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Dental Care Tips for Caregivers

Caregivers have so many responsibilities for the physical and mental well-being of their loved ones, and maintaining good oral health is just one of many tasks on that list. However, it is extremely important to address this need, especially if the care recipient’s ability to perform oral hygiene tasks is limited.

Obstacles to Good Dental Care in Care Recipients

dentist Battle Creek MIPeople who need assistance from caregivers often may struggle to perform their own activities of daily living (ADLs), and this can impact their oral health. For example, they may:

  • Lack physical dexterity needed to brush and floss teeth
  • Lack cognitive functioning needed to brush and floss teeth
  • Take medications that can affect their oral health
  • Experience mood symptoms that interfere with the motivation to perform daily oral hygiene tasks

All of these issues can result in accumulation of plaque and tartar, both of which are laden with potentially harmful oral bacteria. If that oral bacteria results in oral diseases, the care recipient may need to receive extensive treatment from a dentist.

How Caregivers can Help Protect Oral Health

Fortunately, there are many steps that you can take as a caregiver to reduce your loved one’s risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease.

  • Get your loved one on track with an oral hygiene routine.
  • Assist your loved one as needed with oral hygiene tasks. For example, you may need to put the toothpaste on the brush for them or give cues as reminders of how they should brush or floss.
  • Rinse dentures after eating and clean them more thoroughly on a daily basis.
  • Monitor for medication side effects, such as dry mouth, that can negatively affect oral health.
  • Make sure your loved one is eating a smile-boosting diet that optimizes the nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy smile, while minimizing sugar exposure.

Furthermore, your loved one should be established with a dentist whom they can see at least twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. If your loved one needs any special accommodations to receive such routine care, choose a provider who is able to make those accommodations.

Would you like more advice on how to manage your loved one’s oral health care? Call the office of Dr. John Morris and speak to one of our knowledgeable and friendly staff members for some guidance.

What kind of bite issues can Invisalign correct?

 

 

Invisalign Battle Creek MIOrthodontic treatment can be used to treat a misalignment of the jaws in addition to repositioning the teeth for a straight smile. In the past, patients who wanted to address such issues may have needed a lengthy course of orthodontic treatment, sometimes in combination with oral surgery.

However, many prospective patients are drawn to the newer Invisalign treatment method because of the many advantages it offers to patients in comparison to standard orthodontic appliances. The good news is that Invisalign can effectively correct many types of malocclusions.

Patients who need to correct problems with their bites should talk to their dentist to see if Invisalign can help. Take advantage of the most convenient and comfortable way to straighten your smile if you can!

Common Forms of Malocclusions

The jaw is a highly complex joint, consisting of multiple bones, tendons, muscles, nerves and other supporting structures. As such, it’s fairly common for people’s jaws to develop in a way that results in a misalignment. Such malocclusions can take the following forms:

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Open bites

Invisalign can address all of these issues. It can also help to address crowding of the teeth that can occur when a patient’s jaw is too narrow to accommodate all of the teeth.

The earliest iterations of Invisalign were limited in their effectiveness with complex orthodontic issues, but the technology has advanced significantly, and many patients in various situations can benefit from this treatment. Your dentist can advise you of whether Invisalign is appropriate in your case.

Advantages Of Invisalign

Invisalign repositions the teeth and jaws using a series of custom-designed removable trays made of a clear plastic material rather than brackets, wires and other orthodontic appliances. Because of this unique approach, patients typically find it to be more:

  • Convenient
  • Comfortable
  • Attractive

It’s clear why Invisalign has such appeal for patients! To determine whether this treatment method can help you achieve your smile goals, call the office of Dr. John Morris to schedule an evaluation.

Adjusting to Dentures: What should I expect during the first few weeks?

dentures Battle Creek MIReceiving dentures is an exciting time. After suffering from tooth loss, having a complete smile can be a big boost to your self-esteem. Adjusting to dentures does take some time. In the beginning, you will likely experience slight soreness in your gums and have some difficulty eating and speaking. Fortunately, once you’ve adjusted to your new teeth, you will enjoy a complete smile for years to come.

Here are helpful tips to make adjusting to dentures a little easier.

Temporary Soreness

Unlike our teeth, which are rooted in the jaw, dentures rest solely on the gums. The weight of your new teeth can make gums feel tender for the first couple of weeks. While having sore gums isn’t the most pleasant sensation in the world, know that this symptom will subside.

Some patients will remove their dentures as a response to sore gums, but this will only prolong your adjustment phase. Try to keep your dentures in throughout the day and only take them out when you sleep. Over-the-counter pain medicines like Advil or Tylenol can help mitigate some discomfort as you adjust to your new smile.

Limited Oral Function

Speaking and eating with dentures can feel foreign and uncomfortable in the beginning. With practice, however, you will be speaking clearly and enjoying your favorite foods in no time.

When speaking, one way to ease your adjustment to dentures is to read aloud for 30 minutes one or two times a day. This gives you practice with pronouncing a variety of words. The more you practice, the faster you will adjust.

Eating comfortably with dentures takes practice, too. We recommend selecting soft and semi-soft foods for your meals during the first couple of weeks to help you learn how to bite and chew food with your new teeth. If you do eat chewier or harder items, cut them into small pieces. Give yourself plenty of time to eat since eating with new dentures in a rush can be frustrating.

Within a couple of weeks, living with your new smile will be comfortable and easy. Our practice offers beautiful, custom-made dentures. Call the office of Dr. John Morris to reserve a tooth replacement consultation with our dentist.

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Dental Cavities

family dentistry Battle Creek MIOur family dentistry practice aims to help our patients prevent tooth decay. As one of the most common infectious disease, tooth decay is cause for concern for people of all ages. Tooth decay requires professional treatment from a dentist because teeth cannot regenerate new tissue to heal. When left untreated, dental cavities can affect oral function, lead to painful infections, and cause tooth loss.

Following are five easy ways to prevent dental cavities.

Brush

Proper and thorough brushing can protect your teeth and gums from the surface debris and bacteria that contribute to tooth decay. Everyone should brush their teeth two times a day for roughly two minutes each time. Gentle and thorough brushing controls oral bacteria and the development of plaque.

Floss

Flossing, like brushing, should never be overlooked. Using floss with the seal of acceptance from the American Dental Association, carefully floss around the base of each tooth to strengthen your gums, remove food stuck between teeth, and disrupt the colonies of bacteria that form plaque. Flossing cleans deep between teeth where a toothbrush’s bristles cannot reach.

Drink Plenty of Water

When it comes to preventing tooth decay, water is your friend. Water has a neutral pH so it’s great for diluting acids that weaken teeth. It also helps rinse away leftover food particles and keeps soft oral tissue moist. We encourage everyone to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

Limit or Avoid Sugar and Acid

Sugary and acidic items can wreak havoc on your teeth. Since sugar is a source of sustenance for bacteria, eating sugar on a regular basis literally feeds the harmful oral bacteria that contribute to cavities. Acid, which can often accompany sugary food, is also problematic because it erodes tooth enamel.

Sugary and acidic items like alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, candy, and citrus should be limited or avoided whenever possible.

Receive Routine Cleanings and Checkups

Even if you’re practicing great oral hygiene habits at home and making healthy dietary choices, your teeth can still develop decay. This is why it is important to receive two checkups and professional teeth cleanings every year.

If it’s time to schedule your next visit, give our family dentistry practice a call today.

Myths About Root Canal Treatment

root canal Battle Creek MIRoot canal therapy has an unfair reputation. There are many misconceptions about this tooth-saving treatment. Receiving root canal therapy saves teeth from extraction, restores comfortable oral function, and can prevent the formation of painful abscesses.

Here we will dispel common misconceptions about root canal therapy.

#1 Root Canal Therapy is Always Painful

While having an infected root canal can be very uncomfortable, the procedure to treat this condition isn’t overly invasive or uncomfortable. Many advancements have been made in procedural methods that improve patient comfort.

#2 Root Canal Therapy Causes Disease

There are a number of unsupported, dubious claims circulating on the internet connecting root canal treatment to disease. These claims are rooted in poorly designed studies conducted 100 years ago. There are no known connections to root canal therapy causing the development of serious disease.

Receiving root canal therapy has a number of benefits and does not affect your long-term health.

#3 Root Canal Treatment isn’t Necessary

The internet is home to unsupported claims that certain home remedies can cure infected root canals. There is no homeopathic replacement for root canal therapy. Teeth cannot self-heal like other parts of the body and root canal therapy is a necessity to address infected teeth.

#4 If Pain Subsides, I Don’t Need Treatment

Many times, patients will experience painful toothaches when the nerves within their teeth are infected. If a toothache caused by an infected root canal subsides, it does not mean that the tooth is no longer in danger. It simply means that the infection has killed the nerve ending inside a tooth.

If you develop a toothache, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure that you receive the proper treatment(s) necessary to manage your condition and protect your oral health.

Root canal therapy is a safe and effective way to treat infected teeth. Call the office of Dr. John Morris today to reserve an appointment with our dentist.

Reasons to Feel Confident About Invisalign Clear Braces

Invisalign Battle Creek MIIf doubts about conventional braces have stood in your way of straightening your smile, you are not alone. Fortunately, a different treatment approach known as Invisalign can help you smile with greater confidence, both during your treatment and afterward.

When you work with a dentist who is specially trained to provide this treatment option, you can reach your smile goals in a way that’s a better fit for your lifestyle than standard braces. Be sure to explore this treatment option if you’re interested in realigning your smile.

Invisalign: A Highly Effective Treatment Option

Invisalign repositions the teeth by using the same principles as standard orthodontic appliances: applying forces to the teeth will get them to shift into the proper positions. However, Invisalign achieves this movement through a progressive series of clear, removable plastic trays.

Even patients with fairly complex cases, such as those with severe crowding or malocclusions, can get the desired results from Invisalign, so this treatment can be a good option for a wide range of cases.

However, patients take on more responsibility with Invisalign. It’s essential for you to closely follow the instructions provided by your dentist for wearing the trays and switching to a new tray in order to get the anticipated outcomes.

Smile With Confidence While Straightening Your Teeth

Not only can you have confidence that Invisalign will help you reach your smile goals, you can have that same confidence every time you smile while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. You won’t have to worry about hiding the unattractive appliances on your teeth.

This is particularly appealing to image-conscious teens who want to blend in with their peers, as well as working adults who want to maintain a professional appearance while straightening their smiles.

Additional Advantages Of Invisalign

Better aesthetics during treatment aren’t the only benefits of Invisalign, either. Others include:

  • Ease of oral hygiene: Invisalign eliminates the need to navigate around appliances while brushing and flossing.
  • Comfort: Invisalign trays have no sharp edges or wires that can break free and injure soft oral tissues.
  • Convenience: Fewer offer visits for adjustments.
  • Better nutrition: You don’t have to cut out your favorite foods, especially healthy ones like fresh fruits and vegetables that can damage traditional orthodontic appliances.

Are you interested in Invisalign and all that it has to offer? Visit the office of Dr. John Morris for a consultation to see if it might be a good fit for you.

Good Oral Hygiene Benefits That May Surprise You

dentist Battle Creek MIYou may recognize that brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing daily as directed by your dentist will keep your smile looking its best. However, there are many other benefits that you get from practicing good oral hygiene habits.

A smile that is in good condition functions properly and protects your health, among other benefits. So talk to your dentist to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to protect it.

Reduced Health Risks from Brushing and Flossing

Oral diseases like gum disease and tooth decay are associated with a wide range of health problems that reach well beyond your mouth. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, poor oral health correlates with an increased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Pregnancy complications

By investing just a few minutes of your day in brushing and flossing to minimize the presence of disease-causing oral bacteria and following up for professional teeth cleanings at least twice each year, you can go a long way toward giving your entire body a boost!

Minimize Pain Associated with Oral Diseases

Oral diseases don’t just devastate your smile’s appearance. They can also cause a significant amount of discomfort. For example, receding gums can result in increased tooth sensitivity, as can large cavities. Again, practicing good oral hygiene can help you avoid unnecessary dental pain.

How To Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Are you practicing good oral hygiene habits? A solid routine consists of daily flossing and brushing twice each day. Each brushing session should last for two minutes to make sure you’re cleaning your teeth thoroughly. Make sure that you’re using the right tools, like:

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush that is replaced every three months to avoid excessive wear and tear
  • Toothpaste that features the ADA seal of approval
  • Anti-bacterial mouthwash, which can be especially valuable for patients who tend to accumulate plaque and tartar quickly
  • Floss threaders if you have braces or appliances that are difficult to navigate with floss alone

Technique matters, too. Make sure that you’re angling your brush along the gumline to disrupt plaque formation. Brush all of the surfaces of the teeth thoroughly. Ask your hygienist for other tips at your next cleaning.

If you need advice on how to optimize your oral hygiene routine and get maximum benefits from it, call the office of Dr. John Morris and speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff members.

5 Things You Should Never Do To Your Teeth

family dentistry Battle Creek MIYour teeth are made of enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body. Nonetheless, it’s not indestructible, and you should do everything possible to protect it. Your dentist can give you some tips on how to avoid damaging your teeth.

Of course, the most important steps that you can take to preserve the integrity of your teeth is to practice good daily oral hygiene at home and visit your family dentistry practice twice a year for checkups and cleanings.

Top Five Smile Don’ts That Can Harm Your Teeth

Your dentist will caution you against any actions that can damage your teeth. In particular, patients should avoid:

  • Using teeth as tools
  • Chewing on non-food objects (such as pencils or fingernails)
  • Using tobacco
  • Consuming excessive sugar
  • Using poor oral hygiene techniques

The dangers of these actions can harm the teeth in different ways. For example, using the teeth as tools can increase the risk of breaking them, while tobacco use is associated with inflammation and oral diseases. Harmful cavity-causing oral bacteria can feed on excess sugar residue.

If you want to minimize the care you’ll need from your family dentistry practice for issues like cracked or chipped teeth or tooth decay, it’s important to follow this advice.

Maintaining Your Teeth in Optimal Condition

In addition to avoiding the don’ts listed above, you can take steps to be proactive in safeguarding your oral health, including keeping your teeth in optimal condition. A robust daily oral hygiene routine is the foundation of these efforts and should include:

  • Brushing two times a day, for two minutes each session, using a brush that is no more than three months old
  • Fluoridated toothpaste with an ADA seal of approval
  • Daily flossing, using floss threaders to navigate appliances when necessary

Some patients who are prone to the accumulation of oral bacteria may also want to add an anti-bacterial mouthwash as an extra measure to boost oral health.

Your home oral hygiene habits are only one part of the equation, though. The other is adequate professional care, which includes semiannual cleanings by a dental hygienist at a family dentistry practice, along with exams by a dentist.

Such professional care helps to keep your teeth as clean as possible and gives you the best chance of having any oral diseases diagnosed and treated early before they can do extensive damage. If it’s been more than six months since your last checkup, call the office of Dr. John Morris today to schedule and get back on track.

How do I get started with Invisalign?

Invisalign Battle Creek MIWhen you want to straighten your smile, the process of getting started with treatment can feel exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. Knowing what to expect can help this part of the treatment process go more smoothly.

Patients who are considering orthodontic treatment options such as Invisalign or traditional braces will benefit from consulting with a dentist who can assess their case and advise them on the recommended treatment approach.

Invisalign: An Overview

Invisalign is a unique orthodontic treatment system that uses clear plastic aligner trays to apply pressure to the teeth in order to move them into the proper position. Those aligner trays can be removed at mealtimes and for oral hygiene purposes.

The patient is provided with a series of aligner trays and a schedule for moving to the next tray. In order to achieve the desired results in the anticipated timeframe, patients must wear the trays for at least 22 hours each day.

While traditional braces require office visits in order to physically adjust the tension of the wires, the patient takes on much of the responsibility for adjustments by switching trays as instructed.

Invisalign will be able to effectively resolve many patients’ concerns about the alignment of their smiles. In some cases, traditional braces may be more effective and appropriate. Therefore, if you are considering Invisalign, it’s important to visit a dentist for an evaluation to determine the best approach.

Your Invisalign Consultation: What to Expect

An Invisalign consultation is quite similar to any other evaluation for specialized oral health treatment, such as getting a crown or pursuing a cosmetic dentistry treatment. At this appointment, your provider will collect all of the data needed to plan your course of treatment, possibly including:

  • Photos
  • X-rays
  • Digital or physical impressions of your smile

That data is then used to create your custom-made Invisalign trays. When your trays are ready, you’ll return to the office to receive them, along with your instructions for their proper use and maintenance.

Do you want to get started on your Invisalign journey to a straighter smile? Call the office of Dr. John Morris today to schedule your initial consultation.

When Is The Best Time To Begin Orthodontic Treatment

orthodontics Battle Creek MIHaving straight teeth and a correct bite is a worthy goal. For many individuals, that is going to require some kind of intervention with orthodontics. Ideally, all children will be evaluated for the need for braces at around the age of seven. While your dentist may just be making recommendations for the future, some patients may benefit from interceptive orthodontics at this younger age.

The Importance of Interceptive Orthodontics 

The need for early treatment may be obvious; teeth may be erupting in an abnormal fashion or there may be obvious bite irregularities. But sometimes there are more subtle issues that may only be identified through this early dental examination.

Often considered as the first phase of treatment, interceptive orthodontics can involve several aspects. The patient is typically seven to eleven years old. The first set of permanent molars have usually erupted; the jaws and gums are much more easily manipulated at this stage allowing for the groundwork to be laid in preparation for upcoming growth.

Young patients may be in this predicament due to thumb sucking, pacifier use, or in some cases, genetics. This is why it is imperative that all children be seen by their dentist starting around the age of twelve months. Over time, with regular dental visits, problems may be identified and preemptive action can be taken.

Orthodontics At Any Age

Wearing braces usually commences in children starting around age ten; the importance of straight teeth and a great smile is paramount for people of all ages. But impressionable teens will be more likely to see their peers in the same situation as they are making orthodontics very commonplace and acceptable.

If interceptive orthodontics is considered phase one, phase two often involves correcting teeth overcrowding and managing a malocclusion. In some cases, one or more teeth may require extraction before braces are applied that will move teeth to their correct placement.

Adults can also benefit from teeth straightening. The reason for straight teeth is more than just a great smile. While aesthetics are important, crooked teeth allow areas for plaque and tartar to build leading to the potential for dental decay and the onset of gum disease.

The final, very important, phase of any orthodontic program involves wearing a retainer allowing teeth and the bones that hold them in place to solidify their new location.

To learn more about your orthodontic treatment options, contact the office of Dr. John Morris today.