Posts for: February, 2016

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
February 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
SofiaVergaraObsessedWithOralHygiene

A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.

“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”

That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.

Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:

  • Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
  • Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
  • Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!

So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”


By Ottawa Smiles Dental
February 18, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Missing teeth can do more damage than to just your ego. With bone loss, sagging facial muscles and moving teeth possible, it is denturesimportant to both your oral and general health to fill in your gaps. With help from your Holland, MI dentist, Dr. Todd Brower at Ottawa Smiles Dental, you can learn what it takes to renew your smile with dentures.

Are there different kinds of dentures? 
Dentures come in several forms. Some of the most common dentures include:

  • Immediate dentures: Immediate dentures benefit patients who require extractions before wearing their dentures. The molds used to make the dentures are taken before the extractions, allowing the denture to be prepared and ready to wear the day of the extraction. This saves the patient from having to go without teeth for a time while the dental laboratory customizes the dentures.
  • Implant supported dentures: These dentures take advantage of dental implant technology. Small posts implanted into the bone below the gum line anchor the denture in place. Like other types of dentures, this style of denture is removable.
  • Partial dentures: For patients who have one or more healthy natural teeth remaining, partial dentures use those teeth as anchors to hold the denture in place. The denture slides over the healthy teeth and fits around them.
  • Complete dentures: Complete dentures benefit patients with no remaining natural teeth on either the top or bottom arch. For those patients missing all of their teeth, a set of complete dentures replaces both arches.

How do I know if dentures are right for me? 
When a tooth is missing, the bone underneath becomes less stimulated, resulting in bone loss. The gap left behind also causes the surrounding teeth to compensate for the missing tooth by moving into its spot. If you are missing more than one or two teeth, you would probably benefit from dentures, which prevent these things from happening. For patients missing only one or two teeth with many remaining healthy teeth, a bridge or single dental implant is a better option than dentures.

How are dentures made? 
Your Holland dentist begins the denture process by determining which style of denture is best for you. A mold of the teeth helps the dental laboratory design and create the denture itself. The dentures are color-matched to your surrounding teeth and designed to look as life-like as possible.

For more information on dentures, please contact Dr. Todd A. Brower, DDS at Ottawa Smiles Dental in Holland, MI. Call (616) 399-3600 to schedule your appointment today!


By Ottawa Smiles Dental
February 05, 2016
Category: Oral Health
TheImportanceofBabyTeeth

Ah, the baby teeth: those cute little pearl buttons that start to appear in a child’s mouth at around 6 to 9 months of age. Like pacifiers and bedtime stories, they’ll be gone before you know it — the last usually disappear by age 10-13. So if the dentist tells you that your young child needs a root canal, you might wonder why — isn’t that tooth going to be lost anyway?

The answer is yes, it is — but while it’s here, it has some important roles to play in your child’s development. For one thing, baby teeth perform the same functions in kids as they do in adults: Namely, they enable us to chew, bite, and speak properly. The primary teeth also have a valuable social purpose: they allow us to smile properly. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely at age 6, the child may suffer detrimental effects for five years or more — and that’s a long time for someone so young!

Even more important, baby teeth have a critical function in the developing mouth and jaw: Each one holds a space open for the permanent tooth that will eventually replace it — and it doesn’t “let go” until the new tooth is ready to come in. If a primary (baby) tooth is lost too soon, other teeth adjacent to the opening may drift into the empty space. This often means that the permanent teeth may erupt (emerge above the gum line) in the wrong place — or sometimes, not at all.

The condition that occurs when teeth aren’t in their proper positions is called malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite). It can cause problems with eating and speaking, and often results in a less-than-perfect-looking smile. It’s the primary reason why kids get orthodontic treatment — which can be expensive and time-consuming. So it makes sense to try and save baby teeth whenever possible.

Procedures like a root canal — or the similar but less-invasive pulpotomy — are often effective at preserving a baby tooth that would otherwise be lost. But if it isn’t possible to save the tooth, an appliance called a space maintainer may help. This is a small metal appliance that is attached to one tooth; its purpose is to keep a space open where the permanent tooth can come in.

If your child is facing the premature loss of a primary tooth, we will be sure to discuss all the options with you. It may turn out that preserving the tooth is the most cost-effective alternative in the long run. If you have questions about your child’s baby teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.