Do You Grind Your Teeth? | Orthodontist Portage MI

You could be grinding your teeth at night without even realizing it. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can be damaging for several different reasons.


Are you or your child struggling with teeth grinding? We can assist you in addressing the source of the problem and then assess the damage to your teeth.

Why Do I Grind My Teeth? 

There isn’t just one cause for teeth grinding. There could be several different reasons you are grinding your teeth, including stress, anxiety, an improper bite, or various sleep disorders.

Your teeth can also drag against each other while you bite or chew if they are not aligned properly. You might not even realize you are grinding your teeth because it has become a habit or it happens while you are sleeping.

The Journal of the American Dental Association notes that smoking and drinking alcohol can cause an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and alcohol drinkers are twice as likely to grind their teeth.

Effects Grinding Has on Your Teeth

The more you grind your teeth, the more worn down and damaged they will become. Grinding causes increased sensitivity and can even loosen your teeth.

Teeth are comparable to bones, which means they can crack or fracture easily from grinding. When teeth are constantly dragging against one another, they can develop flat spots and become shorter in appearance.

Bruxism can also make you susceptible to other complications in the future, including acute jaw pain and chronic headaches.

How can you tell if you have been grinding your teeth at night? If you wake up with sore muscles and tired muscles in your jaw, you are likely dealing with grinding in your sleep.

We Can Help You

When you come in, we will assess the damage you already have from grinding first, and then we will work with you to figure out a game plan to keep your teeth from experiencing any more damage.

In many cases we will recommend wearing a mouthguard at night which will act as a barrier between your teeth to prevent them from grinding together. If your grinding is caused by stress and anxiety, the top priority will be for figuring out ways to reduce these feelings. In adults, stress is the most common cause of grinding, and in children improper alignment is the most common cause.


Please do not wait until your teeth become sensitive and painful to get treatment. Contact us to schedule an evaluation.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

7 Things To Do With Your Child Before They Turn 7 | Portage Orthodontics

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Children grow up quick, in what seems like the blink of an eye, they are walking, talking, and starting school. It is for this reason that it’s important we not take the little moments shared with our kids for granted.

Here are seven things shared by our Portage orthodontist to do with your child before they turn seven:

1.   Create a Masterpiece: Arts and crafts are always a fun activity for children, and will help to keep them out of trouble. Some ideas for art you can create together would be finger painting, drawing, or coloring. The works of art your child creates will be mementos of the time you spent with them.

2.   Play in the Snow: If you live in a coldest climate where it snows, you can go sledding, build a snowman, build a fort or have a snowball fight! If you live in a warm climate, make a trip somewhere where they can experience the magic of snow – it’s something they will never forget!

3.   Make Your Own Traditions: Start fun traditions that will last forever. Although your child will be too young to remember the earlier years, as they grow up with these new customs they will remember them and pass them down to their kids. Sing a special song together, celebrate half birthdays, or share a special surprise on Valentine’s Day – the more creative and unique, the better. Don’t make it complicated, sometimes the smallest traditions have the biggest impact.

4.   Have Reading Time: Make it a habit to read a story to your child every night before bed. It is a great way to relax and wind down for you, while also being a great way to bond with your child. By reading to your child, it will help them improve their own reading skills, while engaging their emotions and building a bond with you.

5.   Honesty is The Best Policy: It is very important to teach your child to be honest at a young age. White lies are something to be addressed with your child and nipping this in the bud is good to prevent larger lies from being told in the future.

6.   Get Lost in the Clouds: When the weather gets warmer, enjoy an afternoon looking up at the sky. Spark your child’s imagination by asking them what they see in the clouds.

7.   Bring Your Child in for an Orthodontic Evaluation: By the time your child turns 7, they should be scheduled for an orthodontic evaluation. Most children begin to grow their molars and incisors by then. The jaw is still at an age where it can be formed and shaped much easier and any adjustments needed will go much quicker. By doing some of these activities with your child, you will share a smile with them. You’ll appreciate every moment you spend bonding with your child – our orthodontics team in Portage, MI promises!

If your child is seven, or approaching that age, contact our Portage, MI orthodontics office about an orthodontic evaluation today.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

What Does The Perfect Bite Consist Of? | Orthodontics Portage MI

Orthodontics Portage MI

Your bite may need some work, and that’s okay. It may come to a surprise to you, but our orthodontist in Portage is skilled in examining your bite and may be able to see things you can’t.

Your View

When looking in the mirror, you can see your front teeth. In our office, what we look for is to see whether your teeth are too long. If your top teeth are covering more than half of your bottom teeth, this is called a deep bite.

We will also check to see how your teeth line up in relation to your lip.

Locking Down

When visiting our office, the orthodontist will have you open your mouth wide to check the alignment of your teeth from the top looking down. When viewed from above, an ideal bite will form the shape of an arch.

This view is also a great way to see any gaps that may be in between the teeth.

Side View

Viewing your mouth from the side may be difficult for you, but it is another angle of your mouth we must look at. From this perspective, we will find out if your mouth structure needs to be adjusted from an overbite or an underbite.

Steps To Take Next

After we have inspected all the different angles of your bite, our orthodontics team in Portage, MI can decide the next steps in helping you achieve the results you want. Treatment options to consider if you have gaps or spaces would be braces or aligners.

Another option to treat and under or overbite is an expander.

The Importance of a Good Bite

If your teeth are not aligned it can cause difficulties with eating and speaking. An improper bite can lead to extensive jaw discomfort and even tooth decay. Your oral health and having a good bite go hand and hand.

If you have questions or concerns about your bite, or the alignment of your teeth, contact our orthodontics office in Portage, MI to schedule a consultation and learn more about achieving the perfect bite.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

What You Should Know About Sensitive Teeth and Braces | Portage MI Orthodontist

There are many conditions that can cause teeth to become sensitive. Receding gums, tooth decay, exposed roots, and thinning tooth enamel are just a few. All these factors can cause teeth to become extremely sensitive to temperature changes, or sweet and acidic flavors.

Even worse, If you have sensitive teeth and are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you are at risk of developing even sensitivity.

One in eight people with braces will experience some tooth sensitivity. The level of discomfort varies from patient to patient, and each level of discomfort is due to the pressure that is placed on the teeth by braces. This sensitivity is not permanent and will usually only last a few days.

Factors Impacting Sensitivity
What causes teeth to become sensitive? The most common reason is over brushing your teeth. You can brush away your gum line exposing the sensitive root area by brushing your teeth too aggressively.

Teeth will become extremely sensitive if the gum line recedes, as it exposes porous root surfaces. Brush your teeth in soft and even circles (especially if you use a battery-powered brush) to protect your gums and avoid pain and discomfort.

Another reason for sensitive teeth resulting from braces is not brushing regularly or taking care of your oral hygiene properly. When you are not practicing correct dental hygiene, plaque and buildup are likely to form on your teeth, weakening the teeth and raising the chance for sensitivity.

Patients with braces are prone to plaque and buildup because debris gets trapped in between the teeth and braces. In the long run this will make it more likely to develop sensitive teeth.

Steps To Be Taken
There are several things you can do to help stop pain and sensitivity. Start with a good dental hygiene routine by brushing with a soft toothbrush in a small up and down motion while making little circles. Add flossing to your daily routine. Last, combine all this with an over-the-counter anti-sensitivity toothpaste.

If your sensitivity is caused by scheduled orthodontic adjustments, you can take over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.

If these things do not provide you relief, our dentist can offer other treatment options. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and we will be glad to discuss what’s right for you.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

6 Quick Facts About Braces | 49002 Orthodontist

Since the beginning of recorded history, people have yearned for straighter teeth. Over the centuries, dental care has evolved exponentially. Traditional braces have become more comfortable and efficient than ever before.

Follow along for six things you might not know about braces:

1. The Ancient Egyptians Wanted Straighter Teeth Too

Some Egyptian mummies have been found by archaeologists with cords wound through their teeth, possibly in order to straighten them. What were these ancient braces made from? Animal intestines.

You will be thrilled to know that our orthodontist uses far more modern and sanitary materials.

2. Many People Have Them

Did you know that an estimated 4 million people in the US are currently wearing some form of braces or aligners to straighten their teeth? If braces are recommended to straighten your teeth, you can feel confident knowing that you are definitely not alone.

3. Getting Braces is Like Rocket Science

Nitinol 60 is the flexible material used in braces. Believe it or not, NASA scientists use this material on the International Space Station. The heat from your mouth makes nitinol return to its original shape, gently guiding your teeth to where they need to be.

4. Don’t Forget Your Retainer

An estimated 25 percent of those who wear braces don’t wear their retainer. Don’t be one of the people that ends up needing a second set of braces.

5. Braces Are Older Than You Think

Braces have been around since the year 1728, when Pierre Fauchard developed them by using flat metal brackets and connected them to the teeth using thread. That means braces are 48 years older than the United States of America.

6. Myths About Braces Debunked

Is there a greater chance of getting struck by lightning when wearing braces? The answer is a huge no.

Also, there is no way your braces will interfere with any radio signals.

As time and technology have progressed, braces have become more efficient and far more comfortable than ever before. If you are ready for that perfect smile, our experienced orthodontic team is ready to work with you to achieve the results you are looking for.

If you have any questions about braces, contact our office today and schedule an orthodontic consultation.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

Why You Should Avoid DIY and Mail-Order Braces | Portage MI Orthodontist

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For some, the idea of DIY braces and mail-order aligners is attractive because they cost less than dentist-guided orthodontics. However, some solutions can damage both your teeth and your bank account. Before taking matters into your own hands, schedule an appointment with our Portage orthodontist to discuss your options.

What are DIY Braces?

The internet is filled with videos and “tutorials” on alternatives to traditional braces. Small rubber bands are the most common DIY orthodontics advice. Please understand this does not work and is, in fact, dangerous. It does not provide you with a safe, long-lasting solution for misaligned teeth.

Why are Rubber Band Braces Dangerous?

Moving your teeth without professional guidance can cause a blockage of blood supply to teeth, resulting in discolored and infected gums, root damage, and even tooth loss. Obviously, missing teeth, bleeding gums, and serious infections are not the results you want to see from braces, but these risks are inherent in DIY orthodontics.

Another danger is that your teeth can shift back if you move them too quickly. The amount of damage you can do to your teeth will require further professional help, likely in the form of costly restoration.

The Risks of Mail-Order Aligners

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have issued consumer warnings against mail-order braces. Without a proper diagnosis and direct supervision by a dentist in an office, you risk tooth loss, infection, and permanent bite problems using at-home aligners. Many patients have underlying problems such as tooth decay, gum infections, or abscessed teeth that can be aggravated by orthodontic treatment.

Furthermore, some conditions call for treatment with traditional braces instead of aligners. A salesperson in an office can’t make that call; only an in-person examination by an orthodontist can.

The Case for In-Office Treatment with an Orthodontist

The AAO explicitly states that moving teeth is a healthcare procedure that requires the professional experience of an orthodontist. It must be done very gradually so teeth and gums will not be damaged.

Our office is staffed with a knowledgeable, experienced orthodontic team in Portage devoted to improving smiles in a proper, hands-on manner. We pride ourselves on working with each patient in a safe, professional environment.

DIY braces pose a significant danger, especially to children and young adults who, surveys show, take healthcare advice they find on the internet seriously. However, the pain, irreparable damage, and costly fixes are not worth it. When it comes to dental care, leave it to the professionals.

For more information about braces or to schedule an appointment, please contact our Portage, MI orthodontics office.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

How to Brush Your Teeth When You Have Braces | Orthodontist Portage MI

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If you or your child is getting braces, you know how important it is to step up your oral hygiene game. Of course, this can be tricky, especially for kids, so we have compiled some of the best tips to make it easier.

Practice Patience

Allow extra time to brush and floss. Taking extra care with oral hygiene is important to avoid tooth decay and gum inflammation. Adopt the mindset that these normal routines will just take longer for a while. For children, consider adding a reward system for using proper oral care techniques.    

Begin Your Routine with Rinsing

Before you begin brushing, vigorously rinse your mouth with water. This will help loosen food and debris stuck between teeth, in bands and brackets, and in other nooks and crannies.  

Brush in Stages

Use the standard brushing technique but divide it into two stages: Above brackets and below. Angle your brush head at 45 degrees and brush gently at the gumline. After that, move from the gums to the edge of the brackets, making certain to reach all the way around each bracket. Repeat the process for the other half of the teeth, angling the brush from the bracket edges toward your lips. While it might be more difficult to thoroughly brush the interior surfaces (facing the tongue), take extra time with this step. Finally, focus on chewing surfaces. 

Master Flossing with Braces

Flossing can be a bit trickier with traditional braces, since the arch wires bisect the teeth. Many patients find that using a floss threader makes this process easier. In a short time, you will get used to placing the pointed threader end between both “halves” of the teeth. Our Portage, MI orthodontics team recommends to always angle floss up into the gum line to thoroughly remove debris.   

 Swish Again

Follow your brushing and flossing with a second rinse of water or mouthwash. This step will help sweep away any remaining food particles. Mouthwash will make your mouth feel fresher and cleaner. Children can use water or special alcohol-free rinses. Our orthodontist in Portage can recommend specific rinses. The rewards of orthodontics include a more attractive smile and better functioning teeth. Ensuring proper oral hygiene during treatment is worth the extra effort. Contact our orthodontics office in Portage, MI to discuss any questions or concerns about oral care, or to schedule your next visit. In the meantime, keep up your good hygiene habits.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics | Invisalign in Portage

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Braces can be life-changing for people who would benefit from a straighter smile. Here are answers to your most common questions about orthodontics. 

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

Straight teeth can improve the way you bite, chew, and even speak. Properly aligned teeth are easier to keep clean. They collect less plaque and promote healthier gums. A straight smile can also contribute to self-confidence at almost every age. 

When should I consider braces?

Primary reasons for getting braces include teeth crowding and spacing issues, an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, and jaw misalignment.

Will braces hurt?

Although wearing braces usually doesn’t hurt, you may feel slight discomfort the first few days after getting them or immediately after periodic adjustments. Your teeth are simply adjusting to the pressure needed to move them into an optimal position. 

Can adults benefit from orthodontics?

Yes. Adults account for one in four new orthodontic cases, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Teeth can be treated at any age to create a healthy, straight smile. Many orthodontic problems can be corrected as easily for adults as for children.

What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?

The AAO recommends that children get an initial evaluation at age seven. If you bring your child to our Orthodontics Portage practice, our Orthodontist 49024 doctor will monitor their bite and begin treatment later if it’s needed. 

Do I need to brush my teeth more often when I get braces? 

When you have braces, it is important to brush your teeth after every meal, if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck between teeth or in the hardware. It is also vital to floss frequently. Rinse vigorously with water when you’re on the go and can’t brush.  

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

It depends on the individual. Teeth must be moved very slowly to avoid damaging the roots. However, you can keep the process on track by following our Invisalign Portage MI doctor’s instructions. If you are required to wear rubber bands, for example, make sure to wear them as directed.

How often should I visit my general dentist while I have braces?

When you are wearing traditional braces, it is easier for food to get stuck in places where your toothbrush can’t reach; so even with good oral hygiene at home, it is important to keep up with general dentist appointments as directed. 

Will having braces interfere with playing sports or a musical instrument?

Not at all. Braces will not stop you or your child from participating in either activity. However, if you are playing a contact or ball sport, talk to our Orthodontist Portage MI to get fitted for a protective mouthguard.

If you have more questions about traditional braces, clear aligners, or other forms of orthodontic care, please give our Portage MI Invisalign office a call

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
Url: http://sageorthodontics.com/
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

6 Ways to Combat Bad Breath | 49002 Orthodontist

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Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can be caused by something you ate or drank, or from a health problem. While foul breath related to food resolves on its own, a chronic problem requires more investigation by your dentist. Fortunately, there are solutions.

Halitosis that is not caused by food is often related to bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are frequently found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. They can also accumulate on orthodontic appliances. Here are ways to keep your breath sweet. 

Be Rigorous About Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day and after a spicy meal. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day or after a meal if you feel food particles lodged in your teeth. Those particles can break down and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush or Scrape Your Tongue

Even after brushing and flossing, bacteria can remain on your tongue. Talk to our Portage MI Orthodontist about using a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently remove tongue film when you brush. Aim for the back of the tongue.  

Keep Orthodontic Appliances Clean

If you wear conventional braces, carefully clean brackets and beneath wires each day to remove food particles after you eat. Removable devices such as aligners, mouthguards, and retainers need to be rinsed after meals. We can also recommend a special cleanser. It’s important to prevent invisible bacteria buildup on these appliances.   

Stay Hydrated

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent bacteria growth and reduce the risk of bad breath.

 Sugar-Free Mints and Lozenges

The ADA recommends chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating to boost saliva production. However, gum is off-limits when you have braces. Instead, look for sugar-free mints or lozenges. Just be sure to suck them and not crunch. Keeping your mouth moist slows or prevents bacteria growth, minimizing your chances of bad breath. 

Keep Up with Dental Appointments

In addition to your orthodontic checkups, maintain routine hygiene appointments and examinations. If you are still experiencing signs of halitosis, we can check for underlying causes. Some cases have underlying medical causes unrelated to oral health, and we might recommend a visit to your physician.

For more information about halitosis with orthodontic treatment, contact our Orthodontics Portage office.

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
Url: http://sageorthodontics.com/
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002

Medications That Can Affect Your Oral Health | Portage Invisalign

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If you have braces, you know how important it is to take extra care of your oral health. This is even more critical if you also take medications. 

Nearly half of all Americans take prescriptions for a medical condition, and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, you may experience medication side effects that can impact your oral health.

Here are a few side effects of common medications and supplements. 

Gum Tissue Enlargement

Overgrowth or enlargement of gingival (gum) tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. These include anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, and calcium channel blockers. Patients taking these medications must pay special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation.

Dry Mouth

Some medications reduce saliva production, including certain antidepressants, muscle relaxants, diuretics, antacids, decongestants, and antihistamines. When your mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood-thinning medications may lead to excessive bleeding during treatment for periodontal conditions. Tell our Orthodontist in Portage MI if you are taking this kind of medication or a blood-thinning supplement before scheduling treatment.

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or soft tissue discoloration can be a side-effect of some medicines. These include minocycline to treat acne, some oral contraceptives, chemotherapy medications, immunosuppressive agents, and certain blood pressure medicines. If you experience this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen to alleviate your discomfort.

Fungal Infection

Oral candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect people who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler. Other medications that cause oral yeast infections include antibiotics, steroids, and chemotherapy drugs.

Tooth Decay

You already know to avoid sugary foods while wearing braces, but did you know that many medications contain sugar to improve flavor? This is especially true for children’s medications. When sweet liquids, chewables, and lozenges are used over time, the sugar left on the teeth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Whenever possible, choose capsules or sugar-free versions of medications, or rinse well after taking sweetened medicines. 

If you have concerns about the effects of medications while wearing braces, contact our Orthodontist Portage MI for advice

Sage Orthodontics of Portage
Phone: (269) 327-0760
Url: http://sageorthodontics.com/
1700 E. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49002