Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: December, 2016

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
DontLetanEatingDisorderWreckOralHealth

Eating disorders cause more than psychological harm. The binge-purge cycle of bulimia or the self-starvation patterns of anorexia can also injure the physical body, especially the mouth.

For example, nine in ten people with bulimia will experience tooth enamel erosion from stomach acid entering the mouth from induced vomiting. Although purging is less frequent with anorexic patients, one in five will also develop erosion.

An eating disorder isn't the only reason for enamel erosion: you can have high acid levels from over-consuming sodas, energy drinks or certain foods, or not properly brushing and flossing every day. But erosion related to an eating disorder does produce a distinct pattern in the teeth. When a person vomits, the tongue moves forward and presses against the bottom teeth, which somewhat shields them from acid contact. This can create less erosion in the lower front teeth than in others.

Eating disorders can cause other oral effects. Stomach acid contact can eventually burn and damage the mouth's soft tissues. The salivary glands may become enlarged and cause puffiness along the sides of the face. The use of fingers or other objects to induce gagging can injure and redden the back of the throat, the tongue and other soft tissues.

It's important to stop or at least slow the damage as soon as possible. To do so requires both a short– and long-term strategy. In the short-term, we want to neutralize mouth acid as soon as possible after it enters the mouth, especially after purging. Rather than brushing, it's better to rinse out the mouth with water or with a little added baking soda to neutralize the acid. This will at least help reduce the potential damage to enamel.

In the long-term, though, we need to address the disorder itself for the sake of both the person's overall well-being and their oral health. You can speak with us or your family physician about options for counseling and therapy to overcome an eating disorder. You may also find it helpful to visit the website for the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders.org) for information and a referral network.

If you would like more information on how eating disorders can affect health, 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 “Bulimia, Anorexia & Oral Health.”


By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 08, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
KathyBatesPlaysItSmartWithProfessionalTeethWhitening

Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.

That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.

Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.

The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.

It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.

What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.

How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”


By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 02, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

You have choices when it comes to how to improve your smile. Decide which dental treatment is right for you.

You’ve been doing a lot of research online about cosmetic dentistry but all the information just seems to get jumbled up in your brain cosmetic dentistrysomewhere. It can feel rather daunting trying to figure out what treatment or treatments could finally give you the smile you want. This is about the time you should call our Lansing, MI cosmetic dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, who is an expert in giving you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Dental Bonding

Not all cosmetic dentistry has to be invasive or time-consuming. In fact, our Lansing dentist can cover over discolorations, chips, cracks, gaps between teeth and other minor issues with the same tooth-colored resin used to fill a cavity. However, we don’t need to use anesthesia or drills for this non-invasive treatment. We just apply the moldable resin over the flawed areas, shape it and then harden it with a laser. It’s that simple!

Tooth Contouring

Tooth reshaping and contouring often goes hand-in-hand with bonding. By filing off some enamel from your teeth we can buff out small chips, cracks or uneven areas of your smile. Contouring can be a great option for someone who hates their extremely pointy canines and wants to even them out. Contouring won’t be able to tackle more extreme issues, but can be a great and painless way to improve the shape of a tooth or several teeth.

Teeth Whitening

Are you tired of yellowing, stained teeth? Then opt for the faster way to whiten your smile. In one hour or less we can get your smile up to 10 shades whiter in just one session. Teeth that are stained due to smoking, foods, drinks or aging respond best to this amazing whitening system.

Porcelain Veneers

If the imperfections you are dealing with can’t be addressed with bonding or contouring then veneers will be your lifesaving cosmetic treatment. These wafer-thin porcelain shells are bonded to the front of your teeth to improve the shape, color and size of your smile. This is a great option for those who are dealing with uneven and misshapen teeth, as well as those who are dealing with minor crookedness but don’t want to get braces.

Cosmetic dentistry can truly be an amazing gift to your smile. Imagine a smile that’s straighter, whiter and more even. If this is something you’ve been dreaming of for a long time, then it’s time to call our Lansing, MI dental office to make this dream a reality.




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