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Posts for category: Oral Health

By Kathryn Winkel, DDS
June 06, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dentures  

DenturesFind out whether or not dentures could restore your smile and your appearance.

When people think about tooth loss they often think about dentures. This is because this oral prosthetic has been around for centuries. Of course, modern-day dentures have been vastly improved to provide a more realistic and comfortable tooth replacement for those missing several or all of their teeth. Our Midland, MI, dentist, Dr. Kathryn Winkel, is here to tell you more about dentures to help you determine if this is the right option for you.

Complete Dentures

Just as the name suggests, complete dentures are recommended when you are missing all of your natural teeth. They can be used to replace either the upper or lower teeth, or both. They are made to look just like real teeth and even contain a foundation that resembles natural gum tissue.

Complete dentures stay in place by suctioning themselves to natural gum tissue or by using denture adhesives. While adhesives can help dentures stay in place, often times these removable prosthetics can shift or move around when speaking or chewing.

Partial Dentures

This type of denture can be used when you are missing some of your teeth but you still have some natural teeth remaining. Just like complete dentures, partial dentures also contain a gum-like acrylic base that contains a row of artificial teeth. Partial dentures usually have some metal clasps or attachments that are connected to neighboring natural teeth to secure the false teeth in place.

Immediate Dentures

If our Midland general dentist has to extract one or more natural teeth we may place immediate dentures right after the extraction so that you have a full set of teeth the same day. Of course, immediate dentures are not custom-fitted and are usually only temporary until your gums have fully healed. Once the gums have healed we can fit you with a permanent set of dentures.

Implant-supported Dentures

While the fit, feel, and design of dentures have certainly changed for the better, we know that they won’t feel or look exactly like real teeth. We understand that it can be frustrating to feel your teeth move, shift, or make noise when trying to enjoy your favorite foods or talk to your colleagues; however, if you want a more stable tooth replacement, we can place four implants into the jawbone to help stabilize and hold your dentures in place. You’ll never have to worry about your teeth moving around on you again, and chewing and speech will be restored.

Do you have questions about the different kinds of dentures offered in Midland, MI? Do you want to sit down and discuss which kind is right for you? We would be happy to help you get back that beautiful smile. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.

By Kathryn Winkel, DDS
March 06, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Emergency  

Your smile is one of your most precious possessions. You take care of it with brushing, flossing and six-month check-ups and cleanings. dental emergencyBut, do you know what to do in a dental emergency? First off, don't panic, and second, call for advice from your Midland, MI emergency dentist, Dr. Kathryn Winkel. She and her team are dedicated to preserving as many natural teeth as possible. So, when the unforeseen happens, count on them for quick, accurate services that keep you smiling.

What is a dental emergency?

It can involve many things, including bleeding, broken teeth and chipped prosthetics, laterally displaced or avulsed teeth, a dislocated jaw, a lost crown or veneer and more. Throbbing toothaches from a dental abscess or something caught between your teeth need prompt attention, too.

So when an emergency strikes, know what you can do immediately before you see your dentist in Midland. Here are some tips from Dr. Winkel:

Tip #1 Stay calm. Whether you, your child or someone else is having difficulty, a clear head can prevent further damage.

Tip #2 Act quickly. For instance, if you experience tooth avulsion (a tooth is knocked out), it may be replanted successfully if you get to Dr. Winkel's office within an hour, says the American Association of Endodontists. Rinse the tooth in clear water, grasp it by the crown, and insert it, roots down, into the empty tooth socket. Hold it in place while going to the dentist's office. If putting it back doesn't work, place the tooth in a sealed container with milk or water, and take it to Dr. Winkel.

Tip #3 Call the office right away if you have a toothache. Deep decay or infection requires immediate treatment. To alleviate symptoms, ice your swollen jaw (10 minutes on and 10 minutes off), and take over the counter acetaminophen. Avoid aspirin as it promotes bleeding. If you have drainage, rinse your mouth with warm salt water.

Tip #4 If you crack or chip a tooth or lose a restoration such as a crown, filling or porcelain veneer, save the fragments for Dr. Winkel. She may use composite resin bonding to repair it.

Tip #5 A broken or dislocated jaw or a severe oral laceration is a medical emergency. Get to the hospital emergency room nearest you as soon as possible. Apply direct pressure to a profusely bleeding wound.

Tip #6 If you get a piece of food or foreign object, such as a toothpick, lodged between two teeth, try gently removing it with dental floss. If this doesn't work, contact Dr. Winkel.

Emergency preparedness

We prepare in the event of a hurricane, snow storm, or another natural disaster. We keep flashlights and batteries on hand in case of a power outage. CPR training is mandatory in many high schools in the United States. Preparing for dental emergencies is crucial, too, says Dr. Winkel in Midland, MI. Keep her phone number in your contacts, and call when the unexpected happens: (989) 631-6680.

As the weather gets warmer, summer festivals and county fairs begin to occur more often. However, with these fun and exciting events come with a plethora of fried, sugary and other foods which are generally bad for both your health and your teeth. How can you keep your teeth clean and healthy and still partake in these delicious treats? Find out with help from your Midland, MI dentist.Tooth Decay

How does tooth decay work? 
The outside layer of the teeth, called enamel, is hard, durable and made up of minerals. The acids from sugars and starches make the perfect food for tooth decay-causing bacteria, which break down these minerals. When you eat sugary foods, such as those found at fairs or festivals, the acids remain on your teeth, feeding the bacteria. Over time, the decay eats through the enamel, into the lower dentin layer and, eventually, into the tooth’s inner pulp chamber which houses blood vessels and the tooth’s nerve.

How can I keep my teeth healthy and clean? 
The best way to avoid cavities is to avoid the foods which cause them and maintain a strong at-home oral care routine. Be sure to brush twice daily and floss at least once to knock away food particles and bacteria and prevent decay from forming. If you do eat sugary foods, brush your teeth afterward. If you cannot brush, rinse your mouth with water and brush as soon as you can. One of the best tools you have to fight tooth decay is your dentist. Commit to twice yearly dental examinations and cleanings to keep your smile healthy.

How can my Midland dentist help? 
Regular dental examinations allow for early detection of problems such as tooth decay or gum disease. Treating these conditions immediately prevents them from becoming much larger and more complex problems. Biannual professional teeth cleanings give your teeth a clean slate, removing all of the plaque and tartar buildup you may have missed when brushing or flossing.

A healthy mouth is just a phone call away. For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, please contact Dr. Kathryn Winkel in Midland, MI. Call (989) 631-6680 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable associate about scheduling your regular dental examination today!

DentalHygienist-YourPartnerinPreventingDiseaseandMaintainingOralHealth

Keeping up your dental hygiene with daily brushing and flossing is essential to preventing disease and maintaining good oral health. But that doesn’t mean it’s all on your shoulders — the fact is, you have a strong partner in your dental hygienist. This valuable member of our staff provides a number of different functions that add a boost to your hygiene habits.

Perhaps the most important of those functions is semi-annual teeth cleanings. While daily brushing and flossing removes most of the bacterial plaque that causes dental disease and decay, harder deposits (tartar) will still form over time, especially in places your brush or floss can’t reach. To remove it requires advanced skills and specially designed hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment. In the case of advancing gum disease, your hygienist may also assist with a procedure known as root planing to reach plaque and tartar adhering to tooth root surfaces below the gum line.

Dental hygienists are also on the lookout for abnormalities that may be a sign of disease. During teeth-cleaning sessions, your hygienist looks for gum inflammation or bleeding that may indicate the presence of periodontal gum disease, a progressive condition that, left untreated, could lead to tooth loss. We will be able to assess the extent of the disease by gently probing and measuring any detachment of the gum tissue that has formed voids known as pockets. They also look for signs of oral cancer — bumps, sores or areas of swelling or tenderness.

There’s one other function your hygienist provides to enhance your oral health — educating and training you on dental care. They can provide you helpful information on risk factors for tooth decay or other dental diseases, along with helpful ways to reduce that risk. They can also help you improve your brushing and flossing techniques by demonstrating proper form.

Cleaning, monitoring and educating — these different “hats” your hygienist wears form a beneficial part of your overall dental care. Working together, you’ll be able to keep your teeth and gums in good form and function.

If you would like more information on the benefits of a dental hygienist, 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 Hygiene Visit.”

By Dr. Kathryn Winkel, DDS
June 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
Tooth-HarmingHabitstoAvoid

Did you know that you probably do at least one thing during the course of an average day that puts your healthy smile at risk? These are some of the more common offenders:

Coffee, Soda, and Sports Drink Consumption
If you really can’t give them up, try to consume these beverages with restraint. Their high acidity and/or sugar content can erode protective tooth enamel, making your pearly whites more prone to staining and decay. Even natural fruit juices should be consumed in moderation as they tend to be high in sugar and sometimes acidity (e.g. orange juice). Your best bet? Water, of course. It won’t damage your teeth and thanks to fluoridation may even help remineralize and fortify your enamel.

Brushing Immediately After Eating
If you were told to brush after every meal, forget it. Acids in foods and beverages can soften your enamel, and brushing may actually accelerate erosion. Wait at least an hour to brush, which is the time it generally takes for your oral pH to normalize and your tooth enamel to reharden. However, it is advisable after eating to floss and rinse out your mouth with plain water or a mineralized dental wash to help wash away food particles.

Jaw Clenching, Tooth Grinding, Pencil Chewing
These and similar “parafunctional” behaviors — outside the uses for which teeth are designed — can cause undue tooth wear and exert stresses that can cause chips and fractures. They can affect other parts of the oral system, too, potentially resulting in jaw joint pain and muscle spasms, headaches and other head and neck ailments.

It’s hard to cut out all high-sugar/high-acid foods and beverages, so where complete elimination isn’t possible, focus on moderation and try to consume them only during mealtime. Jaw clenching and other parafunctional behaviors are often subconscious and may be harder to control; in such cases an unobtrusive device like a clear occlusal (bite) guard can alleviate the problem.

If you would like more information about tooth damage and prevention please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Decay” and “Stress & Tooth Habits.”