Cleanings & Prevention

Holistic Dental Cleanings & Prevention in Chicago

close up of smiling young womanPreventive dental care can benefit you beyond maintaining a beautiful smile. Keeping up with your six-month visits and receiving prevention with dental cleanings, examinations, and patient education can make all the difference. At Healthful Alternatives, Dr. Marianne Schaefer and her team are firm believers in delivering prevention with a holistic and conservative approach. This strategy considers all aspects of your overall health while treating various dental issues.

Our dentist carefully designs care to use progressive alternatives to traditional dentistry. We can better treat your needs with safer, more natural, and less invasive techniques.

We proudly serve individuals and their families throughout Chicago and Cook County. To schedule your next dental cleaning and exam, contact our office today!


What Are the Benefits of Holistic Dentistry?

Perhaps the most significant benefit of holistic dentistry is helping to improve your oral and overall health. Instead of purely focusing on your smile, holistic care recognizes the close connection between oral and overall well-being and provides treatments designed with your whole-body health in mind.

Other benefits of holistic dentistry are:

No cookie-cutter approach: Our team works closely with you to create treatment plans personalized to your unique needs and goals.

Amalgam-free procedures: We do not use materials that can potentially harm your health such as dental amalgams, or metal that contains traces of mercury. Instead, our treatments use biocompatible materials that are entirely safe for the body.

Innovative solutions: When you hear the term ‘holistic dentistry,’ you might think it avoids technology. On the contrary, it often uses the latest technology to perform minimally invasive procedures. Examples are laser treatments for treating gum disease and advanced 3D x-rays that produce lower levels of radiation.

Therapy for sleep disorders: Holistic solutions can also help with sleep apnea, snoring, and related disorders. Long term benefits of better sleep include improved memory, better weight management, and a healthier cardiovascular system.

What Is Preventive Dentistry Exactly?

male patient consulting with dental assistant in dental clinicPreventive dentistry is the practice of protecting and maintaining good oral health through proper dental hygiene, education, healthy lifestyle habits, and receiving routine care. Taking care of your smile at home should include brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

At Healthful Alternatives, we offer a wide variety of preventive procedures. Care typically begins with a dental exam followed by a thorough cleaning. Depending on your oral health, we may recommend you visit us for dental cleanings sooner than every six months.

Other preventive measures include teaching proper brushing techniques and applying dental sealants to avoid tooth decay. Our goal is to prevent the need for frequent dental visits and provide your entire family with beautiful, healthy smiles.

How Prevention Protects Oral Health

close up of tooth model and teethbrushMedical and dental research continues to show evidence of the close connection between oral and whole-body health. During exams, it's not uncommon for our dentist to discover potential general health concerns, as these issues can often leave signs in the mouth. Oral infections can spread to other areas of the body through the bloodstream. The bacteria found in gum disease have been known to cause issues with diabetes, the heart, and even pregnancy.

Whole-body health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers can also impact oral health. This is why holistic dentistry is so essential. By protecting your oral health, preventive procedures can also help to improve your general health.

Preventive Care for Kids

Preventive dental care is especially beneficial for children for several reasons. Introducing your kids to the dental environment and preventive care early on helps to eliminate anxiety and fear. This builds trust between your child and our team and promotes positive feelings towards dental visits.

Dr. Schaefer enjoys making routine dentistry fun for children in an environment where they feel welcome and safe.

Thorough Dental Exams

woman getting a dental exam in dental officeRoutine dental exams are essential because they provide our team with an overview of your oral health. We check for plaque, tartar, cavities, and other signs of complications. Dental exams also include evaluating your neck and face for abnormalities.

Dental exams often include:

  • Evaluating your oral health and how it could be impacting overall health
  • Analyzing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, or bone loss
  • Determining whether you need restorations
  • Checking your jaws and bite for signs of misalignment
  • Teaching you effective oral hygiene, especially if you have dentures, braces, or other dental appliances

Digital X-rays for Safer Diagnosing

Exams include digital x-rays when necessary. This tool creates precise images of your teeth, gums, jaw, and facial features. The images provide us with a comprehensive understanding of your oral health. Our digital x-rays can also show wisdom teeth, cysts, root alignments, tumors, decay, and bone loss.

Digital x-rays are safer than the traditional version because they often use lower amounts of radiation, reducing your exposure. We evaluate the results with you and take time to discuss your treatment options.

What Else Can I Expect During My Dental Exam?

To better understand your needs, we may ask questions about your diet, lifestyle, and medical history. This information is valuable for determining how you might respond to recommended procedures. Dr. Schaefer will make treatment recommendations based on her understanding of your current oral health. Other aspects of a dental exam include oral cancer screenings and ensuring dental appliances still fit comfortably.

Gentle Exams & Dental Care for Children

little girl smiling outdoorsWe care for children as young as 18 months. If you have children, we can give you useful tips on how to help them practice healthy oral hygiene habits. Some examples include brushing and flossing together and allowing them to choose a fun toothbrush. Children enjoy mimicking adult activities, so they can easily follow your lead.

Our team provides child-friendly video tutorials and implements a reward system. We enjoy teaching kids how to brush their teeth in creative ways. Some methods you can try are humming the birthday or other favorite songs or getting them a brightly colored two-minute sand timer.

To prevent dental decay from nighttime drinks and snacks, we advise you to avoid feeding them sugary foods at bedtime. If they must have a drink, plain water will do the trick.

If your child has complex dental needs, we will refer them to a highly qualified specialist. Our team can create a roadmap for a lifetime of bright smiles and healthy teeth.

Gentle Dental Cleanings

smiling woman in dental officeWe perform dental cleanings after an exam. Our team is known for our caring approach and gentle technique when removing plaque and tartar from smiles.

We provide dental cleanings, also known as prophylaxis, if you have a generally healthy mouth. This involves routine maintenance, removing food debris, plaque, and tartar buildup.

You may have gum disease if you’re experiencing red and sensitive gums that bleed during daily brushing and flossing. For these cases, our team provides scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing the plaque and tartar above and below your gum line. During root planing, we smooth tooth roots to promote proper healing and encourage gum reattachment.

Gum disease maintenance involves more detailed cleanings for issues such as gingivitis or periodontitis. These types of cleanings can be performed as often as every three months.

What Happens During Dental Cleanings?

male patient getting a dental cleaningUsing a small mirror for guidance, our skilled dental hygienists clean the surfaces of teeth and along the gums. After removing plaque and tartar using a scaler, we use tools to get rid of loose particles. We use gritty toothpaste that gently scrubs the surfaces of your teeth. The hygienist will floss between each tooth, showing you useful techniques for keeping your smile healthy. Finally, we polish your enamel to remove light stains and leave your mouth feeling fresh.

When finished, you'll rinse your mouth to flush away any leftover debris. Depending on your needs, Dr. Schaefer may provide you with a take-home fluoride treatment to protect your teeth against cavities.

Do I Need a Cleaning If I Brush Every Day?

Yes! While we always recommend daily and nightly brushing, professional cleanings are still needed to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. Dental cleanings get rid of these concerns while allowing us to identify potential dental issues. Ultimately, the benefits you receive from appointments with Dr. Schaefer can help you save time and money.

Do I Need Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants prevent tooth decay by coating the chewing surfaces of your teeth. We often apply this protective coating to new molars and premolars. It bonds quickly into the depressions of your back teeth and helps to prevent cavities from forming.

We recommend sealants for children as soon as their permanent premolars and molars emerge. That way, their teeth can be protected for years. We can also provide sealants for teens, adults, and seniors.

Help Keep Your Smile Healthy for Life!

If you're looking to benefit from preventive, holistic dentistry, look no further than Healthful Alternatives. Dr. Schaefer is renowned for providing top-quality procedures that keep your complete health in mind.

Our passionate and experienced team is committed to providing you and your loved ones with healthy and beautiful smiles for life! Contact our Chicago dental office today!


Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.