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Every good oral hygiene regimen has two parts — the part you do (brushing and flossing) and the part we do (professional cleanings and checkups).

But what’s involved with “professional cleanings” — and why do we perform it? The “why” is pretty straightforward — we’re removing plaque and calculus. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria and food remnant that adheres to tooth surfaces and is the main culprit in dental disease. Calculus (tartar) is calcified plaque that occurs over time as the minerals in saliva are deposited in bacterial plaque. It isn’t possible for you to remove calculus regardless of your efforts or hygiene efficiency. Ample research has shown that calculus forms even in germ-free animals during research studies, so regular cleanings are a must to keep you healthy.

The “what” depends on your mouth’s state of health and your particular needs. The following are some techniques we may use to clean your teeth and help you achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Scaling. This is a general term for techniques to manually remove plaque and calculus from tooth surfaces. Scaling typically encompasses two approaches: instruments specially designed to remove plaque and calculus by hand; or ultrasonic equipment that uses vibration to loosen and remove plaque and calculus, followed by flushing with water and/or medicaments. Scaling can be used for coronal maintenance (the visible surfaces above the gum line) or periodontal (below the gum line).

Root planing. Similar to scaling, this is a more in-depth technique for patients with periodontal disease to remove plaque and calculus far below the gum line. It literally means to “plane” away built up layers of plaque and calculus from the root surfaces. This technique may employ hand instruments, or an ultrasonic application and flushing followed by hand instruments to remove any remaining plaque and calculus.

Polishing. This is an additional procedure performed on the teeth of patients who exhibit good oral health, and what you most associate with that “squeaky clean” feeling afterward. It’s often performed after scaling to help smooth the surface of the teeth, using a rubber polishing cup that holds a polishing paste and is applied with a motorized device. Polishing, though, isn’t merely a cosmetic technique, but also a preventative measure to remove plaque and staining from teeth — a part of an overall approach known as “prophylaxis,” originating from the Greek “to guard or prevent beforehand.”

If you would like more information on teeth cleaning and plaque removal, 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 “Teeth Polishing.”


Madeline Stuart, acclaimed fashion model; Chris Burke, successful actor; Collette Divitto, founder of Collettey's Cookies. Each of them is accomplished in their own right—and each has Down syndrome. In October, Down Syndrome Awareness Month recognizes the achievements of people with Down syndrome overcoming incredible challenges. One such challenge, keeping their dental health on track, is something they and their families face every day.

Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder that happens when the body's cells contain an extra copy of chromosome number 21. This can cause a wide range of physical, intellectual and developmental impairments that, among other things, can contribute to dental disease and other oral health concerns.

But oral problems can be minimized, especially during childhood. Here are four ways to better manage dental care for a child with Down syndrome.

Begin dental visits early. Down syndrome patients can have physical challenges that could result in delayed tooth eruption, undersized teeth or smaller jaws that contribute to poor bite development and greater risk of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. To stay ahead of any developing issues, you should begin regular visits to the dentist no later than the child's first birthday.

Be aware of dental anxiety. Some children with Down syndrome experience significant anxiety about the clinical aspects of their care. We strive to provide a comfortable, caring environment for all patients, including those with special needs. A variety of relaxation techniques as well as sedation options may help to reduce anxiety.

Coordinate medical and dental care. Medical problems can affect dental care. Be sure, then, to keep us informed about your child's health issues. For example, heart defects are more common among those with Down syndrome, and dental patients with heart conditions may need to be treated with antibiotics before certain dental procedures to minimize the chances of infection.

Make daily hygiene easier. Daily brushing and flossing are important for everyone's dental health, but they can be difficult for someone with Down syndrome. In some cases, you may have to assist or even perform these tasks for your child. You can make oral hygiene easier by choosing toothbrushes that fit your child's level of physical ability or using special flossing devices.

The physical disabilities of those with Down syndrome fall along a wide spectrum, with some individuals needing more help than others. Tailoring their dental care to their specific needs and capabilities can help keep your child's teeth and gums healthy for the long term.

If you would like more information about providing dental care for children with disabilities, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Managing Tooth Decay in Children With Chronic Diseases” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Summit Dental Group
October 08, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Preventive Care  

Preventive care is the key to a healthy smile. Fortunately, it's easy to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease with good oral hygiene and checkups with your Waterford, MI, dentist, Dr. Steven Rollins.

Preventive care at home

Ben Franklin was right when he said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If you don't change the oil in your car or service your home's heating system, you're more likely to face an expensive repair.

Preventive care is just as important for your oral health. When you don't take care of your teeth, your risk of tooth decay, inflamed gums, and other dental problems increase.

Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste is the simplest way to reduce plaque buildup. Although the sticky film is a factor in cavities and gum disease, it is easily removed by brushing and flossing. If you brush as quickly as possible, you may want to reconsider your speedy approach to oral hygiene. Brushing for at least two minutes removes a much higher percentage of plaque than brushing for thirty seconds.

Flossing daily will prevent plaque from building up between your teeth. If you haven't been flossing because you find the process difficult, try flossing picks, interdental brushes, or water flossers instead.

Preventive care from your Waterford dentist

Even if you're a thorough brusher and flosser, you may still miss a few spots. During your dental checkup appointment, you'll receive a dental cleaning that will remove every speck of plaque and tartar. (Tartar is the hard brown deposit that forms if plaque remains on your teeth too long.) Cleanings not only help you decrease your cavity and gum disease risk but also make your smile sparkle.

Every checkup includes a dental examination. Cavities aren't the only focus of the exam. Your dentist will also check for signs of gum disease, offer an oral cancer screening, and check the condition of your teeth and dental restorations. If he notices cavities or other dental issues, you'll receive prompt treatment that will protect and preserve your oral health.

Protect your smile with regular dental visits! Call your dentist in Waterford, MI, Dr. Steven Rollins of Summit Dental Group, at (248) 681-3600 to schedule your appointment.

By Summit Dental Group
October 06, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Invisalign  

A beautiful smile makes you--and everyone around you--happy, but remember, it contributes to your oral and overall health, too. At Summit Dental Group in Waterford, MI, Dr. Steven Rollins crafts perfect smiles for teens and adults who want straight teeth for life. Invisalign aligners deliver them easily and discreetly. Here's information about their benefits.

What is Invisalign?

FDA-approved in the 1990s, Invisalign is a technologically advanced orthodontic system. Instead of metal wires, rubber bands, and brackets, a teen or adult wears customized acrylic aligners.

These thin, clear appliances address your specific smile alignment issues, and over six to 18 months, they shift teeth into positions that look great and promote excellent oral health.

Individuals whose jaws are fully grown and who have a complete set of adult teeth benefit most from Invisalign. In his Waterford, MI, office, your dentist will examine and scan your teeth using a special X-ray technique and then, formulate your care plan.

What is a typical treatment plan like?

Most patients wear a series of 18 to 30 sets of fully removable aligners. Each pair is worn 20 to 22 hours a day for about two weeks. Monthly, you see Dr. Rollins at Summit Dental Group where he will assess your progress and deliver your next aligner pairs. You take your aligners out for flossing, brushing, and meals only.

When you complete your care sequence, you may wear your last aligner pair as retainers at night for several months, or you may have a permanent, bonded-on retainer along the tongue-side of your teeth. Dr. Rollins will recommend the best option for you.

The benefits of Invisalign

1. Invisalign has corrected millions of smiles across the world. So, you know it's reliable and successful.

2. The aligners are comfortable, smooth, and unnoticeable, making them attractive to busy adult patients.

3. They may be used for many orthodontic problems, including gaps, crowding, overbite, protruding front teeth, and more.

4. The aligners are crafted in one piece from thin SmartTrack acrylic. That means no wires, brackets, or ligatures.

5. You get that great smile.

Find out more

Invisalign is an amazing treatment choice for qualified orthodontic patients. For a personalized consultation with your dentist, phone Summit Dental Group in Waterford, MI. Dr. Steven Rollins will meet with you to discuss your options. Call today: (248) 681-3600.

By Summit Dental Group
September 29, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

The Golden Globes ceremony is a night when Hollywood stars shine their brightest. At the recent red-carpet event, leading man Viggo Mortensen had plenty to smile about: Green Book, the movie in which he co-starred, picked up the award for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy. But fans looking at the veteran actor's big smile today might not realize that it once looked very different. A few years ago, an accident during the filming of The Two Towers took a major chip out of Mortensen's front tooth!

That might be OK for some movies (think The Hangover or Dumb and Dumber)—but it's not so great for everyday life. Fortunately, Mortensen visited a dentist promptly, and now his smile is picture-perfect. How was that accomplished? He didn't say…but generally, the best treatment for a chipped tooth depends on how much of the tooth's structure is missing.

If the tooth has only a small chip or crack, it's often possible to restore it via cosmetic bonding. This procedure can be done right in the dental office, frequently in a single visit. Here's how it works: First the tooth is cleaned and prepared, and then a tooth-colored resin is applied to the area being restored. After it is cured (hardened) with a special light, additional layers may be applied to build up the missing structure. When properly cared for, a tooth restored this way can look good for several years.

For a longer-lasting restoration, veneers may be recommended. These are wafer-thin shells made of durable material (most often porcelain) that cover the front (visible) surfaces of teeth. Strong and lifelike, veneers can match the exact color of your natural teeth—or give you the bright, high-wattage smile you've always wanted. No wonder they're so popular in Hollywood! Because veneers are custom-made for you, getting them may require several office visits.

If a chip or crack extends to the inner pulp of the tooth, a root canal procedure will be needed to keep the tooth from becoming infected—a situation that could have serious consequences. But you shouldn't fear a root canal! The procedure generally causes no more discomfort than filling a cavity (though it takes a little longer), and it can help save teeth that would otherwise be lost. After a root canal, a crown (cap) is generally needed to restore the visible part of the tooth.

When a damaged tooth can't be restored, it needs to be extracted (removed) and replaced. Today's best option for tooth replacement is a dental implant—a small, screw-shaped post inserted into the bone of your jaw that anchors a lifelike, fully functional crown. Implants require very little special care and can look great for many years, making them a top choice for tooth replacement

If you have questions about chipped or damaged teeth, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”

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