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Dental Implants Offer A Long-term, Permanent Solution

dental implants Battle Creek MIWhen patients have suffered tooth loss, they may not want a tooth replacement that will need to be replaced itself every few years. Yet, this can happen with some standard appliances, like fixed dental bridges or conventional dentures, which are used to restore patients’ smiles after tooth loss.

In contrast, dental implants provide a more permanent solution for tooth loss. This revolutionary technology takes advantage of the biocompatible qualities of titanium, which is used to make dental implants. Bone is able to fuse with the titanium cylinders, and this osseointegration process leaves the dental implant as a fixture in the patient’s jaw. After dental implants have been osseointegrated, a dentist can place a crown, bridge or denture on top of them to meet the patient’s needs.

Dental implants are structurally similar to a biological tooth’s root, which performs many important functions, including maintaining the stability of the jaw. Tooth roots anchor jaw bone, which erodes following tooth loss when those roots are missing. That jawbone atrophy can put remaining teeth at risk for being lost and cause a conventional appliance to lose its fit as the jaw’s shape changes. Eventually, those appliances will need to be refitted or even replaced.

Although dental implants can be a permanent solution for tooth loss, the conditions must be right for this outcome. To maximize the longevity of dental implants, it is important for the patient to be a suitable candidate for the treatment, which requires adequate bone at the implant site to support osseointegration.

Patients who choose dental implants also must be diligent about maintaining their oral health, as future bone loss could compromise the dental implants. This requires a thorough daily oral hygiene routine, along with routine professional cleanings and exams every six months.

If you want a durable replacement for a missing tooth or teeth, consider dental implants. Visit the office of Dr. John Morris for a consultation and to learn more about this treatment option.

Sugary Drinks and Dental Health

family dentistry Battle Creek MIYour dentist may have told you to cut down on sugary drinks, such as soda and sweetened juices, but you may not really understand why sugar is so harmful. Furthermore, you may be reluctant to give up your sugary drinks entirely but still want to take good care of your smile. Here is some information that illustrates the harmful effects of sugar and the steps you can take to reduce those effects.

How Sugar Harms Your Smile

The oral bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease are sugar fiends. They seek out sugar as a nutritional source and in the process of metabolizing that sugar create highly acidic waste byproducts. It is that acidic aftermath that is actually most harmful to your teeth, causing erosion of the enamel and inflammation in the gum tissue.

The problem is exacerbated when the sugar is present in your mouth for a longer period of time and also when sugar is present in an otherwise acidic beverage, such as with sugar-sweetened sodas. As a result, regular consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk that you’ll need to see your dentist for a filling or gum disease treatment.

Reducing the Effects of Sugary Beverages

  • Choose your beverages wisely: We recommend that patients choose unsweetened beverages most of the time, including water (plain or sparkling), unsweetened tea or plain milk. Fruit juice that is heavily diluted with water can also be a good choice. Drinks like fruit juice, soda, chocolate milk and energy drinks should only be enjoyed rarely.
  • Drink through a straw: When you do enjoy sweetened beverages, drink them through a straw. This limits their contact with the teeth. Also, drink a beverage in one sitting rather quickly, as sipping over an extended period of time creates more exposure to the sugar.
  • Get fluoride treatments: Most family dentistry practices offer fluoride treatments, which are beneficial in a number of ways, including by making your teeth more resistant to the effects of sugar and acid.
  • Clean your teeth thoroughly through brushing and flossing: Good oral hygiene habits are the keystone of preventing damage from sweetened drinks. Brush twice each day for two minutes at a time and floss daily. You may also want to rinse your mouth with water after drinking a soda or juice as an additional precaution.

For additional advice about limiting the effects of sugary drinks on your smile, call the office of Dr. John Morris to ask any questions you may have.

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.