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Sleep Apnea And Dental Health

January 22nd, 2019

OVER 18 MILLION ADULTS in the US alone, as well as up to 20 percent of habitually snoring children, have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that results in brief but repeated interruptions to normal breathing during sleep. Not only is this a potentially life-threatening disorder, it also has a significant impact on oral health.

The Three Types Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can occur in three different ways. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the result of a blockage in the airway, typically the tongue collapsing against the soft palate, which in turn collapses against the back of the throat, closing off the airway. This is the most common type of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to signal the muscles of the respiratory system to keep breathing. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of the first two types.

Each time breath is interrupted, the brain causes the person with sleep apnea to wake up. It happens so quickly that they usually don’t remember it, but the interruptions severely impact their overall quality of sleep, as they can happen as often as hundreds of times in a single night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z12MEPiG4cg

What Does Sleep Apnea Have To Do With Teeth?

In addition to leaving you with all the usual symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and morning headaches, sleep apnea has a number of effects on oral health. There is a significant association between OSA and moderate to severe periodontitis (gum disease), but the most common dental health complications are temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD).

Studies have shown that the jaw reflexively clenches to prevent the airway from becoming blocked when the throat relaxes during a sleep apnea episode. TMD leads to other problems like worn, cracked, or broken teeth, pain when chewing, chronic headaches, and neck and shoulder pain.

How The Dentist Can Help

The dental effects of sleep apnea are so common that your dentist might be the first one to spot the signs and diagnose the disorder.This is just one way your regular dental appointments will benefit your overall health. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, common treatment options include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and nighttime dental devices that push the tongue or the lower jaw forward.

Healthier Sleep For Healthier Smiles

If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms described above, there’s no reason to continue living with interrupted sleep and the health problems that come with sleep apnea. Give us a call or drop by our practice today to schedule an appointment so that we can see if sleep apnea is the cause and get you on the path to more restful sleep and better oral health.

Wishing all our patients a good night’s sleep!

Tips For Keeping Your Braces Clean

September 18th, 2018

CLEANING OUR TEETH IS a critical task that we should all be doing twice a day. For people with braces, good oral hygiene is even more important, but it can also be more complicated because of all those extra crevices and places where food particles, bacteria, and plaque can hide. Slacking off on brushing and flossing can result in tooth decay and unsightly stains when the braces come off. But don’t fret, because we’re here to give you some tips on keeping your teeth clean while those braces are on!

3 Teeth Cleaning Tips

Here are three important things to remember for your oral hygiene routine while your braces are on:

  • Brush after every meal. Food gets stuck between brackets very easily, and it’s important to clean it out so that oral bacteria don’t have a chance to enjoy your leftovers. If a normal toothbrush doesn’t do the job, you can use interdental brushes to reach those tight spots.
  • Floss daily. Flossing is definitely more complicated when you have braces, but don’t let that stop you! You can make the process easier with floss threaders, or you could even use a water flosser. These are more expensive than floss, but they are much easier to use, even for people without braces!
  • Avoid whitening products. We all want our smiles to be shiny and white, but using whitening products while the braces are on can lead to discolored patches where the brackets were after the braces are removed. Make sure to only buy toothpaste and mouthwash without whitening chemicals in them until your treatment is over!

Check out this video to see how a pro orthodontic patient does it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmdZ9ygz2eI

You Don’t Have To Do This Alone

If you have any questions about how to keep your braces clean, just ask us the next time you come in! We want to make sure you have the smile of your dreams when your braces are removed, and good oral hygiene is just as important as getting those teeth properly aligned. And when you get your braces off, if you keep up your good brushing and flossing habits, you’ll be able to enjoy that healthy, straight smile for life!

Keep sharing that smile with everyone around you!

Goodbye Impressions, Hello iTero Scanner

July 17th, 2018

FOR A LONG TIME, dental impressions have been many patients’ least favorite part of getting dental work done. Luckily, impressions are a thing of the past, because modern technology has given us a better way to get a 3-D map of patients’ dental arches! That better way is the iTero Scanner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdYa8tbvN6M

Come See Us

If you’ve been avoiding important dental work because you can’t stand the thought of dental impressions, then come on in! Thanks to the easy comfort of the iTero scanner, your teeth can finally get the attention they deserve!

We can’t wait to see you soon!

 

What Is An Impacted Tooth?

March 26th, 2018

FOR MOST PEOPLE, baby teeth become loose and adult teeth erupt in their place. For many, those adult teeth don’t come in entirely straight, so orthodontic treatment is necessary to shift them into the ideal position. For some, one or more of these teeth never emerge on their own, even though they developed in the jaw bone. These are impacted teeth.

Why Does Tooth Impaction Happen?

Tooth impaction is often the result of a crowding problem. If the new tooth doesn’t have room to come in, it may remain stuck beneath the gums. A full impaction is when the tooth fails to erupt at all, whereas a partial impaction is when the tooth breaches the gumline but doesn’t grow in completely.

Teeth Lost In The Gums

The most common teeth to become impacted are wisdom teeth. They might be impacted because there isn’t room for them in the jaw, they may be crooked, or they could even be completely sideways, threatening the roots of second molars.

The only other teeth that are commonly impacted are the upper canine teeth. Research shows that if there’s a history of impacted upper canines in your family, you are more likely to have them as well. Most often, only one canine will be impacted, but sometimes both are. Why the upper canines? Normally, they come in after the incisors and the premolars. When those don’t leave enough room between them, the canines have nowhere to go.

Symptoms And Complications Of Impacted Teeth

Some people with an impacted tooth show no symptoms except that the tooth doesn’t erupt. If it’s a canine, the baby tooth may not even loosen on its own! But even without symptoms, canine teeth are critical to a great smile because they provide essential structure and support. They also take on much of the chewing pressure thanks to their longer roots, which protects the surrounding teeth.

Impacted teeth often cause complications and symptoms besides a lopsided smile. Impacted teeth can push into neighboring teeth beneath the gums and cause cavities, infections, gum disease, or nerve damage. Symptoms might include bad breath, pain, tenderness around the jawline, a prolonged headache or jaw ache, swollen gums, swollen lymph nodes, bad taste in mouth, and visible gaps.

Treatment: A Place For Every Tooth

Impaction of a tooth usually can’t be prevented, but the tooth can be removed (in the case of wisdom teeth) or moved into its proper position (in the case of canines) with oral surgery and orthodontic treatment. An impacted tooth is usually discovered through dental x-rays, and then the orthodontist can determine the best course of action to take.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjVnrA2Nmo4

 

Help Us Help You

If you think you might have an impacted canine or wisdom tooth causing you trouble, schedule a consultation with us! We’d be happy to take a look and come up with the best plan to either get that tooth out of the way or into its proper place.

Thanks for being such amazing patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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