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Healthy Ways To Satisfy A Sweet Tooth

dentist Battle Creek MIWhen the need for something sweet strikes, your thoughts might go to candy, cookies, ice cream, or any of the thousands of yummy treats available. But did you know that you can find other great tasting, satisfying treats that will be much better for your oral health (not to mention your waistline)? Overindulging in sweet treats might result in an unexpected visit to the dentist.

Alternatives are out there!

You can get creative and mix up something that is healthy and sweet; or you can go with the basics such as:

Fresh fruit: Also referred to as nature’s candy, there are many ways to enjoy these tasty, grab-on-the-go treats. And the variety is endless. Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, berries, etc. Or you can spend a few minutes to prepare a fresh fruit salad using kiwi, strawberries, fresh pineapple, and bananas.

Fruit smoothie: Try adding healthy proteins like chia seeds to your smoothie. Use a sugar substitute if you absolutely must make it sweeter, but the healthier version will rely on natural sweetness.

Cottage cheese: Not usually considered sweet on its own, add fresh fruit and enjoy.

Frozen grapes: These provide a fabulous, cold treat. And you’re not limited to grapes … many fruits freeze well. In fact, frozen bananas placed in a blender makes a tasty ice cream substitute.

Yogurt: Look for low sugar varieties. They are just as tasty. Or get industrious and make your own yogurt.

Sugar free candy and gum: Try sucking on sugar free mints or chew sugar free gum. Very often cravings will subside.

Prunes and dates: These can be high in sugar, so they must be consumed on a limited basis. But they are high in fiber and deliciously filling.

Other Ways to Beat a Sweet Tooth

In lieu of eating something sweet, try drinking water flavored with your favorite fruit (watermelon infused water is delicious). You can make your own, but if you decide to buy already prepared flavored waters, check the label for sugar content. Some are healthier than others.

Brush your teeth: May not be as satisfying, but might help to curb your cravings.

Make sure your meals contain foods you will enjoy that are also high in protein. This might help you to feel less hungry throughout the day.

Finally, visit our family dentistry practice twice a year to help maintain great oral health.

When is a dental bridge recommended?

dental bridges Battle Creek MIDental bridges are a valuable tool when a patient is faced with the loss of one or more teeth. The term describes exactly what this dental prosthesis does … it bridges the gap created when teeth are missing. Your dentist will recommend a bridge to promote the ability to chew correctly, speak clearly, and to allow you to smile and laugh without embarrassment.

How Does a Dental Bridge Work? 

There are different types of bridges … your dentist will prescribe the one to best fit your dental needs. But many patients will fall into the category that requires a traditional bridge.

The teeth adjacent to missing teeth are prepared for dental crowns … these teeth are referred to as abutment teeth. The unit(s) in between are called pontics. Your first treatment visit will involve removing as much of the abutment teeth needed for crown preparation; dental impressions will follow that will allow the dental lab to make the bridge; and a temporary will be placed over treated teeth until the bridge can be placed.

Dental bridgework can take a couple of weeks to fabricate. On your next dental visit, temporaries are removed and your new bridge is tried in. The patient should anticipate the need for adjustments. Framework may require tweaking for comfort and a proper fit. If you selected a fixed bridge, your dentist may hold off on permanently cementing in until you have had time for needed adjustments.

What Can I Expect After My Bridge is in Place?

Everyone is different. You may adjust easily and begin enjoying the benefits of your dental bridge immediately. Initially, soft foods are recommended while you learn to eat with your new “teeth”. If speaking feels awkward, try practicing at home in front of a mirror. This type of adjusting should only take a few days.

Never attempt to modify your bridge on your own. Your dentist expects you may require a few dental visits to make sure your bridge fits and functions appropriately.

Taking care of your investment is important. Follow the instructions issued to care for your bridge.

Finally, take good care of your remaining biological teeth. Brush and floss daily; eat a healthy diet; and visit the office of Dr. John Morris regularly for cleaning and dental exam.

Enjoy Natural Looking Results with These Cosmetic Procedures

cosmetic dentistry Battle Creek MICosmetic dentistry could change your life. In addition to benefitting from an improved appearance, cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and porcelain veneers can give you a major boost in your self-confidence. Our cosmetic dentist possesses the training and experience necessary to produce beautiful yet natural looking smile makeovers for people in our community.

Following are some of our most popular cosmetic dentistry services.

White Restorations

Most people will need a restoration or two in their lifetime. Restorations protect weekend teeth by reinforcing their outer structure. Unfortunately, many people fear that restorations will affect their appearance since fillings and crowns were traditionally made from metal. Restorative dental care doesn’t have to be noticeable; in fact, it can be undetectable with tooth-colored restorations.

Our cosmetic dentist offers white fillings, crowns, onlays, and inlays made from likelike materials such as composite resin and porcelain. This means you can enjoy discreet but durable dental work.

Cosmetic Bonding

Small dental imperfections like chips and cracks can affect your smile and your self-esteem. A bonding treatment is a great way to rectify minor, cosmetic imperfections. Bonding treatments involve placing a thin layer of composite resin, a tooth-colored compound, to conceal flaws like chips, stains, and cracks.

Porcelain Veneers

A series of porcelain veneers can produce a total smile makeover. This treatment option consists of bonding custom-made, tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain over the front surfaces of teeth. A veneer can conceal an array of dental imperfections without looking unnatural or obvious. Veneers produce the appearance of a proportionate, white smile, too.

Zoom! Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is the best way to eliminate deep, permanent stains. A non-invasive, professional whitening treatment can lighten a person’s teeth up to ten shades brighter. Our practice utilizes the Zoom! whitening system, which involves applying a prescription-grade lightening solution to teeth and deepening the whitening process with an FDA-approved laser.

If you are unhappy with your smile, we invite you to schedule a smile makeover consultation with our cosmetic dentist, Dr. John Morris. Call us today to reserve your appointment.

4 Fun Teeth Facts

family dentistry Battle Creek MIIt can be fun to explore some of the mysteries of your teeth that go beyond your ability to chew, speak and look good. Here are some interesting tooth facts that you may not have learned in your visits to a family dentistry practice, along with some tips for making the most of your smile.

Interesting Facts About Teeth

Did you know this about your teeth?

  • Your teeth are unique, like fingerprints: Each tooth has a unique design. No two canines, incisors, or molars are identical, even in a single person’s smile.
  • Your smile’s blueprint is in place from birth: When you are born, the crowns of your baby teeth are already in place, preparing to erupt into the smile within 3-6 months. At the same time, your permanent teeth are starting to form so that they can eventually make their debut.
  • Your teeth reveal many bits of information about your life: Your teeth have a collection of data from your lifetime, shedding light on where you’ve lived, your nutrition, illnesses and even times when you’ve been stressed out.
  • Ancient societies recognized the importance of good oral hygiene: They may not have been able to go to a local family dentistry practice, but early humans did understand the importance of oral hygiene. They used rudimentary toothbrushes made of twigs to clean the teeth, and concocted substances to polish their teeth from materials available to them.

Keeping Your Smile In Optimal Condition

Fortunately, the oral hygiene tools and techniques that we have at our disposal are far more effective than those used by our earliest ancestors. It’s important that you use them consistently to maintain your smile.

At a minimum, patients should be brushing twice each day and flossing daily. Make sure that you’re using proper technique and a brush that is in good condition. You should switch to a new brush every three months or so.

Adequate professional care is also essential to good oral health. Visit your family dentistry practice twice a year for checkups and thorough professional cleanings to keep your smile in tip top shape.

To learn more about the marvels of your teeth, ask us at your next cleaning and checkup. We are always happy to share our knowledge with you!

Travel Tips For Your Teeth

dentist Battle Creek MIWhether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you want to make sure that you’re prepared to take care of your smile while you’re away from home.

In many ways, good oral hygiene practices are the same whether you’re in your home or a hotel. However, you may need to take extra steps to be prepared so that you can brush and floss adequately while you’re away.

Before you travel, check in with your dentist for an exam if you’re due for one. It can be helpful just to touch base for some tips as well.

Taking Care Of Your Teeth On The Road

Although many elements of a good oral hygiene routine are the same at home and away, there are a few considerations for brushing and flossing while you travel:

  • Store your toothbrush properly. You may not be able to let it air dry as you would at home. A good alternative is to keep it in a plastic bag so that it doesn’t come into contact with other items in your luggage but still has room to breathe.
  • Use bottled water to brush your teeth if you’re in a foreign country. If your toothbrush gets contaminated by local water, replace it as soon as possible.
  • Keep the contact information for your dentist handy in case of emergency. If you’re travelling internationally and you experience an urgent dental issue, go to the U.S. Consulate for guidance on local dental care.

Planning Ahead Is The Key To Success

If you want to take good care of your smile while you’re out of town, you need to be sure to pack all of the tools and supplies that you need to do so. Pick up a travel toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste at your local drugstore so that there’s ample room in your luggage.

Also, if you use mouthwash, transfer some into a three-ounce bottle that meets the requirements for liquids in carry-on luggage.

If you do forget anything you need for your oral hygiene routine, ask at your hotel. Often, they’ll provide toiletries and such at no cost. In a pinch, you can also put toothpaste on your finger to “brush” your teeth. However, you should still find a way to get a toothbrush for the entirety of your trip.

Don’t think that your vacation is a chance for a break from your oral hygiene routine. If you need more information about taking care of your smile while you’re traveling, call our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable team members.

5 Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign Battle Creek MIInvisalign is a popular alternative to conventional orthodontia. This treatment option presents patients unique advantageous such as improved comfort and a discreet appearance. Straightening your teeth has numerous health and wellness benefits including a reduced risk for common oral health conditions such as periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Following are five benefits to choosing Invisalign.

Invisalign is Discreet

Invisalign treatment involves wearing clear braces made from plastic. Noticeable archwires or brackets are not utilized in the Invisalign treatment system. This means that straightening your teeth is virtually undetectable to others. Because of the discreet nature of Invisalign, this treatment option is ideal for many adults.

Effective Treatment

Like conventional braces, Invisalign is an effective treatment option for correcting the spacing and positioning of teeth. Those who complete Invisalign treatment enjoy straighter smiles and healthier occlusions. The positions of gapped teeth as well as crooked, overlapped, and rotated teeth can be improved by wearing Invisalign.

Enjoy Comfort with Invisalign

Patients who wear Invisalign report that their treatment is very comfortable – especially when compared to traditional braces. This is because the edges of Invisalign braces are smooth and do not scrape against soft oral tissue. By minimizing irritation with its smooth construction, patients do not have to rely on dental wax to maintain comfort.

Removable Aligners

Invisalign’s oral appliances are removable. This is a treatment benefit unique to Invisalign. Since Invisalign appliances are removable, patients enjoy the ability to eat meals and clean their teeth without obstruction.

Improved Oral Health

Completing Invisalign treatment will improve your oral health. Having your teeth aligned to straighter positions reduces the risks for developing gingivitis and dental caries. This is because properly positioned and spaced teeth are easier to clean through brushing and flossing.

Although Invisalign offers unique benefits to patients, there are still instances where conventional orthodontia is a more appropriate treatment option. If you are interested in evaluating your orthodontic treatment options, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our dentist. Our practice offers both Invisalign and traditional braces.

Call the office of Dr. John Morris today to reserve an appointment.

Break These Bad Brushing Habits

You may think that brushing your teeth every day and scheduling routine care at a family dentistry practice twice each year is all that you need to do to take care of your smile. But you may be wrong. If you’re using poor technique when brushing or using a toothbrush that it is poor condition, you aren’t getting the maximum benefit from your oral hygiene regimen.

Your Brushing Technique May Be Doing More Harm Than Good

family dentistry Battle Creek MIIf you are brushing too aggressively, you may actually damage the enamel of your teeth and/or your gum tissue. This can create the potential for oral diseases to develop and the need for more involved treatments at your family dentistry practice.

Additionally, if you’re not holding your brush at a 45-degree and not covering all of the surfaces of your teeth, you’re likely leaving plaque behind after brushing. This can allow the oral bacteria to proliferate and wreak havoc on your smile.

The timing of your brushing matters, too. If you brush too soon after a meal (any less than 60 minutes), the residual acids of that meal may weaken your teeth and brushing then can be harmful. You also need to be sure to brush your teeth for two minutes at a time to get them as clean as possible.

When you see your dentist for a routine checkup, it’s a good time to check in on your brushing technique to make sure that you’re doing everything right. You can touch base with either your dentist or your hygienist about this aspect of your oral health.

Keep Your Tools In Good Shape For The Best Brushing Results

Toothbrushes that are too old or too hard are not going to be the most effective tools for keeping your mouth clean. You should swap out your toothbrush every three months or so. A dirty toothbrush stored in an enclosed area can actually introduce more bacteria into the mouth rather than get rid of it.

It’s also important to consider whether a standard toothbrush or an electric one will best meet your needs. Do you have trouble remembering to brush for the entire two minutes? An electric brush with a built-in timer might give you the reminder you need to brush for a full session.

If you have any questions about optimal oral hygiene techniques and tools, ask our dentist at your next visit. We are happy to give you any guidance you need to keep your smile as healthy as possible.

Advantages Of Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

braces Battle Creek MIYou may think that orthodontic treatment must involve braces consisting of brackets and wires that are worn for 18 months or more. However, early interventions, known as interceptive orthodontics, can actually reduce the amount of time a teen must spend in braces or possibly eliminate it entirely.

Keep in mind that the benefits of orthodontic treatment go beyond the aesthetic, so if your child is showing signs of any alignment problems in the teeth or the jaw after the first permanent teeth erupt, schedule a consultation with your dentist to explore treatment options.

Early Treatment Approaches In Orthodontics

While misaligned teeth can be repositioned using traditional braces or other treatment systems, interceptive orthodontics can manipulate early jaw development to either reduce the severity of or prevent the problem in the first place. Furthermore, it can help a patient avoid more invasive interventions, such as tooth extraction or orthognathic surgery, at a later date.

Your dentist may use a number of different appliances during the interceptive phase of treatment, such as palate expanders or space maintainers. The length of time that these appliances are worn will vary from case to case.

Your child may show signs of alignment problems in the smile shortly after the first permanent teeth emerge. As such, interceptive interventions can be implemented when a child is fairly young, around 6 or 7 years old, depending on the pace of your child’s dental development.

The Importance Of A Properly Aligned Smile

Of course, one major outcome of orthodontic treatment is a straighter, more beautiful smile. Indeed, this is a compelling reason to consider interceptive treatment or braces. However, properly positioned teeth and jaws are also more effective at chewing and less likely to bite and injure the soft oral tissues. Correctly aligned teeth also help people speak clearly. By pursuing early orthodontic treatment for your child, you can help your child gain these benefits.

Does your child appear to be developing a problem in the alignment of the jaws or the smile? Seek interceptive treatment as early as possible for the best outcomes. Call the office of John Morris, DDS, to schedule an evaluation.

Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Oral Health

dentist Battle Creek MIAre you considering a trendy tongue or lip ring? While piercings are a common form of self-expression that many people enjoy, they do present hidden risks to your oral health. From accelerating tooth wear that might require treatment from a dentist to increasing one’s risks for oral infections, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of oral piercings before you make your decision.

Tooth Wear and Piercings

The materials used to construct oral piercings can literally damage tooth structure. When oral piercings repeatedly make contact with teeth, it can cause chips and fractures. Metal piercings making contact with teeth will also damage tooth enamel.

Damaged tooth enamel along with chips and fractures leaves teeth susceptible to tooth decay and further degradation, which requires professional treatment like restorations to protect teeth. Common restorations for damaged teeth include fillings, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns. Without these restorations, patients are at risk for developing decay, abscesses, and ultimately the need for tooth extractions.

Adding further insult to injury is the fact that many people develop habits of tapping their piercings into their teeth. Beyond the contact the piercing might make with teeth through normal oral function, excessive tapping where piercings hit teeth can accelerate permanent dental damage.

Increased Risks for Oral Infections

Many people think that oral piercings only increase the risk for infection while they heal but this isn’t true. Our mouths are home to millions of bacteria, many of which contribute to infections beyond periodontal disease and dental caries.

While piercings can develop infections as they heal, they still pose risks for infections once the healing process is complete. If you decide to accept this risk, keep in mind that the sooner you treat an infection the better. If you notice changes in your oral health such as persistent bad breath, a change in the appearance of your gums, and the development of sores, make an appointment for a checkup with our dentist.

Call the office of Dr. John Morris to ask questions about your oral health or to schedule a visit.

The New Era Of Cosmetic Dentistry

cosmetic dentist Battle Creek MIIn the past, patients may have been resigned to accepting aesthetic flaws in their smiles. However, today, a cosmetic dentist can correct a host of problems that detract from your smile, ranging from discolored teeth to those that are broken or damaged. Multiple interventions can be used to address these issues, and patients can either pursue a single intervention to upgrade their grin or consider a more comprehensive smile makeover. The possibilities are numerous, and the results often transformative.

A Hollywood Style Smile Is Within Reach

If there’s an aspect of your smile that is a drag on your self-confidence, you should consult with a cosmetic dentist to see what can be done to improve your smile’s aesthetics. You can end up with a movie star’s smile.

The process begins with an evaluation. Your cosmetic dentist will inspect your smile and may take photographs, dental impressions or x-rays to inform the treatment planning process. The dentist will also ask you about your smile goals and may be able to show you results achieved in cases similar to yours so that you will have an idea of what to expect.

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments To Enhance Your Smile

Your dentist may recommend any of the following interventions, either individually or in combination, depending on the circumstances of your case.

  • Zoom! Teeth Whitening: Bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and activated with a specialized laser in order for the bleaching agent to take effect in as little as an hour. On your lunch break, you can leave our office with a smile that is 8-10 shades whiter than when you walked in.
  • Porcelain Veneers: Tooth-shaped shells made of porcelain can be bonded on top of your natural teeth to conceal defects like chips, cracks and deep stains that don’t respond to teeth whitening treatments.
  • Cosmetic Bonding: For minor flaws, this conservative treatment may do the trick. A small amount of tooth-colored bonding material can be applied to a tooth to cover up a minor chip or crack. The bonding material is then cured, and often this treatment can be completed in an hour or less.
  • Tooth-colored fillings: When you have cavities, the type of filling you choose can impact your smile’s appearance. Opting for tooth-colored composite fillings rather than dark metal ones will maintain a uniform appearance in your teeth.

If you are dissatisfied with your smile, cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile of your dreams. Schedule a consultation at the office of Dr. John Morris to explore your options and learn more about the possibilities.