My Blog
November 14, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Family Dentist  

A family dentist provides exactly what you and your loved ones need for optimal oral health. Family dentist Dr. John Leitner in Grand Haven, MI takes his commitment to care seriously, delivering services that are cutting-edge, but compassionate and patient-centered at the same time. Learn here the many benefits of seeing Dr. Leitner and his team.

Preventive, restorative and cosmetic treatments

No matter the age of the patient, comprehensive dental services translate to healthy smiles. Both you, your children and your parents, too, need excellent preventive care--cleanings, check-ups, and oral cancer screenings to ensure teeth and gums stay bright, healthy and strong.

Following guidelines set by the American Dental Association (ADA), Dr. Leitner recommends routine in-office care semi-annually to support a family's good oral hygiene habits at home (brushing, flossing and a nutritious diet). His tailor-made treatment plans are age-appropriate and follow a patient from childhood through senior adulthood.

Additionally, Dr. Leitner offers a wide range of restorative treatments in the event dental problems do occur. Tooth-colored fillings, dental implants (and mini-implants), PerioLase gum disease treatments and more bring smiles back to full form and function.

And, as a family dentist in Grand Haven, Dr. Leitner tracks your children's and teens' oral development. He refers for orthodontic care as needed, and if wisdom teeth begin to trouble your teen, extractions are done comfortably right in the office.

For cosmetic dental needs, Dr. Leitner provides older teens and adults premiere services such as porcelain veneers and crowns and deep bleaching for the whitest smiles possible. Crown lengthening and composite resin bonding even gum lines and tooth size for flawless smiles.

A word about technology

Dr. Leitner believes families deserve the latest in diagnostic and restorative techniques. So, he offers:

  • TekScan occlusal analysis for a balanced dental bite
  • Jaw vibration analysis for diagnosis and treatment of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
  • Use of microscopic technology for precise restorations
  • The Canary system, to detect tooth decay as early as possible

Your family dentist uses modern dental technology to deliver care that is comfortable, minimally invasive and effective.

Looking for a family dentist?

You and yours will enjoy the caring commitment Dr. John Leitner and his team have to families of all shapes, sizes, and ages. To get started on the road to optimal dental health, contact his office today to arrange your cleanings and examinations. Call today: (616) 842-2850.

August 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: extractions  

There are many restorative dental procedures available for strengthening severely damaged and infected teeth. In some cases, though, it extractionsjust is not possible to restore a damaged or infected tooth and extraction is the best option. Extraction can also be necessary when you have impacted wisdom teeth or overcrowding. A dentist can examine your teeth and determine if extraction is necessary in your case. Dr. John Leitner is your Grand Haven, MI, dentist for tooth extraction.

Reasons for Extracting Teeth

Pulling out damaged or infected teeth that cannot be restored is important for preventing the spread of infection to other areas of the mouth. If other teeth become infected, they might ultimately require extraction too. Your Grand Haven dentist can determine whether or not you have any teeth in need of extraction. Extraction is recommended in the following situations:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth that will not erupt completely
  • Teeth with an extensive amount of infection
  • Teeth that have been severely damaged due to trauma or injury
  • Teeth that are overcrowded and do not have sufficient space
  • Baby teeth that have not fallen out on their own by an appropriate age

Procedure for Extracting Teeth

Prior to the extraction procedure, an x-ray is usually taken so your Grand Haven dentist can view the tooth’s root. It is important to see how the root is positioned prior to the beginning extraction process. If the root is positioned in an unusual manner, extraction can potentially be more difficult. The x-ray allows the dentist to anticipate potential problems and make the appropriate adjustments.

During the extraction procedure, local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the tooth is being extracted and minimize discomfort. A sedative can also be administered to help you relax during the procedure. Once the problem tooth has been extracted, it generally takes between one and two weeks for the extraction site to completely heal.

After the Extraction

One thing most people don’t realize about having a tooth extracted is that as the area heals some of the surrounding jawbone ends up deteriorating. As a result, the gums also lose volume and shape. This issue is often more severe when a tooth in the front of the mouth has to be extracted.

So, how does our Grand Haven, MI, general dentist prevent these negative changes from impacting your smile permanently? Through bone grafting and socket preservation procedures, of course. Once the tooth has been extracted, we will place a unique grafting material into the socket where the extraction took place.

This grafting material is similar to natural bone and will help to support bone growth while also preserving the shape and appearance of the gum tissue. Once the graft is in place, collagen will then be placed over the grafting material to protect the graft and the new bone that is forming. From there, a temporary tooth replacement will be set in place until the area has fully healed and is ready for a permanent prosthetic. 

Extraction of a tooth can be required in several situations, including infection, damage, and overcrowding. Impacted wisdom teeth that have not fully erupted can also require extraction. To find out if extraction is necessary in your case, schedule an appointment with Dr. Leitner, your Grand Haven, MI, dentist, by calling the office at (616) 842-2850.


In recent decades civilization's millennia-long search for clean, safe drinking water has become much easier with modern purification methods. Today, there are few places in the United States without adequate access to potable water. And about three-fourths of the nation's tap water systems add fluoride, credited with helping to reduce tooth decay over the past half century.

But in recent years some have voiced concerns about the safety of tap water and popularizing an alternative: bottled water. Manufacturers of bottled water routinely market their products as safer and healthier than what comes out of your faucet.

But is that true? A few years ago a non-profit consumer organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) performed a detailed, comprehensive study of bottled water. Here's some of what they found.

Lack of transparency. It's not always easy to uncover bottled water sources (in some cases, it might actually begin as tap water), how it's processed, or what's in it. That's because unlike water utilities, which are rigorously monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees bottled water production with less strenuous guidelines on labeling. Eight out of the top 10 selling brands were less than forthcoming about their water's contents in EWG's investigation.

Higher cost. According to the EPA, the average consumer cost in the last decade for tap water was $2.00 per 1,000 gallons (0.2 cents per gallon). The retail cost for even bulk bottled water is exponentially higher. It can be a costly expenditure for a family to obtain most of their potable water by way of bottled—while still paying for tap water for bathing and other necessities.

Environmental impact. Bottled water is often marketed as the better environmental choice. But bottled water production, packaging and distribution can pose a significant environmental impact. EWG estimated the total production and distribution of bottled water consumes more than 30 million barrels of oil each year. And disposable plastic water bottles have become one of the fastest growing solid waste items at about 4 billion pounds annually.

While there are credible concerns about tap water contaminants, consumers can usually take matters into their own hands with an affordable and effective household filtering system.  EWG therefore recommends filtered tap water instead of bottled water for household use.

If you would like more information on drinking water options, 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 “Bottled Water: Health or Hype?

By John Leitner DDS
June 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

You may have been surprised by a new addition to your regular dental appointment routine—we took your blood pressure at the start. While you might expect this at a medical clinic, it seems unusual at the dentist’s office.

But not anymore: blood pressure checks at dental offices are quickly becoming routine, including during regular cleanings and checkups. Here are 3 reasons why checking your blood pressure is now part of your dental visit experience.

Your blood pressure could be an issue during dental work. While we do everything possible to make you comfortable, undergoing dental work can create stressful feelings. Blood pressure normally increases when stress occurs, including before dental procedures. If you already have issues with hypertension (high blood pressure), any circumstance that might increase it could lead to health problems or even an emergency like a stroke. If your blood pressure is high, we may forgo any planned procedures and refer you to a physician for further examination.

Local anesthesia can affect blood pressure. Local anesthesia is an important part of dental work—without it we couldn’t provide maximum comfort during procedures. But many anesthetics include epinephrine, which helps prolong the numbing effect. Epinephrine also constricts blood vessels, which in turn can elevate blood pressure. We may need to adjust the anesthesia drugs and dosages we use in your case if you have high blood pressure.

It could save your health—and your life. The symptoms for hypertension can be subtle and often go unnoticed. A blood pressure screening check is often the first indication of a problem. That’s why blood pressure screenings in a variety of healthcare settings are so important. A routine blood pressure check at your dentist (who hopefully sees you at least every six months) is one more opportunity to find out. Discovering you may have high blood pressure is the first step to controlling it and hopefully avoiding more serious conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

If you would like more information on monitoring vital signs during dental visits, 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 “Monitoring Blood Pressure.”


It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.

“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”

While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)

When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.

Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.

But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.

Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”

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