Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Does your child wet the bed at night? Does your child show signs of daytime drowsiness, Attention Deficit Disorder, aggressive behavior, or is having difficulty in school? What about stunted growth, chronic allergies, mouth breathing, disrupted sleep and nightmares? Believe it or not, your child’s dentist can help.

That’s because conditions such as narrow dental arches, overcrowded teeth, overbites, underdeveloped or narrow airways, jaw positioning, and convex facial profiles such as a receding chin can all contribute to Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB).

It affects as many as 40 million children in the U.S., can cause bed wetting, and can also lead to greater health issues into adulthood, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and increases the risk of suffering a stroke.

The good news is that your child doesn’t have to carry these problems into adulthood. All you need is an early intervention and a healthy start.

What is Sleep-Disordered Breathing?

The term Sleep-Disordered Breathing encompasses many chronic conditions that disturb sleep, such as sleep apnea, snoring, and restricted airways, which occurs when throat muscles relax during the sleep cycle. When a child’s airway is compromised, air and oxygen can’t flow freely to the brain, which interrupts the sleep cycle and brain function the next day.

Symptoms of Sleep-Disordered Breathing include ADD and ADHD, bed wetting, chronic allergies, difficulty in school, mouth breathing, snoring, restless sleep, stunted growth, nightmares, crowded or crooked teeth, dark circles under the eyes, swollen tonsils, aggressive behavior, overbite, underdeveloped lower jaw, and daytime drowsiness.

Generally speaking, these issues can be treated with oral devices – like a mouthguard that is worn at night – designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward. Unfortunately, many health care providers often dismiss SDB symptoms and ignore what could snowball into a larger health issue in adulthood.

This makes it all that more important to discuss with your child’s dentist during your next visit, especially if your child is displaying symptoms of SDB.

Why a Healthy Start is Important to a Child’s Development

As part of the Healthy Start program, your child will be assessed, and if necessary, fitted for an orthodontic mouthpiece. This is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment option designed to open a child’s airway while training the tongue and other muscles in the face to correct jaw alignment, expand dental arches to prevent overcrowding, and develop good oral habits.

For example, five-year-old Thomas was experiencing horrible nightmares every night. He would wake up drenched in sweat, loudly grind his teeth, and would sneak into bed with his parents or brother every night.

By chance, Thomas was at his brother’s dentist appointment when staff noticed dark circles under the boy’s eyes and asked his mother how well everyone was sleeping at night. After filling out a standard assessment for Sleep-Disordered Breathing, it became clear that Thomas had issues with his airways becoming restricted at night. Thomas was fitted for an orthopedic mouth piece called “The Habit Corrector,” and immediately, Thomas began sleeping through the night without nightmares and night sweats.

About Complete Health Dentistry

As the only Healthy Start provider in Grand Rapids, Complete Health Dentistry can help tackle pediatric sleep disorders with several safe and effective solutions. Complete Health Dentistry will identify the symptoms, evaluate the root causes, and will develop a custom, non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical treatment plan to help your child’s jaw, airways and good oral habits to develop properly.

Not only will choosing a dentist who cares so much about preventative dentistry save your teeth, time, and money, but also allows you to enjoy a healthy smile – all while contributing to you and your child’s overall health and wellness. If you are interested in setting up an appointment at our Grand Rapids office, please click here, or give us a call at (616) 458-7267.

Nitrous Oxide For My Child?

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is the most common form of sedation dentistry on the market. When laughing gas is inhaled, the patient instantly feels calmer and does not experience pain. Because it’s so easy to use, our Grand Rapids, MI children’s dentist uses laughing gas for children with dental anxiety.

Please contact our dental office today with any additional questions or concerns. Read on to learn why nitrous oxide is safe and effective for patients of all ages. Please contact us with any additional questions or concerns.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Laughing gas can be used for a range of dental procedures, from teeth cleanings to fillings. However, some procedures will still require local anesthesia to manage pain. If your child has a history of dental anxiety, laughing gas may be used to help your child relax while receiving dental care.

Fast Recovery Time

We administer laughing gas via a mask we place over your child’s nose. This mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen works quickly to put your child at ease. Likewise, the calming effects of laughing gas wear off almost immediately after we remove the mask. Unlike other types of sedation dentistry, your child will be able to return to school after their appointment.

Conscious Sedation

Laughing gas is different from sleep dentistry because your child will be awake and aware during the procedure. This means that your child will be able to cooperate if our dentist needs your child to open their mouth wider or tilt their head to access a tooth. Our laughing gas dentist has the necessary training and experience to use nitrous oxide during dental procedures.

No Unpleasant Effects

There are no side effects to laughing gas, which makes it perfectly safe for patients of all ages. In fact, adults who are given laughing gas are able to drive themselves home or return to work. Other types of sedation dentistry (like pill sedation) require you keep your child home from school and monitor them for the rest of the day for adverse side effects. With laughing gas, you don’t have to worry about any complications.

Reduces Anxiety

Children with dental anxiety require special care so they can maintain healthy smiles and learn oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. The more anxiety your child feels about going to the dentist, the less likely they’ll continue to practice good dental care into adulthood.

We understand that your child’s early years are crucial for forming good impressions, which is why we offer laughing gas. Laughing gas will help your child stay calm while receiving pediatric dental care.

We know from experience that many people fear the dentist because they fear losing control. Since your child will be awake and aware while being administered laughing gas, they’ll feel more in control of their treatment.

If you have any questions about laughing gas, don’t hesitate to call our office. We’re always more than happy to answer any questions you might have about your child’s dental care.

Our Grand Rapids, MI family dentist, Dr. Ritzema, is committed to the safety of his patients. We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have about nitrous oxide or sedation dentistry. To talk to a member of our team, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Dental Visits & Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. More than 5.8 million Americans suffer from this devastating condition that results in a loss of memory and cognitive function. Luckily, new research may have unveiled the root cause: gum disease.

This news could indeed be a game-changer, especially as we look for a cure AND ways to prevent the disease from developing in the first place.

It turns out, going to the dentist for regular checkups could be the answer.

What Scientists Say About Regular Dental Visits

Gum disease has long been a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease – and Porphyromonas gingivalis, the disease’s main component, has been found in human brains with Alzheimer’s.

We know for sure that P. gingivalis, inflames the same regions of the brain that are affected by Alzheimer’s, and can also cause significant neural damage. On top of that, additional research shows that gum infections can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice.

However, researchers are still unclear whether P. gingivalis in the brain is a result of Alzheimer’s – or if its presence caused Alzheimer’s. Evidence suggests the latter.

Researchers are also unclear on how P. gingivalis enters the brain, as there are several different ways this could happen:

  • Dental plaque buildup could cause damage to the lining of a person’s mouth, allowing oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
  • Dental plaque buildup could also invade white blood cells to enter the brain
  • Toxins could just simply be released from areas in the mouth infected with P. gingivalis.

As with all research, more studies need to be done to draw these conclusions.

Preventing Alzheimer’s at the Dentist Office

With all the recent evidence in mind, one definitive conclusion can be drawn: Regular visits to the dentist can help prevent gum disease, and preventing gum disease could mean preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

What does a regular visit to the dentist include? You should be visiting your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups. Your dentist should not only be focused on treating tooth damage and decay but also on preventing oral health issues – such as gum disease – issues in the first place.

You also learn ways to help prevent gum disease at home, including:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth daily
  • Increasing your Vitamin C intake
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • If you smoke, QUIT!

Finding the Right Dentist for You & Your Family

Did you know that your family dentist can do more than help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? They can detect the early warning signs of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health conditions too.

This makes choosing the right dentist an important task. The doctors at Complete Health Dentistry in Grand Rapids, MI, will not only focus on treating tooth damage and decay but will also proactively look for bacteria and issues in your mouth that can lead to more serious health conditions.

Not only will choosing a dentist who cares so much about preventative dentistry save your teeth, time, and money, but also allows you to enjoy a healthy smile – all while contributing to your overall health, wellness, and wellbeing. If you are interested in setting up an appointment at our Grand Rapids office, please click here, or give us a call at (616) 458-7267.

Save Money With CHD

We practice complete health dentistry, which means we treat patients with an understanding of how oral health affects the rest of the body. One of the best ways to protect your oral health (and wallet) is to see us at least every 6 months for a teeth cleaning and oral examination.

Continue reading to learn how preventive dentistry (like teeth cleanings) can help you save money in the long run. Our teeth cleaning dentists in Grand Rapids, Michigan want to help you maintain excellent oral health and overall health. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Saving Money With Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry can help you avoid:

  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Enamel loss
  • Tooth loss
  • Other oral health issues

Explore Monthly Payment Plans through CareCredit®️

We understand that you’re on a budget, which is why we offer flexible payment options through CareCredit. Our monthly payment plans with CareCredit give you access to affordable dental care. We believe that your health comes first, which is why we don’t want you to avoid scheduling an appointment out of fear of how you’re going to pay. CareCredit can help give you peace of mind during your next dental cleaning.

Schedule a Teeth Cleaning With Us Every 6 Months

In general, our Grand Rapids dentists recommend you see us every 6 months for a teeth cleaning and oral examination. That way, we’re able to remove plaque and tartar before it affects your oral health. Untreated tartar buildup is one of the main causes of cavities and gum disease. Since only a dental professional is able to remove tartar, you’ll need to schedule a teeth cleaning with our office at least every 6 months.

If you have dental insurance, your routine teeth cleaning and oral examination are typically covered when spaced 6 months apart. Otherwise, be sure to check out our monthly payment plans through CareCredit.

Catch Oral Health Problems As Soon As Possible

The key is to visit one of our dentists on a regular basis, which helps us catch problems early on, such as tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, or even oral cancer. Dealing with these problems early will not only save your oral health, but help you save money in the long run. The earlier your problem is diagnosed, the easier it’ll be to treat.

Waiting too long to see a dentist can limit your treatment options, making it difficult for us to save your smile. While we offer tooth extraction as a last resort, we do everything in our power to protect your smile. It is always our goal to catch issues early so you can enjoy good oral health. However, our dentists can’t do this if they only see you for emergencies.

Prevent Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Did you know that 47.2% of Americans age 30 and older have periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Don’t be one of them. One of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease is to schedule your dental cleaning twice a year.

While early gum disease (gingivitis) can be reversed with good oral hygiene and teeth cleanings, the same can’t be said once it progresses into periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can’t be cured and can cause receding gums and tooth loss if our dentists aren’t able to intervene in time.

Dr. Nick Ritzema DDS and Dr. Alexandra Maring DDS want to help you maintain a healthy smile. We offer teeth cleanings, oral examinations, and other preventive dentistry to our patients. To request an appointment with one of our teeth cleaning dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Dental Care & Pregnancy

While many pregnant women think they’re protecting their unborn children by not getting dental care, the opposite is often true. Going to the dentist while pregnant is safe and is recommended by the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. While you are pregnant, you’re more at risk for gingivitis and tooth decay. It’s also true that the mother’s oral health is linked to the overall health of her and her baby.

Why Pregnant Women Need Dental Care

Going to the dentist while pregnant is just as important as seeing your obstetrician. In fact, studies show that pregnant women have a higher risk of gum disease than women who are not expecting. During pregnancy, your body undergoes hormonal changes that increase your risk for sore gums and sensitive teeth.

We understand that many of our pregnant patients are concerned with the safety of dental x-rays and treatments. Your dentist will share your concerns for keeping your unborn child safe. For example, your dentist might postpone certain dental procedures if you have a high-risk pregnancy. Let your dentist know if you’re pregnant or suspect you’re pregnant so they can take proper precautions.

Hormonal Changes and Gingivitis

According to, 40% of pregnant women develop gingivitisPregnancy gingivitis is when your gums bleed easily, swell, or are tender due to hormone fluctuations during pregnancy. Poor oral health during your pregnancy can even be passed onto your baby, so it’s important that you practice good oral hygiene and schedule dental checkups every 6 months.

Morning Sickness and Tooth Decay

Did you know morning sickness increases your risk of tooth decay? Vomiting increases acid in the mouth, which weakens tooth enamel over time. Your dentist can determine whether your morning sickness is affecting your oral health, as well as give you recommendations for preventing cavities. After vomiting, wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth so enamel has enough time to recover after being exposed to acid.

Dental Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Let your dentist know if you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant. While many women don’t experience oral health issues during pregnancy, hormonal changes can be enough to aggravate certain medical conditions. For example, women with pre-existing gum disease tend to have worse symptoms during pregnancy.

While a dental checkup and teeth cleaning are safe at any point of your pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid major procedures during the first trimester. However, your dentist may recommend urgent dental care for an abscess tooth or other oral health emergency where there is risk of infection.

Inform your dentist that you are expecting, and they will take extra precautions to ensure the safety of your baby. Ask your dentist about any other risks involved with dental checkups while pregnant and how you and your baby can remain as healthy as possible.

Our Grand Rapids dentist and his staff are dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health by offering a range of preventative dentistry services. To schedule your dentist appointment, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Dentist Medical Diagnoses

Did you know that your dentist can catch the early signs of diabetes and heart disease by examining your teeth and gums? Bleeding gums and other oral health issues often indicate a larger problem, which is why it’s important to see your dentist every six months for a routine teeth cleaning and oral examination.

In this blog post, the Grand Rapids dentist at Complete Health Dentistry will explain how medical conditions that affect other parts of your body can also affect your oral health. Keep in mind that the information in this post is not meant to replace seeing your family dentist or primary care physician. If you have a health concern, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your health care provider.

1.) Diabetes

Diabetes decreases your body’s resistance to infection, which is why many patients with diabetes also have periodontal disease (advanced gum disease). Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth and gums. The best way to remove plaque is to see your dentist for teeth cleanings every six months and maintain a good oral hygiene routine. If dental plaque is allowed to accumulate, it will increase your risk for cavities, receding gums, and tooth loss.

If you have a family history of diabetes, you’ll want to discuss how to prevent gum disease with your dentist. Your dentist can tell you the symptoms of gum disease so you can protect your oral health. Studies have suggested that patients who don’t have their diabetes under control are more at risk for periodontal disease. Research into the link between diabetes and periodontal disease also suggests that periodontal disease makes it difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

2.) Heart Disease

Researchers have discovered a connection between heart disease and periodontal disease. As gum health in study participants improved, so did the health of their arteries. However, as gum health worsened, arteries hardened and narrowed, which restricted blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.

If you have periodontal disease, it’s important to understand how your oral health affects the rest of your body. While there currently isn’t enough evidence to support that gum disease causes heart disease (or vice versa), research has shown a connection. Periodontal disease can aggravate heart disease when gum-borne bacteria enter the bloodstream.

3.) Mouth and Throat Cancers

Did you know that two-thirds of throat cancer cases are caused by oral human papillomavirus (HPV)? While most types of HPV are resolved without treatment, DNA from HPV-16 has been found in throat cancer. Mouth and throat cancers can also be caused by smoking or abusing alcohol, which are other health concerns. Your family dentist will be able to do an oral cancer screening to catch mouth cancer in its early stages, giving you the best chance of survival.

4.) Osteoporosis

Our bones become brittle as we age, and our teeth and jawbones are no exceptions. It’s not uncommon for patients with osteoporosis to have loose teeth and receding gum lines. These are signs that their jawbone tissue may be deteriorating. Jawbone tissue needs stimulation from tooth roots, which is why losing one tooth increases your risk of losing subsequent teeth. As jawbone tissue deteriorates, teeth are more likely to fall out.

5.) Eating Disorders

While people who have eating disorders are obviously aware of their actions, sometimes their behavior is purposely concealed from health care providers. A dentist will be able to recognize the signs of an eating disorder from the condition of the patient’s teeth and gums.

Common signs of an eating disorder include sensitive teeth, bleeding gums, and dry mouth. The sooner a health care provider is able to recognize the signs of an eating disorder, the sooner that patient can get the help they need.

Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry understands how the health of your teeth and gums relates to other health concerns. If you are interested in scheduling a dental exammouth cancer screening, or professional teeth cleaning, give our dentist in Grand Rapids, MI a call at (616) 458-7267.

Relieve Dental Fears

If you are afraid or anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. According to WebMD, between 9% and 20% of Americans don’t go to the dentist as often as they should because of dental fear or anxiety. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair.

In this blog post, we explain why it’s important to let your Grand Rapids dentist know how you feel so that they can personalize your care to make your next visit less stressful. We also explain the benefits of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for patients with dental fear or anxiety.

Why Dental Care is Important

We recommend patients see us every six months. However, this can be difficult for people with dental fear. Scheduling an appointment with a sedation dentist can help you get the dental care you need. Teeth cleanings and dental exams are important because they allow your dentist to examine your mouth and take dental x-rays. That way, they are able to detect cavities and gum disease in their early stages before they cause permanent damage to your smile.

Types of Dental Anxiety and Fear

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between dental anxiety and a dental phobia. Anxiety is mild dental fear that causes you to feel uneasy. A phobia, on the other hand, is used to describe a feeling of intense fear or dread. If you think you have either dental anxiety or a dental phobia, you should have a conversation with your dentist.

Dental fear and anxiety can range from feeling slightly nervous to having a physical reaction to entering a dental practice, such as sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat. In fact, dental anxiety can be so severe that it prevents patients from receiving dental treatments for years. Not seeing the family dentist for years can lead to untreated oral health conditions and result in costly procedures to restore teeth.

Reasons for dental fear or anxiety include:

  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of needles
  • Fear of helplessness
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of medication or anesthetic side effects

How Nitrous Oxide is Used for Sedation Dentistry

It can be stressful trying to figure out how to deal with dental anxiety. Thankfully, more and more dentists are offering dental anxiety treatment options, such as nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide for dentistry is administered through a mask, which means there is no injection needed. Instead, you breathe through a special mask and allow a few minutes to pass before you start to feel completely relaxed.

You will be conscious throughout the entire procedure and able to cooperate with your dentist, so you don’t have to worry about feeling helpless or losing control. You also don’t have to worry about the side effects of laughing gas since nitrous oxide completely leaves your body after three minutes of taking off the mask. Keep in mind that nitrous oxide as a painkiller is most useful for minor gum treatments. You will need stronger painkillers for advanced teeth and gum treatments.

Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry is dedicated to helping patients feel comfortable seeking dental services. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with our Grand Rapids sedation dentist for your next teeth cleaning or other dental services, call our dentist in Grand Rapids at (616) 458-7267.