Six Month Smiles, an Alternative to Traditional Braces

At Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey, Michigan, David A. Ellsworth, D.D.S., draws on extensive education and experience to help patients improve their oral health. Among Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey’s extensive range of preventive and treatment options is Six Month Smiles, a safe and affordable cosmetic braces option that fits an active adult lifestyle.

An alternative to traditional metal braces, the Six Month Smiles system involves clear brackets and tooth-colored arch wires. Custom-fabricated trays allow the dentist to position the brackets precisely and effectively, using personal models to calculate the exact tooth movement required to achieve desired results.

After the initial placement, patients return every four or five weeks for adjustments and wire tightening. Because Six Month Smiles utilizes low force movement to reposition teeth, it usually causes less soreness and discomfort than traditional braces. While typical treatment lasts six months, some patients may require as few as four months or as many as nine months.


Cosmetic Contouring for Teeth

Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey in Michigan provides a variety of services for the whole family. In addition to performing teeth cleanings and other preventative work designed to keep teeth and gums healthy, Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey performs cosmetic services, such as contouring.

Cosmetic contouring is a procedure designed to subtly reshape teeth. For minor issues, such as small irregularities in teeth shape, contouring can provide a solution. During the procedure, the dentist will use sanding tools and abrasive strips to make small changes. Afterward, the dentist will finish by polishing and smoothing out the treated areas.

While the changes that result from cosmetic contouring are minor, the procedure requires careful consideration. Patients should consider whether the contouring will provide the type of results they desire. If significant changes in tooth appearance are anticipated, contouring alone might not provide those results. In addition, patients should keep in mind that removing enamel from the teeth can lead to sensitivity after the procedure and can result in increased susceptibility to tooth breakage. To reduce the risks, individuals should get the procedure done by a dentist who is highly experienced and knowledgeable about contouring.

The Tooth Extraction Procedure

Featuring many of the latest advances in dentistry technology, Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey, Michigan, is well equipped to handle its patients’ varied needs. Whether a person is interested in cosmetic procedures or requires advanced work to address underlying tooth and gum problems, Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey can help. For example, the facility works with individuals with conditions that require tooth extraction.

There are various reasons why a tooth might need to be extracted, or removed. In cases of tooth overcrowding, for example, pulling teeth can be necessary to ready the teeth for braces. In other cases, infections can necessitate the removal of one or more teeth. While the reasons for tooth removal vary, there are certain things that most patients can expect from the procedure.

The dentist will typically start by injecting an anesthetic near the affected tooth. This will remove sensation in the area so that the patient does not feel pain during the extraction. Once anesthesia has been administered, the dentist will remove the tooth. Removal might require loosening the tooth by moving it in a back-and-forth motion. Since this can be stressful for the patient, a good dentist will make sure the patient is as relaxed and as comfortable as possible during this procedure. He or she will also address any questions the patient has beforehand.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Arthritis Patients

Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey prioritizes oral health education for its patients. To that end, Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey offers online tips on topics ranging from pediatric care to oral hygiene for patients with arthritis.

For many elderly individuals, everyday hygiene tasks like brushing and flossing teeth can become painful to the point of avoidance. For these patients, a few simple adaptations can mean the difference between good oral health and neglect-induced tooth decay. Those who struggle with holding a toothbrush, for example, may find an electric toothbrush easier to manipulate than a manual model.

Those who prefer not to purchase a new toothbrush may be able to place a tennis ball at the end of an ordinary toothbrush, thus adding an easier hand-grip. Others prefer to tie a rubber band around the handle of the toothbrush and loop the band around the brushing hand. This method relieves the brusher of the need to grasp the brush at all. Similarly, those who find it difficult to grasp floss or wrap it around the fingers may find plastic flossers beneficial. Available in a number of sizes, these devices require less manipulation than traditional flossing techniques.

Choosing Between Veneers and Cosmetic Bonding

At Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey, Michigan, Dr. David Ellsworth not only takes pleasure in helping patients achieve optimal dental health but also enjoys crafting beautiful smiles. The cosmetic dentistry offerings at Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey include porcelain veneers and cosmetic bonding, both of which have their pros and cons.

Veneers and bonding can perform many of the same tasks, including covering tooth stains and changing the size and shape of a tooth that is chipped, misshapen, or slightly crooked. The bonding procedure, which takes only one office visit, involves placing a tooth-colored resin material on the tooth and sculpting it to the optimal shape. The soft material is then hardened and polished to look just like natural tooth enamel. Placing veneers is slightly more invasive, as it requires removing a thin layer of enamel first. Once the ultrathin porcelain tooth coverings are made in a dental lab, the patient returns for a second appointment to have them bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth.

Correcting tooth imperfections with bonding is faster and less expensive than placing veneers. Unless a cavity is involved, bonding also rarely requires anesthesia. However, cosmetic bonding does not last as long as veneers or resist stains as well. Because veneers require the reduction of tooth enamel, they are not reversible, but they can be adjusted and replaced as necessary. Dentists often recommend bonding for small issues or as a temporary fix until veneers can be placed at a later date. A thorough consultation with a cosmetic dentist can help patients decide on the right treatment approach for their particular issues.

About Gum Tissue Grafts

At Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey, Michigan, Dr. David Ellsworth performs a variety of cosmetic procedures. Many patients at Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey have received soft-tissue gum grafts.

Designed for patients with receding gums, soft tissue graft surgery can protect both the roots and bones of a tooth from damage due to exposure. Exposed roots can cause patients to experience unnecessary sensitivity and may also lead to tooth loss if the damage becomes extensive. Gum graft surgery covers and protects the sensitive areas of teeth while also boosting patients’ self-esteem by giving them more even and attractive smiles.

During a gum graft, a dentist will take tissue from the roof of the patient’s mouth or from surrounding gum structures. The choice of source depends on the amount of tissue needed and where the dentist feels that he or she can safely remove periodontal material. For some patients, periodontal material from a tissue bank may yield better results. After sourcing the tissue to graft, the dentist attaches the tissue to the area needing treatment. After this same-day procedure, most patients require soft and cool foods for seven to 14 days as the gum heals.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dr. David Ellsworth and his staff at Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey treat patients of all ages for a wide range of oral health problems. With some conditions, such as dry mouth (xerostomia), the team at Harbor Pointe Dental of Petoskey may need to look beyond the mouth to determine the root cause of the problem.

Dry mouth is characterized by an insufficient flow of saliva, which is necessary for oral and digestive health. Saliva helps neutralize acids that harm tooth enamel, kills oral bacteria, and aids in chewing and swallowing. Xerostomia can strike anyone at any age, but it often develops in older people because of their declining health.

Medical conditions that can impair the functioning of the salivary glands include cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Chemotherapy or radiation treatments can also cause dry mouth, as can previous nerve damage to the head or neck. There are also hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medicines that can dry out the mouth. Using tobacco or street drugs, especially methamphetamines, can additionally lead to xerostomia.

A qualified general dentist can treat the tooth decay and periodontal disease caused by dry mouth and make suggestions for stimulating saliva flow, but the patient may need to undergo medical treatment by a physician or alter his or her medication regimen to address the underlying cause.