Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: May, 2016

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
May 26, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   braces  

Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.

“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:

  • Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
  • Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
  • Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.

Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
May 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental bonding  

Your Lansing dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, places a high priority on complete oral health for the whole family. She is also passionate dental bondingabout cosmetic dentistry, desiring the best possible smile aesthetics for young and old alike.

One of the many cosmetic dental treatments Dr. Scott-Hetchler offers is composite resin bonding. Using a combination of acrylic and glass, composite resin bonding repairs dental defects, artistically fills in small smile gaps and smooths mildly overcrowded teeth. Durable and wonderfully color-matched, this innovative material strengthens teeth and gives them a really nice, natural look--without the defects.

Here's How Bonding Works

Let's say you have a small chip off a front tooth. The tooth is perfectly healthy, but you're embarrassed about the defect when you smile or laugh. So, you tend to cover your mouth. This is the exact kind of situation your Lansing cosmetic dentist and her caring team wish to avoid. In just one short visit to her office, Dr. Scott-Hetchler repairs that chip quickly, painlessly and within anyone's budget.

First, the dentist smooths the surface of the chip and lightly etches it with a special priming liquid. Next, she uses the putty-like composite resin to fill-in the chip. She sculpts it to form a seamless repair and then uses a special hardening light to cure it. After some minor polishing and bite adjustment, the bonding treatment is complete.

Other Applications

Frequently,composite resin bonding is part of a total smile makeover, used in conjunction with porcelain veneers, teeth whitening and porcelain crowns. Composite resin bonding works well to hold periodontal splints affixed to the lingual side of teeth with compromised alignment due to bone loss related to gum disease.

Caring for a Bonding Repair

The American Dental Association says that teeth refurbished with composite resin require no special care. Just brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily as usual to remove plaque. Also, get 6-month examinations and hygienic cleanings with your Lansing dentist.

Bonded teeth are very durable. However, don't expect them to withstand biting pencil tops, ice cubes, fingernails or peanut brittle. Treat them with respect just as you do the rest of your teeth. With good care, a bonded tooth keeps its good looks for 10 years and beyond.

Find out More

Are you interested in some simple cosmetic dental work? Find out how your smile can improve with cosmetic bonding. Call the offices of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler for a personal consultation: (517) 487-6333.


Your dentures have served you well over the years. Lately, though, you’ve noticed the fit loosening in the lower denture. It’s not a new problem: you’ve had them refitted a few times already. But now it seems to be growing worse and you’re having more trouble chewing food or speaking clearly.

The problem isn’t all wear and tear with your dentures — the bone in your jaw is shrinking. A denture applies forces that are compressive. Natural teeth produce forces when we chew that travel through the tooth root and stimulate the bone to grow. Without teeth, there’s no such force to stimulate the bone. As a result, new bone cells don’t replace older cells at a healthy rate and bone volume diminishes over time. Because traditional dentures are supported by the gum ridges, the constant compressive forces on the gums can also contribute to bone loss.

As mentioned, we can refit dentures by lining them with new acrylic material. Eventually, though, it may be necessary to consider a new set of dentures that match the altered contours of your jaw. But continuing bone loss might lead to the same fate for your new dentures as your previous pair.

There’s a relatively new alternative, though, that could provide greater denture stability and help deter bone loss: implant overdentures. They’re actually a union between a traditional denture and a dental implant, a tooth replacement approach introduced over thirty years ago.

With this option, two strategically-placed implants are surgically inserted into the jaw bone. We then manufacture a denture (or retrofit your current dentures, if possible) with fittings that connect to the implants. Once in the mouth, the dentures gain their main support from the implants rather than the gum ridge, which relieves pressure on the bone. And because the titanium implant has a natural affinity with bone, new bone will grow and attach itself to it, increasing its stability and stopping bone loss.

Although more expensive than traditional dentures, implant overdentures are more affordable than individual teeth replaced by implants and are very cost-effective over time. What’s more, they can restore the comfort and confidence to eat, speak and smile that you once enjoyed when you had your own teeth.

If you would like more information on implant-supported dentures, 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 “Implant Overdentures.”

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