Why Do I Find It Difficult To Chew?

Normal Occlusion vs Malocclusion - Rochester Hills, MIAre you having trouble eating your food or even chewing gum correctly? If so, you may have a misaligned jaw bite. This can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and even painful to live with. But how do bad bites occur, and how can they get better?

Defining a Bad Bite

In dentistry, we use the term occlusion to describe how your upper and lower teeth fit together. If there are any issues with your teeth connecting, you may have something called malocclusion or occlusal disease–otherwise known as a bad bite.

Causes and Symptoms of Malocclusion

Bad bites develop for a variety of reasons, including missing teeth, crowded teeth, abnormally shaped teeth, a chipped tooth, or grinding your teeth while sleeping. Sometimes bad bites simply occur over the years due to pressure from regular chewing. Some signs you are dealing with this issue include:

  • Improper teeth alignment
  • Frequently biting your tongue or inner cheek
  • Developing a lisp or other speech problems
  • Discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Breathing through your mouth instead of your nose

These symptoms may range from subtle to severe depending on the type of malocclusion you have. Our dentist in Rochester Hills, MI, Dr. Wolfe, can classify your specific type of bad bite and fix it.

Treatment for a Bad Bite

If your occlusion is not right, do not worry! A bad bite is treatable. The treatment for this condition is usually fairly simple. All Dr. Wolfe may need to do is make small changes to your fillings or polish the enamel surfaces of the problematic tooth. This type of treatment is called occlusal adjustment. Seeing a dentist is the best way to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of your bad bite.


Get Your Bite Right


If your bite is bothering you and you are interested in receiving an occlusal adjustment in Rochester Hills, MI, contact our office at (248) 243-1039  or visit us online and we will set up an appointment for you.

Will an Oral Cancer Screening Hurt?

According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for oral cancers has been decreasing over the past 30 years, but people are still at risk for the disease. Oral cancers are more common in men than women; however, screenings are important for all patients just in case. Better treatment options and early screenings have led to the decline of the death rate, which is good news for patients. A diagnosis of oral cancer can lead to losing your ability to chew, to talk, and/or to taste.

The average age for people to be diagnosed with oral cancer is 62, but don’t think that young people are not vulnerable. About 25 percent of the cancers occur in people under the age of 55. Smokers and heavy alcohol users have the highest risk of oral cancer, but current research is showing a connection between HPV and oral cancer.

What happens during an oral cancer screening?

The cancer screening occurs during your regular office visit. The dentist will examine your mouth, your gums, your tongue and the inside of your cheeks for lesions. Generally, there is no pain associated with this screening. Oral cancer itself may not be painful initially, which can cause it to go unnoticed. Many symptoms of oral cancers are indicative of other oral diseases. Your dentist can discuss your symptoms and options if you show signs of oral cancers or disease. If there is an abnormality, you may have to schedule a biopsy. The dentist can discuss this procedure if you need it. Following a diagnosis of cancer, you may need an MRI or CT scan too determine the extent of the cancer.

Oral Cancer Screening Is Part of Comprehensive Dentistry

When you make an appointment with Dr. Wolfe, you can count on having an oral cancer screening as part of our comprehensive dentistry procedures (Click here to watch a video of Dr. Wolfe explaining what comprehensive dentistry is and why it is important). If you are concerned about oral cancer in Rochester, MN, schedule your appointment with our office today to alleviate your concerns.

Reasons to Treat Gum Disease Early

Dr. Matthew Wolfe explains symptoms of gum disease, what causes gum disease, and the best ways to prevent it. Watch Dr. Wolfe’s video blog to learn more about gum disease.

Dental Implants – Permanently Replace Your Missing Teeth

A dental implant is the most effective way to permanently replace a missing tooh. A titanium screw is placed where your tooth’s root should be located and a crown is attached to the top of the implant. Treatment planning is key in this process because want to make sure your new tooth matches the rest of your perfect smile.

Straighten Your Crooked Teeth Discreetly with Invisalign – Rochester Hills, MI

Are you not happy with the position of their teeth due to crowding or crooked teeth? Braces may be your best option. If you are looking for a more conservative option you may opt for Invisalign. Patients love Invisalign® because there are no brackets or wires. Instead, a thin clear tray is worn over your teeth for a period of time. A beautiful straight smile helps prevent gum disease and even increases the functionality of your teeth. Contact Signature Dentistry of Rochester for your Invisalign consultation in Rochester Hills, MI today!

Preventive Dental Care and What it Offers to You…

Preventive Dental Care, Rochester, MIPreventive dental care is the foundation of your oral heath care and should be performed on a regular basis to ensure a lifelong healthy smile.

The goal of Rochester Hills, MI Dentist Dr. Matthew Wolfe is to help patients maintain their oral health, as well as to help avoid dental problems in the future. Preventive dental care is an important part of a good quality of life, now and as you age.

What Preventive Dentistry Offers

Preventive Dentistry is focused on taking care of one’s oral health in advance to avoid the many risks associated with poor oral hygiene down the road.

Regular brushing and annual dental checkups with Dr. Wolfe are two of the most common methods of preserving lasting oral health. Other oral care tips include flossing daily, using a fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA (American Dental Association) and changing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 times a year.

Visiting our Rochester Hills, MI dentist office for an exam and professional dental cleaning twice a year gives us the opportunity to spot dental problems early on and screen for gum disease and oral cancer. Catching problems early can save time and money down the road.

Preventive dental care is also the best way to avoid tooth cavities, gum disease and worn or damaged teeth. With regular checkups, Dr. Wolfe will be quick to identify issues in your oral health and recommend appropriate treatment before the issue threatens overall dental health or results in tooth loss.

What Preventive Dentistry Offers To You…

With the above benefits, it’s easy to understand that preventive dentistry helps you enjoy not only a comfortable smile, but the overall health benefits of eating and speaking normally. Your dental health also plays a role in helping you maintain overall good health: poor oral health has been linked to an increased risk in the development or severity of cardiovascular and systemic disease.

Is Reflux Affecting Your Oral Health?

ThinkstockPhotos-507881665Acid reflux, GERD, and heartburn are common complaints for many patients today. There are a variety of reasons why someone may experience these common health concerns from genetics to medications to lifestyle habits.

Dr. Matthew Wolfe wants to remind patients of the impact that acid reflux and related disorders can have on your dental health. Understanding how your physical health can affect oral health is the key to living a healthy life and maintaining a functional smile.

Acid reflux occurs when acids from the stomach that are there to aid in the digestion of food make their way back up into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus over time. Typical symptoms include belching, heartburn, bad breath, nausea, difficulty swallowing and regurgitation of food.

What most patients do not realize is that the acid making its way up the esophagus is ending up on the surfaces of the teeth and causing an erosion of enamel over time. This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, tooth decay and eventually damaged teeth as they become weakened.

During a routine preventive care visit to our Rochester Hills, MI dentist office, Dr. Wolfe and his staff will take the time to look for signs of enamel erosion and discuss possible causes with you in order to recommend the appropriate treatment.

If you are being treated for acid reflux or GERD, mention this to Dr. Wolfe at your next visit so that we can be aware of your overall health concerns and educate you on how they can impact dental health. There are also certain medications that can lead to acid reflux, eventually causing tooth enamel erosion. It is important to also discuss any regular medications you are taking during your visit with us.

Maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums is the foundation of a lifelong functional smile- an important part of a good quality of life!

Aging and oral health…

Modern dentistry recommends that we strive to keep our natural teeth healthy for as long as possible for the best quality of life. With the advent of new technology in the dental field and improved standards of oral health in recent years, we are retaining our natural teeth longer than ever before.

This means that we must maintain consistent oral hygiene and schedule regular dental check ups throughout our lifetime. Dr. Matthew Wolfe understands that our oral health needs change as we age and would like to discuss some special concerns for adult and senior patients.

Later in life, our gums may recede, exposing the root surfaces of our teeth. Gum recession can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, periodontal disease, vigorous brushing, and genetic predisposition. Root exposure is problematic mainly because root surfaces are covered by a material called cementum, which is much softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. In addition, certain antibiotics can limit the flow of saliva, which is protective against cavities.

For this reason, older patients must take special care to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly to ensure that root cavities do not occur. For elderly patients with dentures, regular dental visits are also important, as a dentist can ensure a properly fitting denture and can also examine your mouth for signs of periodontal disease and oral cancer, with of which are highly treatable when caught early.

Cosmetic Dentistry for A Lasting Smile

We understand that aesthetics are also important to our older adult patients and we would like to address certain cosmetic procedures that may benefit us as we age.

Throughout our lives, our teeth may begin to darken due to staining or may abrade due to parafunctional habits. Teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are both options for older patients who desire to improve the look of their smiles!

In addition to brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and exercise is important for older adults in maintaining the healthiest mouth possible. Certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are connected to oral health; living a healthier lifestyle can lessen our risks for these diseases.

If you have any questions about specific oral health concerns for older patients, please don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Wolfe during your next visit!

ADA video about aging:

Restorative Dentistry And Your Oral Health

One of the most important aspects of modern dentistry is restoring and maintaining a patient’s dental health because of the role it plays in both overall physical well being and daily quality of life.

Rochester dentist Dr. Matthew Wolfe emphasizes the importance of routine preventive care in keeping the smile healthy and reducing the risks if decay and gum disease, but also provides restorative dental treatment when needed. Teeth can become damaged or lost for a variety of reasons, even when a patient is diligent with their oral hygiene routine.

Portrait of a cute woman laughing Addressing a damaged or missing tooth is necessary for a functional and comfortable smile- and to prevent the development of more complex dental problems down the road.

Treating Damaged Teeth

Dr. Wolfe will thoroughly examine a patient before recommending a plan of treatment for a tooth that has become damaged or diseased. Treatment options can include:

  • dental crowns
  • tooth bonding
  • root canal therapy

Teeth that are chipped, cracked or broken can become further damaged or lost without treatment and may make it difficult to eat and speak normally. Dr. Wolfe can discuss the best option(s) for restoring your smile and ensuring lasting dental health.

Replacing Missing Teeth

For patient who have lost a tooth, to teeth, for any reason, Dr. Wolfe stresses the benefits of prompt replacement to avoid additional dental problems and limited treatment options.

Whenever possible, Dr. Wolfe recommends the use of dental implants to replace teeth or secure a denture. Dental implants provide a permanent, life-like solution that will reduce bone loss in the jaw and enable patients to eat and speak normally- without daily maintenance!

Dr. Wolfe understands the cost concerns that many patients have when it comes to their dental care and works with them to restore their smile within their budget. In many cases, treatment can be phased to achieve results that will provide a lifetime of comfortable smiles.

Oral Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Oral cancer is a growing health concern with cases rising annually around the globe. Although there are several contributing factors, one of the most important is the lack of routine screening. Sadly, a large percentage of diagnosed cases are late stage disease which, if caught earlier, could have been largely curable.

The survival rate continues to hover around 50% due to the overall lack of screening that contributes to late stage diagnosis. This is especially true of developing economies where access to dental health care is very limited.

ThinkstockPhotos-151338885 Spotting oral cancer in the early stage is the goal of Rochester Hills, MI dentist Dr. Matthew Wolfe. We perform an oral cancer screening during routine preventive dental care in an effort to find disease in the early stage and give patients the greatest chance for a full recovery. It is also important to be aware of the common signs of oral cancer and understand the risks that certain lifestyle habits can present. Patients who use tobacco products of any kind have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco products or have a family history of oral cancer, mention this to Dr. Wolfe so that we may educate you further on possible health concerns and be aware of your higher risk status.

Common signs of oral cancer

  • Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
  • Difficulty swallowing

Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- many patients do not even realize that their dentist has performed the screening while they did a thorough dental exam. Twice yearly visits to Signature Dentistry in Rochester Hills, MI will enhance our ability to spot early signs of cancer as we develop a more in depth knowledge of your oral health.

Routine dental care not only supports a good quality of life, but can be life saving!

Sip all day, get decay

Did you know that tooth decay (cavities), is the number one chronic illness in children?

The good news is, tooth decay is preventable!

Proper oral hygiene and choosing healthy food and beverages can help prevent cavities from forming. It is recommended by the American Dental Assocaition (ADA) to brush 2 x daily for just two minutes each time. By brushing for the entire 2 minutes, that allows your toothbrush to reach the entire inside, outside and biting surfaces of the teeth. 516314543

But, what about in-between the teeth? The contacts between are teeth are too tight for even the smallest tooth brush bristles to get into. Using some form of floss, go-between floss sticks, or the floss string, are great tools to reach the areas between the teeth the tooth brush can’t get to.

Great oral hygiene is the first step to preventing tooth decay, but one of the biggest contributing factors to dental decay is the food and drinks we consume. Cavities form when a carbohydrate (including sugars) is combined with plaque (bacteria in the mouth). An acid is produced which will attack the teeth and eat away the enamel.

155832793In dentistry we have a saying, “Sip all day, get decay”. Studies show that it isn’t the amount of carbs you consume that cause decay, it is the FREQUENCY of times your teeth are exposed.

Liquid sugars, such as sodas, juices and sport drinks are some of the most common contributing factors. Other factors include snacks like pretzels, chips and candy. Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes. With every bite or sip you take, the 20 minutes re-starts. If you are continuously eating or drinking, your saliva never has a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth, putting you at an increased risk of cavities.

If you have any questions about your oral hygiene, please do not hesitate to call. Make sure to visit our office regularly for routine preventive care so that any problem areas can be addressed early, when conservative treatment is most effective.

Smoking has oral health effects too!

We a understand that smoking is detrimental to your health. As if the threat of cancer and heart disease wasn’t enough to make you finally kick the habit, have you ever considered how damaging tobacco is to your teeth? Yes, it is true that we at Signature Dentistry in Rochester are a bit biased, but if you are struggling to find the motivation to quit smoking, there are some oral health implications that we would like you to consider:

This is an obvious one, but smoking causes bad breath and stained teeth! Trying to impress someone special? Wow them with your fresh smoke-free breath and pearly white smile.

Cigarettes and cigars can also cause a dulled sense of taste. Imagine not being able to enjoy that cheeseburger or chocolate cake as much as you used to.

Smoking can also impair the healing process after a dental procedure and smokers have a higher rate of oral cancer and gum disease than non-smokers.

Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of developing tobacco-related health complications. Dr. Wolfe knows that this is easier said than done due to the highly addictive nature of nicotine. For this reason, it is incredibly important to have a plan and constantly remind yourself of your reasons for wanting to kick your smoking habit. Writing down your reasons and re-reading them every time you have a craving, exercising regularly, chewing gum, and reaching out to supportive friends and family can all be extremely beneficial in your journey to quit smoking.

Dr. Wolfe cares deeply about his dental patients and would like to remind everyone who is struggling to quit that his staff is 100% supportive of your commitment and would be happy to help you in any way possible. Set goals such as a teeth whitening treatment after a certain number of smoke free days- your bright new smile can be the inspiration you need to keep living nicotine-free.

Take a deep breath—this is the beginning of a happy and healthy new life!