What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots, of which are made of titanium. An implant is aimed at providing a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. Instead of individual crowns, some patients may have attachments on their implant that support a removable denture.

For more information or to read out service, please click the link: https://www.smiletc.com/services/dentistry/dental-implants-traverse-city.html

What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

There are many advantages to dental implants for which I have listed below:

An improved appearance

Dental implants will look and feel like your own teeth and because Dental Implants are designed to fuse and mold with your bone, they will become permanent.

Improved speech

Poor-fitted dentures can cause your teeth to slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur particular words. With our Dental implants, they’ll allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.

Improved comfort

Our Dental Implants become part of you and will help eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.

Easier eating

Sliding dentures often make chewing and consuming food difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without discomfort.

Improved self-esteem.

Dental implants will help give you back your smile and help you feel more confident for when speaking and out in public.

Improved oral health.

Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.


Dental Implants are very durable and will last for many years. With good care and regular checkups, many implants will last a lifetime.


Removable dentures of course are removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.

How Successful Are Dental Implants?

Success rates of dental implants can vary depending on a few factors however the most crucial factor being where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, with our service and from our previous clients we have a success rate of over 98%.

I’m sure you’d like to try out our service, for more information or to read out service and book an appointment, please click the link: https://www.smiletc.com/services/dentistry/dental-implants-traverse-city.html

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Laser Services Now Available!!

The 2016 upgrade to the LightWalker laser allows us to offer laser treatments for wrinkle reduction, lip enhancement, reduction of the effects of sleep apnea, and lessening the amplitude of snoring.

Smoothlase for wrinkle reduction

As we get older, our skin loses its tightness and is more susceptible to the formation of lines and wrinkles. Delicate skin around your mouth is often the first to experience fine lines, as sun damage affects this area the most. Also, repeated facial expressions, such as smiling and frowning, can contribute to wrinkles around your smile.

Smoothlase is an FDA-cleared non-invasive procedure designed to reduce wrinkles and lines around the mouth through laser treatment. Smoothlase’s non-ablative laser gently delivers heat to the inside of the mouth, causing tissue tightening. This tightening plumps nasolabial folds to promote a smoothing effect around the outside of your mouth. As a result, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are reduced.

The number of treatments depends on your age, so, a 30 year old would need 3 visits, whereas a 60 year old would need 6. Each session takes around 60 minutes with no discomfort or downtime afterword. Visits are 3 weeks apart to allow your collagen to develop.

• FDA approved
• Natural smoothing of lines and wrinkles around mouth by creating new, more elastic, collagen which builds over time
• Non-invasive procedure
• No discomfort or side effects
• No facial redness or scabbing
• No downtime

Liplase for natural lip enhancement

Liplase is a more focused application of the Smoothlase technique, this time for de-aging the lips. It is also a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment. It is performed from inside and outside of the lips on the vermillion border.

For Liplase, there are 2 or 3 treatments of approximately 40 minutes each needed. Visits are scheduled 3 weeks apart to allow your collagen to develop. The laser energy will be applied across the inside of the lip border, then the outside. Post treatment, the outer, dry part of the lips will go through 3 phases:
1. Slight swelling/inflammation for the first 24 hours
2. Surface peeling the 2nd to 3rd day, similar to chapped lips
3. New collagen filling up the lips on days 1-30

Dr. Hutchison recommends applying Vitamin E liberally throughout the day for the first 3 days.

• No bruising
• No injections
• No foreign/synthetic materials
• Fuller, tighter, rejuvenated lips
• Shorter in-office procedures
• No downtime

Once your new collagen is made, it should degrade at the same rate that the rest of the collagen in your body is degrading. That rate is dependent upon your diet and lifestyle; your overall state of health. That being said, for most people, a single visit touch-up treatment 12 months later is recommended to maintain your lips’ plumpness, tone, and elasticity.

Nightlase for reduction of the effects of sleep apnea, and lessening the amplitude of snoring

A couple of years ago experts in the field of Laser Treatment realized that the method could be used even for a tightening of the tissue in the throat and snoring and sleep apnea problems could be addressed.

Why is snoring a problem?
Anyone who has been sleeping next to someone who snores understands the problem of snoring. Snoring affects not only the person who snores, but their partner and family members. Many relationships are destroyed or stressed due to snoring.
What many do not know is that snoring also causes many physical problems.
Snoring can cause:
• Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension
• Sleepiness and fatigue during the day
• Morning headaches
• Impotence in men
• Depression
• Due to fatigue we see that snorers are seven times more likely to be involved in car accidents
• Due to fatigue we can see that many snorers easily lose patience and become aggressive
• Snorers are overrepresented among people who have heart attacks and strokes
What can you do to reduce snoring?
• Lose weight if you are overweight
• Avoid alcohol before bedtime
• Avoid eating large meals 2 hours before bedtime
• Avoid energy drinks such as Red Bull
• Surgical Treatments involving hospitalization, general anesthesia, pain and prolonged healing.

Nightlase Treatment is a patent-pending, fast, non-invasive and friendly way of increasing the quality of a patient’s sleep. Nightlase lessens the effects of sleep apnea and decreases the severity of snoring by the tightening of tissue through the use of gentle, superficial, Erbium:Yag laser light. Research has shown that Nightlase reduces and attenuates snoring and provides an effective, non-invasive way to lessen the effects of sleep apnea. Nightlase requires no device to be worn during sleep, involves no chemical treatment, and no anesthesia. It is gentle and easy for the patient and their loved ones to regain a good night’s sleep.

Two or three appointments will be needed. Each treatment takes about 40 minutes. You can eat, drink, talk, and live a completely normal life immediately after the painless Nightlase treatment. Call our office to schedule an exam/consultation with Dr. Hutchison to determine if Nightlase is a treatment that you could benefit from.

Mention this blog when you call to schedule a consultation (231)946-9644, and the consultation will be free!

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Single Visit Crowns?

We believe in a conservative approach to dentistry that uses the best in materials and technology, like CEREC. What does that mean to you? It means you’re in and out of the chair in about an hour, without the need for a followup appointment. It also means great comfort and a more accurate fit for restorations. So, if you’ve been putting off treatment because you were concerned about all you thought was involved, give us a call today to see if CEREC is right for you.

Call us today to learn more and to schedule your appointment!  (231) 946-9644  Associates in Family Dentistry – Experience the Difference!
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Healthy Habits!

Start Early  

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear—which is typically around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.

kids fluoride amounts image

The good news is that tooth decay is preventable! Most children have a full set of 20 baby teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.

Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
  • For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
  • For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
  • Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.


Teething is one of the first rituals of life. Although newborns usually have no visible teeth, most baby teeth begin to appear generally about six months after birth. During the first few years of your child’s life, all 20 baby teeth will push through the gums and most children will have their full set of these teeth in place by age 3. A baby’s front four teeth usually erupt or push through the gums at about six months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months. As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal symptoms for a teething baby. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.

First Dental Visit

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The ADA recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.

Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable. To make the visit positive:

  • Consider making a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
  • Keep any anxiety or concerns you have to yourself. Children can pick up on your emotions, so emphasize the positive.
  • Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
  • Never bribe your child.
  • Talk with your child about visiting the dentist.

During this visit, you can expect the dentist to:

  • Inspect for oral injuries, cavities or other problems.
  • Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
  • Clean your child’s teeth and provide tips for daily care.
  • Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumbsucking habits.
  • Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up.


Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes. Fluoride is also added to some community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It also helps repair weakened enamel. Bottled water may not contain fluoride; therefore, children who regularly drink bottled water or unfluoridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride. If you are not sure if your tap water has fluoride, contact your local or state health department or water supplier.

Discuss your child’s fluoride needs with your dentist or pediatrician. They may recommend a fluoride supplement if you live in an area where the community water is not fluoridated.


Infants and young children may suck on thumbs, other fingers or pacifiers. Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey, juice or sweetened drinks, can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay can also begin when cavity-causing bacteria pass from saliva in a mother or caregiver’s mouth to the baby. When the mother or caregiver puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby.

5 ways to prevent cavities in kids

View the infographic to learn 5 ways to prevent kids’ tooth decay!

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Frequent Headaches? The Cause May Be in Your Mouth

Frequent Headaches? The Cause May Be in Your Mouth

Did you know that in many cases, frequent, or even constant headache pain can be treated more effectively by your dentist, instead of by your GP? Headaches are strange beasts. Their cause is often elusive, and they can range from mildly irritating to unrelentingly painful. Since frequent headaches can interfere with your quality of life, if you experience pain that remains after treatment from a physician, you might wish to see your dentist. After all, you may be suffering from what is called a “dental headache.”

What Can Trigger a Dental Headache?

Most dental headaches are classified as “tension” headaches, and are the result of muscular tension that builds up in the region of the face and jaw. Frequently, this tension is a symptom of malocclusion, or – to put it simply – a “bad bite.” All sorts of things can cause a bad bite, including previous dentistry, orthodontics or incoming wisdom teeth. Having a bad bite essentially means the chewing surfaces of the teeth do not meet along a smooth curve when the jaw is shut. This causes the muscles in the jaw to continually overcompensate for the imbalance, resulting in pain and soreness that radiates throughout the head.

Understanding “Referred” Pain

This radiating of headache pain is part of why a headache can be difficult to diagnose.  Because of the complex nerve structure in this region of the body, where pain is often “referred” from its place of origin to other locations throughout the skull, patients experiencing such pain can unwittingly steer a doctor away from a proper diagnosis by merely focusing on the localization of the pain. So, in instances of referred pain, even though we may be experiencing discomfort in the temple region of our head, for example, the true origin of the pain may be in the musculature surrounding the jaw and the result of an improper bite. The good news is, malocclusion can be fixed rather easily by reshaping teeth that might be too high, or by wearing an orthotic that corrects your bite over time.

TMJ and Bruxism

Two other issues we see in the dental world that can result in frequent and/or constant headaches are Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) and teeth grinding (Bruxism).  TMJD occurs as a result of problems with the mechanism of the jaw and its surrounding muscles, and 99% of the time is the result of an injury to the joint. Anything from whiplash to sports trauma, or even something as simple as having your mouth extended too wide for too long in your dentist’s office can trigger TMJ.  If you experience frequent “popping” or “clicking” of your jaw, particularly if you’ve ever experienced trauma in this area of your head, you’ll want to visit your dentist for a checkup.

Lastly, Bruxism, a habit even babies can develop, can be another cause of frequent headaches.  After all, grinding your teeth for hours upon hours as if you were consuming a Thanksgiving feast all night long, puts the muscles of your face through a tremendous workout without rest. If you find that you often wake with a headache that goes away shortly after rising, you may be, in fact, grinding your teeth.

So there you have it, the story of the headache your dentist is best primed to correct. It’s also worth mentioning that, aside from headache causes described above, headache pain can also be caused by more familiar dentistry issues like cavities, a tooth infection or an abscess.  All the more reason to visit your dentist to see if that headache you’re always suffering from is actually coming from your mouth.

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Does Your Mouth Tingle When You Eat Certain Foods? It May Be Your Allergies.

Does Your Mouth Tingle When You Eat Certain Foods? It May Be Your Allergies.

If you’re inclined to spend March through October indoors, do laundry more frequently than you wish, carry a bottle of nasal spray with you at all times, and start each day by quickly browsing pollen counts online, we’re going to help you confirm a hunch. First, a question: have you ever felt your mouth get itchy after enjoying certain types of fruits and vegetables? Or how about your ears? If you’re an allergy sufferer, and could always swear you experience an allergic reaction to certain fruits, nuts and vegetables, you’re probably right. You just might have what’s called “Oral Allergy Syndrome.” Read on.

What is Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)?

OAS is a food-related allergy to certain proteins located in specific fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. It’s also known as both food-pollen allergy syndrome and fruit-pollen syndrome, and it affects about 25% of people with “common” allergies. The reason you experience a reaction to these foods is that there are food proteins in fruits, nuts and vegetables that closely resemble those contained in tree and weed pollen.

As a result, the immune system recognizes the proteins as an allergen and triggers the release of histamine. And we all know what happens after that! The all-too-familiar itchy, scratchy, burning sensation that tells us we’ve stumbled onto something our body doesn’t like very much. For most people with OAS, the effects are most often localized to the mouth, but can sometimes also be felt in the back of the throat, eyes, ears, nose and skin. Scientists refer to this response of the immune system to a related, but not identical allergen, as cross-reactivity.

A List of Common Offenders

  • If you’re allergic to alder pollen: almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, peaches, pears, parsley, strawberry, and raspberry
  • Birch pollen: almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, carrots, celery, cherries, chicory, coriander, fennel, fig, hazel nuts, kiwifruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, strawberries, wheat; Potential: walnuts
  • Grass pollen: fig, melons, tomatoes, oranges
  • Mugwort pollen: carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, peppers, and sunflower
  • Ragweed pollen: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, green pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, Echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea

Reducing the Symptoms

  1. Keep a food diary: Make note of specific food triggers. You may find, for example, that different varieties of the same fruit trigger a lesser response than another of the same variety. For example, Granny Smith vs. Jonagold apples.
  2. Peel the fruit first: For some this works, and if you’re concerned at all about pesticides, this helps decrease that threat as well.
  3. Purchase and eat fresh: For some, the fresher, the better. Storage can increase the allergens in some fruits.
  4. Cook ‘em up: Cooking changes the shapes of these offending proteins, keeping the immune response in check. So make pie instead of eating apples raw!
  5. Get the shot: Occasionally, allergy shots can provide relief from OAS reactions, so ask your allergist if it’s right for you.

Give our office a call today. Conveniently situated on the West Side of Traverse City, serving the Grand Traverse region and beyond.  (231) 946-9644.

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Saving Space for Permanent Teeth with a Space Maintainer

Your Teen's Retainer. Why Wear It, And How To Care For It

If your little one’s teeth have begun to fall out, and their permanent replacements appear to be lagging far behind, you may wish to consider a space maintainer to minimize future orthodontic work. Believe it or not, the absence of your child’s teeth might seem cute now, but those tiny little gaps can cause deep gouges in your pocketbook as you watch them fill up with teeth that don’t belong there. Space maintainers are simple to use, kids get along fine with them, and they have become the de-facto standard for protecting the cosmetic and functional aspects of your growing child’s mouth.

Why Your Child Might Need a Space Maintainer

When a child’s tooth is lost early due to trauma, tooth decay, or nature’s insistence that it drop out before its permanent replacement is due, a space maintainer can be used to hold back the natural inclination of teeth to move forward. Without preventing this movement, teeth that should be in the rear of our mouths end up along the sides, and take up precious real estate destined for another tenant. The result is overcrowding, and in some cases impacted teeth. In the end, it’s always easier to save the space now, then create it later.

How They Work

Space maintainers are very similar in purpose and design to an adult “bridge,” but instead of placing artificial teeth over the gap, the space is kept open to accommodate its future resident. At Associates in Family Dentistry, we make most space maintainers out of metal, (sometimes both metal and plastic), and custom-mold them to the shape of your child’s mouth. In most cases, the maintainer is made up of a metal band attached to a rectangular-shaped wire that butts up against the tooth across the gap. This acts to temporarily preserve the space where the baby tooth once was, so its replacement can erupt without obstruction. To some, the final product looks like an old Radio Flyer® snow sled, or a shoe horn you might use to maintain the shape of unworn shoes.

Does My Child Need One?

It’s important to note that dental space maintainers are not required for all childhood tooth loss, and that we’re not going to suggest you create a decade worth of space maintainers as each tooth falls out of your child’s mouth. Our bodies are quite effective at saving space for the loss of our front teeth as well as our incisors – it’s the teeth along the sides of our mouths that tend to cause the majority of complications. Of course, each mouth is different, so be sure to discuss with us the best course of action for you and your child. If your child has recently lost a tooth, or several teeth, and it’ll be awhile before they’re scheduled to see Dr. Hutchison or Dr. Hershey, give us a call at (231) 946-9644 to see if you should come in a little earlier.

Using a space maintainer is an affordable and effective way to ensure your child’s teeth come in where they are supposed to, and when they’re ready. It can have a positive effect on your wallet, reduce the amount of time your child needs to wear braces, and control the cosmetic appearance of your child’s teeth and mouth.

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Little Teeth Truths: Should children get dental sealants to protect baby teeth from cavities?

AAPD_LTTs_SealantsBabyTeeth_FINALQuestion: Should children get dental sealants to protect baby teeth from cavities?

Answer: The best way to prevent cavities is to brush each morning and night and floss daily, but sometimes little teeth need a little extra help from dental sealants. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that prevent food and bacteria from getting stuck in the grooves of back teeth, helping to avoid cavities. Many parents might think sealants are only for big teeth, but baby teeth can benefit from sealants, too! Cavities can be common in little teeth, with six out of ten children experiencing a cavity by age five. In fact, untreated cavities in baby teeth can spread and cause decay in other teeth – including permanent teeth. Of course, remember that dental sealants are most effective with regular brushing, flossing, visits to the dentist and a proper diet. Be sure to talk with your pediatric dentist about the best approach for your child’s dental health.

Source: Little Teeth Truths: Should children get dental sealants to protect baby teeth from cavities? | The Big Authority on Little Teeth

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CEREC by Sirona

Single visit crowns in our Traverse City Dental Office?! Why YES! We do that and so much more!  So what is CEREC and how can you benefit from this technology?  Check out this link to learn more.

Both Dr. Hutchison and Dr. Hershey are here for all of your dental needs.  Give us a call at (231) 946-9644 and experience the difference.


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7 Ways Your Dental Assistant is Your Best Ally

With all sorts of reasons to celebrate in March … St. Patrick’s Day, National Women’s History Month, National Food Nutrition Month, Pecan Month (that’s a good one!), there are two we bet you’ve never heard of, that are adored by the people who keep your teeth healthy – yes, us! First, on March 6th, there’s Dentist’s Day, but kicking off the month beginning on March 2nd, and rolling through March 8th, there is Dental Assistant Recognition Week. Dental assistants are the glue that keeps a dental office together, and are a tremendous asset in keeping your kids calm at the office. Let’s learn more about how they can help you and your family.

How Your Dental Assistant Works With You During An Appointment

  1. By taking and developing dental radiographs (X-rays): This is a great time to learn about digital X-rays and what they allow a dentist to see. Ask questions and learn about what’s going on in a child’s mouth! X-rays are cool!
  2. Getting an accounting of your child’s medical history: Your dental assistant is your initial connection with your dentist. Be sure to keep them abreast of any new medications or supplements you may be taking since your last appointment, so the doctor knows if any treatment adjustments need to be made on your behalf. As an extra precaution, be sure to ask the doctor if they were able to look over your updated drug and supplement information before they begin their work.
  3. Serving as an infection control officer: This is one reason to love your dental assistant! They help keep your children safe by preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment that will be used to work on their teeth and gums.
  4. Helping keep your kids comfortable before, during and after dental treatment: Enough said!
  5. Providing follow-up care instructions: Knowing what to do after your child has visited the dentist is just as important as knowing what to do beforehand. Your dental assistant will give you all of this info so you’re in good shape once you leave.
  6. Teaching your kids good oral care habits: Simple visual guidelines for tooth brushing and flossing are one of the dental assistant’s specialties – ask them to demonstrate!
  7. Taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts: When your child’s retainer, bridge, or mouth guard fits perfectly, you can thank your dental assistant.

So, there you have it, a dental assistant is your ongoing ally – thank them often! And, if you just happen to be in our office the first week of March, be sure to thank them for their help all year round!

Situated on the West Side of Traverse City , a convenient stop with an incredible view of West Bay while at the dentist ! Call us today to schedule your appointment (231) 946-9644 and Experience the Difference!


Courtesy of RevenueWell
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