Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: November, 2013

Dentist Lansing, MI

What’s the Connection? Your Dentist in Lansing Shares
Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body, further proving the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene.  Your Dentist Lansing, MIteeth and gums speak volumes about your overall well-being. Some diseases are associated with an increased risk of infections, such as diabetes, which increases the risk of gingival and periodontal inflammation and infections. Additionally, loose teeth can be a sign of osteoporosis.  When there is an underlying condition in play, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, your dentist in Lansing, may be able to draw an important connection between your oral health and your overall health.  
Let’s Take a Look at Diabetes and Oral Health
Bleeding gums, dry mouth, fungal infections and cavities are all signs that might be a clue as to a serious health issue: diabetes.  These symptoms can also suggest other serious conditions such as HIV and leukemia.  Studies show that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal disease. 
Oral infections appear to be more severe in diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients because they may experience diminished salivary flow and a burning sensation of the mouth or tongue which can lead to a higher incidence of tooth decay.  If you are a diabetic it is important to control your blood sugar levels, otherwise there is a tendency for increased oral health problems, especially gum recession.  
Diabetics who receive proper dental care and control their insulin stand a better change of avoiding gum disease.  In addition, they should maintain proper dental health care in order to prevent mouth and gum infections including periodontal disease, which require immediate attention.  To keep your teeth and gums strong, diabetic patients should be aware of their blood sugar levels and have their triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked regularly.  These may be a direct correlation in the development of periodontal disease.  
Dr. Scott-Hetchler Says “Brush up on Dental Care Basics and Protect Your Smile”
If you find yourself tempted to skip brushing or flossing your teeth, remember that your smile depends on these simple dental care habits.  Oral health begins with clean teeth.  According to the American Dental Association, you should follow these brushing and flossing basics:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Use proper equipment
  • Practice good technique
  • Know when to replace your toothbrush
  • Floss one tooth at a time
  • Stay constant and consistent with flossing

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, you can use an antiseptic mouth rinse to help reduce plaque between your teeth.  To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular dental cleanings and exams at least once or twice a year.  

Since most people have regular oral examinations, their Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, your Lansing dentist, may be the first to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.  Visiting Dr. Scott-Hetchler, your dentist in Lansing, MI, regularly helps in maintaining the health of your mouth and allows her to watch for unusual developments that may point to other health issues.  

Did you know of the connection between your oral and overall health?  What steps will you take to protect yourself?

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
November 25, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: celebrity smiles  

Design expert and television celebrity Nate Berkus has definite ideas about how to live. In a recent interview, he explained his ideas on design. He also talked about health, and how he keeps his teeth and mouth healthy.

From an initial design makeover that he did eight years ago on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Berkus has gone on to do 127 such makeovers. He was such a success that he now hosts his own daily talk show. He has also developed a line of home products for the Home Shopping Network and has his own design firm, Nate Berkus Associates. His clients include well-known restaurants and hotels as well as private homes. He has written articles for O Magazine and authored a book on the subject of transforming your home into a place you love.

“I realized many years ago that I wasn't going on Oprah to pick sofa colors and paint chips. I was there to lift people up through the way they live,” he says. His secret to design success is to “go with what you love.” He says, “Don't worry about mixing metals, eras or styles. If you love each item, you'll find a way to make it work.”

His common sense practical attitude continues when it comes to dental health. Berkus is blessed with a healthy mouth and teeth. He doesn't feel anxious when visiting the dentist because he usually has a good report. He has not needed orthodontics or cosmetic dentistry. He thanks his childhood dentist for giving him fluoride treatments and sealants, and for teaching him healthy dental hygiene habits.

Berkus brushes his teeth twice or even three times a day, with a manual or electric toothbrush — depending on whether he is at home or traveling. He also follows his dentist's advice about flossing: “Floss the ones you want to keep!” He says that he tried tooth whitening once, but he felt that the whiteness was “too white.” Now he simply works to maintain his natural tooth color and smile.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about maintaining healthy teeth. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nate Berkus, Helping Others Love the Way They Live.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
November 25, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   frenectomy  

You have a beautiful smile, but with one noticeable flaw — there's a small gap between your two front teeth. It's a common occurrence that can be corrected with orthodontics.

There are a number of causes for this wider spacing, including an excessive overlap bite of the upper teeth over the lower, habits such as tongue-thrusting or finger-sucking, or extra (or even missing) teeth. But one of the most common is the presence of an overly large muscle attachment called a frenum or, as it's sometimes referred to, frenulum. If that's the case, you may need a minor surgical procedure in addition to orthodontic treatment to ensure the space remains closed.

The frenum is the fold of tissue that contains some muscle tissue that connects the gum to the lip. In certain people, a larger than normal frenum may extend further to the front of the roof of their mouth, just behind the teeth, and may also extend lower between the teeth and contribute to the gap. Unless some of this tissue is removed, it can force the teeth apart again after the gap has been closed through orthodontics.

This simple procedure is called a frenectomy. After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, we remove the excess tissue from the frenum extended into the space between the teeth, using either a small scalpel or a special laser. The resulting wound is generally very small and may require only a few stitches, if any. Healing usually takes no more than a week and any discomfort is easily managed by anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin or ibuprofen.

As a general rule, a frenectomy is best performed after the orthodontic treatment so that scar tissue resulting from the procedure won't interfere with the gap closure. With proper dental follow-up, the gap should stay closed — and your new enhanced smile won't fade away.

If you would like more information on treating spaces between teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Space Between Front Teeth.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
November 25, 2013
Category: Oral Health

Cat Cora, philanthropist, author, chef, restaurateur and the first female chef on the Food Network's hit series Iron Chef America is a dynamo driven by a desire to change people's lives for the better. And she is no different when it comes to tackling her most challenging role: caring for the needs of her four active young sons. This includes monitoring the food they eat, their oral hygiene habits and protecting their teeth from injuries.

During an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, Cat describes a backyard accident in which one of her boys, Zoran, was accidentally knocked in the mouth by another child while jumping on the family's trampoline. While her son was not seriously injured, it did cause her to take proactive steps to avoid future injuries. She had her dentist make a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect his newly erupted adult teeth. He now wears the mouthguard while on the trampoline and when playing soccer.

If you and/or your children routinely participate in contact sports — boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, water polo, rugby and basketball, for example — or other forms of vigorous physical activity, you too should consider getting a professionally made mouthguard. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent injuries to the jaws, lips and teeth. And unlike those cumbersome “boil and bite” mouthguards you can purchase at a drugstore, the ones we make will stay in place, making it easier for you to breathe and talk.

If you are still not convinced, consider these facts: According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. And the US Centers for Disease Control reports that sports-related dental injuries account for more than 600,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Furthermore, people who do not have a knocked out tooth properly reserved or replanted may face a lifetime cost of $10,000 to $20,000 per tooth, according to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety.

To learn more about mouthguards, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouthguards.” Or if you are interested in obtaining a mouthguard for yourself and/or your child, contact us today to schedule an appointment. And to read the entire interview with Cat Cora, please see the article “Cat Cora.”

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