By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
November 11, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   Invisalign  

Are you looking for Invisalign in Farmington, MI? If so, you might be concerned about the alignment of your teeth. You may also be interested in learning more about aligners versus traditional braces. What do you need to know about these options, and how can you find the right one for your needs? Count on Dr. Stephen Harris to handle your dental needs.

How Do Traditional Braces Work?

First, you need to learn more about traditional braces. Traditional braces are designed to move your teeth into the right locations using continuous pressure. There are small metal brackets that are fastened to the front of your teeth using cement. Then, a wire is inserted through the brackets and is tightened by a trained orthodontist. Over time, the wire is going to place pressure on your teeth through the brackets. Then, your teeth will gradually move into the right spots, straightening your smile. The exact amount of time you need to have braces varies from person to person.

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

If you're looking for an alternative to traditional braces, then you may have heard about Invisalign in Farmington Hills, MI. These are clear trays that you put on top of your teeth. The trays exert pressure on your teeth, gradually moving them into the right locations. Every few weeks, you will need to swap out your trays for the next set, which will continue to push your teeth into the right locations. Because the trays are clear, they are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Furthermore, they may be able to move your teeth faster than traditional braces, depending on the type of aligners you get. 

Which One Is Right for You?

If you're trying to figure out which of these options is right for you, it is a good idea to work with a trained oral health professional. There are several advantages that clear aligners have over traditional braces. These include:

  • Many people like the aesthetic look of clear aligners better than braces because they do not require metal wires and brackets.
  • Because you take out your aligner trays to eat, you don't have to worry about getting food stuck in your braces. You also don't have to worry about going on a specialized diet.
  • It might be possible for you to shift your teeth into the right location faster if you use clear aligner trays instead of traditional braces. 
  • Because you can swap out the trays on your own, you don't have to worry about coming back to the office repeatedly to get your braces adjusted. 

If you're looking for Invisalign in Farmington Hills, MI, work with Dr. Harris to find the best option to meet your needs. Call (248) 478-4755 to make an appointment.


Wearing braces can ultimately give you a healthier and more attractive smile. In the short-term, though, your gums in particular may be in for a rough ride.

While we're all susceptible to gum disease, braces wearers are more likely to encounter it. This stems from two related factors: the difficulty braces pose to oral hygiene; and the potential irritation of soft tissues by the braces themselves.

The main cause for any form of gum disease is dental plaque, a thin bacterial film that accumulates on teeth. Removing plaque through brushing and flossing greatly reduces the risk of any dental disease. But braces wires and brackets make it difficult to brush and floss—as a result, some plaque deposits may escape cleaning, which makes a gum infection more likely.

To exacerbate this, braces hardware can irritate the gums and cause swelling and tissue overgrowth, also known as hyperplasia. The one-two punch of ineffective hygiene with hyperplasia are why braces wearers have a higher incidence of gum problems compared to the general population.

To guard against this, patients with braces need to be extra vigilant about keeping their teeth and gums clean of plaque. It may be helpful in this regard to use specialized tools like interproximal brushes with narrower bristle heads that are easier to maneuver around braces.

And rather than using traditional flossing thread, orthodontic patients may find it easier and more effective to use pre-loaded flossing picks or an entirely different method called oral irrigation. The latter involves a handheld wand that directs a stream of pulsating water between teeth to loosen and flush away plaque.

It's also important for patients to see their dentist as soon as possible for any gum swelling, bleeding or pain. The dentist can determine if it relates to gum disease, hyperplasia or a combination of both, and recommend treatment. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to remove the braces until the gums heal, so catching and treating any gum problem early is a priority.

Regardless of the risk for gum disease, orthodontic treatment is still well worth the investment in your health and appearance. Practicing effective oral hygiene and keeping a watchful eye on your gums will help further lower that risk.

If you would like more information on oral care during orthodontic treatment, 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 “Gum Swelling During Orthodontics.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
October 09, 2021
Category: Oral Health

When it comes to helping your child avoid tooth decay, it's all hands on deck. Tooth decay can not only harm their current set of primary teeth, but the loss of even one tooth could lead to bite problems later on.

And, even if you're doing all the right things—daily brushing and flossing, limiting sugar consumption and regular dental visits—your child might still develop cavities. If so, it may be necessary to add a boost of prevention with topical fluoride applied by your dentist.

With its enamel-strengthening properties, fluoride plays an important role in dental disease prevention. For decades, manufacturers have added fluoride to toothpaste. And, many water utilities now add tiny amounts of fluoride to their drinking supply.

According to a number of studies, these fluoride applications are effective weapons against tooth decay. But direct applications of fluoride to tooth surfaces can provide even greater benefit to children with a higher susceptibility for decay.

Topical fluoride is usually applied by means of a gel, foam or varnish. In varnish form, it's brushed on the teeth, while dentists apply the foam solution within a tray fitted around the teeth. The gel application can be administered by either method.

Although these topical applications use a higher concentration of fluoride than you find in toothpaste, it poses no serious danger to a child's health. But because high doses of fluoride can lead to staining, topical applications are only administered periodically during childhood.

The only short-term health concern is if the child accidentally swallows some of the mixture during application. This can cause symptoms like an upset stomach, vomiting or headache. Dentists, however, take a number of precautions to prevent accidental ingestion in order to avoid these unpleasant side effects.

The benefits, though, appear to well outweigh this minor risk. In a review of several scientific studies involving nearly 10,000 children, there was an average 28% reduction in decayed, missing or filled teeth in those children that underwent topical fluoride treatments.

If you want to know more about topical fluoride treatments and whether they can help your child avoid tooth decay, talk to your dentist. This fluoride booster could help further protect them from this destructive dental disease.

If you would like more information on helping your child avoid tooth decay, 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 “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
September 29, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Self-improvement is an estimated $10 billion annual market—smartphone apps, one-on-one coaching and, of course, books that instruct and inspire people on everything from selling yourself to increasing your self-esteem. But as helpful as these resources might be, don't overlook the self-improvement opportunities that could be awaiting you at a familiar place: your dentist's office.

Cosmetic dental techniques can enhance more than your physical attributes. Because of the importance of smiling in everyday life, improving the appearance of your teeth and gums can fill you with a renewed sense of confidence. A transformed smile might just be a game changer in social and career settings, not to mention your romantic life.

Many cosmetic techniques also improve oral health. It's a double benefit! A more attractive smile is more likely to be a healthy smile.

So, in recognition of Self Improvement Month this September, here are 4 ways you could improve your smile appearance.

Teeth whitening. One of the simplest and most affordable ways to improve your smile appearance is with a teeth-whitening procedure. Years of eating, drinking and (for some) tobacco use can leave teeth yellowed and dull. A professional whitening can brighten your teeth and take years off your smile. With proper care and occasional touch-ups, your brighter, more attractive smile could last for years.

Dental veneers. Chipped, discolored or slightly gapped teeth can detract from an otherwise beautiful smile. Dental veneers could completely change all that. Thin wafers of dental porcelain, veneers bond to the front of teeth and mask all manner of imperfections. And because they're custom designed and colored to blend with other teeth, only you and your dentist need know you're wearing them.

Dental implants. Missing tooth gaps, especially in the visible "smile zone," stand out like a sore thumb. Dental implants, the premier method for tooth replacement, can fill those unsightly gaps and restore your smile. Implants are titanium metal posts imbedded in the jaw that develop strong attachments with the bone. This makes them durable and long-lasting for a truly life-like result.

Orthodontics. Realigning teeth through braces or removable clear aligners is first and foremost therapeutic—it's primarily performed to improve overall dental health. But a huge secondary benefit is a more attractive display of perfectly aligned teeth. That's why orthodontics is widely regarded as the "Original Smile Makeover."

To see if any of these or other procedures—or a combination of them—could transform your smile, make an appointment with us for an exam and consultation. Self-improvement might actually be as close as your teeth.

If you would like more information about cosmetic dental options, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
September 23, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Bleeding Gums  

There are a number of reasons why your gums might be bleeding, as you likely know. However, some reasons are more common than others. The most common reason that your gums are bleeding is gum disease. There are various different stages of gum disease depending on its severity, but it is possible for your gums to bleed even if you only have gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. However, you can also cause your gums to bleed if you brush too hard near your gum line. Stop by our location in Farmington, MI, and see how Dr. Stephen Harris, a Farmington Dentist, can help you with your gums. 

What If Your Gums Bleed When You Floss?

It is most common if your gums bleed when you are brushing your teeth. However, this isn't the only time that they can bleed. It is possible for your gums to bleed when you floss and if this happens, it is usually due to a buildup of plaque on your teeth. This buildup of plaque can make your gums sensitive and inflamed, causing them to bleed when you floss.

The best way to deal with this is to floss regularly. Your gums should bleed less frequently as you make flossing regularly a habit. You can also make your gums bleed if you floss the wrong way. You shouldn't use too much force when you floss your teeth. 

What If Your Gums Bleed Even When You're Not Brushing or Flossing?

It is possible for your gums to bleed even if you are not flossing or brushing them. As Dr. Stephen Harris, a Farmington Dentist working in Farmington, MI, would tell you, gum disease can cause your gums to become so sensitive that simply eating makes them bleed. This is more likely if you happen to be eating food that is crunchy or hard. If some food becomes stuck in your teeth, this can make your gums bleed, too. Normally, you can simply dislodge the food by flossing to solve this issue. 

When Should You Discuss Bleeding Gums with Your Dentist?

In many cases, better oral hygiene can deal with bleeding gums. However, if your bleeding gums become too serious, you should talk to your Farmington Dentist in Farmington, MI about them. If your gums bleed constantly, you are in quite a bit of pain, or one of your teeth feels like they're loose, make an appointment with your dentist immediately. They can treat the issue and make sure it doesn't become more serious. 

Bleeding gums are a fairly common reason to see a dentist. You can trust Advanced Dentistry and Dr. Stephen Harris to give you the right treatment for your gums. If you're in Farmington, MI, and you need dental care from a Farmington Dentist, stop by our practice today. You can call us to make an appointment at 248-478-4755. 

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Stephen R. Harris, DDS

Farmington Hills, MI Dentist
Stephen R. Harris DDS, PC
34024 W 8 Mile Rd., Ste. 106
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 478-4755
(248) 478-1139 fax
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