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A self-proclaimed dental nerd

Joliet dentist practices with family of dentists, researches and blogs about dentistry

JOLIET – To say that Joliet dentist Dr. Daniel Streitz, Jr. is a dental nerd is not pushing it.

It’s his moniker.

“When I come home from work,” Streitz said, “I go on the Internet and read dental blogs for a good hour, hour-and-a-half, each night. We help each other. Technology is always changing, and it’s nice to have a huge network of dentists online to communicate with.”

Streitz not only communicates with a network of other dentists, he writes his own blog too, for his family’s dental website,, on interesting dental topics for the layperson.

“I think it’s important to get information out there to patients that might have conflicting information about certain issues,” Streitz said.

His education is not limited to dental school. Streitz’s grandfather, Dr. Thomas Streitz, who just retired, founded Streitz Family Dental in Joliet 58 years ago. The office now has a Plainfield location, too.

Dr. Tom’s son, Dr. Daniel Streitz Sr., still serves in both the Joliet and the Plainfield practices. Streitz joined the business two years ago and his brother, Dr. David Streitz, just graduated from dental school and will begin at the practice this summer.

“It makes for interesting family gatherings,” Streitz said.

In addition, Streitz said his grandfather’s brother, Richard Streitz, is a retired dentist, and Dr. Richard’s son, Mark Streitz, is a dentist on Black Road.

“I think our patients are unique, too,” Streitz said. “We have generations of them. They are very loyal.”

One recent post centered on the little non-dissolving blue specks that he and his hygienists were noticing. A little research revealed these were little plastic (polyethylene) balls that some manufacturers put in toothpaste.

“Some theories for the polyethylene’s presence is for decorative purpose or as a cheap filler material,” Streitz said. “As of this time, we do not know of any benefit or detriment due to polyethylene in toothpaste.”

However, on June 9, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a measure to ban them in personal care products. Synthetic plastic microbeads – billed as a way to exfoliate or scrub surfaces – are found in facial cleansers, body washes and even some toothpastes, according to an article by The Associated Press.

The new Illinois law seeks to prohibit the manufacture of such products by the end of 2018 and the sale of the products by the end of 2019.

Good dental health is more than simply avoiding cavities, he said. One of Streitz’s big campaigns is making people aware that dental problems – even undiagnosed ones – can their overall health in a major way.

Streitz called it the “mouth-body connection,” another reason why brushing twice a day and flossing and to see a dentist twice a year are good ideas. This, Streitz added, can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The American Dental Association echoes this statement.

Blogging about good oral health is just one more way the Streitzes help the community. Dr. Tom was involved with the Will County Health Department and traveled on dental missions to South America. Dr. Dan served on dental mission trips in Haiti and Peru. Streitz helped with a dental mission in Jamaica.

So what’s new in dentistry? The way crowns are made, Streitz said. Currently and in the past, crowns are formed from physical impressions. In the near future, Streitz said, digital impressions will be made so that crowns can be manufactured right in the office.

Although some dentists currently use the new technology, Streitz feels the technology needs a bit more improvement before his office adopts it. The field of implant dentistry for missing teeth also is making huge strides, he said.

“With some cases,” Streitz said, “you can put an implant in the same day you remove the tooth.

With only a brief youthful desire to become a professional tennis player, Streitz said he has wanted to be a dentist since he was in high school, when he occasionally assisted in the office and witnessed how much his grandfather and father enjoyed their work.

Streitz now understands why they did. He loves being a dentist, he said.

“Dentistry is an art,” Streitz said. “You have the ability to almost instantly change someone’s appearance for the better.”

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