visit at least every six months. These visits plus your due diligence at home will help ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.

If you would like more information on personal dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Tips For Daily Oral Care at Home.”


Earlier this season, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick got together with his longtime QB, Tom Brady. This time, however, they were on opposite sides of the field. And although Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the game, Belichick—or specifically his teeth and a pencil—may have garnered most of the media attention.

After noticing something between his teeth during the game, Belichick used the point of his pencil to work it out. Many of us are also guilty of such a dubious teeth-cleaning method, but we're not likely to be coaching a professional football team on national television while doing it. As you can imagine, hilarity ensued on social media concerning the video clip of Belichick's dental faux pas.

Lesson #1: Before you start digging between your teeth, be sure you're not on camera. More importantly, Lesson #2: Be choosy with what you use to clean between your teeth.

While we don't want to heap any more razz on the good coach any more than he's already received, a pencil should definitely be on the "Do Not Use" list for teeth cleaning. But, it's not the worst item people have confessed to employing: According to a recent survey, 80% of approximately a thousand adults admitted to working the edge of a business card, a strand of hair, a twig or even a screwdriver between their teeth.

Where to begin….

For one, using most of the aforementioned items is simply unsanitary. As your mother might say, "Do you know where that toenail clipping has been?" For another, many of these objects can be downright dangerous, causing potential injury to your teeth and gums (how could a screwdriver not?). And, if the injurious object is laden with bacteria, you're opening the door to infection.

There are better ways to rid your teeth of a pesky food ort. If nothing else, a plastic or wooden toothpick will work in a pinch—so long as it's clean, so says the American Dental Association.

Dental floss is even better since its actual reason for existence is to clean between teeth. You can always keep a small amount rolled up and stashed in your wallet or purse. Even better, keep a floss pick handy—this small piece of plastic with an attached bit of floss is ultra-convenient to use while away from home.

To summarize, be sure to use an appropriate and safe tool to remove that pesky food bit from between your teeth. And, be prepared ahead of time—that way, you won't be caught (by millions) doing something embarrassing.

If you would like more information about proper oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”

By Kim Battisto, DDS
April 05, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Millions of people wear an oral appliance for replacing their teeth, preventing functional damage, or as a part of ongoing dental treatment. If you're among them, then cleaning and maintaining your appliance can protect you from disease, as well as extend the longevity of your device.

Here, then, are 4 great tips for taking care of your appliance, for its sake—and yours.

Use detergent for cleaning. Because it's an oral appliance, you might think toothpaste is a good cleaning option. But toothpaste contains abrasives that, although just right for removing dental plaque without damaging tooth enamel, can be too harsh for some materials in your appliance. Using toothpaste could create micro-scratches in your appliance's plastic or porcelain that collect bacteria. Instead, use an antimicrobial dish detergent or hand soap to clean your appliance.

Stay away from boiling or bleaching. True, both hot or boiling water and household bleach kill bacteria. Both, however, could also damage your appliance. Very hot water can soften and distort the heat-sensitive plastic contained in many dental appliances, which can ruin their fit. Bleach can also break down the plastics in many appliances, and may "blanch" or whiten areas like denture bases that are meant to resemble natural gum tissue.

Handle carefully while out of the mouth. In the "outside" world, your appliance can be at greater risk for damage or breakage from hard surfaces, kids or pets. As a precaution while cleaning your appliance, be sure to place a towel or other soft item in and around the sink to cushion the appliance should you accidentally drop it. And, be sure while storing it out of your mouth that you place it high enough out of the reach of tiny hands—or paws.

Avoid 24/7 denture wear. If you wear your dentures while you sleep, they're more likely to accumulate bacteria and make your mouth more susceptible to infection. It's better, then, to take your dentures out at night and store them in clean water or a cleaning solution designed for dentures. Removing your dentures during the night will help you avoid disease, as well as minimize unpleasant odors or filmy buildup on your dentures.

If you would like more information on dental appliance care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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