Posts for: June, 2016

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
June 25, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavi­ties. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
June 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out how this cosmetic restoration can completely revive your smile.

Tooth loss can be a devastating blow to your self-esteem and to your oral health. Fortunately, your Farmington, MI dentist Dr. Stephen R. dental implantsHarris offers a way to regain that healthy smile once more. Find out how dental implants can get your smile back on track!

What exactly are dental implants?

While implants have been around for a while many people still don’t know exactly what they are capable of doing when it comes to improving smiles. Dental implants are metal posts that replace your missing tooth’s roots. The implant is designed to hold everything from a single dental crown to a full set of dentures, depending on the severity of your tooth loss.

How do dental implants works?

The metal implant is biocompatible, meaning that there is very little chance that the body will reject it once it’s placed. Implants require multiple steps to complete. During the first step, your Farmington cosmetic dentist will place the small post into the jawbone where your missing tooth was.

Over the course of a couple months, as your mouth heals, the bone and tissue surrounding the implant will fuse together with it to become one functioning unit. Once this has happened the implant is now a permanent part of your smile.

The second step will uncover the top of the implant to place an abutment on top. The abutment helps to connect the implant under the gums with the dental crown (which is the visible part of the restoration). After the abutment is placed it may take several more weeks of healing before the crown can be attached.

Whether you are looking to replace one missing tooth or all of your teeth, dental implants can help. Multiple implants can be placed throughout the jawbone to firmly hold a dental bridge, as well as partial or full dentures. Don’t let tooth loss get you down when dental implants can bring your smile back to life.

Find out if you are a good candidate for dental implants today. Call the Farmington dental implant expert at Dr. Stephen R. Harris DDS, PC to schedule a consultation.

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
June 10, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   dentures  

People who’ve lost all their teeth have benefitted from a solution that’s been around for generations: removable dentures. These appliances have helped millions of people chew and eat food, speak, and smile confidently.

But for all their benefits (including affordability) there’s still some things you need to do to get the most out of them like cleaning them daily or having us check them regularly for damage and wear. And, there’s one thing you shouldn’t do: wear them around the clock. Not removing them when you sleep at night can harm your oral health and reduce your dentures’ longevity.

Dentures are fitted to rest on the gums and the bony ridges that once held your natural teeth. This exerts pressure on the underlying bone that can cause it to gradually dissolve (resorb). This loss in bone volume eventually loosens your denture’s fit. If you’re wearing them all the time, the process progresses faster than if you took them out each night.

The under surfaces of dentures are also a prime breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Besides unpleasant odors and irritation, these microorganisms are also the primary cause for dental disease. Research has found that people who sleep in their dentures have higher occurrences of plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food remnants that cause periodontal (gum) disease. They’re also more prone to higher levels of yeast and the protein interleukin-6 in the blood, which can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body.

To avoid these and other unpleasant outcomes, you should develop a few important habits: remove and rinse your dentures after eating; brush them at least once a day with dish or anti-bacterial soap or a denture cleanser (not toothpaste, which can be too abrasive); and take them out when you sleep and place them in water or an alkaline peroxide-based solution.

Be sure you also brush your gums and tongue with an extra soft toothbrush (not your denture brush) or wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth. This will help reduce the level of bacteria in the mouth.

Taking these steps, especially removing dentures while you sleep, will greatly enhance your well-being. Your dentures will last longer and your mouth will be healthier.

If you would like more information on denture care and maintenance, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Contact Us

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
Tooth icon Call For Pricing Options