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

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Posts for: August, 2018

SteelyDanFoundersDeathHighlightsImportanceofEarlyCancerDetection

Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”


By North Park Family Dental
August 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: partial denture  
CantAffordDentalImplantsConsiderPartialDentures

We’ve come a long way in our ability to restore missing teeth. Today’s top choice is dental implants, prized not only for their close resemblance to real teeth but also their durability.

The rise of implants, though, hasn’t put older restorative methods out to pasture—many continue to offer patients a viable and affordable choice for tooth replacement. One example is the removable partial denture (RPD).

Once quite common, RPDs’ popularity has only slightly diminished with the advent of implants. They’re a fair option in terms of dental function and appearance, and much less expensive than implants or fixed bridges.

Similar to a full denture—a removable appliance that replaces all the teeth on a dental arch—a RPD can replace multiple missing teeth in a variety of configurations. A traditional RPD is usually constructed of vitallium, a lightweight but strong metal alloy, which allows for a very thin and comfortable frame. It’s covered in a gum-colored resin or plastic with prosthetic (false) teeth precisely set at the missing teeth’s locations. The appliance stays in place through a series of clasps that attach to the remaining teeth.

 Each RPD is custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth contours and the locations and patterns of the missing teeth. The top design goal for each individual RPD is to minimize any rocking movement during chewing; achieving that goal will depend not only on how many teeth are missing and where, but also what type of teeth are being replaced. For example, teeth missing from the back would require a different support design than teeth missing from the side or front.

RPDs’ biggest benefits are comfortable fit, effective dental function and good appearance. However, their means of attachment can create difficulties keeping remaining teeth clean of disease-causing bacterial plaque. Furthermore, an ill-fitting or unstable RPD could damage or even loosen natural teeth. It’s therefore essential for wearers to diligently practice daily hygiene (including cleaning the RPD) and undergo regular fit monitoring with their dentist.

Even with these constraints, a RPD can do an acceptable job providing dental function. What’s more, it can definitely improve your smile.

If you would like more information on options for dental restoration, 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 “Removable Partial Dentures: Still a Viable Tooth-Replacement Alternative.”


By North Park Family Dental
August 07, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Family DentistDr. Robert Dame is your family dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. He delivers preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental care to people of all ages. How often should you come to North Park Family Dental? You may not need as much dental care as your neighbor or best friend, but Dr. Dame stresses the importance of regular dental visits for every single one of his patients.

Start early

Yes, the youngest of children need preventive care. Mom and Dad, bring your little ones to see Dr. Dame by the age of one or whenever that first baby tooth erupts. The friendly staff at North Park Family Dental will check your little one's teeth, gums, and overall oral development and just help him or her become accustomed to how a dental office looks and sounds. After this first appointment, bring your child back to your family dentist in Grand Rapids every six months for a cleaning and check-up.

Continue through the teen years

The American Dental Association (ADA) advises your dentist see your youngster regularly as he or she grows into a teen and beyond. Hygienic cleanings and exams remove toxic plaque and tartar, check dental alignment and look for decay and yes, gum disease.

The American Academy of Periodontology says that gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, frequently occurs in children and teens because at-home and in-office hygiene is neglected. So, again, the six-month rule applies. And, don't forget: orthodontic evaluation and wisdom tooth assessment are important to oral health.

Keep going as an adult

It's even more important that adults continue with preventive dental care. Yes, semi-annual visits are a must; however, some adults patients need more frequent cleanings and check-ups if they:

  • Are prone to periodontal problems and decay
  • Have multiple fillings, crowns, and tooth replacements
  • Are diabetic or immunosuppressed (cancer patients should see Dr. Dame before starting chemotherapy)
  • Are pregnant
  • Smoke
  • Have heart disease

The philosophy is this: your oral and systemic health are intertwined. So, ward off complex and escalating problems with regular in-office care. Your dentist will construct an ongoing treatment plan just right for your stage of life and health.

As needed

Of course, Dr. Dame and his team tell their patients to call the office if they are in pain, crack or lose a tooth, or restoration, or suffer another sort of pressing dental condition. You'll get the right help right away.

Call North Park Family Dental in Grand Rapids, MI, today to arrange your family's routine cleanings and exams. We look forward to seeing all of you! Phone (616) 361-7265.


By North Park Family Dental
August 03, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
ProsandConsforFlossingBeforeBrushingandVice-Versa

For best results in cleaning your teeth of disease-causing plaque you need both the power of brushing open teeth surfaces and flossing in between them. But you may be wondering: should you perform one task before the other?

In general terms, no—there’s no solid evidence that flossing is better before brushing, or vice-versa. But that being said we do recognize each way has its own advantages.

If you floss before brushing, it’s possible you could loosen plaque that can then be easily brushed away when you perform your second hygiene task. Flossing first can also reveal areas that need a bit more attention from brushing if you suddenly encounter heavy particle debris or you notice a little bit of blood on the floss. And, by flossing first you may be able to clear away plaque from your tooth enamel so that it can more readily absorb the fluoride in toothpaste.

One last thing about flossing first: if it’s your least favorite task of the two and you’re of the “Do the Unpleasant Thing First” philosophy, you may want to perform it before brushing. You’re less likely to skip it if you’ve already brushed.

On the other hand, flossing first could get you into the middle of a lot sticky plaque that can gum up your floss. Brushing first removes a good portion of plaque, which can then make flossing a little easier. With the bulk of the plaque gone by the time you floss, you’ll not only avoid a sticky mess on your floss you’ll also have less chance of simply moving the plaque around with the floss if there’s a large mass of it present.

It really comes down to which way you prefer. So, brush first, floss last or vice-versa—but do perform both tasks. The one-two punch of these important hygiene habits will greatly increase your chances for maintaining a healthy mouth.

If you would like more information on effective oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.