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Dentist West Branch | The Truth About Dental Anxiety

Dentist 48661

west branch dentistIs anxiety or nervousness preventing you from visiting our team? Dental treatments should not be a cause of stress. If you worry about pain, embarrassment, or loss or control during a dental examination, we want you to know two very important things: You are not alone and We can help.

Dental Anxiety Is Common

Research has shown that most patients experience some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Between 10 and 20% of the general population encounters such a high level of stress and nervousness that they ignore oral healthcare altogether. This can increase the risk of developing severe oral health complications, requiring additional care.

In many cases, dental anxiety has two main causes. First, patients may have had a negative experience in the past, leaving them apprehensive towards their next appointment. Second, is through influence. This is particularly true for children. Children learn through imitation and are influenced by their parents. If you dread going to the dentist, your child may pick up on the behavior and develop similar fears.

Our Team Can Help

The first action you can take is to let our team know about your feelings of nervousness and anxiety. We have a number of techniques to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Our compassionate team is always open to discussing your options with you.

We will consult you regarding what your visit will entail, and work together to find a comfortable pace at which you feel comfortable.

If nervousness, stress, fear, or anxiety have caused you to skip appointments or avoid dental care completely, please contact our team. Dentistry is constantly evolving by offering new technology and treatment methods with patient safety and comfort in mind. Talk to our team about your fears or concerns and allow us to work with you. Ignoring your oral health can have serious repercussions and lead to more necessary treatments.

Contact our team to schedule your visit today.

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515
West Branch, MI 48661
(989) 345-7750

48661 Dentist | Post-Extraction Care: Dry Sockets

Dentist in West Branch

west branch dentistWhen a tooth is extracted, your blood cells clot over the site of the tooth to protect your bone, nerves, and tissue. However, some patients experience dry sockets, a condition where blood clotting does not occur. Here’s what you need to know about dry sockets after tooth extraction.

What are Dry Sockets?

Dry sockets are the result of your blood failing to clot, or when an existing clot is removed. They leave the area previously protected by your tooth exposed, which includes bone and nerves.  Symptoms often include significant pain and discomfort where your tooth was extracted. Pain often lasts beyond the first three days following your procedure. Further symptoms can include having a bad taste in your mouth, pain on the same side of your face as the extracted tooth site, and visible bone where the tooth was removed.

Who Is At Risk for Developing Dry Sockets?

In most cases of extraction, your mouth will heal normally. Dry sockets have been noted to occur at a higher rate in individuals who smoke, chew tobacco, practice poor oral hygiene methods, or suffer from an infection impacting the gums or teeth. Additionally, it is important that you follow all directions provided to you following extraction. Patients who fail to do so, and choose to do things such as drinking with a straw after treatment, have a higher risk for developing a dry socket.

Treating Dry Sockets

If you experience a dry socket, contact our team for an appointment. It is essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Removing debris is the first step to keeping the site clean. Additionally, our team may provide you with pain medication suggestions as well as gauze or medicated dressings to protect the site. Avoid touching the area before coming in to our office.

The direct cause of dry sockets is not widely understood. However, it is a temporary condition that can be managed and treated by taking the proper precautions.

If you develop a dry socket following the extraction of a tooth, please contact our team. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible to ensure your mouth is able to heal properly.

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515
West Branch, MI 48661
(989) 345-7750

West Branch, MI Dentist | Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

48661 Dentist

What makes teeth sensitive?

If the idea of biting into an ice cream sandwich makes you cringe, you may be one of the millions of people who suffer from sensitive teeth. This is often caused by movement of fluid in the dentin – the soft inner tissue beneath the enamel of your tooth. This motion irritates the tooth nerve, creating a tingling sensation and sometimes pain.

Another common cause of tooth sensitivity occurs when the tiny tubes of fluid in the dentin become exposed. This can happen due to tooth wear, receding gums, or damage to the tooth. When this occurs, pain is triggered by eating or drinking foods that are hot or cold, sweet or acidic, and even through contact or exposure to air.

Whitening and orthodontic treatment may cause temporary teeth sensitivity. In most cases, this type will disappear within a week or two. In severe cases of sensitivity, the tooth nerve itself may be exposed, causing severe pain and irritation and requiring immediate treatment.

What can you do about sensitivity?

If you are suffering from sensitivity in your teeth, tell your hygienist or dentist at your next dental visit. They may need to screen for more serious underlying causes that could need treatment. They will also be able to recommend your best method of managing your discomfort.

Is sensitivity preventable?

Some forms of sensitivity are preventable. Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and do not brush aggressively. This can cause higher levels of wear that lead to sensitivity. If you participate in sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from trauma. Chipped and cracked teeth often become sensitive.

Once serious underlying issues have been ruled out, you can help to manage mildly sensitive teeth with special toothpastes that are designed to decrease your sensitivity. If these do not provide sufficient relief, ask whether a prescription product may be needed.

If you experience tooth sensitivity, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can help.

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515
West Branch, MI 48661
(989) 345-7750

Dentist in West Branch, MI | Dangers of Grinding

48661 Dentist

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515
West Branch, MI 48661
(989) 345-7750

Dentist in West Branch | 12 Reasons to See Your Dentist

Dentist West Branch

Dentist in West BranchDon’t wait until you’re in pain to see your dentist! Most people make time to clean out the house, car, garage, or closets at least twice a year. Why not include your oral health on your “to do” list?

Schedule an Appointment Now!

Regular professional cleaning and examinations are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. These routine visits are your first line of defense against tooth decay, periodontal disease, oral cancers, and more. Early identification and treatment of any oral illness improves outcomes and allows for less-invasive treatment options. Don’t wait until it hurts!

Why Do We Avoid Going?

The HDI institute, in a study done with the American Dental Association, lists some of the main reasons we sometimes delay going to the dentist. Cost, low perceived need, time, and anxiety are the most common causes. However, if we allow these concerns to interfere with oral care, we may allow more serious issues to develop.

When Should We See the Dentist?

The ADA or American Dental Society recommends maintaining twice yearly visits for cleaning and examinations. In addition, they advise making an appointment for any of the following concerns:

  1. Pain in your mouth, teeth, or face
  2. Injury to your mouth, teeth, or face
  3. Conditions that can affect oral health, such as diabetes
  4. Pregnancy
  5. Jaw pain or stiffness
  6. Bleeding, swelling, or redness in your gums
  7. Recent dental treatment, such as fillings, crowns, implants, or root canal
  8. Pain or difficulty eating or drinking
  9. Chronic dry mouth
  10. Smoking or tobacco use
  11. Sores in your mouth that are not healing
  12. You have questions or concerns about your oral health or hygiene

Our team is here to help you achieve and maintain your best oral health. To schedule your next appointment, please contact our office.

3561 W M 76
West BranchMI 48661

48661 Dentist | Diabetes and Oral Health

Dentist in West Branch MI

West Branch MI DentistDid you know that 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes? Diabetes affects your entire body including your mouth and teeth. Here are a few ways diabetes can impact your oral health:

Gum Disease

An early warning sign of potential gum disease is bleeding while you brush or floss. At this stage, gum disease may still be avoided by maintaining proper oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Research suggests that if your blood sugar isn’t under control, it can worsen gum disease. When gum disease becomes severe, it can break down the bone that supports your teeth and lead to tooth loss.

Dry Mouth

According to studies, people with diabetes have less saliva. Symptoms may include a dry tongue, cracked lips, and constantly feeling thirsty. Medications and higher blood sugar levels can also contribute to dry mouth. You can manage your blood sugar levels to help improve these symptoms. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy, crunchy foods to get the saliva flowing.

Change in Taste

Diabetes can alter your sense of taste and certain flavors may not feel as rich to you as they once did. Try considering this as an opportunity to explore new tastes, spices, and textures to your food. Be cautious of adding sugar to your foods, as this could negatively affect your diet. Make sure to see our dentist if you have persistent issues with taste.

Infections

Diabetes affects your immune system and can cause you to be more prone to infections in the mouth. Oral thrush is one common infection among many who have diabetes. It will look like a white layered coating on your tongue and on the inside of your cheeks. This is a reaction to the yeast thriving on high levels of sugar that can be found in your saliva. Oral thrush may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it can be treated.

Slow Healing

Diabetes can slow down the process of healing any injuries, cuts, or sores in your mouth. Poor blood sugar control can prevent sores from healing quickly and properly. Be sure to see our dentist if something in your mouth hasn’t healed properly.

If you have diabetes and want more information on its impact on your oral health, schedule your next visit and talk to our doctor.

3561 W M 76
West BranchMI 48661

 

Dentist in West Branch MI | 6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

Dentist in West Branch

Dentist in West BranchNearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our dental team to learn more today. 

3561 W M 76
West Branch, MI 48661

West Branch Dentist | Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

Dentist in West Branch

Dentist in West BranchSugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How it Works

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

Contact our dental team to learn more today. 

 

West Branch Dentist | Dentistry – Past, Present, and Future

Dentist in West Branch

West Branch, MI Dentist“Tooth worms” are the cause of tooth decay. That was the headline of a Sumerian text from around 5,000 B.C.E. Fortunately, the dental industry has evolved since then and we know “tooth worms” don’t exist. Here’s how dentistry has evolved into the comfortable, safe, and beneficial science of today.

In the Beginning

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had designated doctors for teeth? Evidence has been uncovered suggesting the Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E.

Additionally, in 500 B.C.E., Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.

The Visionary Thoughts of the 1600s-1700s

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a gold mine of innovation in the dental world. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first ever English dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog’s teeth for transplants and even references wisdom teeth in his book.

In the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard was well ahead of his time in the medical practice when his master work The Surgeon Dentist was published. For the first time, dentistry was described as a modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being the cause of dental caries (cavities), braces being used to correct teeth position, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.

The Progressive 1800s

The discoveries and inventions of the 1800s were significant. In 1816, Auguste Taveau developed the first form of dental fillings made out of silver coins and mercury. In 1840, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide to sedate patients and Thomas Morton employed the use of ether anesthesia for surgery.

That same year, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctorate of dental surgery, and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.

Scientific Advancement of the 1900s

The scientific development of the 1900s gave birth to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. Electric drills became available due to the invention of electricity. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill cavities, and Novocain was introduced into US dental offices.

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described the method of tooth bonding to repair cracked enamel on teeth. Years later, the first fully-reclining dental chair is introduced to put patients and dentists at ease.  By the 1990s, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?

Today, dental professionals are investigating the links between oral health and overall health. The use of gene-mediated therapeutics to alter the genetic structure of teeth to increase resistance to tooth decay is receiving attention. Some researchers believe that there may be a way to grow a new tooth structure around weakened enamel. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.

Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

3561 W M 76
West Branch, MI 48661

(989) 345-7750

West Branch Dentist | 8 Great Ways to Improve Your Smile

Dentist in West Branch

West Branch, MI DentistWe all know the importance of making a great first impression. Whether you’re going into a job interview or about to go on your first date with someone new, you want to have the confidence that comes with a great smile. After years of wear and tear however, a lot of people end up with teeth that they’re not completely proud to show off. If you feel unhappy with the way your smile looks, don’t worry; there are plenty of options that can help.

Figuring out the best ways to improve your smile can be a daunting task, but our dental team is here to help, offering a range of services dedicated to helping you look and feel your best.

8 Ways to Improve Your Smile

  1. Teeth Whitening
  2. Dental Crowns
  3. Veneers
  4. Tooth Bonding
  5. Braces or Invisalign®
  6. Dental Implants
  7. Brushing and Flossing
  8. Regular Dental Visits

There are a myriad of ways you can improve your smile. Wether you decide to pursue a more in-depth treatment at our clinic or simply want advice on how to improve your oral health routine at home, our dentists are happy to help. Our highly trained team offers all the state of the art services necessary to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile shining bright.

It’s clear that there are a lot of treatments available for anyone looking to improve their smile. With options for any budget, there’s no reason to wait to begin your journey towards a better smile. To schedule a professional cleaning or to speak with someone about a personalized treatment plan, schedule a visit today!