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Healthy Dental Habits to Follow

dentist Battle Creek MIOur oral health is precious. From our teeth to our jawbones, the structures that make up the oral health system require attention and care to prevent common dental conditions and diseases. Receiving regular care from our dentist, along with learning accurate information about your oral health, can help prevent disease. Following are four healthy dental habits to follow for optimal wellness.

Daily Flossing

Are you flossing your teeth every day? If you’re not, you should be. Flossing is an essential part of any proper oral hygiene routine. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends daily flossing to clean between teeth and along the gum line where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing helps prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease – two of the biggest threats to your oral health.

Thorough Brushing

Almost everyone knows to brush their teeth but many people do not brush properly. Thorough brushing is necessary to clean the surfaces of teeth and other structures like the gums and tongue. The ADA encourages patients of all ages to brush twice a day for two minutes each time.

Routine Dental Appointments

Skipping visits to the dentist could cost you your oral health. Regular appointments are necessary for enjoying early detection of common diseases. Receiving cleanings and checkups twice a year means that your oral healthcare provider is familiar with your health history, oral anatomy, and unique needs -giving our team the opportunity to look for signs of gum disease, cavities, bone deterioration, and oral cancer. With early detection, many people can treat potential issues conservatively and affordably.

Diets Low in Sugar and Acid

Your diet can make a drastic impact on your oral health. If you consume sugary foods and beverages that are also high in acid, you greatly increase your risks for developing cavities.

Bacteria thrive on sugar. As bacteria eat sugar molecules, they grow stronger and colonize to form plaque. They also release acid as a by-product of the feeding process. Acid is dangerous to oral health because it softens tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to attack teeth. Reducing the intake of acid and sugar can significantly extend the lifespan of teeth.

If it’s time for a dental checkup, call the office of Dr. John Morris to schedule an appointment.

Sleep Apnea: A Non-invasive Treatment Option

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MIIf you suffer from sleep apnea, you likely want a treatment that will improve your sleep, leave you with more energy and improve your health in general. Unfortunately, some highly effective sleep apnea treatments are not appealing to patients. They often complain that wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask is just as disruptive to their sleep as the apnea is. Surgery to remove excess tissue may be another option, but patients may be reluctant to pursue such an invasive procedure.

Your dentist may not be the first healthcare provider that you think to turn to for a sleep problem, but with their extensive knowledge of structures of the jaw and oral cavity, these practitioners are actually well-suited to provide sleep apnea treatment. In fact, a dentist can design a custom-made oral appliance to reduce the structural issues that lead to apneic episodes.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse during sleep and cover up the airway opening. The patient stops breathing for a very brief period, and the amount of oxygen flowing through the body decreases. Because this happens repeatedly, the patient does not get a complete night’s worth of rest and may still feel drowsy upon waking, in addition to suffering other symptoms like frequent morning headaches or sore throats.

When a dentist designs an oral appliance to prevent sleep apnea, the goal is to eliminate the likelihood that the soft tissues can cover up the airway opening. Therefore, oral appliance therapy may hold either the jaw or the tongue in a forward position throughout the night.

Because the oral appliances are custom-fitted, they are quite comfortable and patients often forget they are even wearing the device. This improves compliance with the therapy and increases the chances of symptom relief.

Sleep apnea isn’t just a quality of life issue, either. This condition appears to be related to serious health problems, such as stroke, high blood pressure and obesity. Getting effective sleep apnea treatment can be a life-saving endeavor. First, you should confirm the diagnosis if you have sleep apnea symptoms. You can do this by completing a sleep study. Then, you can pursue treatment by setting up an evaluation at our office.

Harmful Effects of Soda on Teeth

dentist Battle Creek MI

Depending on where you live, the carbonated soft drinks enjoyed by many may be called soda, or pop, or simply soft drink. But whatever you call it, consumption can result in damage to teeth. Your dentist can provide you with information about the hazards to your teeth from drinking soda.

Enamel Erosion and Dental Decay

When you drink soda (both regular and sugar free), the components of soda mix with the bacteria already present on teeth to form acid. This acid is actually attacking your teeth with the ultimate result being diminished enamel and the potential for cavity formation. Most sodas contain phosphoric acid and citric acid – both are hazardous to your dental health.

Alternative to Soda

The only truly safe option is water; tap water contains fluoride which is good for healthy teeth. Water can be flavored by adding fresh fruit. Or there are a multitude of sugar free water enhancers you can use for variety.

Many will continue to drink soda so at a minimum follow a few tips to lessen the potential for damage:

Do not sip on soda for extended periods – drink quickly or consume with a meal. Remember if you sip all day, you’re more likely to get decay.

Use a straw – this will allow much of the beverage to bypass teeth. But be aware, soda consumption is known to promote obesity and type 2 diabetes whether you use a straw or not.

Brushing following soda consumption is ill advised. Rinse with water, but wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Soda softens enamel; brushing too soon can damage protective enamel.

Do not drink soda before bed – once you’ve brushed your teeth for the night, limit yourself to water.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Cavities and gum erosion can result in sensitivity and decay that affect your ability to eat and how you look. If problems are not caught and treated quickly, time consuming treatment may be needed to save teeth.

Eliminating or severely limiting soda is important, but that’s not enough to maintain good dental health. Your primary daily diet should be comprised of fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and healthy grains. Do not smoke or use tobacco in any form; and stay sufficiently hydrated with water.

Brush and floss every day and visit the office of Dr. John Morris every six months for dental exam and cleaning to remove plaque.

Are there food restrictions with Invisalign?

Invisalign Battle Creek MIInvisalign is an alternative to conventional, fixed orthodontics. This treatment option is ideal for many adults who desire a discreet method for improving the placement of teeth and occlusal health. While some people might find meals cumbersome with traditional fixed orthodontia, Invisalign patients can eat all their favorite foods with ease. This is because Invisalign’s aligners are removable. During treatment, aligners are removed for meals and oral hygiene.

How does Invisalign work?

Conventional braces feature brackets and archwires. The archwire is tightened throughout treatment to generate force and pressure so that teeth will move to healthier positions. Instead of fixed brackets and archwire, force and pressure is generated by wearing Invisalign’s oral appliances called aligners. An aligner is made to fit the unique oral anatomy of a patient so that it fits snuggly over teeth and comfortably inside the mouth.

As treatment progresses, patients will wear progressively tighter sets of aligners. Treatment is broken into two-week phases and every two weeks, a person in treatment will wear a new aligner. Since aligners conform perfectly over teeth, they will help correct spacing issues like gaps and crowded teeth as well as teeth that are overlapped or rotated.

Once treatment is complete, a retainer will need to be worn to ensure that teeth stay in their new positions.

What does Invisalign look like?

Aligners are made from clear, semi-pliable plastic. Since Invisalign is clear and does not utilize metal, people enjoy very inconspicuous treatment. When worn, this treatment option is virtually undetectable to others.

How do I know if Invisalign is right for me?

Invisalign is a great treatment option for many adults but sometimes, conventional orthodontia is still necessary to correct specific issues. The only way to be certain if this treatment option is right for you is to reserve a consultation with our dentist. At your consultation, we will evaluate the placement of your teeth, your occlusion, and your oral health with a physical examination and diagnostic images. Our dentist will make treatment recommendations based on your unique circumstances.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the office of Dr. John Morris today.

Why should malocclusions be treated?

orthodontics Battle Creek MIMisaligned jaws, otherwise known as malocclusions, can have detrimental effects on your quality of life and your health. Fortunately, many malocclusions can be treated solely with orthodontics, either traditional braces or the newer Invisalign system.

If your jaws don’t fit together properly, you may have a difficult time chewing food, especially fresh (and crunchy) fruits and vegetables, which can put your nutrition at risk. Additionally, you might find yourself frequently biting the inside of your cheeks or lips, which may introduce the possibility of infection to these soft tissues.

Of course, misaligned jaws aren’t very attractive either. A malocclusion can negatively affect your smile’s appearance as much as crooked teeth do. This is another compelling reason to have a malocclusion corrected.

The severity of your malocclusion will influence the treatment approach recommended by your dentist. Although Invisalign was used primarily for straightforward, simple cases when it was initially introduced, this system is now capable of addressing more complicated issues, including some malocclusions.

However, Invisalign may not be suitable for all cases. In some circumstances, traditional orthodontics consisting of metal or ceramic brackets or wires may be needed in order to bring the jaws into the correct alignment. After examining your smile, your dentist can recommend the treatment method that is most likely to be effective for you.

It is preferable to act early to correct malocclusions. When patients are treated as children and teens before their jaws are fully developed, the rate and patterns of jaw growth can be manipulated to bring the jaws into the proper alignment. It is more difficult – although not impossible – to achieve this goal after jaw development is complete. In adults, it is more likely that a combination of orthodontics and oral surgery will be needed to eliminate malocclusions.

If you are concerned about the way your jaws fit together, explore treatment options that will bring them into the proper alignment to improve your self-confidence and your general well-being. Call the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 to schedule an initial evaluation and learn what treatment outcomes may be possible in your case.

Cosmetic Dentistry: The Art of Beautiful Smiles

cosmetic dentist Battle Creek MI

 

The appearance of your teeth can impact your daily life … stained, chipped, or broken dentition might result in low self-esteem making you hesitate to eat, speak, smile, or laugh in public. A consultation with your cosmetic dentist will reveal the many opportunities available to improve your smile.

Teeth Whitening

Dental stain or discoloration can occur for many reasons. Illness or medications; lifestyle choices (smoking); diet (soda or unhealthy foods); neglect (not brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist for teeth cleaning) … whatever the reason for dental stain, your cosmetic dentist can take your smile from drab to fabulous by whitening your teeth with Zoom! teeth whitening. With Zoom in office whitening, you can enjoy a smile makeover in one brief dental appointment.

Cosmetic Bonding

A chipped tooth, or intrinsic spots or stains all can be corrected using a tooth colored resin material. Your cosmetic dentist will color match and apply the bonding material and finish the treatment by polishing your teeth. Your smile will appear symmetrical thanks to the artful application by your cosmetic dentist.

White Restorations 

For many years there was only one option to repair dental decay … silver amalgam. Today there is a much better option with tooth colored restorations. Much less of the natural tooth is removed to repair a cavity; the resin is placed in layers being cured with each addition. The finished result is a repair that is natural and indiscernible.

Tooth colored restorations can also be used to replace old amalgam fillings.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers provide one solution that resolves many cosmetic dental problems. Veneers are very thin tooth colored shells that are cemented to the front of teeth suffering from unresolved deep stain; are chipped, misshapen, or uneven; or contain unwanted gaps.

Veneers are appropriate to treat one or multiple teeth; they are permanent as a small amount of enamel is removed from teeth to be covered. By removing enamel, the veneer treated teeth will appear even with untouched teeth. 

Cosmetic dentistry is readily available; a consultation with our cosmetic dentist will outline the dramatic changes possible to improve your appearance. Call the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today to schedule your visit.

Treatment Options to Improve Smile Symmetry

family dentistry Battle Creek MIA symmetrical smile is a more attractive smile, but sometimes misalignments or other aesthetic flaws can compromise that symmetry. Porcelain veneers are an excellent cosmetic treatment option for restoring and enhancing your smile.

Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-shaped shells made out of ceramic materials that are bonded atop your natural teeth to conceal a variety of flaws. In addition to creating the illusion of proper alignment, veneers can hide issues like cracks, chips, or stains that can also detract from your smile. An undersized tooth can also affect your smile’s symmetry, and porcelain veneers are useful in such cases to bring the affected tooth into the proper proportions with the rest of the smile.

Getting porcelain veneers is a two-step process. The first phase is your initial consultation where your family dentist will examine your smile and gather the information needed to design your veneers, which will then be created in a laboratory. At this appointment, photos or dental impressions of your teeth might also be taken. You will also discuss the desired shade of the veneer, along with any teeth whitening you may want to pursue on your biological teeth.

You may also need to have your teeth prepared for veneer placement at that first session. Depending on the thickness of the veneer, it may be necessary to remove a thin layer of enamel to make space for the veneer. You can wear temporary veneers until the permanent veneers are ready.

After the lab has crafted the veneers, you’ll return to the office to have them bonded to your teeth. Your dentist can make further adjustments to the shade and shape of the veneers, if needed, so that you are pleased with them before they are placed. After that point, no further alterations can be made.

Porcelain veneers are a good option for enhancing your smile’s symmetry with a relatively minor investment of the patient’s time or money. If you want to conceal a flaw in your smile, contact the dental office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 to schedule a consultation.

Oral Appliance Therapy to Treat Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MISleep apnea is a condition where sleep is interrupted throughout the night due to a collapse of soft oral and/or throat tissue that blocks the airway. This can occur a few times per night or many, many times. The brain may be deprived of oxygen so patients suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea should investigate their options for sleep apnea treatment. 

Your dentist is a great place to start … oral appliance therapy works through the use of a mouthguard fabricated to reposition your jaw designed to prevent tissues from collapsing. Wearing an oral appliance is much easier and more convenient than other treatment methods.

Many patients may not even be aware that they are suffering from sleep apnea. Some symptoms include snoring (but this alone is not definitive … many people snore without suffering from sleep apnea); daytime sleepiness; awakening with a headache, sore throat, and/or a dry mouth; or noticeable mood changes. A partner may observe things such as abrupt awakening with a choking or gasping sound.

Patients suffering from sleep apnea may realize additional relief by losing weight, daily exercise, not smoking, sleeping on one’s side, and limiting or eliminating caffeinated beverages past mid-afternoon. Another mistake patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea make is taking sleep aids or using alcohol to try to relax before bed. These actually exacerbate the problem by relaxing oral tissues that are blocking the airway.

Sleep apnea should not be taken lightly; high blood pressure, heart health, and stroke are just a few of the serious issues sleep apnea can contribute to … a definitive diagnosis may require a sleep study.

A consultation with our dentist is recommended if you feel you may be dealing with sleep apnea. A customized oral appliance will be fabricated specifically for you. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 as soon as possible to discuss your options to finally resolve sleep apnea concerns.

Negative Effects of Brushing Too Hard

family dentistry Battle Creek MIYou may think that you’re giving your teeth a boost by brushing them twice a day, but people who are overly vigorous with their brushing technique may be doing more harm than good. There are several negative effects of brushing too hard that could land you in the office of your local family dentistry practice for more extensive treatment.

Your tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in your body, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impervious to wear and tear. Brushing too hard may accelerate this process and cause enamel to break down prematurely. This process can make the teeth more susceptible to decay as well as breakage, which could require a restoration, like a filling or a dental crown.

In addition to potentially damaging your teeth, overly aggressive brushing can also lead to gum recession. It’s important to have adequate gum tissue to protect the roots of the teeth from infection.

The roots of the teeth also are more sensitive when exposed to the oral cavity. In fact, you may notice increased tooth sensitivity as a result of enamel breakdown or gum recession. This is another potential consequence of brushing too hard.

If you have any questions about your brushing technique or feel like you might want a refresher, you can check in with the hygienist or dentist when you visit your family dentistry practice for a routine check-up or cleaning every six months. This is an important supplement to your home oral hygiene routine. It gives your dentist the opportunity to monitor your teeth for signs of oral disease. Plus, regular professional cleanings help to remove any plaque or tartar buildup that can still be a problem even if you’re brushing and flossing on a daily schedule.

Are you a little too enthusiastic about your brushing? Check in with one of our knowledgeable professionals for tips on using the proper technique to keep your smile as healthy as possible. Contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today.

Follow These Tips for a Healthier Mouth

dentist Battle Creek MIAre you invested in protecting your oral health? Do you wonder if you are doing everything you can to prevent conditions like tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease? Many of us try to protect our teeth and gums but sometimes we fall into bad habits while others might do something harmful to their oral health because they don’t know better. If you’re wondering how you can protect your oral health, consider the following tips and don’t forget to schedule regular appointments for checkups and cleanings with a dentist.

Brush Thoroughly

Brushing your teeth is imperative to preventing the accumulation of plaque, which hardens into tartar after it is exposed to calculus. Plaque and tartar are full of harmful bacteria that collect between teeth and along the gums. These substances contribute to periodontal disease by causing gingival inflammation and receding gums. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for about two minutes each time. Be sure to brush each tooth in soft, circular motions.

Floss Daily

While brushing helps control plaque and tartar accumulation, it is not enough. A toothbrush can’t reach between teeth. The only way to remove debris and plaque between teeth is to floss daily. Flossing is also beneficial because it disrupts colonies of bacteria that form along the gums.

Drink Water

It might seem like a no-brainer to drink water but many of us do not consume enough. Water is essential for keeping oral tissue moist. It is also helpful for rinsing away debris from food and diluting acid. We encourage patients to drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day.

Reduce Sugar

Did you know sugar feeds oral bacteria? When we eat something with starch or sugar, the bacteria in our mouths go on a feeding frenzy. Cutting down on sugar helps starve cavity-causing bacteria. We recommend checking the labels on food so you know how much sugar you consume on a daily basis.

If it’s time for a checkup, call us today to reserve an appointment with our dentist.