Dentist - Grand Rapids
422 North Park St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525



Posts for: March, 2016

By North Park Family Dental
March 30, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   braces  

Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.

“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:

  • Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
  • Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
  • Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.

Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”

By North Park Family Dental
March 24, 2016
Category: Snoring
Tags: sleep apnea  

Many people may or may not know that in addition to being incredibly annoying to anyone within listening range, chronic snoring can snoringsometimes be a sign of a potentially serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. What many people may also not be aware of is that a dentist can actually help to diagnose and offer treatment. When snoring becomes a problem for both the snorer and their loved ones, let the professionals at North Park Family Dental in Grand Rapids help you out.

Snore Guard in Grand Rapids

Almost everyone has heard of mouth guards for sports, and night guards for people who regularly grind their teeth in their sleep. Like night guards, a snore guard is worn while the person sleeps and can help to keep the volume down when the snorer gets too loud in the middle of the night through no fault of their own. Dr. Robert S. Dame, your dentist at North Park Family Dental in Grand Rapids, MI, also treats patients for problem snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when the muscles that control breathing in the throat become relaxed and the airway is obstructed. The snore guard helps to keep the jaw in a normal position so that the tongue and muscles are not pulled back into the airway.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment in Grand Rapids

Chronic snoring caused by the sleep disorder results when there is a problem with the signal that the brain sends to the muscles that regulate breathing, causing a pause in breathing while the person is asleep. In many cases, the person sleeping next to the snorer will see that they have stopped breathing for a few seconds. Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and exhaustion, despite getting a full night's sleep
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat and dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Mouth breathing

Contact a Dentist in Grand Rapids

Chronic snoring can disrupt a family's quality of life, and in some cases may even be a sign of a potentially serious health problem (sleep apnea). To learn more about how to manage excessive snoring and for an accurate diagnosis, contact North Park Family Dental at (616) 361-7265 to schedule an appointment today.

By North Park Family Dental
March 15, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ   tmj disorders   tmd  

Have you noticed a clicking, popping, or grating sound when you open or close your jaw? As many as 36 million U.S. adults experience this phenomenon in one or both of the joints that connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull.

While the sounds may be disconcerting, there’s generally no cause for concern in the absence of other symptoms. They’re most likely caused by a harmless shift in the position of the disk inside each temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and it can diminish or disappear entirely over time. But, if you’re also experiencing persistent discomfort, severe pain, or limited function in your jaw (which can include getting it “stuck” in an opened or closed position), then you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder — part of a complex set of conditions affecting one or both jaw joints, muscles and/or other surrounding tissues. (You may have heard the condition called TMJ, which is actually the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself. Health care professionals prefer TMJD or TMD.)

Depending on the severity, TMD can interfere with your ability to speak, chew and even make facial expressions. The cause is unclear, but genes, gender, environment, stress and behavior are believed to play a role. It can also be symptomatic of a larger medical problem, such as fibromyalgia, which can produce pain all over the body.

Management Options for TMD

TMD traditionally was viewed as a bite problem (malocclusion) requiring mechanical correction — e.g., through orthodontic braces or surgery. But the current therapeutic model approaches TMD as an orthopedic problem (joint inflammation, muscle soreness, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk damage) and favors a sequence of conservative, reversible procedures — hot or cold compresses in the jaw area, soft foods, physical therapy/massage, medication, and/or a bite guard to decrease pressure on jaw joints from tooth clenching and grinding — prior to more aggressive, irreversible treatment alternatives.

If you would like more information about TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Seeking Relief from TMD” and “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”