The Techno-Toothbrush

Are electric toothbrushes any better at cleaning your teeth than manual toothbrushes? The answer depends on who you ask because both have their advocates. In this article from Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, we aren’t going to recommend one over the other. We’re just going to take a look at the world of the electric toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes have been commercially available in the United States since the 1960s. They first appeared in Switzerland, where they were invented. They caught on quickly, and have evolved considerably since then. When it comes to electric toothbrushes, there is a lot of choose from.

THE MODERN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH

Those earliest electric toothbrushes did not have rechargeable batteries; you had to plug them in. That wasn’t really much of an issue, unless you like to walk away from the sink while you brush.

Rechargeable batteries are standard in most modern electric toothbrushes. In fact, they have features that those 1960s inventors probably never dreamed of. Some models have:

  • Timers, so you can make sure you brush at least two minutes
  • Digital alerts, to remind you it’s time for a new brush head
  • Pressure sensors that tell you if you’re brushing too hard
  • Multiple brush head capability, so different types fit
  • Variable brushing features like pulsing and oscillating capability

SONIC

And then there’s the sonic toothbrush. Sonic toothbrushes take electric brushes to a whole new level. Toothbrush manufacturers consider them a subset of electric brushes, but we think they are in a class by themselves.

Sonic toothbrushes can deliver up to 40,000 strokes per minute. Compare that to an ordinary electric toothbrush, which deliver between 2,500 and 7,000 strokes per minute. That’s quite a difference. For some people, that’s over the top. But advocates say that sonic toothbrushes out-perform any other type of toothbrush you can find.

When all is said and done, it depends on the person doing the brushing. A manual toothbrush, used properly, does a fine job cleaning your teeth. But you can always take it to the next level with a standard electric, or even a sonic, toothbrush.

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, what we really want is for each of our patients to brush and floss their teeth twice a day. It’s the best way to ensure good dental health. Our services include family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321

 


Dental Floss: Which Type is Best?

Along with brushing, flossing is the most important thing you can do for healthy teeth and gums. There’s a variety of floss types to choose from. Which one is best for you? It depends. At Stewart and Hull Aesthetic and General Dentistry in Comstock Park, we’re using this space to summarize what’s available, and what might influence your choice of dental floss.

The reason that flossing is so important is that it removes plaque and food debris from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. Left on the teeth, plaque hardens and contributes to tooth decay. The Academy of General Dentistry goes so far as to call flossing the most important thing you can do to fight plaque.

When it comes to what dental floss to use, there is a lot to choose from. Flavored or unflavored? Waxed or unwaxed? Wide or thin?

No single type of floss is right for everyone. You might even benefit from having more than one kind in your medicine chest. With a little trial and error, you can narrow down your choices to find what works best for you.

A recent study shows there really isn’t much difference, if any, in the effectiveness of the different types of dental floss. Here are some things to consider:

  • Waxed floss fits more easily into tight spaces.
  • Unwaxed floss tends to squeak against clean teeth, an indicator that plaque is gone.
  • Wider dental tape may work better in gaps between teeth, and on bridgework.

One word of caution: we recommend traditional string floss that you can pull out in a long strand, as opposed to a flossing pick. Those little picks are popular, but they only have a tight strand of less than an inch of floss. That makes it all but impossible to wrap any floss around your teeth – and flossing is far more effective when you do that. The little picks are fine for a purse or backpack when you’re on the go. Just be sure to use regular floss as part of your dental hygiene routine before bedtime.

Whatever your preference may be, the important thing is to floss at least once each day.

At Stewart and Hull Aesthetic and General Dentistry in Comstock Park we also like to see you for a thorough exam and cleaning every six months. Our services include family, cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Schedule your next appointment today!

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321


Common Dental Questions

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic and General Dentistry in Comstock Park, we strive for excellence in dentistry every day. Providing the best possible dental care goes beyond cleanings and exams. We like patients who ask a lot of questions, because that tells us they are taking a strong interest in their dental health.

One of the questions we’re frequently asked is whether it’s really necessary to have a cleaning and checkup every six months. Our short answer is, yes! But a more nuanced answer includes that time-honored truth that prevention is the best medicine.

Every appointment includes a thorough cleaning by a hygienist. The dentist examines your teeth and gums, looking for cavities and signs of gum disease. Every checkup also includes a screening for oral cancer.

Sometimes we need to see patients more frequently. Someone with gum disease, or who is undergoing orthodontic treatment, should have appointments more often than twice a year. We determine that on a case-by-case basis.

Patients often wonder how long a filling will last. Some people think they’ll last a lifetime but unfortunately that is not usually the case. Fillings can break down or become loose over time. If that happens, decay can get into the area around it and cause problems. You can extend the life of any restoration with good oral hygiene at home. If you have any questions about what that means, don’t hesitate to ask.

What kind of toothbrush is best? This is among the most-asked questions for any dentist. Manual and electric toothbrushes, used properly, both do an excellent job. We recommend soft bristles, with mixed bristle heights and angles. They do a better job getting between the teeth.

To really get between the teeth, we also recommend daily flossing. String floss is best, but whether it’s waxed or unwaxed, flavored or wide it is up to you.

These are just some of the common questions we get from our patients at Stewart & Hull Aesthetic and General Dentistry in Comstock Park. Have we missed anything you’ve wondered about? Never hesitate to bring your questions to your checkup. We offer family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next appointment today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321


What Happens If You Keep Using an Old Toothbrush?

It’s easy to become attached to familiar objects, and that includes the tools you use to clean your teeth. Like a comfortable pair of slippers, that toothbrush you use every night may have an easy, cozy feel you’re not ready to give up just yet. But at Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park we want you to think twice, because that familiar toothbrush can be a threat to your dental health.

To put it simply, your toothbrush should be replaced from time to time. We recommend a new one every three months or so. You don’t have to circle your calendar or set up an alert on your phone. But you do need to keep track of how long you’ve used a toothbrush and get a new one when the time comes.

If you keep using an old toothbrush, it is less effective at cleaning plaque off of your teeth and at the gumline. That much is obvious, because it’s easy to see the bristles bending out of shape.

But there are other things to consider. When you finish brushing your teeth, there is always some stuff that remains on your toothbrush. Over time it can breed and multiply. The average toothbrush, in fact, has more than one million bacteria particles. Most of them aren’t bad for you but some are. If you keep using that favorite old brush, you re-introduce it into your mouth over and over. Bacteria and food debris are what you are trying to get out of your mouth in the first place.

One more thing to think about: your toothbrush can grow mold. That’s why we recommend keeping your brush in an open place where it can air dry. Even so, time takes its toll and mold can grow. If you notice any black spots on your toothbrush, replace it right away. It might be mold.

The bottom line? Replace your toothbrush every three months, if not more often. Always use a soft-bristled brush. They are easier on your gums but rigid enough to get plaque off the surfaces of your teeth. And don’t forget to floss.

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, our services include family and cosmetic dentistry. Call our office to schedule your next checkup today!

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321


Interdental Cleaners

Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is the single best way to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Together, they are the gold standard for ideal dental care, along with twice-yearly checkups at Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock.

But what about during the day, when you’re away from home and your toothbrush? It may not be critical to clean your teeth then. But if you’re at a greater risk of developing cavities or gum disease than others, using an interdental cleaner might be an excellent idea.

By “interdental,” of course, we mean getting between your teeth. Debris left between teeth can become plaque and even harden into tartar. The best interdental cleaner is probably dental floss. Using it at your desk at work, though, might not be such a good idea. There are a lot of readily-available products that do a good job cleaning between your teeth that are more discreet than floss. These little tools are known by various trade names. They resemble miniature toothbrushes, have a handle for a good grip, and a textured, pointy end for getting easily between teeth. Most brands come in different sizes, too.

Interdental cleaners are also good for getting food debris out of braces, and are safe for bridges, crowns, and other dental work.

Using one of these to clean your teeth is not a substitute for flossing and brushing after a meal. But they’re great when you’re on the go. Just remember to brush before you leave home in the morning, and before bed at night.

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock, we encourage home dental care for all our patients. Our services include family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next checkup with us today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321

 


Think A Missing Back Tooth Is No Big Deal?

dental implants Comstock Park

Most people are self-conscious about a missing tooth in the front of their mouth. It may not be fair, but a gaping hole in a smile has negative connotations in most social circles. Dental implants from Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park are an ideal solution.

A person who loses a front tooth usually makes a plan for a dental restoration ASAP. But when someone loses a molar, they are more likely to leave the gap. “You can’t really see it when I smile, right?” “I have other teeth back there, I can chew with those.” If the tooth had been hurting, sometimes they are so relieved that the pain is gone, they consider the extraction the final answer.

The aim of this article is to dispel the myth that a missing back tooth has no consequences.

Bone Recession

Since we can’t see the bone that anchors our tooth roots, we don’t often consider its condition. The health of the jawbone plays an essential role in overall oral health. When a tooth is extracted, the bone at the extraction site shrinks and recedes over time. Since a dental implant replaces the tooth root, it maintains the health of the bone. In so doing, it also protects the bone for the adjacent teeth.

The jawbone is the foundation of the lower face. If it shrinks and recedes, everything that sits on top of it will follow suit. An individual with bone recession will eventually get that “sunken in” look that can make them look a lot older than they really are. A dental implant, unlike a dental bridge, preserves the framework of the face.

Shifting Teeth

Another vulnerability is shifting teeth. If teeth adjacent to the extraction site start moving, it can trigger a domino effect. The unopposed tooth on the opposite arch can also move, though it typically moves outward from the bone (over-eruption).

In addition to esthetic implications, teeth that are displaced are in jeopardy of gingivitis, decay, TMJ pain, or bite problems. There will also be additional stress on the teeth that take over the chewing functions—compromising their strength as well.

dental implant from Stewart & Hull Aesthetic and General Dentistry in Comstock Park is the most optimal way to treat a missing tooth but not the only option. Call our office to schedule a complimentary consultation to see if you would be a candidate for implants and other options that are available. Our office also offers restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign orthodontics, partials/dentures and much more! Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321

 

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Preventive Dentistry At Stewart & Hull

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, we have a prevention-oriented philosophy of dental health care.

Patients of all ages need to start with an exam to determine their current status. Your dental condition is influenced by your dietary habits, previous dental work, physical health, medications, lifestyle and family history. After a comprehensive analysis, we can establish a decay prevention plan just for you.

A prevention plan is a multi-faceted approach designed to maintain optimum dental health. Twice-yearly exams reveal early problems before they progress. Professional cleanings prevent a multitude of serious dental issues.

Oral health cannot be maintained solely in our office. Daily brushing and flossing is essential. A healthy diet is necessary and will deliver benefits to your whole body – not just your teeth.

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, the dental health of each patient is our top priority. Services include family, cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Schedule your next checkup with us today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321

 

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Gum Disease: A Treatable Condition

Periodontitis is the formal name of advanced gum disease. It’s one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and affects nearly half of Americans over the age of thirty. At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, gum disease can be treated and does not have to result in the loss of teeth.

Gum disease is progressive. Before it reaches the advanced stage, it is called gingivitis, which is inflammation in the gums. An early sign of gingivitis is bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.

Gingivitis develops when plaque is not adequately removed from your teeth. You remove it by brushing and flossing. The good news is that gingivitis is easily reversible. If you’re diagnosed with gingivitis, you need to improve your brushing and flossing and get a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist.

Advanced gum disease develops when gingivitis is not treated. Toxins build up in the plaque on your teeth and invade gum tissue. Not only that, it gets into the bone and ligaments that support the teeth. The teeth can actually become loose.

Severe cases may require surgery. But first is a non-surgical treatment called scaling and root planning, or SRP. We remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and root surfaces. From there, any roughness on the roots is smoothed to prevent bacteria from accumulating there.

All of this can be avoided with proper dental care. Like we always say, we want our patients to brush and floss at least twice a day to maintain their dental health.

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, we provide gum disease treatment, as well as family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321

 


Which Type of Toothbrush is Best?

Toothbrush Wars in Grand Rapids

This message from Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park centers on whether a manual or electric toothbrush is better for your dental health.

It may surprise you to know that some people have very strong opinions about which type of toothbrush is the best. Is there really one that is clearly superior?

Most dentists will tell you that all toothbrushes, when used properly, are effective at removing plaque. Choosing which is best for you is really a personal decision. Here is some extra information about toothbrushes to help you settle upon which kind is right for you or your child.

  • You need to consider cost and convenience. Some people argue that even though electric toothbrushes cost more, you’ll save on dental bills. However, there are no definitive studies to back up this claim.
  • Manual toothbrushes are easy to find, whereas not all drugstores carry all types of electric toothbrushes. This can be problematic when buying replacement heads. When you travel you may find that a manual toothbrush is easier to pack.
  • Special consideration should be taken for individuals with arthritis. Most dentists counsel their patients with dexterity issues to use electric toothbrushes. As for children, once they are old enough, an electric toothbrush may be preferable, but safety should always be the first concern of parents.

Whichever type of toothbrush you choose, make sure you get soft bristles and replace it every three to four months.

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, the dental health of each of our patients is always our top concern. We provide Invisalign orthodontics, porcelain veneers/crowns, composite fillings, implant dentistry, sealants and much more with our family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next appointment with us today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321

 

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Better and Better: The Future of Implants

At Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park, we are always reminding patients to brush and floss. It’s the best way to ensure healthy teeth and gums. We know that in spite of everyone’s best efforts, some of our patients may still lose a tooth. When that happens, we recommend dental implants as the best solution.

A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the patient’s jaw. One implant can support a single artificial tooth. Multiple implants can support an implant bridge or a denture.

To find out whether dental implants are right for you, call Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Comstock Park to schedule a consultation. We also offer family dentistry, Zoom whitening, Invisaling orthodontics, and porcelain veneers/ crowns. Schedule your next appointment with us today.

Contact Stewart & Hull Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

616-784-2377

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

769 York Creek Dr NW
Comstock Park, Michigan
49321