Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for: March, 2017

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
March 28, 2017
Category: Oral Health

What your family dentist in Lansing, Michigan wants you to knowpediatric dentistry

If you have a child, it’s never too early to start teaching good oral hygiene habits. When you stress the importance of brushing and flossing, it can help to ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. Dr. Holly A. Scott-Hetchler in Lansing, MI wants to help ensure the dental health of your child.

The goal of good oral hygiene is to prevent tooth decay and gum problems by removing dental plaque thoroughly and frequently. Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria, which produce acids and toxins. Acids are formed when bacteria comes in contact with sugars in the foods your child eats. These acids can cause tooth decay. Toxins are a natural by-product of the bacteria. The toxins can cause inflammation, bleeding and gum disease.

Fortunately, good oral hygiene habits are easy. You can teach your child by following these simple steps:

  • Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush and tell your child not to swallow the toothpaste. Both of you face a mirror, with you standing behind your child. Have your child observe you using a gentle circular motion to clean each tooth and along the gumline. Make sure your child demonstrates the correct technique back to you.
    • Hint: sonic or electric toothbrushes are helpful and easy for your child to master. Toothbrushes in kid-friendly designs make it more fun for your child to brush.
  • When your child is about four years old, you can demonstrate flossing. Have your child observe you flossing your teeth and then have your child demonstrate the technique back to you. Your child should be able to floss independently by the age of eight.
    • Hint: it’s often easier to begin with floss picks in kid-friendly shapes to make flossing easier and more fun for your child.

Children are never too young to experience tooth decay. In fact, your child is at risk as soon as the first tooth erupts. That’s why it’s so important to start early teaching your child good oral hygiene habits. For more information on dentistry for children, call Dr. Holly A. Scott-Hetchler in Lansing, MI. Call today!


By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
March 16, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
WithProperCareyoucanLowerYourRiskofToothLossasYouAge

While your chances of losing teeth increase as you age, it's not a given. With proper hygiene and care your teeth could last a lifetime.

But brushing and flossing can become more difficult in later years. Arthritis or strength issues in the fingers and hands make holding a toothbrush an arduous chore and flossing next to impossible.

But you can accommodate these physical changes. Many seniors find using a powered toothbrush much easier to handle and effective for removing disease-causing plaque. A tennis ball or bike handle grip attached to a manual toothbrush can also make it easier to handle. As to flossing, older people may find it easier to use floss threaders or a water irrigator, which removes plaque from between teeth with a pressurized water spray.

You may also find changes in the mouth that increase your risk for dental disease. One such issue is xerostomia, dry mouth. As you age you don't produce as much saliva, which neutralizes acid and restores minerals to enamel, as when you were younger. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medications. Older people are also more likely to suffer from gastric reflux, which can introduce stomach acid into the mouth.

With these dry, acidic conditions, you're more susceptible to both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. You can help offset it by increasing water consumption, taking a saliva stimulator, changing to alternative medications if available, and relieving gastric reflux.

Another area of concern in aging is the higher risk for inflammatory diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which could also increase your risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Seeking treatment for gum disease and other similar systemic diseases may help ease the effects of each one.

Taking care of your mouth can be challenging as you grow older. But tooth loss and other unpleasant results aren't inevitable. Invest in your teeth and gums today and you're more likely to have a healthy life and smile all through your golden years.

If you would like more information on caring for your teeth and gums as you age, 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 “Aging & Dental Health.”


By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
March 01, 2017
Category: Oral Health
NoahGallowaysDentallyDangerousDancing

For anyone else, having a tooth accidentally knocked out while practicing a dance routine would be a very big deal. But not for Dancing With The Stars contestant Noah Galloway. Galloway, an Iraq War veteran and a double amputee, took a kick to the face from his partner during a recent practice session, which knocked out a front tooth. As his horrified partner looked on, Galloway picked the missing tooth up from the floor, rinsed out his mouth, and quickly assessed his injury. “No big deal,” he told a cameraman capturing the scene.

Of course, not everyone would have the training — or the presence of mind — to do what Galloway did in that situation. But if you’re facing a serious dental trauma, such as a knocked out tooth, minutes count. Would you know what to do under those circumstances? Here’s a basic guide.

If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, you need to act quickly. Once the injured person is stable, recover the tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid grasping it by its roots! Next, if possible, place the tooth back in its socket in the jaw, making sure it is facing the correct way. Hold it in place with a damp cloth or gauze, and rush to the dental office, or to the emergency room if it’s after hours or if there appear to be other injuries.

If it isn’t possible to put the tooth back, you can place it between the cheek and gum, or in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva, or in the special tooth-preserving liquid found in some first-aid kits. Either way, the sooner medical attention is received, the better the chances that the tooth can be saved.

When a tooth is loosened or displaced but not knocked out, you should receive dental attention within six hours of the accident. In the meantime, you can rinse the mouth with water and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) to ease pain. A cold pack temporarily applied to the outside of the face can also help relieve discomfort.

When teeth are broken or chipped, you have up to 12 hours to get dental treatment. Follow the guidelines above for pain relief, but don’t forget to come in to the office even if the pain isn’t severe. Of course, if you experience bleeding that can’t be controlled after five minutes, dizziness, loss of consciousness or intense pain, seek emergency medical help right away.

And as for Noah Galloway:  In an interview a few days later, he showed off his new smile, with the temporary bridge his dentist provided… and he even continued to dance with the same partner!

If you would like more information about dental trauma, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”




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