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Smile Dental Partners

6 Degrees of Treatment

By | Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness

When Kevin Bacon visits Smile Grand Haven, there are 6 degrees of treatment that can occur if he is diagnosed with decay:

The earlier the decay is found, the more simple and cost effective the treatment can be.  In the coming weeks, we will share with you what to expect with each treatment option.  But in the meantime, below are the basics:

The filling is the most basic treatment to restore a tooth.  A filling removes the decay and replaces it with a hard material.  It can be small or large depending on the amount and location of the decay on the tooth.

When a filling gets too big and there is not enough healthy tooth left to hold a filling, Kevin Bacon will need a crown.  A crown (sometimes called a cap) is a hat that looks like and fits over a tooth, after the decay has been removed.

If decay has reached the root of the tooth, a root canal is performed.  A root canal removes the infected root fluid (pulp) and replaces it with a substance to stabilize the tooth.  If Mr. Bacon requires a root canal, he will also require a crown to protect that remaining surface of the tooth that is exposed after the root canal.

If tooth decay is severe and the gums are also comprised (unable to hold the tooth in place) a root canal is not an option.  The tooth must be removed.  This is an extraction.

If Mr. Bacon looses a tooth, he has options with what he’d like to do with the remaining open space in his mouth.  He may choose an implant.   An implant is a fake tooth that is attached by a post that’s screwed into your jaw bone.

Lastly, if a majority of teeth are lost to decay, removable dentures (partial or full) are an option.

And, next time Kevin Bacon stops by the Smile offices, we will be sure to let you know!

 

Could stem cell research help your cavities?

By | Health & Wellness

Dentists have devised a treatment to regenerate rotten teeth that could substantially reduce the need for fillings in the future.

The therapy works by enhancing the natural ability of teeth to repair themselves through the activation of stem cells in the soft pulp at the centre.

Normally, this mechanism is limited to repairing small cracks and holes in dentine, the solid bulk of the tooth beneath the surface enamel. Now scientists have shown that the natural process can be enhanced using an Alzheimer’s drug, allowing the tooth’s own cells to rebuild cavities extending from the surface to the root.

Prof Paul Sharpe, who led the work at King’s College London, said: “Almost everyone on the planet has tooth decay at some time – it’s a massive volume of people being treated. We’ve deliberately tried to make something really simple, really quick and really cheap.”

Read the full article from The Guardian here.

Diabetes & Gum Disease – A Two Way Street

By | Health & Wellness

Diabetes, which kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS, can weaken your mouth’s ability to fight germs, increase blood sugar levels, and can make gum disease more severe and harder to control. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in mouth fluids may help germs grow and set the stage for gum disease. These “bugs” sit below the gum line and act as termites, eating away at your bone. But tooth loss is not the only consequence of gum disease. New research has shown this link to diabetes as well as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and even increased risk for problems related to pregnancy.

The relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

Smoking increases the risk for gum disease.  If you are a smoker with diabetes, age 45 or older, you are 20 times more likely than a person without these risk factors to get severe gum disease, bone loss and tooth loss.

Imagine life without gum disease.  Without gum disease, you can live longer, increase the quality of life, keep your natural teeth, taste food better, prevent other oral diseases, infections and cavities, and have increased salivary function.  Other symptoms such as poor wound healing, pain in the tongue and burning mouth can also be decreased by controlling gum disease.

Proper dental treatment and maintaining your healthy teeth and gums makes living life free of gum disease easy!

Use good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after each meal and floss daily. Using a tongue scraper will also help to rid bacteria. To help prevent or control gum disease, begin a self care program today.

See your dentist regularly. How often you see your dentist depends on couple of factors: severity of periodontal (gum) disease, the rate at which plaque and tarter build up and how well you care for your teeth and gums at home. The Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health states that good oral health is integral to general health.

Control your blood sugar. Maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar will help control diabetes as well as helping your body fight off infections and may even lessen the severity of periodontal disease. Follow your physicians dietary and medication instructions and let your health care provider know if you are having problems controlling your blood sugar.

How to Pick the Right Toothbrush.

By | Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness

A toothbrush is a small tool with a big job.  It removes plaque, prevents tartar buildup, reduces the risk of gum disease and helps keep your breath fresh. But if you’ve wandered down the toothbrush aisle lately, the choices can be overwhelming.

toothbrushes reg or elect

Here are some tips for finding the ideal brush:

Bigger isn’t always better.  Choose a toothbrush with a head that is small enough to reach your back molars.

Go soft.  Harder bristles are not better at removing plaque.  If fact, rigid bristles do not bend enough to get between teeth or under the gum line.  And hard bristles can harm your gums.  We aren’t even sure why hard bristle toothbrushes are made!  So choose a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Ignore bristle design.  No research shows bristle length or design makes any difference.  Instead, make sure you brush your teeth for at least two minutes.

Consider electric.  An electric toothbrush with a rotating head is better at reducing gum disease and removing plaque than a regular brush.  It’s no secret since your dental hygienist uses a rotating head with your 6-month cleanings. Even better, many electric brushes offer a timer to make that 2 minute brushing even easier to achieve!

Replace often.  Get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months and after you’ve had a cold or flu bug.

Are You Mistletoe Ready?

By | Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness

Fresh breath, strong gums and clean teeth: there’s nothing like a healthy mouth to make you want to pucker up!  Here are 7 foods to help you be mistletoe ready this holiday season:

kissing-under-mistletoe

  1. Herbs, especially minty ones.  Spearmint and peppermint, as well as parsley, cilantro, rosemary, cinnamon and tarragon fight bad breath and aid digestion.
  2. Yogurt.  Probiotics in yogurt battle bad breath, plaque and gum disease by creating an unfriendly environment for harmful bacteria in your mouth.  Avoid yogurts with lots of added sugar (which feeds odor-causing mouth bacteria) and make sure the yogurt contains live, active cultures.
  3. Cheese.  Cheese eaten at the end of a meal prevents tooth decay, reduces tooth-enamel breakdown and neutralizing acids.
  4. Crunchy, raw vegetables and fruits.  Stimulate circulation in your gums and encourage bacteria-flushing saliva by munching on carrots, apples, celery, green peppers and cucumber.  Their natural fiber “scrubs” teeth naturally.
  5. Vitamin C-rich foods.  Vitamin C also creates an unfriendly scene for bacteria growth and wards off gum disease.
  6. Tea.  Green and black teas prevent plaque buildup and weaken existing plaque.
  7. Sugarless gum.  Chewing sugarless gum after a meal stimulates saliva and dislodges food particles.  Xylitol gum, in particular, helps prevent cavities; just make sure xylitol is high on the ingredient list.

Source:  Delicious Living

 

Is it time for a new dental home?

By | Health & Wellness

A relationship with your dentist is based on continued communication and trust. And making a change to that relationship can make you feel uneasy.  But if you continue to see your dentist only because you always have or dread going to the dentist, it may be time for a change.  Below are some signs that it may be time to switch:

  • Does your dental office take a full medical history when getting to know you?  Do they update it or ask about your overall health regularly?  Does your dentist actually read it?  Current medical research understands that your dental health is completely linked with your overall health.  If your dentist doesn’t know about any of your underlying problems, he or she may perform unsuccessful treatments.  So fill out those Health and Wellness forms and make sure you can communicate easily with your dentist.
  • Your dental office believes you need to replace all your silver fillings with white ones. While there are some theories that the mercury content in silver fillings can be harmful to your health, none of them has been proven to be true.  As long as you don’t have cavities below your fillings or the fillings aren’t broken or fractured, there is no need to replace them.
  • Your dentist suggests “watching” a tooth until your next visit. Are you watching it get bigger, painful or more expensive?
  • After a visit, you do not understand any problem, consequence or solution that has been brought to your attention. Technical dental speak should not be a barrier between you and your dental team.  Clear, easy communication is key to your care.
  • You continue to ask about something that bothers you or you don’t like the way it looks, but it never gets addressed.  If it is important to you, it should be important to your dentist!
  • Your bleeding gums are no big deal. Would it be normal to have a bleeding scalp after brushing your hair?  It is not normal to have bleeding gums either.
  • Your dentist cringes when you suggest seeking a second opinion! Enough said.

Exceptional dental care is a choice.  Contact us to receive the care you deserve.

Sealants – A Good Choice for your Child.

By | For Kids, Health & Wellness

Our pediatric dentists recommend sealants frequently.  And there’s good reason for it.  Studies show they could prevent 80% of future cavities in children.

What is a sealant?  A sealant is a liquid that is brushed over a tooth that hardens and creates a protective barrier between bacteria and the tooth’s enamel.

Why does a tooth need a sealant?  Sealants are applied specifically to molars. Molars have a relatively flat top surface that contain peaks and valleys.  Molars erupt in a child’s mouth when their skills and desire to keep these lifelong teeth are low. While sealants fill fade away over a few years, they offer protection from decay (and therefore cavities) until a child is old enough to properly care for their teeth.

Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) supported the use of sealants in children age 6 – 11.  Their research reinforced the 80% cavity prevention rate with sealant usage, as well as stated that 60% of children do not get them.  Read the full Fox Business news story here.

If you have questions regarding sealants for your child, please contact us!

 

Extra Halloween Candy?

By | Community Events, For Kids, Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness

Little witches and goblins returned home from trick-or-treating this year and sorted through their bags of candy, sorting their very favorites.  And all that candy in the house is fun for a couple days.   Yes, even we enjoy it too!

The problem is that it lingers for weeks and some never gets eaten at all.  As a parent, you can rest easy knowing your kids’ extra candy can be donated to a good cause – Operation Gratitude.

Op Grat image

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene, and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home.

In 2015 alone, 252,723 pounds of candy were collected by the dental community for Operation Gratitude Care Packages!!!   Since Smile began collecting candy for Operation Gratitude in 2008, our community has donated over 7,000 pounds of candy!

If you donate your extra candy at Little Smiles prior to November 4th, we will buy it back from your child at $1 per pound.  Another $1 per pound will be donated to the local school of your choice!  Will you help us make 2016 a record year for donations of candy?  

Candy Buyback Returns!

By | Community Events, For Kids, Fun Stuff

Halloween is just days away and that means the return of the Halloween Candy Buyback!

From November 1 -3, Little Smiles has partnered with local schools for our 9th annual Halloween Candy Buyback.

 November 1st – 3rd from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Children bring their unopened candy to Little Smiles and we buy it back for $1 per pound

Another $1 per pound is also donated to the local school of the child’s choice.

Top collecting school wins an additional $500 to go towards their specific educational needs.

For adult community members who drop off their extra candy at Little Smiles, a donation of $1 per pound will be made to the local school of their choice.

Since 2008, we have collected over 7,000 pounds of candy! All candy is donated to Operation Gratitude through the National Guard. Shipping to Operation Gratitude in California has been graciously donated by AeroVision International in Muskegon.