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Posts for: February, 2016

By Dentistry by Design
February 24, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.

“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.

Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.

“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.

Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?

Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.

Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a third to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.

Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”

Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.

If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”

Do you feel that your smile looks dull? Are your teeth becoming more yellow and stained by the day? If this is the case, professional in-teeth whiteningoffice teeth whitening could be the answer to your problems. Having a smile to be proud of is priceless. Luckily, teeth whitening is one of the fastest and most effective ways to brighten your smile.

At-Home Kits vs. In-office Whitening
Over-the-counter at-home teeth whitening kits are widely available from various stores. They are generally easy to use and results are seen after several weeks of continuous use. However, professional in-office teeth whitening performed by your dentist will always be the safer and more effective treatment. In-office whitening sessions are monitored by your dentist. Most whitening systems have adjustable strengths, making it comfortable for patients with even the most sensitive teeth to achieve a whiter, brighter smile. The whitening agents used are also stronger at an in-office session than with at-home kits. This makes your results immediate and dramatic. Additionally, in-office whitening sessions take about an hour to lift the color of your teeth up to ten shades. At-home kits lift the color of your teeth about half that, with results taking weeks to become obvious.

How can I keep my teeth white after treatment? 
Most patients return for regular whitening sessions once or twice a year to keep their teeth white. In between sessions, stain-causing outside elements like coffee, tea, tobacco smoke or darkly pigmented foods like berries cause stains. The easiest way to keep your teeth white is to avoid these things. However, since that is simply not feasible for some people, there are some measures you can take to prevent staining. Try drinking coffee or tea all at once instead of sipping it throughout the day. This minimizes the contact the stain-causing acids in these beverages have with your teeth. Rinsing with water or brushing after consuming food or drinks also minimizes contact the stain-causing particles have with your teeth.

For more information on in-office teeth whitening, please contact your dentist at Dentistry By Design in Anover, MI. Call (978) 475-5333 to schedule your appointment for a teeth whitening session today!


Many otherwise attractive smiles have one noticeable blemish — a large gap between the two upper front teeth. If you have such a gap, there’s a solution that could transform your smile.

The most likely reason for the gap is an issue with a bit of muscle tissue between the gums and upper lip known as the frenum, part of the face’s muscular system. The frenum, though, can overdevelop and grow between the two front teeth into the front part of the palate (roof of the mouth). This can keep or push the teeth apart to form a gap.

To correct the issue, it’s first necessary to consult with an orthodontist, a specialist in bites and tooth alignment. It’s possible for there to be other factors contributing to the spacing including tongue thrusting or finger sucking habits, or missing or misaligned teeth. If the examination reveals an overly large frenum, then the treatment usually commences in two stages.

First, we would need to close the gap by the moving the teeth toward each other with some form of orthodontic appliance like braces or clear aligners. Once closed, the next stage would be to surgically remove the excess frenum tissue and cosmetically alter the gums if necessary.

The order of treatment is important — if you remove the frenum tissue first, any resulting scar tissue could prevent closing the gap with orthodontics. Further, cosmetic surgery on the gums beforehand could result in the loss of the papillae, the small triangular gum tissue between teeth, which results in an unattractive “black” hole.

A frenectomy, the procedure to remove the excess frenum, is a relatively minor procedure that can be performed by a periodontist (gum specialist), oral surgeon, or a general dentist with surgical training. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic, the tissue dissected with a small scalpel, and the resulting small wound closed with a few stitches (another option is to use a surgical laser to remove the frenum). Healing should be complete in about a week with only minor discomfort.

Depending on your individual circumstance, full treatment can take time. But in the end these otherwise routine dental procedures can have a huge impact — a more attractive smile without the noticeable gap.

If you would like more information on treating abnormal teeth spacing, 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 “Space between Front Teeth.”