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Kentwood, MI 49508
(616) 724-1780
 


1235 W. State ST
Hastings, MI 49058
(269) 948-8029

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Posts for: August, 2012

By Applewood Dental
August 30, 2012
Category: Oral Health
WhyDoesMyDentalHygienistAskSoManyQuestions

You just came in to have your teeth cleaned, but our hygienist is asking you about your general state of health and what medications you are taking. Meanwhile you are wondering why she doesn't just get on with the cleaning.

Dental hygienists are health care professionals who are trained and licensed to preserve your general as well as your oral health. That's why our hygienist begins your visit by asking you about your health history. Some health problems or medications may require special precautions during a dental cleaning. A hygienist also needs to know about your dietary history and other general health questions.

Our hygienist will examine the skin in and around your mouth for sores, lumps, and other areas that could be signs of oral cancer or other problems. She is trained to spot this disease and others.

Dental hygiene is individualized to your own situation. There is not a “one size fits all” solution. During your cleaning, our hygienist will also evaluate the health of your gums and teeth, checking for tooth decay and for inflammation (gingivitis) and bleeding. She will measure the space between your teeth and the surrounding gums, looking for pockets that form when the gums detach from the teeth. Such pockets indicate periodontal disease and can lead to serious problems.

After your health assessment and examination, the actual cleaning will begin. Your dental hygienist will remove deposits of plaque and calculus by using a technique called scaling. Plaque is a biofilm, a film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth. The reason you brush and floss every day is to remove this film from the surfaces of your teeth and gums and from between your teeth. Plaque that is not removed hardens into a mineralized substance called tartar or calculus, and this is what the hygienist removes by scaling.

The next step is a polish to remove surface stains from your teeth and to give your teeth the slick feeling that you identify as clean.

Finally, our hygienist will discuss your state of oral health with you and make suggestions for improvement. Most hygiene appointments take about 45 minutes to an hour. As you can see, during this appointment a lot must be done to preserve your oral health.

If you are in need of a dental cleaning, contact our office today to schedule an appointment. You can learn more about your visit to the hygienist by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Hygiene Visit.”


Sports-RelatedDentalInjuriesDoYouKnowWhatToDo

Witnessing or being involved in a sports-related dental injury can be a scary event not only for the player, but also for onlookers even if the injuries turn out to be minor. However, knowing what to do — and more importantly — how quickly to react can make a radical difference to the outcome. This is just one reason why we want to share the following easy-to-remember guidelines for what, how and when you need to respond to various types of dental injuries.

  • Immediate — within 5 minutes of the injury: If a permanent tooth is totally knocked out (avulsed), it requires immediate treatment by cleaning and re-implanting the tooth back into its original position to have any hope of saving the tooth long-term. Knocked out baby (primary) teeth are not reimplanted for fear of damage to underlying permanent teeth.
  • Urgent — within 6 hours of the injury: If a permanent or primary tooth is still in the mouth but has been moved from its original position, it is considered an acute injury and should be treated within 6 hours.
  • Less urgent — within 12 hours of the injury: If a permanent or primary tooth is broken or chipped but has not shifted from its original position, the injury is classified as less urgent. You still need to see a dentist for an exam; however, you generally can wait up to 12 hours before possible irreversible damage occurs.

Want To Learn More?

There are several ways you can learn more about sports-related dental injuries.


NotJustFillingintheGapsLostTeethHaveUnexpectedConsequences

Why is it important to replace missing teeth with restorations such as dental implants? You might be surprised to find that the damage caused by missing teeth is much greater than the simple gaps left in your smile.

As the years go by, teeth lost early in adulthood cause structural changes in a person's face. By age 45 changes in facial structure are already visible in the form of sunken cheeks. By 60, cheeks and lips lose their support, resulting in an aging look. This process continues and if the teeth are not replaced, much of the structural support of the person's face is lost.

These changes are caused by loss of bone. Although it may seem static, bone is actually living tissue that needs constant stimulation to maintain its form and density. With normal stimulation it is in a constant state of resorption (breaking down) and deposition (building up). Teeth provide the needed stimulation for the bone that surrounds them (called alveolar bone) as they meet each other during biting, chewing, and speech. When the stimulation continues, the bone continues to rebuild itself. Without this stimulation, the bone resorbs, does not build up again, and loses substance.

Without stimulation, alveolar bone loses width, height, and volume. Since your teeth and their surrounding bone support your chin, cheeks, and lips, this has a powerful effect on your appearance. It may also affect your ability to chew and to speak.

As alveolar bone diminishes, the next layer of bone also begins to resorb. This is the bone of the jaw itself. The lower part of the face begins to collapse, and the cheeks become hollow. This effect is especially noticeable for people with no teeth (edentulous).

Usually the first tooth to be lost, due to infection and decay, is a molar (back tooth). In the past, a missing single back tooth was frequently replaced by a fixed partial denture (FPD). A crown is provided for each of the two teeth on the sides of the gap, called abutment teeth, to support a false tooth in the middle. However, if they are not well cared for, the abutment teeth may be the next to succumb to decay.

Today the treatment of choice is an implant. A dental implant is a tooth-root replacement made of titanium, which fuses with the bone — making it very stable. Above the gums it is covered by a crown that looks like a natural tooth. The benefit of the implant is that it continues to provide stimulation to the alveolar bone, preventing bone loss.

Implants are also a good choice in the case of multiple missing teeth. They can be used to support bridges or false teeth (dentures). The results are an improved, younger appearance and better functionality.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about missing teeth. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”


By Applewood Dental
August 13, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
PorcelainVeneers

When speaking about veneers in dentistry, many people wonder what they are really made from and how they produce such natural results. The answer is dental porcelain...and yes, it really is a type of porcelain or glass. Even though they are made of porcelain, not all porcelains are the same. This is one reason there can be such a wide price range when comparing porcelain veneer pricing from one dentist to another. For example, the quality of the dental porcelain used and the expertise of the dental lab artisans greatly impact the price of a veneer — just like other pieces of fine art, pricing depends upon the materials used and the artistry of the person creating them.

Dental porcelains are used to create veneers because of their near ideal optical properties in mimicking natural teeth in shine, opacity, and translucence. And when you combine these facts with the artistry of the lab technician and your dentist skill's in placing the veneers, you begin to understand how veneers are virtually undetectable in cosmetically-enhanced teeth. Another reason for using dental porcelain is that they can be made in many colors, shades and translucencies to enhance the optical properties and natural beauty of whiter, brighter, and visually appealing teeth. However, do not let the word porcelain, fool you when it comes to durability. While veneers are not as strong as natural teeth they are not so fragile that you should worry about breaking or damaging them with normal wear and tear. However, you should avoid biting into extremely hard substances; using your veneers as a tool in lieu of scissors, tweezers, or pliers (you should not use your natural teeth as a tool either!); and twisting your veneers when biting into harder substances.

To learn more about veneers, continue reading, “Smile Design Enhanced With Porcelain Veneers.” Or, contact us today to discuss your questions or to schedule a consultation.


By Applewood Dental
August 12, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
DentalImplantsQuiz

How much do you know about dental implants? Test yourself with this quiz.

  1. Earliest recorded attempts at using dental implants were from
    1. Medieval England
    2. The ancient Mayans
    3. U.S.A. in the 1950s
  2. Dental implants are called endosseous. What does this mean?
    1. They fuse with the bone
    2. They are inside the mouth
    3. They are not real teeth
  3. What are most dental implants made of?
    1. Aluminum
    2. Titanium
    3. Steel
  4. What part of the tooth does an implant replace?
    1. The implant is the root replacement
    2. The implant is the root plus the crown
    3. The implant is the crown
  5. What is the success rate of dental implants?
    1. 50 percent or less
    2. 75 percent
    3. 95 percent or more
  6. What could cause an implant to fail?
    1. Smoking or drug use
    2. Poor bone quality and quantity at the implant site
    3. Both of the above
  7. What is a tooth's emergence profile?
    1. The implant and crown's shape as it emerges from beneath the gum line
    2. A measure of the urgency of the tooth replacement
    3. A measure of the time it takes for you to be able to chew on the new implant
  8. What are some of the factors that go into the aesthetics of designing the crown?
    1. Choice of materials
    2. Color matching
    3. Both of the above
Answers:
  1. b. The concept of dental implants goes back to the Mayan civilization in 600 AD.
  2. a. The word endosseous (from endo meaning within and osseo meaning bone) refers to the implant's ability to fuse with or integrate with the bone in which it is placed.
  3. b. Most implants are made of a titanium alloy, a metallic substance that is not rejected by the body and is able to fuse with the bone.
  4. a. The term “implant” refers to the root replacement, which is anchored in the gum and bone. A crown is put around the implant where it emerges from the gumline.
  5. c. The majority of studies have shown long term success rates of over 95 percent.
  6. c. Factors that could cause an implant to fail include general health concerns such as smoking and drug use, osteoporosis, or a compromised immune system; poor bone quality or quantity; and poor maintenance such as lack of proper brushing and flossing.
  7. a. The emergence profile has a lot to do with the implant's natural appearance. It involves the way the crown, which attaches to the implant, seemingly emerges through the gum tissue like a natural tooth.
  8. c. Choices such as materials, color, and position can be worked out in the design of a customized temporary crown, which acts as a template or blueprint for a final crown.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Matching Teeth & Implants.”




Questions or Comments?
We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or concern about our services.

(616) 724-1780

(269) 948-8029