My Blog

Posts for: April, 2018

By Laura Elliff, DMD
April 24, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Do you pride yourself on your toothbrushing speed? Although quick brushing may help you get out the front door sooner, the habit may oral hygieneincrease your risk of tooth decay. Our Batavia, IL, dentists, Drs. Laura and Andrew Elliff and Dr. Alexander Stokowski, can discuss the ideal brushing time and share a few oral hygiene tips that will help you protect your smile.

Spending more time brushing means fewer cavities

Have you ever noticed that your teeth feel a little rough throughout the day? The sensation occurs when an invisible layer of plaque coats your teeth. Although the bacterial film is responsible for tooth decay, it can be easily removed simply by brushing your teeth. Thorough brushing can't be accomplished in just a few seconds. If you don't brush long enough, plaque will be left behind on your teeth. For best results, brush your teeth for at least two minutes with a soft-bristle brush.

Flossing isn't optional

Plaque doesn't only coat the surfaces of teeth you can see but also forms between teeth. You can avoid cavities in these areas by flossing once each day. Daily flossing also gets rid of food debris that may cause bad breath.

Don't forget about your tongue

Brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth decreases the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Plaque can soon migrate to your teeth if you brush your teeth but don't also brush these areas. If brushing your tongue makes you gag, the experience may be more comfortable if you use a tongue scraper, available at Batavia area drugstores.

A few tricks can help kids become more enthusiastic brushers

Do your children complain about toothbrushing? These tips may help them develop a good oral hygiene routine:

  • Buy Fun Brushes: Toothbrushes that light up, play music, or feature favorite cartoon characters can make it much easier to convince your kids to brush.
  • Use Rewards: Stickers or other small rewards for a job well-done offer a little extra incentive for reluctant brushers.
  • Offer a Little Demonstration: Are you worried that your kids don't brush thoroughly enough? Buy plaque-disclosing tablets, available online, and ask your children to chew the tablets after brushing. Missed spots will appear blue or red, offering unmistakable proof of plaque buildup.

Protect your smile with good oral hygiene and regular checkups. Call our Batavia, IL, dentists at Elliff Dental at (630) 482-7200 to schedule your next appointment.


In an instant, an accident could leave you or a loved one with a missing tooth. Thankfully, we can restore it with a dental implant that looks and functions like a real tooth—and the sooner the better.

But if the patient is a teenager or younger, sooner may have to be later. Because their jaws are still developing, an implant placed now could eventually look as if it's sinking into the gums as the jaw continues to grow and the implant doesn't move. It's best to wait until full jaw maturity around early adulthood and in the meantime use a temporary replacement.

But that wait could pose a problem with bone health. As living tissue, bone cells have a life cycle where they form, function and then dissolve (resorption) with new cells taking their place. This cycle continues at a healthy rate thanks to stimulation from forces generated by the teeth during chewing that travel through the roots to the bone.

When a tooth goes missing, however, so does this stimulation. Without it the bone's growth cycle can slow to an unhealthy rate, ultimately reducing bone volume.  Because implants require a certain amount of bone for proper placement and support, this could make it difficult if not impossible to install one.

We can help prevent this by placing a bone graft immediately after the removal of a tooth within the tooth's "socket." The graft serves as a scaffold for new bone cells to form and grow upon. The graft will eventually resorb leaving the newly formed bone in its place.

We can also fine-tune and slow the graft's resorption rate. This may be preferable for a younger patient with years to go before their permanent restoration. In the meantime, you can still proceed with other dental treatments including orthodontics.

By carefully monitoring a young patient's bone health and other aspects of their dental care, we can keep on course for an eventual permanent restoration. With the advances in implantology, the final smile result will be worth the wait.

If you would like more information on dental care for trauma injuries, 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 “Dental Implants for Teenagers: Factors Influencing Treatment Planning in Adolescents.”

By Laura Elliff, DMD
April 13, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   toothbrush  

If there’s one essential tool for dental health, it’s the toothbrush. But though simple in basic design, manufacturers have nonetheless created a dizzying array of choices that often muddy the decision waters for consumers.

It doesn’t need to be that way—you can choose the right toothbrush like a boss. First, though, you need to know a toothbrush’s purpose expressed as two basic tasks: removing dental plaque, the thin biofilm that causes most dental disease; and stimulating the gums to maintain good health.

So what should you look for in a toothbrush to effectively perform these tasks? Here are 3 important factors to consider when buying this essential dental care tool.

Bristle quality. First, it’s a myth that bristles should be hard and stiff to be effective—in fact harder bristles can damage the gums. Opt instead for “soft” bristles that are also rounded on the ends. And look for bristling with different levels of length—shorter length sections work better around the gum line; longer sections help clean back teeth more effectively.

A “Just right” size. Toothbrushes aren’t uniform—you’ll need to choose a size and shape that works well for you personally. You might find an angled neck or a tapered head easier for getting into your mouth’s hard to reach places. If you have problems with dexterity, look for a brush with large handles. And be sure to ask us at the dental office for recommendations on brush dimensions that are right for you.

ADA Seal of Acceptance. Just like toothpaste brands, the American Dental Association assigns its seal of approval to toothbrushes they’ve evaluated and found to meet certain standards. Although you can find high quality toothbrushes that haven’t sought this evaluation, an ADA seal means it’s been independently tested and found safe and effective for use.

Of course, no matter how high quality the toothbrush you buy, it’ll only be as effective as your brushing technique. So, be sure to use gentle circular or oval motions along all your teeth and gumline surfaces—it should take you about two minutes. We’ll be happy to show you the proper technique in more detail, so you’ll be able to get the most out of your chosen toothbrush.

If you would like more information on effective daily hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.