Posts for: December, 2020

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
December 30, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dentist Visit  

At Ottawa Smiles Dental, Dr. Todd Brower and his team work hard to help you keep your smile for life. As such, he wants to see you regularly for preventive care or any time you have an urgent problem. Here are five signs which tell you it's time to visit your dentist in his Holland, MI, office.
 

Why is it time to see the dentist?

1. Six months have gone by. This is the recommended interval for routine professional cleanings and exams. Dr. Brower and his hygienist will clean and inspect your teeth, ensuring small problems don't grow into big ones, and keeping that mouth squeaky clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) says six months is right for most people. Patients who struggle with decay and gum disease may need to come in more frequently.

2. You have tooth or gum pain. Typically, the pain only escalates and becomes associated with other symptoms such as gum or jaw swelling, enamel discoloration, discharge, and more. As soon as you feel discomfort anywhere in your mouth, see Dr. Brower for an exam.

3. You chip or knock out a tooth. These are dental emergencies. Call our Holland, MI, office for a first-aid recommendation and appointment. Your dentist can repair many fractures with composite resin bonding, a veneer, or a crown. A knocked-out tooth may be saved--and thrive-- if replanted quickly.

4. You dislike how your smile looks. You have deep dental stains, a narrow gap between two teeth, or excess gum tissue (a gummy smile). At Ottawa Smile Dental, Dr. Brower will review your aesthetic concerns and recommend treatments that work for your facial features and your budget, too.

5. You have sore, red gums. This may indicate gum disease. Highly treatable in its earliest stages (gingivitis), gum disease does great harm if ignored. Not only does it lead to tooth loss, but periodontitis also hurts your overall health with inflammatory changes that cause diabetes, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, and more.
 

We can help

At Ottawa Smiles Dental in Holland, MI, your dentist comes alongside patients of all ages so they have their best possible smiles for life. Be alert to changes in your oral health, and come see Dr. Todd Brower and his staff twice a year for that all-important preventive care. Call us today, won't you? (616) 399-3600.


By Ottawa Smiles Dental
December 29, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
BoostYourDentalHealthWithSoon-To-ExpireFSAFunds

If you're among the estimated 14 million families with a healthcare flexible spending account (FSA), New Year's Eve has an added meaning—that's typically the deadline for using any current year funds. Since any remaining money in your FSA could go poof at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, you might be looking for a way to spend it. If so, consider a dental health boost for you and your family.

FSAs were created in the 1970s by the U.S. Government as a salary benefit that employers could offer employees. Instead of receiving all of their pay as taxable income, employees could designate a portion of it (currently up to $2,650) in a non-taxable account to use for certain medical and dental expenses. An FSA thus provides families a way to pay for uncovered healthcare costs while saving on their taxes.

But because most FSAs expire by the end of the year and then restart with a fresh balance in the new year, there's a natural concern that you will “use or lose” remaining money. People thus begin looking for eligible expenses like treatments, prescribed medications or eyeglasses. They can't, however, use them for items like over-the-counter medical products (though some pain relievers get a pass this year because of COVID-19), as well as most things cosmetic.

The same generally holds true for dental expenses—you won't be able to use FSA funds for procedures like teeth whitening or veneers. Toothbrushes and other routine oral care products are also ineligible, although you may be able to buy items like a water flosser if your dentist issues you a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN).

Still, there's a wide range of eligible dental items you could pay for with remaining FSA funds.

Prevention measures. Any procedures or treatments intended to prevent disease are typically FSA-eligible. These can include measures like regular dental cleanings, sealants or fluoride applications.

Disease treatment. FSAs cover procedures like fillings, extractions, gum surgery or root canals. This could include repairing damage from disease through dental bonding or crowns, which might also improve your smile.

Dental restorations. Missing teeth restorations like bridgework, dentures or dental implants are also covered. These may improve your appearance, but they primarily restore disrupted dental function.

Out-of-pocket expenses. Although you can't pay for dental insurance premiums, an FSA may be able to help in other ways. You can use FSA funds for co-pays or any remaining out-of-pocket expenses.

If you're not sure what dental expenses might be eligible for FSA funds, give our office a call and we can provide you guidance. If FSA funds can help, you'll be able to improve your dental health—and possibly your appearance—before you ring in 2021.

If you would like more information about managing your dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation.


By Ottawa Smiles Dental
December 19, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
ZacEfronsSmileTransformationCouldHappentoYou

Actor Zac Efron has one of the top smiles in a business known for beautiful smiles. Bursting on the scene in 2006 at age 18 in High School Musical, Efron has steadily increased his range of acting roles. He recently starred as Ted Bundy on Netflix, wearing prosthetics to match the notorious serial killer's crooked teeth.

With his growing fame, Efron's attractive smile has become one of his more memorable attributes. But it wasn't always so. Before Hollywood, Efron's smile was less than perfect with small, uneven teeth and a gap between his top front teeth. Before and after pictures, though, make it quite apparent that the actor has undergone a significant smile makeover.

While fans are abuzz on the 411 regarding his dental work, Efron himself has been hush-hush about his smile transformation. We won't join the speculation: Instead, here are a few possible ways you can get a more attractive smile like Zac Efron.

Teeth whitening. A single-visit, non-invasive teeth whitening procedure can transform your dull, stained teeth into a brighter, more attractive smile. Although the effect isn't permanent, it could last a few years with a professional whitening and good oral practices. Having it done professionally also gives you more control over the level of shading you prefer—from soft natural white to dazzling Hollywood bright.

Orthodontics. Like Efron, if your teeth aren't quite in proper alignment, straightening them can make a big difference in your appearance (and your oral health as well). Braces are the tried and true method for moving teeth, but you may also be able to choose clear aligner trays, which are much less noticeable than braces. And don't worry about your age: Anyone with reasonably good dental health can undergo orthodontics.

Bonding. We may be able to correct chips and other slight tooth flaws with durable composite resins. After preparing your tooth and matching the material to your particular color, we apply it directly to your tooth in successive layers. After hardening, the unsightly defect is no more—and your smile is more attractive.

Veneers. Dental veneers are the next step up for more advanced defects. We bond these thin, custom-made layers of dental porcelain to the front of teeth to mask chips, heavy staining and slight tooth gaps. Although we often need to permanently remove a small amount of tooth enamel, veneers are still less invasive than some other restorations. And your before and after could be just as amazing as Zac Efron's.

Improving one's smile isn't reserved for stars like Zac Efron. There are ways to correct just about any dental defect, many of which don't require an A-lister's bank account. With a little dental “magic,” you could transform your smile.

If you would like more information about how to give your smile a boost, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Porcelain Veneers.”


By Ottawa Smiles Dental
December 16, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: crowns   Bridges  

Is a failing tooth threatening your oral health? What about that gap--would you like to fill it and smile, bite, and chew as you used to? At Ottawa Smiles Dental, Dr. Todd Brower offers beautiful porcelain crowns and fixed bridgework to complete smiles, making them strong and functional. Come to our Holland, MI, office for a visit with this experienced dentist.

What is a dental crown?

Used for decades to cover, support, and enhance the appearance of a decayed, weak, fractured or infected tooth, a crown features tooth-colored porcelain and exceptional crafting techniques. In his Holland office, Dr. Brower recommends crown placement as a superior alternative to extraction and its smile-damaging consequences. If you have received dental implants, crowns will restore those as well.

To receive a crown, your dentist will examine and X-ray your tooth first. If it's infected, you may have a root canal procedure first to remove the inflamed pulp and strengthen it with a rubbery sealant. Once your tooth is stable and shaped to receive the crown, Dr. Brower glues it in place and adjusts the bite and fit.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is a fixed prosthetic that spans a smile gap created by the loss of one or more teeth. Conventional bridges are composed of pontic, or artificial, teeth and two or more crowns. These crowns affix to teeth adjacent to the smile gap.

Depending on circumstances, your dentist may select a cantilevered bridge attached to natural teeth on a single side of the smile gap. Alternatively, a Maryland bridge attaches the pontic teeth with metal wings bonded to the tongue-side of natural teeth.

Finally, Dr. Brower offers implant-supported bridges. One or more implants carry the artificial teeth and actually improve your bone structure and gum tissue.

What do you need?

Anyone who has lost teeth needs the best possible tooth replacements. Bridgework and crowns help your oral function, facial appearance, and self-confidence. Plus, if you have been symptomatic, these restorations eliminate the pain, sensitivity, and other discomforts associated with failing teeth.

Contact us to learn more

At Ottawa Smiles Dental in Holland, Mi, Dr. Todd Brower wishes the best of oral health and smile aesthetics for all his patients. For more information on improving your smile with crowns and bridges, see your dentist for an in-office consultation. Phone us today at (616) 399-3600.


By Ottawa Smiles Dental
December 09, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implant  
AlthoughChallengingCleaningAroundImplantsBoostsTheirLongevity

Daily oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings help keep your natural teeth and gums healthy and disease-free. But they're also a priority with dental implants. Here's why.

Unlike other restorations, an implant replaces both a tooth's crown and root, the latter by way of a titanium metal post imbedded into the jawbone. Bone cells grow and adhere to the metal surface, forming a secure and lasting hold.

But although quite durable, this hold differs significantly from natural teeth, which are actually held in place by a tough, elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. The attachment of the ligament's tiny fibers to both tooth and bone secure the tooth in place, as well as supply it and the surrounding gums with nutrients and defensive antibodies to fight infection.

Implants don't have this relationship with the periodontal ligament. The tissues around an implant are thus susceptible to an aggressive form of periodontal (gum) disease called peri-implantitis. This kind of gum infection can progress rapidly, leading eventually to bone loss and possible failure of the implant.

Daily brushing and flossing of both natural and implant-supported teeth lowers the risk of gum disease, particularly peri-implantitis. It's also imperative that you undergo regular cleanings, at least every six months, with your dentist or dental hygienist.

These, however, won't be the typical cleanings performed on natural teeth. Hygienists don't use metal cleaning implements to remove plaque and tartar deposits because they can scratch the metal materials of the implant and crown. These microscopic scratches can then attract bacteria that trigger gum infections. Instead, they'll use instruments made of plastics or resins.

Hygienists also rely heavily on ultrasonic equipment that vibrates plaque loose on or around implants, which are then flushed away with water. The tips used with these instruments are also typically made of nylon or plastic sheathing.

Even with the extra hygiene care needed, implants still enjoy a 95% or higher survival rate after ten years. You can ensure your implants achieve that level of durability by keeping them clean and seeing your dentist at the first sign of a gum infection.

If you would like more information on maintaining dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance.”