Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: March, 2015

By Holly Scott-Hetchler, DDS
March 26, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Checkups  

Regular Dental CheckupsGoing to the dentist isn't always the most exciting experience, but when you make it a family affair, it can quickly become a welcomed habit. Every member of the family, from the young ones to elderly grandparents can benefit from visiting the dentist at least twice per year. Here is why Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler advises her Lansing patients to bring the whole family in for regular dental checkups. 

The Value of a Family Dentist
Much like having a trusted doctor, it's a very comforting feeling to know that you have a trusted family dentist on call. Your family dentist knows the most about your dental issues and will be familiar with the best treatments for future concerns. A family dentist knows you, your children and even their grandparents in some cases. She has solutions for dental problems in patients of all ages.

Benefits of Regular Checkups
There are a few reasons why it's a good idea to get regular dental checkups. For one, even if you keep up with a good oral care routine at home, you just don't have the dental tools on hand that your Lansing dentist has at her office. Dr. Scott-Hetchler can notice plaque, cavities, tooth decay and the beginnings of gum disease -- these are issues that you can't see in your bathroom mirror at home. Another benefit of regular dental checkups for your family is that you teach your young children the importance of developing a relationship with their dentist.

What to Expect at Your Next Checkup
If you or your child hasn't been to a dental checkup in a while, maybe it will help to know what exactly will happen at your next visit. The first step is commonly a physical examination to see the overall condition of your teeth and talk about any concerns you have. Next, the dentist will take X-rays to see the bigger picture. And finally, the dentist will likely clean and polish the teeth so you leave the appointment with your mouth feeling fresh and renewed.

Schedule a Family Checkup Today
You can schedule a checkup at Dr. Scott-Hetchler's Lansing dentist office for you and the other members of your family in one call. In some cases, her office may be able to schedule a visit at the same time. Call (517) 487-6333 today.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
March 24, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Lots of people collect Beatles memorabilia, but one Canadian dentist took this hobby to new heights recently when he paid $31,200 for John Lennon's molar at auction. According to published reports, Lennon had given the extracted tooth to his housekeeper as a souvenir in the 1960s after coming home from the dentist's office. The molar was discolored and had a cavity, according to the dentist who purchased it after the housekeeper's family put it up for bids. “For the cavity to be this large he probably wasn't seeing a dentist that regularly,” the dentist said. His brushing and flossing routine may not have been that conscientious either!

For healthy teeth, it's important to have a good daily oral hygiene routine at home and regular professional cleanings here at the office. Our hygienist will scale your teeth to remove hard deposits (tartar), and polish them to remove stains for a wonderful, extra-clean feeling.

Dental hygienists are trained to do lots of other things to promote your oral health besides cleaning your teeth. They can check the skin in and around your mouth looking for any suspicious bumps, sores, etc., that may need further evaluation. They will also evaluate your periodontal health (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), checking for signs of gum inflammation and bleeding (gingivitis). And they monitor teeth for signs of decay, which is actually the world's most widespread disease.

Cavities, or dental caries as it is also known, are the most notable consequences of tooth decay. Left untreated, caries can lead to pain and tooth loss. John Lennon's dentist must have believed there was nothing more to be done for the badly decayed molar that later went on to fetch such a high price.

Unless you're a rock star, your teeth are worth a lot more in a healthy and functioning state — inside your mouth! So if it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us. Remember: Good dental health is priceless.

If you would like more information on tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article, “Tooth Decay.” Dear Doctor also has more on the “Dental Hygiene Visit.”


For years preparing teeth for fillings or other restorations has required the use of a drill. Although quite effective in removing decayed structure and preparing the tooth for bonding, it usually requires a local anesthetic. That and the noise it generates can be unsettling for many patients.

In recent years, a different type of technique known as “air abrasion” has increased in popularity among dentists. Known also as “particle abrasion,” the technique uses a stream of fine particles to remove decayed tooth structure and is less invasive than the traditional drill. Although the technology has been around since the mid-20th Century, recent developments in suction pumps that remove much of the dust created have made it more practical. It also works well with new natural-looking bonding materials used for tooth structure replacement.

The fine particles — usually an abrasive substance like aluminum oxide — are rapidly discharged through a hand-held instrument using pressurized air aimed at affected tooth areas. Decayed teeth structure is softer than healthier tissue, which allows air abrasion to precisely remove decay while not damaging the other.

Besides removing decay or abrading the tooth for bonding, air abrasion can also be used to minimize stained areas on surface enamel and to clean blood, saliva or temporary cements from tooth surfaces during dental procedures. It’s also useful for smoothing out small defects in enamel or aiding in sealant applications.

It does, however, have a few limitations. It’s not as efficient as the traditional drill with larger cavities or for re-treating sites with metal (amalgam) fillings. Because of the fine texture of the abrasive particles, affected teeth need to be isolated within the mouth using a rubber dam or a silicone sheet. High-volume suction must be continually applied to capture the fine particles before the patient swallows them or it fills the procedure room with a fine cloud of material.

Still, while air abrasion technology is relatively new, it has clear advantages over the traditional drill in many procedures. As advances in the technology continue, air abrasion promises to offer a more comfortable and less invasive experience in dental treatment.

If you would like more information on air or particle abrasion, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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