The Smiles Blog

Under Illinois law, children entering kindergarten, second, and sixth grades are required to have a dental examination completed by May 15th of that school year.  Otherwise, parents must present proof to the school that an exam is scheduled within 60 days after May 15th.


Dental examinations are needed during second and sixth grades because the back teeth (molars) usually erupt during this time.  An examination provides the opportunity to apply dental sealants to these teeth to help prevent future cavities.


The law affects all types of schools.  No exceptions or waivers are permitted to private or parochial schools.  A waiver is permitted, however, if the parent or guardian can show an undue burden or a lack of access to a dentist. Schools may withhold the second and sixth grade children’s report cards if parents fail to provide proof of examination or a waiver form by May 15th.


The Illinois Department of Public Health has developed a Proof of School Dental Examination Form that is recommended for use by dentists when they report that the examination has been completed. A PDF version of the form is available at the Illinois Department of Public Health website at or on the Illinois State Dental Society’s website at


An examination that was completed anytime within the 18 months prior to the May 15th deadline is acceptable. For example, a child that had a dental examination after October 16th of their first grade year may use that examination to comply with the second grade requirement.

February is American Heart Month.  It's a good time to remind ourselves about the connection between oral health and heart health.


According to the Academy of General Dentistry, people with chronic gum disease are at higher risk for a heart attack. Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup along and below the gum line. Some researchers have suggested that gum disease may contribute to heart disease because bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream, attach to blood vessels and increase clot formation. Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, thereby causing an elevation in blood pressure and increasing the risk of a heart attack.


Warning signs that you may have gum disease include: 

    •    Red, tender or swollen gums

    •    Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing

    •    Gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth

    •    Chronic bad breath ora bad taste in your mouth

    •    Teeth that are loose or separating from each other


The best way to be proactive in maintaining your overall health is regular brushing and flossing, scheduling regular dental checkups, and getting professional cleanings. If you currently have heart disease, please be sure to tell us about your condition as well as any medications you are taking. We can help patients who have a history of heart disease by examining them for any signs of oral pain, infection or inflammation.

Dental injuries are one of the most common sports related injuries. Sports accidents reportedly account for 10 to 39 percent of all dental injuries in children. 

A properly fitted mouthguard can protect your teeth and smile.  Mouthguards help cushion blows that might otherwise cause broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face, or jaw.  

Mouthguards are commonly used in contact sports, such as football, boxing, ice hockey, and field hockey. However, experts in sports dentistry recommend that a mouthguard be worn for any sport where there is a risk of being hit in the mouth or jaw region, including gymnastics and skating. 

There are three types of mouthguards: the ready-made or stock mouthguard; the mouth-formed “boil-and bite” mouthguard; and custom mouthguards made by a dentist.

Choose a mouthguard that fits properly; is comfortable; does not restrict speech or breathing; is tear-resistant; and is easy to clean. Custom mouthguards are considered by many to be the most protective option because they are the most form-fitting.

Making a custom-fit mouthguard is relatively simple and involves a very short appointment time.  Mouthguards can be ready within a few hours to a few days, depending on the dental office.

February 21, 2014
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Be sure to keep your toothbrush away from the toilet. The airborne particles from the flush can travel up to a distance of six feet! 

In support of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we urge parents and educators to spend time in February teaching children about the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums.  It is important for children to understand at an early age that a healthy body begins with a healthy mouth--both what you eat and how you care for your mouth. 


Here’s a fun experiment that can be conducted in the classroom or the home!  Ask the children what drinks they think could hurt their teeth and what drinks may be better.  Explain that they are going to do an experiment to find out what might happen to teeth if they are not brushed after drinking certain drinks.  Boil a few eggs and then soak each egg overnight in a different liquid.  Keep one aside.  Examples are Coca-Cola and other colored sodas, fruit punch, orange juice, milk, coffee, and tea.  The next day, show the children the stained eggs with the egg that you kept aside for side-by-side comparison.  Talk to them about good dental hygiene practices and how important it is to brush twice every day,  especially before bed.  Point out that if left unbrushed overnight, teeth can stain just like the egg shells.  Then give each child a toothbrush with a little toothpaste on it.  Hand out the eggs and let the children get to work egg brushing.  They can compare how much time is needed to brush off the different types of stain.  Keep track of how much time they spend brushing each egg.  This will allow the children to see how long it takes to remove the stains.  Also, compare the stained eggs with the egg that was not stained to see how much of the stain they were able to remove.  Refer back to the experiment the next time the children are ready to brush their teeth.  Help them understand that it takes more than a quick couple movements to brush teeth, just like removing the stains from the eggs.


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