Ask A Grand Rapids Dentist

Ask a Grand Rapids Dentist: How Does a Sealant Help Prevent Decay?

October 9th, 2014 by ifi-admin

Beautiful family portraitAt Tournell Family Dentistry, we believe in helping families achieve optimum dental health that’s economical and practical. For that reason, we advocate the use of sealants in helping prevent tooth decay. We think it makes more sense to prevent cavities than to treat them, though of course, we offer fillings when the need arises.

Here are a few questions and answers about how sealants help prevent tooth decay.

Q: What is a Sealant?

A: A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

Q: Why Not Use Sealants on All Teeth?

A: Sealants are used on pits and fissures because they are places that are extremely difficult to clean. Smooth surfaces of the teeth, however, are more readily cleaned by thorough brushing and flossing, plus the normal flow of saliva. Most cavities form in the pit and fissure areas.

Q: Is Applying Sealant a Complicated Procedure?

A: No. Sealants are easy to apply and take only a few minutes per tooth. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are conditioned to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens using a bright light.

Q: Are Sealants Only For Children?

A: No. While it’s good to start early in preventing pit and fissure decay, adults can benefit from sealants as well, particularly if they have risk factors such as dry mouth, a history of decay and a lack of access to flourides..


Ask a Grand Rapids Dentist: Tips for Positive Dental Visits for Children

October 9th, 2014 by ifi-admin

Cute little girl on the meadow with flowerAt Tournell Family Dentistry, we know that having a positive experience at the dentist will benefit children. Our professional staff ensures your child feels at home.

As a parent, there are things you can do before your child’s appointment to help ensure the visit is a positive one. The following tips are present courtesy of the ADA.

  • Don’t let anyone tell your child scary stories about dental visits.
  • Don’t let your child know if you feel any anxiety about going to the dentist.
  • Don’t bribe your child to go to the appointment.
  • Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
  • Do try to make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable outing.
  • Set a good example by brushing your own teeth twice a day, cleaning between your teeth daily, eating a balanced diet, and visiting the dentist regularly.

Ask a Grand Rapids Dentist: How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

October 9th, 2014 by ifi-admin

You already know that whitening works, but do you know how?

At Tournell Family Dentistry, we know everyone likes a bright smile. That’s why we use and recommend the Opalescence tooth whitening system.

Stains on teeth can be classified in one of two ways: extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear on the surface of your teeth. Intrinsic stains live between the microcracks in your enamel and deep within your dentin (the layer of your tooth underneath your enamel). Whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses may be able to remove some of the extrinsic stains on your teeth. But only teeth whitening agents can remove the stubborn extrinsic stains and the unsightly intrinsic stains that cause your teeth to look discolored.

Opalescence gels contain an active whitening ingredient (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) that penetrates your enamel to get to discolored molecules. Oxygen molecules from the whitening agents react with the discolored molecules in your teeth, breaking the bonds that hold them together. The oxygen molecules spread, whitening the entire tooth. As a result, you are left with a brighter, whiter smile.


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