Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for category: Dental Education

By Holly A. Scott-Hetchler DDS, PC
February 04, 2015
Category: Dental Education
Tags: Bruxism  


If your dentist has ever told you that your clench or grind your teeth, you have a condition known as bruxism. While this might not seem like a serious problem, bruxism can damage teeth or dental crowns, and cause tension headaches and facial pain. If you are suffering from bruxism, read on to learn more about this common condition, and what you can do to alleviate your symptoms.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism involves grinding or clenching your teeth. Some people with bruxism only do this during the day, while others will clench Bruxismtheir teeth during the night. However, those who grind their teeth at night actually have a sleep movement disorder and may be more likely to develop other sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

What are the symptoms of bruxism?

Bruxism can cause aching pain and stiffness in the jaw, headaches, and even tooth damage. Over time you may notice that your teeth have flattened, or you may experience fractures and chips in your teeth. You may also notice an increase in tooth sensitivity.

When should I see my Lansing dentist about bruxism?

While not everyone will need treatment, particularly if your case is mild, you should see us right away if you notice any damage or sensitivity in your teeth, pain in your jaw, or a locked jaw.

How is bruxism diagnosed?

When you come in for your routine dental appointments, your Lansing dentist will look for signs that you may have bruxism. If we notice any red flags, we will continue to monitor the issue over the next few visits to see how things have changed, and to decide whether you may need treatment. If you are experiencing any symptoms of bruxism, please let us know at your next appointment.

How is bruxism treated?

If your bruxism is caused by poor alignment or malocclusion, your Lansing dentist may recommend braces to correct the problem. However, night guards and splints can be particularly helpful and effective at reducing the wear and tear of daily or nightly teeth grinding. Both of these appliances are placed over the top of your teeth to prevent damage due to grinding and clenching. Splints are worn for those who grind during the day, while mouth guards can help those whose bruxism is most prevalent while they sleep.

Muscle relaxants and stress management are also sometimes recommended for relieving your bruxism symptoms, depending on your case.

If you are suffering from bruxism and need relief from your symptoms, then it’s time to call your Lansing dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler. Here at our office we specialize in treating bruxism cases, as well as offer a full range of other dental services. Let us stop your jaw pain once and for all.

By Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler
December 18, 2014
Category: Dental Education
Tags: teeth whitening  

After your professional dental whitening appointment, you'll probably be so pleased with the results that you won't want to stop smiling. But in between smiles, it's a good idea to think about the future—how can you protect your newly whitened teeth so that they will stay bright and beautiful for many years? Here are some tips from Lansing dentist Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler on how to keep your teeth pearly white.Teeth Whitening

Eat Better Foods
One of the best things you can do for your newly whitened teeth is to watch what you eat. Teeth become discolored over time because of constant contact with foods and drinks that cause or promote staining. They wash over the teeth and residue sticks to the surface that causes yellowing over time. So if you want to protect your teeth, avoid the following items as much as possible:

- Tomatoes
- Red Wine
- Coffee
- Soda
- Blueberries and raspberries 

It’s a good idea to limit your consumption of any food that can leave a dark stain behind. If you do eat these foods, be sure to brush or rinse afterwards. When you drink beverages, use a straw whenever possible and talk to Lansing dentist Dr. Scott-Hetchler about other ways to avoid contact with your teeth, such as wearing a mouth guard or plastic retainer.

Brush with a Whitening Paste
Now that your teeth are gorgeous, you have to invest in a good toothpaste that will help maintain the new color. There are plenty of whitening pastes on the market that not only brighten but also protect the enamel of your teeth. You can also brush with a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for a natural solution.

Keep Up with Your Visits
Regular dental cleanings at the office of Lansing dentist Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler are crucial to protecting your teeth and maintaining your new smile for a long time into the future. Call (517) 487-6333 or visit to schedule your next visit for cleaning and polishing your teeth.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 16, 2014
Category: Dental Education

Your Lansing dentist offers up helpful advice for how to protect your smile while on the field.

With football season in full swing, you might have heartily cheered on Michigan State as the Spartans beat out Penn State in the regular season finale, or watched the Lions down the Bears on Thanksgiving. Maybe you or your child even play football during the fall and winter seasons. If so, how much thought you have put into protecting your smile while on the field? If you haven’t, it’s OK. Luckily, it’s never too late to start protecting your smile from potential damage. Your Lansing dentist wants to make sure your teeth remain healthy even when your head is in the game.

Always wear your helmet

Luckily football is one sport that makes helmets a mandatory part of the game. Having strong and durable gear is the most important part to protecting your body and your smile. Before playing, always examine your helmet to make sure there is no damage. If your helmet already has a fracture or crack, it’s less likely to offer the full protection you need to cushion your face and smile from a violent tackle.

Sport a mouth guard

Sure, you might think this seems like overkill, but it’s important to have different layers of protection just in case something happens. After all, if a serious blow causes your helmet to break, you could still be susceptible to a dental injury. That’s where a mouth guard comes into play. A mouth guard offers just another level of coverage while out on the field.

If you or your child has already purchased a mouth guard from the local pharmacy and it doesn’t seem to fit as tightly or properly as it should, then call your Lansing dentist. We can create a custom-made mouth guard that fits you and your smile just perfectly. Let us know that your mouth guard will be used for football, and we’ll make sure to provide you with the best protection possible to maintain that beautiful smile.

If you are interested in getting custom mouth guards or you have a dental emergency, never hesitate to pick up the phone and call us right away. Our number one goal is to keep your smile healthy and happy.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
March 05, 2014
Category: Dental Education
Tags: Lansing   Dentist  
Lansing family DentistYour oral health care is important, and knowing your dentist in Lansing is even more important.  By getting to know Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, you will be creating an improved level of trust, which allows you to remain relaxed at every visit knowing you are in good hands.  Dr. Scott-Hetchler prides herself in being a leading dentist in Lansing, MI, and looks forward to getting to know you better.

Meet Your Lansing, MI Dentist

Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler grew up in Lansing, MI and began as a dental assistant.  She went on to attend Lansing Community College where she received an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene in 1994.  Throughout her educational journey, Dr. Scott-Hetchler worked as a dental hygienist and completed her Bachelors of Science degree at Michigan State University in 1998. 
After graduation, she went on to attend the University of Detroit Mercy, School of Dentistry where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2002 and joined her current practice in 2002 where she transitioned to ownership when Dr. Gerrit Gucky retired.

Continuing Education

Education doesn’t end.  Dr. Scott-Hetchler continues to improve her dental health care knowledge through the completion of continuing education courses and seminars.  She has completed many continuing education seminars, including the prestigious Dawson Academy and Spear Education Institute.  She has also received certification in the areas of cosmetic improvement of smiles, TMJ disorders, pediatric dentistry, and many more.
Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler looks forward to being your go-to dentist in Lansing and continues to improve her knowledge and understanding of advancements in dentistry through ongoing dental education.
By The Office of Dr Holly Scott-Hetchler
January 22, 2013
Category: Dental Education
Tags: Untagged

The Periodontal and Systemic Connection: A Healthy Mouth Protects Your Body

    As research continues, we learn more and more about the connection between the health of your mouth and overall health. With these advancements in dentistry, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler strives to educate you about the periodontal and systemic connection.  Over the years, many people believed that bacteria were the factor that linked periodontal disease to other infections in the body.  However, more recent research indicates that inflammation may link periodontal disease to other chronic conditions as well.  According to recent research, there is a clear connection between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  By treating inflammation, not only will it help manage periodontal diseases, but it may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions. 

What is Periodontal Disease?

    Periodontal (Gum) disease is a threat to your oral health, and can range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.  If periodontal disease progresses, teeth can be lost. Our mouths are full of bacteria, which constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth.  Regular brushing and flossing help to get rid of the plaque, but when plaque is not removed it can harden, forming bacteria-harboring tartar that brushing cannot clean.  Only a professional cleaning by your dentist in Lansing can remove the tartar in this case. 

The risk factors that increase your risk of developing periodontal disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Illnesses
  • Genetic susceptibility


Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

    Diabetes makes you more susceptible to infection – any infection – including periodontal disease.  With increased research, there is now more evidence that people with diabetes have more periodontal disease.  Having an infection, such as periodontal disease, can impair the body’s ability to process and/or use insulin.  By controlling the infection, it might be easier to control blood sugar levels.  The many oral health complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes include, but are not limited to, gingivitis, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, increased susceptibility to bacterial, viral and fungal infections, caries, periapical abscesses, loss of teeth, loss of taste, and burning mouth syndrome.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

    With recent advancements in research, it is indicated that chronic gum disease may contribute to the development of heart disease, which is the nation’s leading cause of death in both men and women.  Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can affect conditions outside your mouth.  In heart disease, one theory is that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they attach to the fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels.  This condition can cause blood clots and may lead to heart attacks. 

    Chronic gum disease can lead to the development of heart disease because your mouth is the pathway to the rest of your body.  Studies have shown that oral health can provide warning signs for other diseases or conditions, including heart disease, which can be identified through a visit to your dentist.   According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 80 percent of Americans suffer from gum disease. 

    By understanding the connection between your oral health and overall health you can help to ensure that your mouth and your body are healthy.  Talk to Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler today for more information on this connection, and to find out the best way to care for your oral health 

By The Office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler
April 06, 2012
Category: Dental Education
Tags: Untagged

Improve the Appearance of Your Smile with Dental Veneers

Is your smile red carpet worthy? Could you walk a Hollywood premier with a smile that impresses the crowds? Over the years our teeth can significantly change. Whether your smile is discolored, crooked or damaged, there is a way to bring your smile back to life. If your smile is less than you have hoped for, talk to your Lansing dentist about the benefits of a smile that has been restored by dental veneers.

Are You a Candidate?

Dental veneers are not an appropriate treatment plan for everyone, but the vast majority of patients will be candidates. It is important for your dentist to thoroughly assess your oral health, as the state of your teeth will largely determine whether or not the porcelain veneers will be a success for your smile.

Veneers fix most of the aesthetic issues that patients have with their teeth. In many instances, dental veneers can be used to correct the following:

· Stains

· Chipped or broken teeth

· Crooked or misaligned teeth

· Gaps between teeth

· Holes or fractures

However, you may not be a candidate if you have unhealthy teeth. If your teeth are suffering from decay or gum disease, your dentist will not be able to place veneers on them. The possibility for veneers still exists, but these conditions need to be successfully treated before you are considered to be a candidate for veneers.


The Veneers Process

Severe dental defects, such as permanent stains and unsightly gaps, can be easily repaired and perfected with porcelain veneers. Dental veneers are ultra-thin, custom made shells that are crafted of tooth-colored materials to dramatically enhance the position, size, color and shape of your teeth.

More so, veneers are generally stronger and less susceptible to stains than other cosmetic dental treatments, and can even be a viable alternative to braces for certain circumstances. From chips and crack to gaps and stains, veneers can dramatically enhance flawed teeth, leaving you with a natural, beautiful smile that you’ll be happy to show off.

The application of veneers involves your cosmetic dentist preparing your teeth by removing a very small amount of enamel from the surface in order to accommodate the veneer. Your dentist will then make an impression of your teeth, which will then be sent to a dental laboratory where your veneers will be fabricated. When you go back for your final appointment, your dentist will permanently bond the durable and highly stain-resistant veneers to the front of your teeth, resulting in a stunning, new smile.

Remember, there is a wide array of cosmetic dental procedures and techniques available. Even if porcelain veneers are not an appropriate solution for your smile, you and your dentist in Lansing can find a way to create the  

By The Office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler
February 07, 2012
Category: Dental Education
Tags: Untagged

Replace Missing Teeth with High Quality, Excellent Fitting Dentures

Missing teeth can make chewing difficult, cause problems speaking, and impact a person’s sense of self-esteem.  For these reasons, it is important to visit your dentist in Lansing about replacing your missing teeth with dentures.  Replacing missing teeth with dentures can be an important part of maintaining your dental health.  People who have lost all or most of their teeth, dentures may be the best tooth replacement option.  Whether you have lost all of your natural teeth from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile.  By replacing your missing teeth, it will benefit your appearance and your health. 

Dentures Replace Missing Teeth

For those who have lost all or most of their teeth, dentures may be the best replacement option.  Without the support from dentures, facial muscles sag, making a person look older than they are.  With dentures, you will be able to eat and speak properly – often things people take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.   There are two types of dentures – complete dentures and overdentures.

Complete dentures are used when you have no teeth remaining, or when your remaining teeth need to be removed.  They cover your upper and lower gums.  If you have teeth removed, your dentist can give you an immediate denture to wear for six to eight weeks, until your gums have healed and a conventional denture can be designed for you. 

Overdentures are removable dentures that can be used if you still have some remaining natural teeth, or have dental implants.  Overdentures should only be used if your remaining teeth or dental implants are able to provide adequate support.  Like dental bridges, dentures can help you to maintain your facial shape and your self-esteem.  If may take some time before you are able to chew and speak normally again, but these skills will improve with practice. 

If you are missing teeth, talk to your Lansing dentist about whether dentures may be an appropriate option for you or not.  Dentures are designed to be comfortable and functional, similar in appearance to natural teeth.  

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Holly A. Scott-Hetchler DDS, PC 919 Chester RdLansing, MI 48912