Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: July, 2016

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
July 21, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Be on the lookout for these early telltale signs that you may have oral cancer.

While not often talked about as much as other types of cancers, oral cancer can be life threatening because it is often discovered much oral cancertoo late. One way to detect oral cancer as soon as possible is to keep up with those six-month dental appointments with our Lansing dentist Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time you made your way to our office for a checkup.

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

Oral cancer can develop anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, pharynx, larynx or sinuses. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than two weeks then you need to call our Lansing, MI general dentist right away:

  • Swelling or lumps in or around your mouth
  • Red or white lesions on your lips or in your mouth
  • Pain or soreness in your mouth or tongue
  • The feeling of a lump in your throat
  • Difficulties chewing, speaking or swallowing
  • A chronic sore throat
  • Numbness in the tongue or throat

What can cause oral cancer?

There are certain lifestyle habits such as tobacco consumption or heavy alcohol use that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. It’s also more common for people over the age of 40 to develop oral cancer.

Sun exposure can also cause cancer to develop on the lips, so it’s important to wear sunscreen everyday (remember to apply it about 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun). Also, there has been an increase in oral cancer incidences due to human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted disease.

What should I expect from an oral cancer screening?

The screening our Lansing family dentist performs is fast and painless, and can be done at your next routine checkup. During this evaluation, we will visually inspect your lips, face, tongue, throat, and mouth for any of the above signs of oral cancer. If we find a suspicious lesion or growth we will recommend getting a biopsy.

Early detection is key to protecting your oral health. By coming into our Lansing dental office every six months for routine exams you could just save your own life. If it’s time for your next appointment, contact Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler today.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
July 18, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   crowns  

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
July 10, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

One of the most important aspects of social interaction is smiling, showing others we’re confident and outgoing.  Many people, though, are hesitant to use this important social skill because their teeth are unattractive.

But even the most unattractive teeth can be dramatically transformed through cosmetic dentistry. Here are 5 prominent ways we can restore beauty to your problem teeth.

Enamel shaping. Sometimes teeth can have an irregular shape that makes them stand out like a sore thumb. With this “sculpting” technique, we remove very small amounts of enamel, the outer protective layer of a tooth, which improves the tooth’s overall shape without harming it.

Bonding. Recent developments in acrylics now make it easier to repair chipped, broken or decayed teeth with minimal preparation. The acrylic material can be molded to resemble a natural tooth and colored to precisely match its shade and that of neighboring teeth. It’s then bonded to the tooth with a durability that can last through years of daily biting and chewing.

Veneers. These thin layers of dental porcelain are bonded to teeth to cover minor defects. Otherwise healthy teeth that are slightly chipped, stained or a bit out of alignment can get a more attractive “face” that’s durable and lasting.

Crowns and Bridgework. Sometimes teeth are too heavily decayed or lost altogether to use bonding or veneers. With porcelain dental restorations that have a strong inner core and an outer life-like appearance, we can completely cover an individual damaged tooth with a custom-made crown or replace one or more missing teeth with fixed bridgework.

Dental Implants. Introduced over thirty years ago, implants are a popular tooth replacement choice.  Its inner titanium post is surgically inserted into the jaw where bone cells grow and adhere to it to form a strong, lasting bond. Implants can be used for single teeth or as supports for fixed bridgework or removable dentures.

Regardless of your teeth’s appearance problems, cosmetic dentistry has a solution. The first step is a comprehensive examination — from there we can advise you on the best options for turning your embarrassing smile into a more beautiful and confident one.

If you would like more information on the various techniques for smile transformation, 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 “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”

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