Posts for: August, 2016

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
August 19, 2016
Category: Oral Health

While they're resilient, your child's teeth aren't invincible. Daily hygiene and regular dental visits are important, but you should also be alert for problems and take action when they arise.

Here are 4 areas that could cause problems for your child's teeth, and what you should do — or not do — if you encounter them.

Teething. This is a normal experience as your child's first teeth erupt through the gums. The gums become tender and painful, causing constant gnawing, drooling, disturbed sleep and similar symptoms. You can help relieve discomfort by letting them bite on a chilled (not frozen) teething ring or a cold, wet washcloth. Pain relievers like ibuprofen in appropriate dosages can also help — but don't apply ice, alcohol or numbing agents containing Benzocaine directly to the gums.

Toothache. Tooth pain could be a sign of decay, so you should see us for an examination. In the meantime you can help relieve pain with a warm-water rinse, a cold compress to the outside of the face, or appropriately-dosed pain relievers. If the pain is intense or persists overnight, see us no later than the next day if possible.

Swollen or bleeding gums. If you notice your child's gums are red and swollen or easily bleed during brushing, they could have periodontal (gum) disease. This is an infection caused by bacterial plaque, a thin film of food particles that build up on the teeth. You can stop plaque buildup by helping them practice effective, daily brushing and flossing. If they're showing symptoms, though, see us for an exam. In the meantime, be sure they continue to gently brush their teeth, even if their gums are irritated.

Chipped, cracked or knocked out tooth. If your child's teeth are injured, you should see us immediately. If part of the tooth has broken off, try to retrieve the broken pieces and bring them with you. If it's a permanent tooth that was knocked out, pick it up by the crown (not the root), rinse it with clean water and attempt to place it back in the socket. If you can't, bring the tooth with you in a container with clean water or milk. The sooner you see us, the better the chances for saving the tooth — minutes count.

If you would like more information on what to do when your child has dental problems, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
August 17, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health  

Find out if women are at a disadvantage when it comes to issues that impact dental health.

Yes we all know that men and women are different, but it’s more important to note that men and women are different when it comes to health issues. There are some health problems for which women are more at risk, just as there are other problems that men are moreWomen's Oral Health prone to developing. From the office of your Holland, MI dentist, Dr. Todd Brower, do women have it easier or harder when it comes to maintaining good oral health?

Because of the hormonal changes that women experience, these fluctuating hormone can leave you more susceptible to oral health issues. Hormones affect how much blood flow reaches the gum tissue and also how the body responds to plaque buildup. So because of these hormones, women can often be at a greater risk for gum disease during certain times in their lives.

There are five moments in a woman’s life where hormonal changes could increase her chances of oral health issues: puberty, during menstrual cycles, when taking birth control pills, while pregnant or during menopause.


During puberty there is an increase in estrogen and progesterone, which can increase the amount of blood that reaches the gums. This can alter how the gums respond to plaque and may make gums more sensitive, red or more likely to bleed when brushing or flossing.

Menstrual Cycle

During your monthly period, you may notice that your gums become red or swollen. You may also be more likely to develop canker sores or experience bleeding gums. This condition is sometimes referred to as menstruation gingivitis, and it will usually show up a couple days before your period and will often go away once your period starts.

Birth Control Pills

If you take birth control pills that contain progesterone, don’t be too surprised if your gums become more inflamed and irritated by plaque. Let your Holland general dentist know whether or not you are taking birth control pills.


Of course, hormones change a lot during pregnancy, and with the increase in progesterone this also increases your chances of gum disease. If you are prone to this condition, we may recommend that you come in more often for cleanings during your pregnancy.


Menopause sees the most changes not only because of the changes in hormone levels but also because of the natural oral changes that occur as a result of aging. These changes can include an increased sensitivity to hot or cold, dry mouth, an increased risk of tooth decay or gum disease, and even jawbone loss (due to a decrease in estrogen).

Whether you need to schedule your next cleaning or you have questions about which cosmetic dentistry is right for you, don’t hesitate to call our Holland, MI dental office at Ottawa Smiles Dental. We are here for you!

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
August 04, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”