Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: December, 2013

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 24, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures

Not long ago, Glee star Lea Michele had all of her wisdom teeth removed. This is a very common procedure that people in their twenties, like Michele, often undergo to prevent serious dental problems down the road. The actress found that the procedure really was actually not very difficult to tolerate.

“Feeling all better from my surgery!” she tweeted to fans a few days later. “Back to work tomorrow.”

Why do wisdom teeth so often cause problems? For one thing, they come in years later than the other 28 permanent teeth — usually between the ages of 17 and 25. By that time, there is often no room in the jaw to accommodate them. As man has evolved, the jaws have actually become smaller in size — often creating a lack of space for the wisdom teeth to erupt into proper position. If wisdom teeth become blocked (impacted) by other molars that are already there, infection and damage to neighboring teeth may result.

Sometimes the wisdom teeth themselves cause the problem by growing in at an odd angle. They push against other teeth, often compromising the adjacent tooth's supporting bone. While you would think pain would occur if any of these problems were present, that does not always alert us to a wisdom-tooth problem. It's usually diagnosed with the help of x-rays.

Wisdom tooth extraction is often performed in the dental office using a local anesthetic (numbing shot) to keep you from experiencing any pain, along with conscious sedation to help you relax. The type of anesthesia that's best for you will be determined before the procedure.

After we gently remove the tooth or teeth, you may need to have the site sutured (stitched) to promote healing. You will rest for a short time before going home, and may need to have someone drive you, depending on what type of anesthesia you were given.

Once you get home, you should apply an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for about five minutes on, five minutes off for as many hours as possible to help reduce any postoperative swelling on the first day. Starting on the second day, the warm moist heat of a washcloth placed on the cheek and hot salt water rinses will make you more comfortable. You may want to eat soft foods and brush your teeth very carefully during the recovery period, which lasts only a few days as Lea Michele discovered. Before you know it, you'll be “feeling all better!”

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 20, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dentures   Lansing  
Dentures LansingIf you are in a situation where you need to replace multiple missing teeth, you may want to talk to your Lansing, MI dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, about getting fitted for dentures. Today’s dentures are more comfortable and functional than in the past. With a similar appearance to your natural teeth, dentures can give you back the complete smile that you lost. Talk to Dr. Scott-Hetchler today to learn more or have a consultation to get fitted for dentures in Lansing.

Understanding Your Options

Depending on your specific needs, you may either want partial or complete dentures. Complete dentures are used to replace all of your teeth, while partial dentures fill in the spaces caused by missing teeth to improve your appearance and make sure that your teeth don’t move. Candidates for complete dentures have lost all or most of their teeth. Complete dentures fall into two categories: conventional or immediate. Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after removing the remaining teeth. This allows for you to not have to go any amount of time without having teeth in your mouth. However, your bones and teeth can move in the six months after tooth removal so you may have to have your dentures refitted. Conventional dentures are created after your teeth have been removed.
Overdentures are removable dentures that will fit over a small number of remaining natural teeth or dental implants. Your natural teeth need to be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture. In addition, partial dentures offer a solution when you only have several teeth that are missing. Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth that are attached to pink plastic bases that are connected to metal framework.

Getting Used To Your Dentures

When you first get fitted for dentures, they will probably feel awkward in your mouth for a few weeks. However, you will start to get used to them almost immediately and eventually they will feel natural to you. Taking your dentures out and putting them in will also take some practice, but you will shortly become very good at it. Never force your partial denture into place by biting down, as this can break or bend the claps.
If your denture puts too much pressure on a certain area of your mouth, it will become sore. If this happens, your dentist can make adjustments to your dentures to make them more comfortable.
When you first get dentures installed, start out by eating soft foods and gradually build up to your normal eating patterns. Continue to take good care of your mouth by brushing your gums and tongue with a soft-bristled brush every morning.
To learn more about dentures, Lansing patients can call to schedule an appointment, by contacting Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler at (517) 487-6333.


Years ago, if you hadn't received braces by the time you finished high school odds are you would never pursue orthodontic treatment. Most adults wouldn't have even dreamed of wearing braces! Thankfully, today, clear aligners have quickly become a popular alternative for adults who have mild to moderate crowding or spacing of teeth.

Unlike traditional orthodontic “braces” in which small (metal) brackets are attached to the teeth, clear aligners use a sequence of individual, clear, removable “trays” to straighten teeth. These trays completely cover each tooth and gradually move the teeth into new improved positions. Clear aligners can be used to realign mildly crowded or tipped teeth, to close small spaces between teeth and even treat elongated teeth.

Your clear aligners will be computer-generated based on current dental records. If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment using clear aligners, we will need a full set of records to properly assess your case starting with a thorough examination, taking radiographs (x-rays) of your teeth, jaws and skull, as well as photos and impressions of your teeth that can be used to create models. If you have a good bite, which means that your back teeth fit together properly, clear aligners should be a viable treatment option for you. However, if your upper and lower jaws don't align properly, resulting in a severe overbite or underbite, you will more likely need traditional orthodontic braces to straighten your teeth and improve your bite.

Each patient presents unique dental challenges. Cases vary, but you can expect to have to wear the aligners all day except when eating, for an average of anywhere from six months to two years. But don't worry about what others might think — clear aligners are barely noticeable at all.

If you are ready to improve your smile with this state-of-the-art orthodontic treatment, call our office today. To read more about clear orthodontic aligners, and to view photos that compare traditional orthodontics to clear alternatives, please read the article “Clear Orthodontic Aligners: An Alternative For Adult Orthodontics” in Dear Doctor magazine.

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