May 22, 2020 | Posted Uncategorized

The health and well being of our patients and employees is our top priority. We are actively monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation and want to assure you that we have developed a coordinated strategy to address the issue as it evolves.  We are deeply focused on ensuring patients continue to receive essential oral care and treatment during this difficult time.  We ask for your patience as you experience new policies that are being enforced. 

Working together, we will beat the Coronavirus. Thank you and stay safe!!

                                                        Southern Illinois Smiles, PC

Dental Sealants- part 2

May 22, 2019 | Posted Uncategorized

Dental sealants are an easy way to help keep teeth healthy. A dental sealant is a plastic material that is put on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant material flows into the pits and grooves on those surfaces and acts like a barrier, protecting enamel by "sealing out" bacteria and bits of food.

Research has shown that dental sealants are safe and effective. The American Dental Association recommends that dental sealants are an important step you should take to lower your risk of tooth decay and cavities.

Sealants usually last several years before they need to be replaced. Over time, sealants can come off which means they may not protect the teeth as well. Chewing on ice or hard foods can also break down sealants.

It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygenist to seal each tooth. These are the steps they may use to put sealants on your teeth:

1.  Your tooth is cleaned and the chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant 
     materials stick to your tooth.
2.  The sealant is painted onto the chewing surface where it bonds to your 
      teeth and hardens.  
3.  A special light may be used to help the sealant harden.

Sealants are smooth and you can't feel them on your teeth. They are usually clear or white and can't be seen when you smile or talk.

Sealants are recommended for children and teenagers, since tooth decay can start soon after teeth come in.  But, you never outgrow the chance of tooth decay and cavities, so adults can benefit from sealants, too!

Please let us know if you are enjoying the information in our blog!!


Dental Sealants-part 1

April 30, 2019 | Posted Uncategorized

Sealants help prevent tooth decay and cavities. Your teeth are coated with a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque. Bacteria turn the sugar in what you eat and drink into acids that can break down the hard, outer layer of teeth, called enamel.  Over time, the acid can weaken the enamel and may cause tooth decay, or a hole to form in your tooth's enamel (cavity).

Tooth decay often begins on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.  These surfaces have pits and grooves where plaque, bacteria and bits of food can get trapped. Toothbrush bristles can't reach into the pits and grooves, and it makes it hard to keep them clean.

Dr. Suntrup may recommend dental sealants to keep decay from starting on these chewing surfaces in the pits and grooves.

Sealants are not a substitute for cleaning your teeth every day!  They only help prevent decay if you stick to your daily oral hygiene routine.


Your Child's Teeth-Age 6-12

March 20, 2019 | Posted Uncategorized

Over time, your child's baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth. A 6 to 12 year-old child has both baby and adult teeth. Together, they help children eat, speak, and smile.

At about age 5 or 6, children begin to lose their bottom and top front teeth. By age 12, they will usually lose the last of their 20 baby teeth.

Their first adult teeth usually come in between ages 6 and 7. Your child will have a mix of baby and adult teeth for a while. By the time your child is 12 to 14 years old, they usually have all of their adult teeth except their wisdom teeth.

Not all children get the same teeth at the same time. Your child's teeth may erupt earlier or later.

Protect teeth and prevent decay with sealants.  A dental sealant is a plastic material that is put on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant material flows into the pits and grooves on those surfaces and acts like a barrier, protecting enamel by "sealing out" bacteria and bits of food.

Sealing a tooth is fast and painless. Sealants can last several years before they need to be reapplied. Talk to Dr. Suntrup about sealants for your children!!

Your Child's Teeth

February 18, 2019 | Posted Uncategorized

Your child's teeth-birth to age 6

Your child's teeth are important!  Baby teeth, also called primary teeth, help your child chew and speak normally. They hold space in the jaws for the adult (permanent) teeth that come in later.

Your baby's teeth start to come in when they are about 6 months old.  By age 3, most children have a full set of 20 baby teeth. Baby teeth will later be lost as your child grows.  This makes room for adult teeth, which begin to come in around age 6.  By the time children are teengaers they usually have all of their adult teeth.

Teething tips:

As teeth come in, babies may have sore or tender gums.  To help your baby feel better, you can:

-gently rub your baby's gums with clean, wet gauze, your finger, or a small, cool spoon
-give them a clean, chilled (not frozen) teething ring-but don't dip it in anything sweet or in other foods

Do not use benzocaine-containing over the counter teething products. These products can cause serious reactions in children. Details are available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website:


January 25, 2019 | Posted Uncategorized

Hate flossing??? These 5 reasons will change your mind!

Not flossing is icky! About 1/3 of plaque on your teeth can only be reached with floss or floss picks.

Flossing fights bad breath. Without flossing, food and plaque trapped between teeth can cause bad breath odors.

Not flossing hurts.  Plaque buildup between teeth can lead to tender, inflamed and bleeding gums.

Floss sends plaque packing.  Floss removes plaque below the gum line which can help keep teeth healthy and happy for years to come.

Flossing saves cash.  Costly treatments for tooth and gum issues can be prevented by flossing.


1.  Wind 18in. of floss around middle fingers
2.  Slide floss between teeth, below the gumline and hug tooth as you slide up & down
3.  Repeat on both sides of each tooth, using a fresh section of floss as you go
Tip: Try floss picks as a convenient on the go solution

We know. Flossing seems like a hassle. So are bleeding gums and bad breath!


December 10, 2018 | Posted Uncategorized

Prevention is the best protection!
Professional cleanings ensure the removal of harmful plaque before it can damage your teeth and gums.
X-rays help detect hidden problems so they can be corrected before causing any damage.
Fluoride treatments for children (and adults) strengthen enamel, help resist decay & reduce effects of plaque.
A daily routine of brushing & flossing along with regular professional dental care will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

These things together can help keep your mouth healthy and happy. Schedule your appointment with our office today!


Dentists today do more than just cure the occasional toothache.

Preventative Dentistry - Preventative cleanings & exams ensure that small problems don't become big ones.

Cosmetic Dentistry - Advances in cosmetic procedures allow you to enhance the shape, color, size or alignment of your teeth.

Make your appointment today with Dr. Suntrup!

Thanksgiving is a holiday infamous for rows of food choices, many of which are not especially healthy. Fortunately, you can have a delicious feast that is also good for you with these healthy Thanksgiving tips.

Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.

To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.
When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit or nuts. Cheese is great for teeth because it contains strength-building calcium. Nuts contain calcium and minerals that strengthen and remineralize teeth. The chewing of hard, crunchy nuts as well as raw vegetables produces extra saliva, which fights germs and prevents decay.

As a bonus, these tooth-healthy foods are also good for your heart and waistline. With these healthy Thanksgiving tips, it is possible to enjoy a delicious holiday dinner without gaining weight or jeopardizing your sparkling smile.



October 15, 2018 | Posted Uncategorized

Our practice encourages children to enjoy all the fun of the Halloween season. We ask that parents monitor their kids' candy selection and avoid hard or sticky candies (gummies, caramel, taffy). We reiterate the importance of brushing twice (or three times) a day and flossing. We suggest parents place candy in a bowl and offer children one piece when the situation is appropriate or allow children to eat candy in moderation during meals. The increased saliva production during meals can offset acids produced by bacteria. Sugar-free candies and gum are preferable. Dr. Suntrup reminds parents to follow precautions from local law enforcement regarding overall safety and encourage parents to let children have fun!


October 05, 2018 | Posted Uncategorized

Do you know what October is, besides the first full month of Autumn?? It's National Dental Hygiene Month!! This month is a perfect time to thank your Dental Hygienist for that brilliant smile!

Dental Hygienists play an important role in preserving good oral health. October is a great month to start the conversation about how we all can do a better job on our own oral care. According to the American Dental Hygienists' Association, that starts with the Daily 4: Brush, Floss, Rinse and Chew.

How to do the Daily 4:
We all know we should brush our teeth every day, but did you know 2 is the magic number when it comes to brushing? Brushing for 2 minutes 2 times a day helps prevent cavities, gingivitis and other oral disease.

Flossing removes food particles a toothbrush can't reach, while rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash helps remove total mouth bacteria and biofilm. It's a 3 part process that we should be doing at least twice every day.

So where does chew fit into the equation? Glad you asked! Chewing sugar-free gum after snacks and meals complements healthy oral care and helps protect teeth while also stimulating saliva glands that help clean your teeth.

In addition to preaching the Daily 4, Dental Hygienists are the ones who Save Our Smiles (#SOS) through cleaning services at the dental office. They perform preventive oral care, check for gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease), and show us effective cleaning and oral care techniques. This is why a visit to the Dental Hygienist should be on your to-do list at least twice a year.

Have you made your appointment yet?


Chewing Gum

October 03, 2018 | Posted Uncategorized

Chewing gum in various forms has been around since ancient times when it was derived from tree saps; today, the base used for most gum products is a blend of synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes in various proportions).

Although consumers may be used to thinking about chewing gum as a kind of candy, this category of the ADA Seal recognizes chewing gum that has demonstrated scientifically that it can protect the teeth.

The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth; if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.


A company earns the ADA Seal of Acceptance by producing scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety and efficacy of its product, which the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluated according to objective requirements.

Diet and Oral Health

February 27, 2014 | Posted Uncategorized

Good nutrition is essential for good health, and that includes the health of your teeth.  Let's look at the link between your diet and oral health  and what you can do to improve both.

Tooth decay and cavities are caused by acid that is produced by interactions between oral bacteria and food deposits left on your teeth.  Certain foods, especially sugary, starchy, and sticky snacks, are linked to higher levels of such acid causing bacteria.  Additionally, poor nutrition can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to other health problems, including gum disease.

The Whole Tooth - Dental Trivia

November 20, 2013 | Posted Uncategorized

Here is some fun dental trivia.....

 *  The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva (spit) in a lifetime.  That is enough to fill 2 swimming pools!

 *  The Statue of Liberty's mouth is 3 feet wide.

The toothbrush has been around for nearly 5,000 years.  "Chew sticks," bone, wood, ivory and hog bristles all make up the far-reaching history of this instrument of oral health.  The nylon bristled toothbrush that we now use was invented in 1938.  Today, battery powered toothbrushes are available in addition to manual toothbrushes.

"Keep a stiff upper lip" or "get a grip!"  That's often the advice we get -and give- on how to cope with stress.  If you take it literally, the result could be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.  It's called bruxism, and often it happens as you sleep.

Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked.  The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
          * dull headaches
          * jaw soreness
          * teeth that are painful or loose
          * fractured teeth

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep.  If stress is the cause, you need to find a way to relax.  Meditation, counseling, and excercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

Teeth grinding is also common in children.  However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence.  Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children.  Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:
          * irritation in the mouth
          * allergies
          * misaligned teeth

If you are concerned about teeth grinding, ask your dentist about potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.

Chewing Gum

August 01, 2013 | Posted Uncategorized

Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.   The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth.  Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphates to help strengthen tooth enamel.

The only varieties of gum with the ADA Seal are sugarless.   They are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol.  Of course, chewing sugar-containing gum increases saliva flow, too, but it also contains sugar which is used by plaque bacteria to produce decay-causing acids.  Further research needs to be done to determine the effects of chewing sugar-containing gum on tooth decay.

Don't let chewing sugarless gum replace brushing and flossing.  It's not a substitute.  The ADA still recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss or other interdental cleaners.



February 12, 2013 | Posted Uncategorized

Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Childrens Dental Health Month (NCDHM) to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.  NCDHM provides messages and materials that have reached millions of children across the country. 

Southern Illinois Smiles participates in NCDHM by hosting several field trips for children in our community.  We at Southern Illinois Smiles feel that good habits at an early age will benefit the children in our community.  We recommend scheduling regular dental visits to help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

1)  CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

2)  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

3)  Wash your hands often with soap and water.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

4)  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.   Germs spread this way.

5)  Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

6)  If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.  (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

And finally, never share toothbrushes with another person, and do not store your toothbrush where it can touch another person's toothbrush.  This can lead to cross-contamination and the spreading of illness.

Toothbrush Tips

October 01, 2012 | Posted Uncategorized

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth


Flashing your best, most healthy smile means brushing well and often.  In fact, the American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth twice a day for dental hygiene and to help promote dental health.  Make the most of that time by giving your brushing technique a refresher.

 Tooth Brushing Technique

You've been brushing your teeth your whole life, but are you getting the most from your efforts? The following techniques will help you get the most thorough clean.

     1) On the outer and inner surfaces, brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle in short half-tooth-wide strokes against    the gum line.

     2) On chewing surfaces, hold the brush flat and brush back and forth.

     3) On inside surfaces of front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use gentle up and down strokes with toe of brush.

     4) Brush the tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and freshen your mouth.

 Remember to spend at least 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth, adding up to two minutes each time you brush.

 Choose the Right Toothpaste

Colgate and Crest toothpastes contain flouride, which helps strengthen weak spots and prevent tooth cavities.  And whether you're looking for tarter protection, a rush of flavor, or dentist-inspired protection, there is a toothpaste that's right for you.

 Change Your Toothbrush

Most dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months.  To remind yourself, write the date you should change your toothbrush in permanent marker on the handle.

Welcome to the blog section! Please stay in touch to get up to date information on what is going on at the office, helpful dental hygiene tips promotions and upcoming events.