Nasal Polyps

What are Nasal Polyps and how they affect my Total Health?

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One of the many benefits of my working at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital under the tutelage of Dr. Jordan Kempler was gaining a deep understanding of how fairly common ailments, such as nasal polyps, can be detected with a comprehensive dental exam - if your doctor knows what to look for. Knowing what to look for is important regarding nasal polyps since larger polyps can impede airflow through the nose causing mouth breathing which leads to dry mouth, increased risk of cavities in teeth and leads to gum disease over time. Does your dentist look for nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are non-cancerous lumps that may grow in any part of the nasal passages. They are soft and painless but they are one of your body's responses to chronic inflammation, infections or allergies-including allergies to environmental allergens as well as a sensitivity to certain medications. Nasal polyps can also result from certain immune system dysfunctions.

At Total Health Dental Center, we see only a few cases of nasal polyps per year, but we have protocols in place once nasal polyps are detected to have them removed.

Please visit our office on Dempster Street in Niles for recommendations for your Total Health including how to minimize inflammation caused by an unhealthy diet and preventative dental protocols to help minimize the spread of problem-causing bacteria throughout your body from your mouth.

What are the symptoms of Nasal Polyps?

The symptoms of having nasal polyps might be confused with those of a cold or flu, but the symptoms last significantly longer. Typical symptoms include a runny nose and stuffiness that last longer than 12 weeks (Chronic Rhinosinusitis) and these might be accompanied by generalized achy teeth, decreased sense of smell or a dull pain in your eyes, ears, nose or throat.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that Chicago is the 6th "sneeziest and wheeziest" city in the United States based on a report compiled by the National Resources Defense Council. Chicagoans face "a real serious double whammy" of ozone and pollen levels, said Josh Mogerman, spokesman for NRDC's Chicago-area program. Our communities of Park Ridge, Niles and Edison Park have high levels of seasonal pollen and are affected by the area's carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon pollutants associated with traffic congestion and the nearby Chicago-O'Hare airport.

Are there Risk Factors for Nasal Polyps?

Yes. Risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Advanced Age
  • Air Travel or changes in atmospheric pressure such as scuba diving
  • Swimming
  • Asthma
  • Weakened Immune System
  • History of significant dental problems

Just because you have these risk factors does not mean that you are likely to suffer from the appearance of nasal polyps, it simply means that you, your physician and dentist should be made aware of these factors that can contribute to the formation of nasal polyps.

How are Nasal Polyps detected?

At Total Health Dental Center, I start by asking questions of my patients about any other medical conditions you might have, or treatment you are receiving. Wit, this information I can offer a thorough examination with your Total Health in mind.

Total Health Dental Center is unique in the Park Ridge, Niles, Des Plaines and Glenview areas for their commitment to early detection of conditions that affect our patients' Total Health and have equipped our office with state-of-the-art screening equipment. Further, our team is trained to examine each patient for signs of conditions that affect Total Health.


Nasal polyps in the front of the nose can be detected with a simple examination of the visible interior of the nasal passages. Nasal Polyps In the back of the nose can only be detected with special instruments and require diagnostic expertise.

Part of every new patient's first visit to our Niles office is a panoramic x-ray. These x-rays are a little different from the typical ones taken in most dental offices. Taking only 30 seconds, panoramic x-rays are taken from a standing position; the x-ray machine travels around the head capturing an image of the patient's mouth as well as the jaw and nasal sinuses. (You may hear the words Maxillary Sinuses to describe all the sinus cavities that are located near the nose above the jaw.) One benefits of digital panoramic x-rays is that I'm able to immediately observe potential problems, allowing us to make the best use of your visit saving both time and money.

Our patients report that they enjoy looking out the window during the procedure - it's that easy!

At Total Health Dental Center, we are proud to be community advocates for eliminating the effects of unhealthy gums on medical conditions and chronic diseases through the proper delivery of dental treatment protocols. Our patients who come from Niles and the surrounding townships of Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Glenview, Morton Grove, as well as Edison Park of Chicago have come to expect us to partner with them in optimizing their opportunity for Total Health.

What are the Treatments for Nasal Polyps?

Once we detect nasal polyps the primary protocol is to refer patients to ear, nose and throat specialists. One such partner is Dr. David Tojo, an Otolarngologist in Park Ridge, who is, like me, also on staff at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Dr. Tojo and I have worked together over the years to restore Total Health to our patients.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Nasal Polyps?

First, don't panic. Nasal polyps can be irritating, but they are not, in most instances, a medical emergency. If you're scheduled for a dental appointment in the near future, please let my staff or me know about your symptoms and we'll be sure to discuss the situation while you're in the office.

Of course, your general practitioner is also fully capable of quickly detecting if nasal polyps exist.

No matter whom you turn to, always remember that your dental health - and the regular visits to your dentist - are an important component of your Total Health.

"Thanks goodness for the approach taken by Dr. Carlson, Marilyn and Jannett when I visited their office across from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. My "new patient exam" included screening for potential health risks and detected my polyps early enough that removing them and restoring my Total Health was relatively easy. Thanks Total Health Dental Center!"
- Ellen G, Edison Park