My Blog

Posts for: April, 2018

By Wester Dental Care, P.C.
April 22, 2018
Category: Oral Health
GameSetMatchMilosRaonicSaysAMouthguardHelpsHimWin

When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”

Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.

Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.

While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.

There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”

 An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.

Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”


By Wester Dental Care, P.C.
April 12, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
3ThingsYouMightnotKnowAboutMovingTeeth

If you press your tongue against your teeth, unless something is badly wrong they won't budge. In fact, your teeth are subjected to a fair amount of pressure each day as you chew and eat, and yet they remain firmly in place.

But there's a deeper reality—your teeth do move! No, it's not a paradox—the gum and bone tissues that hold your teeth in place allow for slight, imperceptible changes in the teeth's position. Their natural ability to move is also the basis for orthodontics. Here are 3 more facts you may not know about your teeth's natural ability to move.

Teeth are always on the move. Teeth are held firmly within the jawbone by an elastic gum tissue called the periodontal ligament and a thin layer of bony-like material called cementum. In response to pressure changes, though, the bone dissolves on the side of the teeth in the direction of pressure and then rebuilds behind it, solidifying the teeth's new position, a process that happens quite slowly and incrementally. And it will happen for most of us—some studies indicate more than 70% of people will see significant changes in their bite as they age.

Orthodontics works with the process. Orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners apply targeted pressure in the direction the orthodontist intends the teeth to move—the natural movement process does the rest. In the case of braces, a thin metal wire is laced through brackets bonded to the front of the teeth and then anchored, typically to the back teeth. The orthodontist incrementally tightens the wire against its anchors over time, encouraging tooth movement in response to the pressure. Clear aligners are a series of removable trays worn in succession that gradually accomplish the same outcome.

Watch out for the rebound. That nice, straight smile you've gained through orthodontics might not stay that way. That's because the same mechanism for tooth movement could cause the teeth to move back to their former positions, especially right after treatment. To avoid this outcome, patients need to wear a retainer, an appliance that holds or "retains" the teeth in their new positions. Depending on their individual situations and age, patients may have to wear a retainer for a few months, years or from then on.

If you would like more information on 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”


By Wester Dental Care, P.C.
April 05, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Teeth whitening can do wonders for the quality of your smile and your overall confidence. A Kelton Research survey found that most teeth whiteningpeople think a whiter smile is an indicator of success, wealth, attractiveness, and even trustworthiness. Allow a dentist at Wester Dental Care in Portage, MI to look at your teeth to see if you can benefit from this popular cosmetic treatment.

Take Home Trays or One-Hour Teeth Whitening 
There are two teeth bleaching options available at Wester Dental Care. One is to have your teeth bleached in the office and the other is to take home a whitening kit that can only be prescribed by your dentist. If you are interested in having your teeth whitened fast, choose the in-office option. It is safer, quicker, and ensures that all of the surfaces are thoroughly treated. Take home trays provide significant results after a few weeks of treatment.

How Dental Whitening Improves Your Smile
In-office professional whitening by your Portage dentist gently removes years of stains from foods and beverages. It can improve the color of your teeth by up to eight shades. Whitening also improves your smile by giving you extra motivation to take care of your teeth daily. When your teeth look good, you are more likely to take the initiative to maintain good oral hygiene habits going forward.

One Short Dental Visit
Your smile can look significantly better after one in-office teeth whitening visit, which will only take about an hour. You simply lay back and wait while the bleaching agent does its’ magic. Once your dentist clears the bleaching solution, you’ll look in the mirror and see a whole new smile. This is one of the easiest dentist appointments you'll experience. Afterward, brush often with a gentle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Minimize your consumption of wine, black coffee, and red juices.

A Smart Choice for Your Smile
Having your teeth whitened may be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for your smile. Call 269-327-1119 today to schedule an appointment at Wester Dental Care in Portage, MI with Dr. Jennifer Sarantos or Dr. Keith Wester.