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John D. Luker, DDS
997 Clocktower Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62704
(217) 546-8330

 

 



Posts for: November, 2018

JulianneHoughSharesaVideo-andaSong-AfterWisdomTeethComeOut

Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.

That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!

Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.

Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”

One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”  Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”


PracticeCautionwithEnergyorSportsDrinkstoProtectYourEnamel

Although energy and sports drinks have different purposes, they have one thing in common: they often contain added citric and other acids to improve taste and prolong shelf life. Their high acid content can harm tooth enamel.

Although enamel is the strongest substance in the body, acid can dissolve its mineral content. And although saliva neutralizes acid after eating or drinking and helps restore lost minerals to the enamel, it may not be able to keep up if the mouth remains acidic for a prolonged period of time.

That could happen with both beverage types. While energy drinks have higher acid levels than sports drinks, both are high compared with other beverages.

A recent laboratory experiment studied the two beverages’ effect on tooth enamel. The researchers submerged samples of enamel in six different beverage brands (three from each category) for fifteen minutes, and then in artificial saliva for two hours to simulate mouth conditions. They repeated this cycle four times a day for five days.

At the end of the experiment the enamel in the energy drinks lost on average 3.1 % of their structure, while the sports drink samples lost 1.5%. Although energy drinks appeared more destructive, the acid in both beverages caused enamel damage. Although there are other factors to consider in real life, the experiment results do raise concerns about both beverages’ effect on dental health.

You can, however, minimize the potential harm to your enamel from energy or sports drinks. First, try other beverage choices lower in acid; water, for example, is a natural hydrator and neutral in pH. Try to only drink energy or sports beverages at mealtimes when your saliva is most active. And after drinking, rinse your mouth out with water to dilute any remaining acid.

And although it sounds counterintuitive, wait about an hour to brush your teeth after drinking one of these beverages. Your enamel can be in a softened state before saliva can re-mineralize it, so brushing earlier could remove tiny amounts of enamel minerals.

Taking these steps with energy or sports beverages could help you reduce the chances for enamel erosion. Doing so may help you avoid unnecessary damage to your teeth and overall dental health.

If you would like more information on the effect of sports and energy drinks on dental health, 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 “Think Before You Drink.”


Many people wait until something goes wrong to see a dentist, whether that "wrong thing" is pain from a decayed or infected tooth, bleeding gums from gingivitis (early gum disease), or trauma from a sports injury or accident. Despite this attitude, seemingly healthy teeth and gums still need regular attention and improvement as the normal wear and tear of your lifestyle and the natural effects of aging process can lead to cosmetic damage. Dr. John Luker, a dentist in Springfield, IL, offers a number of cosmetic dentistry services to get your smile looking and feeling better than ever!

Cosmetic Dentistry in Springfield, IL

Even when you do everything right in terms of your oral health, there are still factors beyond your control that can affect the cosmetic quality of your smile. Cosmetic dentistry comes in where factors like lifestyle and genetics leave off.

What Cosmetic Dentistry Can Do

One of the most common cosmetic complaints is stained and discolored teeth. The most common culprits are food and drinks like tea, coffee, red wine, sauces, and dark berries. Smoking is also a major contributor to dental staining, and can also lead to serious oral and general health problems as well. Certain medications, genetics, or traumatic injuries can also cause stains at the dentin layer (known as intrinsic stains).

Cosmetic dentistry procedures are also used to change the size, shape, and spacing of damaged, missing, or misshaped teeth.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

There are a number of procedures that can improve and makeover damaged or unattractive teeth, some of which are minimally invasive and can be completed in as little as one or two trips to the dentist. Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures include:

  • Porcelain veneers
  • Bonding
  • Tooth-colored fillings

Find a Dentist in Springfield, IL

For more information about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry and to find the procedure that is right for you, contact Luker Dental Care by calling (217) 546-8330 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Luker today!