Our Dental Blog

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
November 08, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   TMD  

Jaw muscle pain and tightness can be very uncomfortable. If you experience such issues near your ear or jaw, you should seek treatment for TMD/TMJ in Decatur, IL. At Gentle Art of Dentistry, Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens can help diagnose and treat this uncomfortable jaw muscle issue.

What is TMD/TMJ?

TMD/TMJ refers to ongoing pain in the area near the ear, jaw, or muscles on the side of your face. TMD is short for Temporomandibular disorders, but sometimes people incorrectly use the abbreviation TMJ. TMJ is short for the temporomandibular joint, which is the name of the jaw joint.

What Are Common Signs of TMD and TMJ?

You probably have TMD if you experience the following symptoms such as muscle pain in the cheeks or temples, clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and jaw joint pain. The clicking sound is not automatically a sign of TMD. If it is accompanied by pain or limited function, then you most likely have TMD.

Muscle pain in your jaw when closing your mouth may be a result of jaw clenching and teeth grinding at night. Sleeping with a nightguard is very helpful in this situation. Based on X-rays, it is possible to have signs of arthritis in the jaw without the pain associated with TMD.

If you have signs of TMD/TMJ in Decatur, IL, your dentists can help develop a plan to manage the pain and possibly treat it. Home remedies include reducing jaw stress by eating softer foods or using ice or heat compression on the painful area. We may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication in some cases. In severe cases, we may have to recommend orthodontic treatment.
Instead of suffering through jaw pain, contact your dentists for help. Visit us at Gentle Art of Dentistry for TMD/TMJ treatment in Decatur, IL. Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Jurgens will use their professional expertise to help you manage this often painful jaw joint condition. Call us at (217) 422-7448 for an appointment today.

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
August 19, 2021
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: dental crowns  

Gentle Art of Dentistry offers crowns to replace teeth and restore smiles. Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens can help when you have a damaged or decayed tooth with a dental crown in Decatur, IL. Keep reading about crowns and come see us to find out if this is the right tooth replacement option for you.

Dental crowns

Dental crowns are custom restorations milled from a ceramic material that can replace damaged teeth. When a tooth is decayed or damaged it can be reshaped, and a crown sits on top of the remaining tooth to replace it. They are a strong and beautiful tooth replacement, custom-designed to blend in perfectly with your smile.

Getting a crown

When you need a dental crown in Decatur, IL, your dentist will first prepare your tooth. If you have decay, it will all be drilled away. If you have suffered trauma like a crack or a chip, the tooth will be filed past the crack so that only a healthy and strong tooth structure remains.

Molds are taken from your mouth and newly prepared tooth. You may wear a temporary tooth cap while your custom crown is being made. This may not match your teeth perfectly but keeps your smile functional. At a final appointment, your custom crown is cemented into place and you leave the office with a new tooth!

Caring for crowns

When you have crowns or restorations in your mouth, they are pretty easy to care for. You just need to keep up a great oral hygiene routine at home and come in for regular dental visits. Your dentist will recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and scheduling professional teeth cleaning appointments twice a year. This makes sure you won't get a buildup of plaque and ensures you'll have regular exams. If you grind your teeth at night, your dentist will recommend a nightguard to protect your new tooth from damage.

Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens are here for you at Gentle Art of Dentistry when you need a dental crown in Decatur, IL. Contact us for an appointment at (217) 422-7448.

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
May 25, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

How dental implants from your dentists in Decatur, IL, can give you back your smile

Are you asking yourself if dental implants are right for you? It’s a common question, that has a great answer. Yes, dental implants are the perfect choice for you. Dental implants can help you regain the smile you lost.

Dr. Carol Cunningham, and Dr. Daniel Jurgens at Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL, offer a full range of dental services, including dental implant restorations, to give you back your smile.

First, let’s talk about why dental implants are the right choice for you when you have lost teeth. Dental implants provide you with:

  • Beautiful tooth replacement that looks completely natural; dental implant restorations are made of lifelike materials that look just like your natural tooth structure.
  • Rock-solid tooth replacement that will never move around; dental implants are placed in the bone, where they become embedded and anchored in place.
  • User-friendly tooth replacement that you clean with simple brushing and flossing; the easy maintenance of dental implants helps you enjoy a healthy smile for life.

Now, let’s talk about some of the issues that may impact the healing of your dental implants. To be the best candidate for dental implants you should:

  • Avoid using tobacco products and smoking
  • Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Let your dentist know if you have diabetes
  • Let your dentist know if you have had radiation to your jaws or face

You need to take good care of your oral health before, during, and after dental implant treatment. Make sure that you:

  • Brush after meals and before you go to bed
  • Floss at least once every day
  • Visit your dentist for a dental examination and x-rays every 6 to 12 months
  • Visit your dental hygienist for teeth cleaning every 6 to 12 months

You can have a beautiful smile you will be proud to show to the world. The answer is dental implants! To find out more about why dental implants are right for you, and how they can help you and your smile, call Dr. Carol Cunningham, and Dr. Daniel Jurgens of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL. You can reach them at (217) 422-7448, so call today! They can help refer you to a specialist to have your implants placed, or they themselves can help restore your implants.

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
March 19, 2021
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: veneers   Porcelain Veneers  

Improving your smile may be simpler than you might think, thanks to porcelain veneers. Your Decatur, IL, dentists, Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens of the Gentle Art of Dentistry in  Decatur, IL, use veneers to address a variety of cosmetic issues.

Porcelain veneers hide flaws and imperfections

Veneers are thin porcelain shells attached to the fronts of teeth with dental cement. Although they're only about as thick as a fingernail, veneers offer a very effective way to keep flaws out of sight.

Unlike some other cosmetic dentistry services, porcelain veneers don't require extensive changes to your teeth. In fact, your dentist may only need to remove a tiny amount of tooth enamel to ensure a comfortable, natural fit. During your first veneer visit to the Decatur, IL, dental office, your dentist will also make an impression of your teeth, which the dental lab techs will use as a guide when creating your porcelain veneers.

Porcelain veneers can help you:

  • Hide Minor Damage: Veneers offer a simple solution if you have small chips or shallow gaps that don't affect the structural integrity of your teeth. Applying a veneer to a damaged tooth instantly improves its appearance.
  • Conceal Flaws: Bumps or pits in your tooth enamel, even if they're minor, can be very noticeable. Veneers make flaws and imperfections disappear.
  • Close Slight Gaps: Orthodontic treatment isn't the only way to improve the appearance of gaps between teeth. In fact, porcelain veneers may a good option if you have a minor gap between your front teeth.
  • Whiten Teeth: Whether you have a discolored tooth or want to whiten your entire smile, veneers can help you perfect your smile. Veneers are available in many shades of white and are resistant to stains from foods and beverages.
  • Make Over an Unattractive Tooth: Veneers can also improve the appearance of a crooked or oddly shaped tooth or make a short tooth a little longer. Thanks to veneers, your teeth will look much more uniform.

Upgrade your smile with porcelain veneers! Call your dentists in Decatur, IL, Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Jurgens of Gentle Art of Dentistry, at (217) 422-7448 to schedule your appointment.

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
February 05, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implants  

Losing a tooth, or more, is never easy, but thanks to modern dentistry you don't have to endure a gap in your smile for very long. Not only can a gap be unsightly, but untreated, it can lend itself to other dental complications over time. Your dentist has at their disposal a number of procedures to restore your smile, they each have their benefits, but in many ways, dental implants often excel above the rest. Certain habits and conditions may preclude you as a candidate but they are overall a highly sought after and highly successful treatment for missing teeth. To learn more get in contact with Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL.

Fixing Gaps

Correcting a gap in your smile isn't merely an aesthetic choice. The absence of a tooth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift into the empty space and create a sort of domino effect for the teeth that follow. Leading to possible crowding which in turn can make it difficult for you to thoroughly clean your teeth, and the gap itself serves as a trap for food. It can also alter your bite and can lead ultimately to headaches and an aching jaw. Dental implants can replace your missing tooth and keep complications from happening.

Alternative to Dental Bridges

The traditional treatment for correcting gaps has been dental bridges. They are an excellent choice for many, but a downside is that they depend on the healthy teeth neighboring the gap to support the new tooth. A dental implant, on the other hand, is a titanium post that is permanently bonded directly to the bone and serves as a root for the replacement tooth, or teeth. All of this without impacting other teeth.

Alternative to Dentures

If you are missing many teeth, employing a similar procedure to that described above, your dentist can apply an implant-supported denture. No longer would you have to worry about your dentures coming loose in your mouth and making it difficult to eat or speak comfortably. Dentures remain a viable treatment for many, but for some, getting used to wearing them can be challenging, that's where dental implants come in.

Natural Form and Function

Whether it's a single tooth or more, replacing them with dental implants returns to you a smile that looks and feels, and acts like your natural teeth. A lot of this has to do with the way dental implants work.


Dental implants permanently fuse with the bone, this is through a process called osseointegration. Then it's onto this very secure bond that a crown is attached, making for a smile that will last for decades to come.

Dental Implants in Decatur, IL

If you still need convincing, or if you just want to know if you're a candidate for the procedure, then it's time to make an appointment with Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL, by dialing (217) 422-7448.

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