Category: Your Dental Health

Learn the options for replacing teeth

Even with the attention of the Tooth Fairy, losing a tooth is never easy, especially an adult tooth. Cosmetic reasons aside, missing teeth can bring about a host of issues, including speech impediments, poor chewing ability, bone loss and decay.

But there is hope and options! Dr. Jeffery Baker and Dr. Evan Castile have a lot of experience with the various treatments available to help replace a lost tooth and bring back your smile.

“It’s not fun to break or lose a tooth,” admits Dr. Baker, “You don’t have to live with it. If you’ve been suffering from such a situation, give us a call right away and we can get the process started sooner than later.”

Here are the most typical ways to replace a broken or lost tooth.

Embrace the implant– The most widely recognized reaction to replacing a broken or missing tooth is an implant. A replacement tooth implant provides the look and feel of natural teeth and can last for years without needing to be repaired or replaced. They also provide the most natural feel and it’s a permanent replacement so no additional checkups are necessary after the tooth is implanted.

Bridging the gap– Another option is a fixed dental bridge. This option looks, feels and functions like natural teeth, does not require removal for cleaning and is typically less expensive than a dental tooth implant. A bridge can replace one or two missing teeth easily, and sometimes more if there is enough support. A tooth-supported bridge, using crowns, is slipped over the teeth next to the missing tooth and cemented in place. For the loss of a front tooth, a resin-retain bridge attaches to teeth on other side of missing toots can help you smile with confidence again.

Digging on dentures-If multiple teeth are missing, a full or partial denture set may be your best option. While dentures, either partial or complete, can be more affordable, they can be uncomfortable and harder to clean than traditional implants. They are removable which can be troublesome and noticeable since the metal clasps may be visible. Others, often referred to as a “flipper” are inexpensive and fragile, making them a good temporary option, but not good for a permanent solution to tooth loss.

Tooth loss happens. Be it from a trauma, accident, gum disease or tooth decay, there are many ways to replace a missing tooth and to get you back to smiling with confidence. Call us today at 586-992-9222.

Going beyond checking for cavities

Scheduled visits to the dentist are more than just checking for cavities and  routine cleaning. Dentists like Dr. Baker and their professional teams are at the forefront of recognizing and preventing oral cancer. More than 51,500 people are diagnosed with the disease every year and it claims nearly 10,000 lives.

There are many factors that contribute to the cancers of the mouth, throat, tonsils and tongue. While oral cancer traditionally afflicts older men (50 and older) who indulge in tobacco (pipe and smokeless) and excessive drinking, the disease is also being seen in younger adults as a result of the virus HPV16.

April is oral cancer awareness month. While a professional checkup is the best way to detect oral cancer, contact your dental care provider if you experience any of these signs and symptoms:

  • Any mouth sore or ulceration that does not heal within 14 days.
  • Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched.
  • A red, white, or black discoloration of the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • A lump or hard spot in the tissue, usually border of the tongue.
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, does not heal.
  • A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth.
  • A painless, firm, fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, that has been there for at least two weeks.

The signs and symptoms of HPV-caused oropharyngeal cancer are a bit different and can go on for longer than two-three weeks and may include one or more of the following:

  • Hoarseness or sore throat.
  • A painless, firm, fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks.
  • Constant coughing that does not resolve.
  • Difficulty swallowing; a sensation that food is getting caught in your throat.
  • An earache on one side that persists for more than a few days.

April is oral cancer month awareness month and while COVID-19 has disrupted our typical routine, Dr. Baker and the Smiles by Baker team in Shelby Township want you to know they remain steadfast in providing clients any dental assistance they can during this time. Please call the office at (586)-992-9222 with any concerns.

Sources: Oral Cancer Foundation, American Dental Association.

Toothpaste, toothbrush and floss

Talking toothbrushes, water picks and more

With all the various dental products available to consumers, keeping your teeth healthy and clean has never been easier, once you can determine what dental hygiene routine is best for you.

Toothbrushes have come a long way since the days of the “chew stick,” a twig featuring a frayed end, or the hog bristle toothbrushes of the Tang Dynasty (619-907). But with so many options, it’s easy to wonder if you’re using the correct one.

Power up—Many people have turned to electric toothbrushes for that fresh out-of-the-chair feeling while others maintain their pearly whites using a hand-powered toothbrush. Manual brushing can deliver about 500 strokes per minute while an electric toothbrush averages 3,000 strokes per minute. Each option offers the ability to loosen food particles from on and between teeth.

Bring on the bristle—Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, you will need to determine what type bristles will whisk away plaque and grime. Most teeth will do well with soft bristles; and those with sensitive teeth and signs of enamel erosion, might prefer extra-soft bristles. Hard bristle brushes wear away enamel and are usually not recommended by dentists.

Toothbrushes are not the only tool for keeping teeth, gums and smiles healthy. Here is a rundown on additional oral care options.

Don’t be a fussy flosser—The art of flossing is important in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to the tried and true box of floss, there are flossing products that incorporate holders, picks or sticks to help with flossing. There is no difference between flossing before or after brushing, as long as its done daily.

Pick it up—Water picks are becoming increasingly popular, especially with people wearing braces or have other dental additions like crowns or bridgework. Water picks are also easier to use for those suffering from arthritis. Water picks are easy to use and can get to hard-to-reach areas with greater easy.

Tip of the tongue—For fresher breath, many people turn to the tried and true method of tongue scraping to remove bacteria from the tongue. Some studies have found that tongue scraping can lead to an improved sense of taste and tongue appearance. Concaved tongue scrapers come in a variety of materials.

Have questions about good oral health habits or dental products? Ask Dr. Baker or one of his professional team members during your next visit.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Proper dental health starts at an early age and there is no better time to highlight the importance of correct dental care for kids than in February, National Children’s Dental Health month.

Celebrate the month and elevate the importance of brushing and flossing with some fun activities designed to educate youngsters about proper teeth maintenance.

Toothy trivia—While in front of the sink, test your child’s knowledge (and your own) on all things dental with these fun facts:

  • Ancient Egyptians even brushed their teeth using a powdery substance made from pulverized eggshells and oxen hooves
  • The modern toothbrush was not developed until the 1700s, brushes with nylon bristles and ergonomic handles were developed in the 1930s
  • Which animal has the greatest number of teeth – dog, cat, pig or snail? A snail can have between 1000-12,000 teeth!
  • An average toothbrush has around 2000 bristles.
  • Americans buy more than 14 million gallons of toothpaste every year.
  • Teeth start to form before we are born.
  • It takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile.
  • A fossilized T-Rex tooth can weigh up to a pound.
  • Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.

Gummy games—Bring a smile to youngsters faces with these fun games sure to encourage proper brushing at an early age:

Toothbrush Tales: Make your child’s toothbrush the star of a goofy, adventure-packed story, but only when a child is brushing. Give the toothbrush a name and a voice and make Toothpaste, Floss or Mouthwash trusty sidekicks and give them a storyline.

Brush Your Body: Take the toothbrush, get in close and tells your child it’s time to brush teeth. But then pretend to scrub the child’s ears / elbows / toes / nose until they say, “No! My teeth, my teeth!” and show you how.

Practice makes perfect: Ask your child to help their favorite stuffy brush their teeth for them. A crocodile stuffed animal makes a great friend to practice on.

Other ideas to help celebrate National Children’s Dental Health month include:

  • Buy a bunch of colorful, soft and child-sized toothbrushes, along with a variety of toothpaste flavors, so a child can pick and choose their own dental tools.
  • Make up a song to hum to during teeth-brushing time.
  • Let your child select a special, fun timer to use only for toothbrush time. Dentists recommend two minutes of brushing.
  • If you haven’t introduced your child to the dentist, do so on your next visit. When a child see’s a parent experiencing a good checkup, they are more apt to have a good dental experience themselves.

New Year Resolutions for Dental Health

If you usually include a healthy effort as a New Year resolution, why not this year put your money where your mouth is, literally, and turn your attention to making dental health a top priority in 2020.

The cool thing is, even if your resolution doesn’t include brushing or flossing, many other typical resolutions will also have benefits on your oral health. Quitting smoking, eating healthier and limiting alcoholic drinking will all help improve your teeth and gums as well as your overall health.

Here are some good dental habits to begin the new year right!

2 x 2—Scientists say it takes 66 days (just over two months) to form a good habit. If you start today, by mid-March, the healthy routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day will be totally second-nature for you. Make sure one of those times is before bed to clean off the accumulation of food from the day.

See ya, soda—Soda, especially energy drinks, are basically liquid sugar, which is extremely detrimental to your teeth’s protective enamel layer and can lead to all sorts of oral health issues including decay and tooth loss. Diet or sugar-free sodas are not much better as the acid content in them can do serious damage to the drinker’s teeth. Consider seltzer water as a refreshing alternative.

Make a date—Resolve to making you and your family’s cleaning appointments within the first month of the new year; as well as scheduling recommended dental work like crowns, implants and fillings for later on.

Change it up—When you change out all the batteries (and recycle them!) in the house, don’t neglect changing your toothbrush. Old, crushed and corroded toothbrushes don’t clean effectively and are just harborers of germs and crud.

Healthy eating—You know the foods to avoid, but did you know that there are some foods that are actually helpful in protecting your teeth? Cheese and cranberries have been shown to protect tooth enamel by “sticking” to your teeth and forming a protective coating on the enamel, while other foods like apples, celery and carrots naturally help clean your teeth while snacking on them.

Present a new smile

Give yourself the gift of an even more beautiful smile this holiday season with a whitening treatment that will make your smile rival the shiniest ornament!

When your smile is gleaming white, the whole world seems to shine a bit brighter. A whitening session at our office is a quick, painless procedure that offers lasting benefits. We also offer at-home treatments, if you prefer.

Another gift that keeps on giving is a new veneer or a dental implant to cover up or replace chipped, broken or discolored teeth.

Like a beautiful bow adorning a gift, a stunning smile is something everyone can have, enjoy and share.

Call the office today at 586-992-9222 to make an appointment and have a happy holiday smile for seasons to come.

Now that’s scary!

Halloween is a time-honored tradition in the United States, but the potential damage from all those sugary sweets on children’s teeth is downright frightening.

It takes only 20 minutes of a sugary attack on the teeth to lead to cavities. Sugars and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel and create cavities.

Here are some tips to help keep your little ghoul’s and goblin’s teeth healthy:

  • Avoid long-lasting, hard candy (unless it is sugar-free) as these types of treats remain in the mouth for a much longer time, continuously coating tiny teeth with sugar.
  • Dole out candy with meals so the sugars are carried away by the saliva generated by eating.
  • Sticky candies, like gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
  • Sour sweets are highly acidic and can damage tooth enamel.
  • Brush your teeth after eating sugary treats.

This Halloween, consider offering teeth-friendly treats like sugar-free gum or lollipops as an alternative. Chewing gum or enjoying a sucker produces saliva, which helps remove cavity-creating acid from teeth.

Use it, don’t lose it

Most dental insurance policies or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) run out at the end of December and it would be a shame to not use those dental dollars. Dental insurance is a very nice option to have, so don’t let your investment go to waste.

While it’s common to have two cleanings per year, some policies actually cover additional preventive cleanings so take advantage of that opportunity and polish up those pearly whites once more. Call 586-992-9222 and schedule a cleaning today.

Stop putting off necessary dental work. At this point in the year, your deducible should be covered, so there is no excuse for putting off needed work. Remember too, the longer you put off a dental issue, the worse it will become.  Call us and make an appointment today.

Do you have questions about your dental insurance or FSA? Call our office and we can help you sort out any issues you have.

Causes and treatment for teeth grinding

If you often wake up with a sore jaw, headache, and/or you feel your teeth are sensitive to heat and cold, you may be a grinder. Also called bruxism, teeth grinding affects up to 50 percent of the population. Clenching your teeth and grinding while you sleep may seem harmless, however if not treated it can lead to fracturing, loosening or even loss of teeth.

Some effects of bruxism include:

  • Pain and damage to the gums and teeth
  • Sore facial muscles, headaches and earaches
  • Shortened teeth, from being ground down
  • Sensitive teeth, due to worn enamel
  • Fractured teeth and cracked fillings from the pressure of grinding
  • Damaged TMJ (the small joint connecting the lower jaw with the upper jaw)

 Treatment

The first thing you should do if you think you grind your teeth in your sleep is to see your dentist. Dr. Baker will examine your mouth for signs of grinding. You can be fitted for a mouth guard to wear at night, that will keep you from grinding in your sleep.

Here are some tips you can do to cut down on grinding:

  • Avoid or cut back on caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol, which can intensify grinding
  • Do not chew on anything other than food. Avoid chewing gum, as it makes your jaw muscles used to clenching, making you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Train yourself. If you notice you are clenching or grinding during the day (like in traffic), position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This will help your jaw muscles relax.
  • Try holding a warm washcloth against your cheek, in front of your earlobe to relax your jaw muscles at night.

Sources: Michigan Dental Association and WebMD

Switch up your summer routine by adding these healthy habits

Apply sunscreen every day. The American Melanoma Foundation (AMF) recommends applying sunscreen if you are going to be outside for 20 minutes or more. Most of us reach this with our usual day-to-day activities. Make applying sunscreen part of your morning routine (ladies, apply before makeup). AMF recommends applying 30 minutes before you go outside and to reapply every two hours, after swimming or perspiring heavily.

Drink more water. We hear this every day. It seems simple, but some of us have a hard time making the switch. It is convenient to grab a bottle of pop or a sports drink when you are on the go, but you are causing more harm than good to your body and teeth. An easy way to drink more water is to substitute your mealtime drink with water. Here’s a tip: stock the fridge with water bottles of instead of pop. They’ll be easy to grab and take on the go.

Switch to sugarless gum. Recent studies show chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “If you chew after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth.” Over time, this acid will break down your enamel, causing decay. Sugarless gum brands with the ADA seal of approval include: 5 Sugarfree Gum, Bazooka Sugarfree Bubble Gum, Eclipse Sugarfree Gum, Extra Sugarfree Gum, Icebreakers Ice Cubes Sugarfree Gum, Orbit Sugarfree Gum and Trident Sugarfree Gum,

Go outside. It’s summer and arguably the best time to be outdoors. So why do we spend time sitting in front of the TV or computer? Go outside and take a walk, ride a bike, work in the yard or play a game with the kids. Staying active will improve your overall health.

Source: American Dental Association