Orthodontist in Portage | Sleep Could Be Harming Your Teeth

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Do you grind your teeth while you sleep? Occasional bruxing, or grinding, of the teeth is not a cause for concern. For some patients, however, clenching and grinding are an involuntary and frequent occurrence. In these cases, grinding may be happening almost every night or even while they are awake. This is a far more serious issue known as bruxism.

Bruxism occurs most often during sleep and can have a variety of causes. The most common issues that can lead to bruxism are stress and poor alignment of the teeth and/or jaws.

Because bruxism most frequently happens while the patient is sleeping, it can be challenging to diagnose. However, there are a number of symptoms that may indicate bruxism. Some of these include:

  • Sore teeth
  • Worn, flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Headache, especially when waking
  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Biting/chewing damage to inside of cheek
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Hairline cracks or worn enamel
  • Tense or sore jaw and/or facial muscles

Talk to our doctor about your symptoms. Let us know if a sleeping partner has told you they have heard you grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. We will examine your teeth and jaw for wear and sensitivity. If bruxism is diagnosed, there are multiple treatment options that may be recommended, depending on the probable cause.

Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to treat your bruxism in some cases. This may include the fabrication and use of a night guard or treatment for misalignment.


A night guard is a custom-fabricated oral appliance that is placed between the upper and lower teeth during sleep. This device provides a flexible barrier that prevents wear on your teeth and reduces the pressure caused by grinding, which can alleviate other symptoms.

Treatment for misalignment will generally involve some type of braces or plastic aligners that will gently move teeth into proper positioning within the mouth. This can help relieve symptoms and prevent their recurrence if the bruxism is caused by the misalignment.

Left untreated, bruxism can lead to more serious oral health issues. If you believe you may have bruxism, contact our office for a consultation today.

3275 Cooley Court
Suite 155
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: (269) 327-0760

Portage Orthodontist | Understanding Your Jaw Pain

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Are you having trouble chewing or talking? If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your jaw, we recommend coming in to our office. There are numerous possible causes of facial and jaw pain and our doctor can work with you to determine the best course of treatment.

What Causes Jaw and Facial Pain?

Pain and discomfort in your jaw can be dental related, but it can also be caused by other medical conditions. Sinus infections and arthritis are potential culprits. However, your pain could be caused by a toothache, infection, excessive grinding of your teeth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or TMJD.

I’ve Heard of TMJ – What is it?

The jaw is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It acts as a hinge and can be found in front of your ears. In temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), the joint doesn’t move in the way it is supposed to. This can lead to pain or restricted jaw movements. Someone might complain about difficulty chewing, yawning, and talking. You might hear a clicking sound when your jaw moves. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that as many as 10 million Americans suffer from TMJD.

What We Can Do

If you come into our office with jaw and facial pain, we will provide you a thorough examination. Treatments can vary depending on what is determined to be the primary source of your discomfort. Periodontal treatment, root canal therapy, and tooth removal are sometimes solutions to consider. A filling may be suggested for pain caused by tooth decay. For problems resulting from arthritis or TMJD, exercises and anti-inflammatory medications may be a consideration. If you grind your teeth, a guard may be recommended to protect your teeth.

Solving Your Jaw and Facial Pain

Step one in determining a course of treatment is to determine the source of your jaw or facial pain. Talk to our doctor about the specifics surrounding your discomfort. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office can help prevent future pain caused by decay or infection. Having our professional, experienced team regularly examine your mouth is one way you can stay healthy. Diagnosing jaw and facial pain can be difficult due to the number of potential causes. Our dental professionals are well prepared to effectively diagnose and treat your condition.

For more questions about jaw pain, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

3275 Cooley Court
Suite 155
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: (269) 327-0760

49024 Orthodontist | Non-Cosmetic Benefits of Braces

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When most people consider the benefits of getting braces, they tend to focus on cosmetic improvements. A better smile is an obvious benefit to orthodontic treatment, but there are plenty more improvements than what you’ll see on the surface.

Whether you have an overbite, an underbite, or your teeth simply don’t meet properly when you close your mouth, braces can be an effective solution. The benefits of a proper bite are innumerable, and treating the problem can help minimize discomfort dramatically. Braces are an investment in the future of your oral health, as addressing potential issues early could help save you years of pain and oral complications. Common benefits of braces include:

  • Corrected Jaw Alignment
  • Reduced Teeth Grinding
  • Reduced Jaw Pain
  • Improved Bite Strength
  • Reduced Speech Impediments
  • And More!

Even if you don’t chronically grind and clench your teeth, having a bite that is not properly aligned will inevitably cause wear as your teeth will be rubbing against each other in ways they ought not. Another common side effect is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain that can develop in your jaw. If the joint connecting your jaw to your cheekbone is in pain or if you experience a clicking sensation when chewing, you might have a TMJ issue that braces can help correct.

Whether you’re simply looking for an improved smile, or you’re experiencing any of the above complications, you could greatly benefit from braces. For more information about treatment options, contact our office today!

3275 Cooley Court
Suite 155
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: (269) 327-0760

Orthodontist in Portage | 5 Weird and Interesting Dental Facts

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Did you know your oral health can impact your overall health? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tidbits about your teeth and oral health.

Say Cheese

Cheese has been found to promote dental health by helping prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus found in cheese help neutralizes acid in the mouth. Acid can create dental erosion, which can cause decay that may require filling. Cheese creates a protective film around teeth and helps remineralize the enamel.

Keep Smiling

Your smile can make a difference. Studies have found that 50% of people consider a smile the first facial feature they notice. One study found that 88% of us remember people with beautiful smiles whenever we meet new people. This means attractive smiles are key to being more noticeable and remembered.

Toothbrush Time

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. You should get a new toothbrush after recovering from any sort of viral infection, flu, or cold. You are more likely to be re-infected if these bacteria implant themselves on the bristles.

You’re Unique

In your lifetime, you only get two sets of teeth— baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is important to take proper care of your permanent teeth. Did you know that no two people have precisely the same set of teeth? Your teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. This is the reason teeth are used by investigators for identification. Your tongue also has a unique print, though it is not commonly recorded.

F.Y.I on Floss

Floss is a lot more useful than you may think. If you skip out on your daily flossing, you can miss cleaning up to 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease by removing plaque near the gum line. Floss has other alternative creative uses. The next time you are looking for a fun holiday project, grab some dental floss and a handful of cereal to string for the tree. Floss works well for repairing a bead necklace too!

Bonus Fact: Health professionals are rated among the most trusted people in the U.S so make sure to call our dentist and make an appointment today!

3275 Cooley Court
Suite 155
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: (269) 327-0760

Portage, MI Orthodontist | 6 Ways to Get Your Calcium

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portage orthodontistCalcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:

 

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.

 

Alternative Milk Products

Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.

 

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.

 

Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.

 

Yogurt

Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt.

 

Cheese

A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.

 

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble digesting dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

 

Contact our office to schedule your visit today.

 

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
3275 Cooley Court, Suite #155, Portage, MI 49024
(269) 327-0760

 

49024 Orthodontist | Retaining Your Smile

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Most comprehensive orthodontic treatment will involve the use of braces or aligners. In either case, your treatment involves minor movement of your teeth to correct misalignment. This ensures both a straight smile and an even bite.

However, braces are not the only stage needed for a permanent orthodontic solution. Once your braces have been taken off, the retention phase begins. It is vitally important to follow through with retention in order to to maintain your newly straight smile after treatment. Your final orthodontic results depend on your retainer, so be sure to continue following up with our doctor for treatment even after your braces have been removed.

There are a few different types of retainers that may be recommended to you:

  • Clear Retainers – A removable, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth.
  • Traditional Retainers – A removable appliance made of acrylic and a wire that sits on the front side of your teeth.
  • Bonded Retainer – A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily bonded to the lingual (tongue) side of the anterior teeth.

Our orthodontist will provide you with the best retainer option that is suited for your orthodontic treatment plan. All retainers should be worn as often as instructed to do so. Keep in mind that your teeth have been in active treatment for months or even years. Wearing your retainer right after treatment is crucial and it should be worn for the appropriate amount of time each day as instructed.

Your retainer is an important part of completing your orthodontic treatment, so take care of it and it will take care of you. Regardless of whether it’s made of acrylic and wire or thermoplastic, the process of cleaning your device should be the same.

When it is not in your mouth, keep your retainer in its case. Bacteria and plaque also pose a significant threat to the life of your retainer. Bacteria can build up on it, just like they do on your teeth, making the apparatus less hygienic and affecting the fit. For theses reasons, regular cleaning is vital for retainer care.

When cleaning your retainer, you can brush it with a wet toothbrush. You will also need to disinfect your retainer by soaking it in a cleansing solution. Thoroughly rinse your retainer with cold or room temperature water before placing it back in your mouth.

For more information about your retainer, please contact our office.

3275 Cooley Court
Suite 155
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: (269) 327-0760

Portage, MI Orthodontist | Orthodontics in Ancient Times

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Did you know that dentistry dates back to around 400-300 BC? Hippocrates and Aristotle actually contemplated ways to straighten teeth and fix certain dental conditions. Archaeologists have found numerous mummies with what appears to be metal bands wrapped around their teeth. Researchers believe this is the first sign of ancient orthodontics put in use in attempt to straighten teeth.

Another ancient form of early orthodontics was using a “catgut”, which is a cord made of natural fibers from animal intestines. They were used in a similar fashion as wires used with braces are today – to close gaps in between teeth.

The Etruscans, a powerful and wealthy ancient civilization in Italy, actually buried their dead with dental appliances in order to maintain space and prevent collapse of the teeth for use in the afterlife. One Roman tomb was found with teeth bound by gold wire called a “ligature wire” – a small elastic wire that is used to affix the arch wire to the bracket. Even Cleopatra, the last ruler of the Kingdom of Egypt, was documented as wearing a pair of these gold brackets.

The earliest form of treatment in attempts to straighten teeth are documented to have been simple finger pressure. However, since preservation of teeth and documentation was sub-par during ancient times, most of the early research comes from the 17th century when dentistry had already begun making great advancements.

Enjoy the benefits of modern orthodontic care. Contact our office for your consultation.

3275 Cooley Court
Suite 155
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: (269) 327-0760

Orthodontist Portage | Mail-Order Aligners: The High Cost of Cheap Care

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Your smile is important. The state of your oral health can affect your opportunities, your confidence, and your overall health. Correcting crooked or misaligned teeth can play a vital part in creating a more optimal level of health and a more beautiful smile. One recent trend has been enticing patients with promises of equal quality care with lower costs and no in-office visits. Unfortunately, many people are discovering too late that these promises are indeed too good to be true.

What is this trend?
The recent trend wreaking havoc for so many is remote orthodontic care, generally in the form of mail-order aligners. Private companies are advertising online to provide the same kind of clear aligners used by orthodontists’ offices and purport to be able to give the same level of care at a lower cost without office visits by working remotely.

What is the problem?
Problems with this remote care option can occur at many points in the process. In an orthodontist’s office, your aligners are fabricated based on a complete digital scan of your mouth. This ensures the aligners are a precise fit for your mouth and teeth and that each new aligner in the series is custom-created to guide your teeth into position.

Mail-order aligners are fabricated based on a mold you take of your teeth without the benefit of a professional to ensure the correct placement and fit. Molds are generally less accurate than digital scans, meaning the aligner may not be an accurate fit for your teeth.

During professional orthodontic care, such as our doctor provides, you will have a series of visits to our office, where our team will evaluate your progress and monitor for any early-warning signs of complications. If you are not following recommended guidelines, you can lengthen or undermine your treatment, so these appointments are a critical part of ensuring optimal outcomes.

During remote orthodontic treatment, your care is overseen by a doctor you never meet in person. While you will generally be able to email if you have questions or concerns, the burden is on you to know whether there is a problem that may need to be addressed. Unfortunately, by the time you realize that something is wrong, it may be too late to avoid complex and costly treatment to fix the issue.

When you make the decision to straighten your teeth, don’t be swayed by false promises and cheap alternatives. Schedule a consultation with our doctor and be confident about your investment in your smile.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
3275 Cooley Court, Suite #155, Portage, MI 49024
(269) 327-0760

Orthodontist in Portage | Brushing with Braces

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When you have braces, brushing your teeth becomes even more important – and more challenging – than ever before. To ensure your teeth remain clean and healthy, try these helpful tips for effective brushing when you have braces:

  1. Use a soft toothbrush. When you have braces, you can face increased risk of developing periodontal disease. The best way to protect yourself is to brush carefully between your braces and gums. However, a stiff brush may damage your gum tissue and raise your chance of infections.
  2. Debris first. Start with a wet toothbrush, but no toothpaste. Use the brush to remove debris that can be trapped in and around your brackets and wires. This can be easier to accomplish when toothpaste foam is not blocking your view.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste. Toothpaste provides a deep clean, freshens breath, and the added fluoride helps protect teeth from decay.
  4. Start at the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Scrub your teeth gently to clean all surfaces. Clean your braces carefully.
  5. Brush for 2 minutes. Most people believe they brush a full two minutes, but when timed, find they generally brush about ¼ of that time. Use a timer to ensure you spend a full 30 seconds on each quarter of your teeth.
  6. Brush often. Braces can trap food debris and bacteria, which can increase your risk of discoloration, decay, and infection. Though twice daily brushing is generally sufficient for most people, braces-wearers should try to brush after every mean whenever possible. When you do not have the opportunity to brush, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating to help remove as many food particles as possible.
  7. Follow up. By itself, brushing is not enough to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Be sure to follow brushing with careful use of floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner. See your dentist for exams and professional cleanings as directed.

Braces can give you a straighter, healthier smile, but they require some added care and attention. For more tips on keeping your teeth and braces clean during your orthodontic treatment, contact our office.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
3275 Cooley Court, Suite #155, Portage, MI 49024
(269) 327-0760

Orthodontist in Portage | Orthodontics and Oral Surgery

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Portage-MI-OrthodontistAre you planning on having orthodontic treatment? In some cases, patients may be referred to our office for oral surgery prior to starting their orthodontic treatment. Below are some of the reasons why this can occur.

You need one or more teeth extracted.

If your teeth are too crowded due to large teeth, small mouth, or other factors, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend having one or more teeth extracted. By strategically removing a few, the rest of your teeth will have the space they need to be guided into proper position by your orthodontic treatment.

You need your wisdom teeth removed.

The third molars, known as the wisdom teeth, are the last to emerge and are located in the far rear of your mouth. Before beginning orthodontic treatment, your dentist or orthodontist will review your x-rays to see whether your wisdom teeth are likely to have issues that could affect your treatment. Some of these issues include impaction, causing crowding or cracking of neighboring teeth, or shifting neighboring teeth from their proper position. If any of these are expected to occur, you may be referred to our office to have your wisdom teeth removed as a preventive measure prior to beginning your treatment.

You need corrective jaw surgery.

Major misalignment of the jaw that can benefit from corrective jaw surgery can be indicated by any of a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty with biting, chewing, or swallowing
  • Chronic pain in head, neck, or jaw
  • Receding or protruding jaw
  • Face appearing unbalanced
  • Open bite, inability to close lips over teeth
  • Excessive wear
  • Sleep apnea and/or chronic mouth breathing
  • Birth defects and/or facial injury

If your dentist or orthodontist refers you to our office, our surgeon will work together with them to plan your treatment and follow-up care. Ensure beautiful, long-lasting orthodontic results by contacting our office for your orthodontic oral surgery needs.