All About Dr. Ma

on November 12, 2019

The Basics

Did you know that Dr. Ma is originally from Zanesville, Ohio? In her youth, her parents moved her and her sister to North Carolina. Dr. Ma was able to receive her high school diploma, undergraduate degree, and graduate degree all in North Carolina, but from there she began practicing dentistry in a few different states. 

Education And Practice

After receiving her undergraduate degree at North Carolina State University and her graduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Adams School of Dentistry, Dr. Ma moved to practice in Boston, Massachusetts and began her career as a dentist. 


Dr. Ma found Stephens Dentistry when she moved into town with her family—her husband is a dentist for the United States Navy, where he received orders to work at Great Lakes Naval Base, which is what brought them to Illinois in the first place.

Dr. Ma At Work

Many times, Dr. Ma has been told by her patients that she has a calm, gentle, and laid back demeanor. This helps put her patients at ease, making them feel and stay comfortable in her dental chair. She is aware of the common misconception that dental offices are fearful environments. Not only does Dr. Ma disagree with this statement, but she also knows that she wants to be transparent with her patients, always available to discuss which of the different treatment options will work for each person who sits in her chair. She makes sure you are heard.


In 2014, Dr. Ma, was awarded the Top Clinician Achievement Award: Gentle Dental Association Achievement. Due to her clinical excellence, Dr. Ma received this award based on the merits that she was a top provider among 42 branches of Gentle Dental New England. 

Life In Evanston And Chicago

Dr. Ma married her high school sweetheart and together they have a wonderfully mischievous toddler boy, Ethan. When she isn’t working, Dr. Ma enjoys tapping into her artsy side, checking out the local galleries, especially when her patients showcase their work. Dr. Ma also likes to explore downtown Chicago with family and friends. Her visits consist of stopping at museums and galleries, enjoying a sports game, and eating great food at many different restaurants. 


Get to know more about Dr. Ma when you come in for your bi-yearly professional dental cleaning at our office in Evanston Dentist. She’ll make it a point to listen to your needs so you can get the treatment that’s right for you. 


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SDManageAll About Dr. Ma

The Best Toothbrush Maintenance

on October 16, 2019

It’s been years since we picked up our first toothbrush and learned how to brush our teeth properly, but we want to make sure you are taking the proper care of your toothbrush. It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day every day for two minutes during each session, and don’t forget to floss. Visit your dentist near Evanston to make sure you are brushing properly and switching out your toothbrush at the right intervals.

Taking Care Of Your Toothbrush

You should keep your toothbrush clean after each use by rinsing it and leaving it out to dry. Toothbrushes can easily pick up germs and bacteria, so shake the toothbrush to clean out all the toothpaste and water and let it air out in an upright position. If you share a bathroom, keep your toothbrush is separate from the other ones when you store it in between each use. 

Getting A New Toothbrush

Switch out your toothbrush every three to four months or when you notice frayed bristles. When bristles are frayed, the toothbrush is less effective at cleaning the debris out of your teeth and gums. If you’ve recently been sick with the flu or a mouth infection, you should replace your toothbrush to avoid keeping the germs and bacteria in your mouth. 

Protect Your Toothbrush While Traveling 

Invest in a plastic toothbrush case to protect the toothbrush bristles while you travel. Just like at home, let your toothbrush dry while standing upright after each use and make sure it’s fully dry before you put it back in the plastic case.


Contact your dentist near Evanston to make your bi-yearly cleaning appointment. We look forward to seeing you.


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Dentures: Facts vs. Myths

on September 24, 2019

If you are considering getting dentures near Evanston, Stephens Dentistry wants to make sure you are well-informed about the procedure and what to expect. There are some misconceptions regarding dentures so read the facts to understand the process and if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask us!


Myth: When you receive a new set of dentures, you are good for life.

Fact: It’s possible that you’ll need to replace your dentures every 5-7 years because just like natural teeth, your dentures may wear down and stain over the years. Dentures will need to be adjusted and rebased periodically so they can fit comfortably and securely.


Myth: With your new dentures, you no longer have to visit the dentist.

Fact: You should still continue to visit your dentist yearly so your dentures can be adjusted properly. Additionally, if there are any serious problems, it’s important to give your dentist the opportunity to detect these issues early on so they can be avoided. 


Myth: Your diet will need to be altered completely with your new dentures.

Fact: Eating with dentures may take some time and adjustment, but once you feel comfortable enough, you’ll be able to enjoy eating the same foods such as apples and corn on the cob. If you have any questions about specific foods, don’t hesitate to ask us what’s allowed and what should be avoided. 


Contact Us Today

We offer both complete and partial dentures near Evanston at Stephens Dentistry. If you think you’re a potential candidate for this restorative procedure, book an appointment with us today and we will be sure to walk you through your options. 

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5 Common Dental Concerns

on August 19, 2019

When we grow older, it’s important to take care of our oral health. As your dentist in Evanston, we want to make sure that any concerns you have regarding your mouth and teeth should be acknowledged. If you feel that something is off with your oral health, contact us today and we will be sure to answer your concerns. Here are some dental issues that become common as we grow older.


Gum disease

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and if it’s not treated, it can lead to more serious and destructive issues, such as periodontitis. Make sure you are seeing your dentist for regular checkups bi-yearly and taking care of your oral health at home. 


Missing Teeth

If you are between the ages of 20 and 64, it’s possible you’ve experienced a decayed or missing tooth. There are many solutions to these issues, so ask your dentist about the options for a missing tooth and, depending on your case, they may recommend procedures such as bridges, dentures, or implants.  



If you feel pain or weird sensations from hot or cold foods and drinks, you may have sensitive teeth. This can happen due to many reasons, including:

  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Worn fillings or tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth root


Sensitive teeth can be treated when your dentist recommends desensitizing toothpaste or an alternative treatment based on what caused your sensitivity. Make sure you are adhering to a proper oral hygiene schedule and let your dentist know if your teeth are more sensitive than usual.


Dry Mouth

If you feel like your mouth is always dry, you may need to see a dentist for treatment. Certain medications and health conditions can lead to dry mouth so it’s important for the dentist to check your teeth for signs of decay that may result from a decreased salivary flow. Make sure you let your dentist know about the medications you take and any other health information that may help them identify the cause of your dry mouth.


Contact your dentist in Evanston today and we will help you if you have any of these dental concerns.

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Tips For A Healthy Smile

on July 15, 2019

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is an important part of your overall health and well-being. Our Evanston dentist would like to see you twice a year for your cleanings, but how can you keep your oral health in tip-top shape in-between visits? Check out our to-do list when it comes to keeping up with your oral health at home and on the go.

Keep Up With Bi-Yearly Appointments

Keeping a consistent schedule with your routine oral exams at the dentist help keep your mouth as healthy as possible. We recommend scheduling a general dental cleaning roughly every six months, allowing us to examine your mouth and address any potential issues. Your dental hygienist will clean your teeth and gums to help remove and plaque build-up and polish your teeth as well. 

Brush and Floss Daily

The ADA recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes with ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Additionally, make sure you’re flossing daily to keep the plaque at bay and under control. You should be replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or sooner if you see the bristles are frayed. 

Maintain A Healthy Diet

Eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables promote healthy teeth and gums. Too many sugary treats can lead to cavities and tooth decay. If you do have a sweet tooth and want to indulge every once in a while, make sure you brush immediately after you eat the treat to remove any excess sugars.

Rinse With Mouthwash

Using mouthwash after you brush your teeth can help protect your teeth and gums by killing leftover bacteria that can lead to gum disease. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash at least once a day for 30 to 60 seconds. 


Are you ready for your bi-yearly checkup? Contact your Evanston dentist today to make an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

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Dental Musts While Traveling

on June 20, 2019

Summer leads to more traveling and family time, but before you hit the road, make sure you head over to our dentist in Evanston, IL so we can spot any problems before they worsen and before you begin your trip! Once you begin traveling, there are a few dental musts to keep in mind.


In Case Of An Emergency

Make sure you have your dentist’s contact info handy because many dental emergencies can actually be resolved over the phone, especially if you’ve been keeping your family up to date with their regular visits. Sometimes emergencies need to be treated right away, and other times, the treatment can wait until you are home from vacation.


Remember Your Toothbrush And How To Pack It

If you forgot to pack your toothbrush, make sure to purchase a temporary one (with the ADA Seal of Acceptance) and rinse it vigorously with water before you use it. If you remembered your toothbrush, pack it correctly by using resealable plastic bags and keeping it separate from everything else. Always take your toothbrush out of the bag when you’ve reached your destination to let it air dry by standing up straight.


Brush With Bottled Water

If you are traveling overseas, especially to a country where you aren’t sure about the cleanliness of the water, use bottled water to brush your teeth. This avoids the potential of coming in contact with germs and bacteria.


Our dentist in Evanston, IL is ready to see you before or after your travel plans! Make sure you visit Stephens Dentistry bi-yearly and schedule your appointments to coincide with your summer trips.


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Foods That Stain Your Teeth

on May 13, 2019

We all aim to have proper oral hygiene, but did you know that what we consume can have an impact on our smile? Some foods can actually stain your teeth if you consume them often enough. Stephens Dentistry is here to inform you of particular foods that you should keep to a minimum moving forward! Our Evanston dentists know these specific foods can cause your teeth to stain.



Sauces that are dark, bright or even balsamic vinaigrette-based can seep into your enamel and cause staining. Some examples to look out for are: tomato-based sauces, curry, and soy sauce. Something to think about: if the sauces can stain your clothing, it can most likely stain your teeth.



The pigmented molecules that give berries their rich color can stick to tooth enamel and cause staining. If you love blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and beets (or other fruits and vegetables similar to these), it is ideal to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after you eat them. Doing so can help keep the stains at bay.


Candy and Sweets

If a candy makes your tongue change colors, it’s possible that it is staining your teeth as well. Hard candies, chewing gum, or Popsicles that contain blue and red dyes can stain your teeth. Keep the sweets to a minimum this spring and summer to preserve your white smile. Plus, avoiding these types of foods also keeps you healthier!


Stephens Dentistry wants to make sure you are rocking the best smile you can. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly,  head to your Evanston dentist when it is time for your bi-yearly dentist appointment!

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How Often Should I Be Visiting My Dentist?

on April 26, 2019

Going to the dentist is like going on a run–hard to get yourself started, but after your appointment, you feel great about yourself. When you leave the dentist, nothing beats that clean feeling as you move your tongue along your polished teeth. If you don’t fall into a high-risk category for dental hygiene, you should be visiting a dentist twice every year.

When you visit the dentist for a routine check-up, you will find yourself in the chair as the dentist checks for: plaque, tartar, gum disease, and sometimes your lower jaw joints (responsible for TMJ syndrome). Most check-ups end with polishing.

In-Between Visits

It’s important to brush your teeth a minimum of two a day to keep from gaining plaque build-up. In addition to brushing, you should be flossing daily. Since you are only visiting the dentist twice a year, you have a responsibility to your teeth to keep them as healthy as can be.


There may be times you feel sensitivity in your teeth, or you see too much blood while brushing. There is no harm in calling the dentist to make an extra visit in addition to your bi- yearly checkup.

If you are unsure how often you should see your dentist, ask! They can evaluate your oral health and give you a schedule that best fits with your dental hygiene to keep your smile healthy and clean.

Contact Stephens Dentistry today to make your appointment!

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SDManageHow Often Should I Be Visiting My Dentist?

Hydrogen Peroxide: What Can It Do for Your Teeth?

on March 25, 2019

If we had to guess, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with hydrogen peroxide. It is typically used as a reliable cleanser for cuts and scrapes. In fact, you might even have a little brown bottle of it lying somewhere around your house. But hydrogen peroxide’s functionality doesn’t end there – it also has a number of oral health benefits our Evanston dentist wants you to know about. From teeth brightening to the prevention of gum disease, it has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Oral Hygiene

While it may come as a surprise, hydrogen peroxide can actually improve your oral health. Dentists have been using hydrogen peroxide to treat gum disease and reduce plaque since 1913. Peroxide contains oxygen which helps fight the bacteria and pathogens responsible for gum disease. Even if you don’t have a serious form of gum disease, hydrogen peroxide can still be useful. Some dentists suggest applying a 3% solution with a soft-bristled toothbrush to teeth as a preventative measure.

Teeth Whitening

According to the American Dental Association, hydrogen peroxide is also an effective teeth whitener. In fact, it can be found in a majority of toothpastes and professional whitening agents. But don’t worry, it’s always at a safe concentration, varying from 25 to 40 percent.

Many different things have unexpected oral health benefits! If you are interested in learning more fun facts or have questions about your smile, don’t hesitate to contact our Evanston dentist at Stephens Dentistry today.

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Do You Need a Root Canal?

on February 18, 2019

The American Dental Association asserts that root canals are required when the nerve or pulp of your tooth becomes infected or inflamed. When this happens, our Evanston dentists will most likely recommend a root canal to salvage your tooth and keep your smile intact. But, do you know how to tell if you’re in need of one? Some symptoms are obvious, but others are inconspicuous. Make sure you watch out for the following:

Discomfort When Chewing

Pay attention to any pain you feel while you’re snacking on your favorite foods. Unexplainable discomfort may be due to an infection in your tooth, potentially caused by a crack or fracture.

Temperature Sensitivity

If you notice pain or sensitivity when you consume something hot or cold, or a lingering pain even after the stimuli has been removed, this is a sign that there’s a problem.

Constant Pain

Constant pain that isn’t set off by chewing or temperature changes is usually an indicator of an infection in the gum tissue. If you’re experiencing continuous, unavoidable pain, this must be addressed with your Evanston dentist.

If you’ve noticed some of the warning signs that indicate you might need a root canal, contact our Evanston dentist today. Whether it’s caused by decay, damage, or disease, action is required. Without prompt treatment, the infection may worsen and lead to more serious issues. The dedicated staff at Stephens Dentistry is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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SDManageDo You Need a Root Canal?