Sleep Apnea Has Many Causes

For many who are familiar with Sleep Apnea, there is often a perceived stereo-type of an overweight, older adult and someone who is generally inactive. This assumption is incorrect, as is illustrated by the number of adults we see who are under the age of 45, have a healthy weight and are regularly active physically.

Sleep Apnea can have many causes, and some may surprise you. They include:

• Neck circumference – Some people with thicker necks have been found to have a more narrow airway.

• Race – For people who are 35 and under, blacks are typically more likely to have obstructive Sleep Apnea.

• Alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers – These substances contribute to Sleep Apnea by relaxing throat muscles.

• Smoking – Smokers are 3 times more likely to have Sleep Apnea than non-smokers. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

• Nasal congestion – Difficulty breathing from an anatomical problem or allergies increases your potential to develop Sleep Apnea.

• Narrow airway – You may have a naturally narrow throat or tonsils or adenoids that are enlarged, all of which can block your airway.

• Being a male – Men are twice as likely to have Sleep Apnea. However, women who are overweight or post-menopausal have a higher risk.

• Age – Sleep Apnea occurs significantly more often in adults older than 60.

• Excess weight – Fat deposits around the upper airway may obstruct breathing.

• Family history – If you have family members with Sleep Apnea, you may be at increased risk.

Sleep Apnea will not improve without treatment. Although the ‘industry standard’ is the CPAP, very few who have this device are able to tolerate it on a consistent basis. Our comfortable oral appliances can help you enjoy refreshing sleep without the need for a CPAP. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to request a free consultation.

Avoided Dental Care, For Years? No Lectures. No Guilt. No Worries.

It’s not unusual to see a new patient who has not had dental care for years — sometimes ten years or more. Occasionally, patients share that one of the reasons they avoided care is dreading the lecture they’ll get. While this is often an unfounded perception, a ‘lecture’ by a Dentist or his/her staff tends to be a turn-off, particularly to those who have avoided care because of fear.

Trying to guilt an adult into dental care often has the opposite effect. Lectures and making patients feel ‘bad’ about their failure to maintain a healthy mouth typically causes one to feel belittled. This is unfortunate since it is difficult enough to motivate fearful adults into a dental office in the first place.

If you haven’t seen a dentist in years, we know each person deserves to be respected since the step to receive much-needed dentistry can be a major one for many. This is especially true for adults who have high fear or anxiety associated with dental visits. The most important thing is to regain good oral health. The sooner this occurs, the bigger the savings in time and expense versus treatment necessary for advanced problems.

Ready for respect, TLC, and a terrific smile? Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a free consultation.

Does This Dental Implant Set The Standard?

Over the years, Dental Implants have evolved into what is becoming American adults’ preferred method for tooth replacement. And, why not? They restore the ability to chew comfortably, halt bone loss, and are designed to last a lifetime. Dental Implants also have one of the highest success rates of all implant-in-bone types, including hips and knees.

One fairly recent implant is setting quite a precedent for all others. The ‘All-On-4’ implant system uses unique angles so it works well for even those who have experienced severe bone loss. Because it uses only 4 implants to support a full arch of teeth, it is a more-affordable option that many traditional types.

Another bonus of the All-On-4 is the ability to support teeth as soon as they are placed. They also hold teeth that are non-removable, so you can brush your teeth in your mouth and wake up with a smile!

I can’t think of one reason why a denture wearer would be miserable and struggle to chew when All-On-4 is such an ideal option. To discuss All-On-4 or any tooth replacement option, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule a no-cost consultation.

Zoom2 Gives Long-Lasting, Whiter Smiles

Over time, your teeth can become stained and change color. This is often the result of certain foods, such as coffee, tea or red wine. It can also be caused by smoking, aging, genetics, injury, or certain medications. During tooth formation, taking tetracycline, certain antibiotics or ingesting too much fluoride can also cause discoloration.

While some people spend many dollars on over-the-counter whitening products, those who have experienced Zoom2 whitening know what a dramatic and long-lasting difference it has versus one selected from a drug store’s shelf. The Zoom2 process lightens  deep discoloration in the enamel and dentin in as little as 45 minutes.

Zoom2 gives such profound results because of its light activated whitening gel. The Zoom light activates the gel so it penetrates the enamel’s surface. A study has shown that this light activation increases the gel’s effectiveness by more than 26%, giving an average improvement of up to eight shades.

Zoom2 is also formulated for minimal sensitivity. Even though some patients may have sensitivity during the treatment, minor tingling is the most common. For those who are concerned about sensitivity, we recommend using an anti-sensitivity toothpaste for a week or two prior to treatment.

After whitening, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. However, occasional touch-ups with Zoom Weekender or Nite White gel may be desired. These professional formula products are designed to keep your teeth their brightest.

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to discuss Zoom2 or other options for smile enhancement. Gift Certificates can also be purchased on the phone.

Why Every Tooth Should Be Replaced

Occasionally, a patient will balk at replacing a back tooth when he or she loses one. As a dentist, I know the important role of every tooth in an adult mouth, which goes far beyond esthetics.

When a tooth is lost, so is its ability to help the teeth on each side maintain proper position. A gap allows neighboring teeth to shift, allowing other teeth to move, also. It is a fact that when a natural tooth is lost, an adjacent tooth is statistically the next to be lost.

The tooth above or below are also compromised. When a tooth has no tooth to meet in a bite relationship, it grows longer. This traditionally conflicts with the neighboring teeth, top and bottom. Not only can this alter the bite, it typically leads to chips, fractures or breaks.

An issue many people are unaware of is bone resorption. This occurs when the jaw bone is no longer supporting the tooth root. Without this stimulation, the jaw begins to shrink, or resorb, affecting the stability of adjacent teeth. When several teeth in one area are lost, over time, facial changes can result from the shrinking bone. This is what gives long-time denture wearers a ‘sunken in’ mouth and a ‘granny look’ that ages them far beyond their actual years.

When a tooth is lost, replacing it promptly is the best option to preserve bone and protect the health of other teeth. Because Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, this is the preferred method of tooth replacement. Dental Implants are also becoming the preferred tooth replacement choice for adults, regardless of how many teeth are missing, often because they are designed to last a lifetime.

Of course, a flattering smile is always a positive reflection. Having a gap in one’s smile or noticeable when laughing can send a message that is a ‘step down’ from who they really are.

If you are missing teeth, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a free consultation. During this, I’ll discuss all your options for tooth replacement and answer your questions so you can determine what is most appropriate.

Our Hygienists Can Help You Avoid Surgical Periodontal Therapy

The most appropriate treatment for your periodontal (gum) disease depends on its level at the time of treatment.  Advanced stages often require surgical treatment. However, for many patients, this can often be accomplished non-surgically by our highly-trained Hygienists.

For many types of gum disease, a non-surgical Scaling & Root Planing may successfully restore your mouth to a healthy state. This procedure is a careful cleaning of tooth root surfaces that removes plaque and calculus (tartar). It also smooths tooth roots, which removes bacterial toxins. Scaling & Root Planing may be followed by application of anti-bacterial medications.

The stages of gum disease that require Scaling & Root Planing are those more extensive than Gingivitis, which is the mildest form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis causes red, swollen gums that bleed easily. With dental therapy and rigorous oral home care, Gingivitis is normally reversible.

As untreated Gingivitis progresses, however, Periodontitis begins. This occurs at the stage when plaque forms below the gum line. Because plaque is a hardened mass of bacteria, this bacterial onslaught produces toxins that inflame gum tissue.

Amazingly, this damage can occur in many patients who experience only mild symptoms. This is why gum disease is often referred to as a ‘silent’ disease. Eventually, however, teeth will eventually loosen and removal may be required.

Our Hygienists work diligently with patients to help each achieve good oral health that can be maintained through regular hygiene visits. However, it is important to treat any level of gum disease at the earliest possible time.  When caught early, treatment requires less time with less expense than surgical treatment required for more advanced levels.

A Healthy Mouth Helps To Control Inflammation In The Body

Inflammation in the body is a naturally-occurring process that creates beneficial responses. It’s a reaction of your immune system that sends T-cells to combat disease and destructive cell invaders.

However, it is also inflammation that stokes the fire of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, memory loss, and even erectile dysfuntion (ED).  While some folks are genetically pre-dispositioned for high levels of inflammation, excess fat, stress, a diet high in sugar and fat, age, and gum disease can accelerate inflammation to risky levels.

Gum disease begins as gingivitis, which is an overload of bacteria that ‘feeds” on oral tissues. As the bacteria multiply, the initial phase of periodontal (gum) disease begins as the body becomes unable to tackle the bacterial build-up. The result is infection that penetrates the oral tissues and eventually bones supporting natural teeth.

This infection causes the bloodstream to be bombarded with inflammation. In turn, this distorts how the body processes blood sugar, freeing up plaque in the arteries that can lead to blood clots or heart attacks. It can also warp cells that form cancer and damage pathways in the brain and brain cells, increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Some drugs help to lower inflammation, although it’s wisest to control levels through proper diet, sufficient exercise, not smoking, and keeping the gums in good health. If you don’t floss, this daily habit is tremendously beneficial to the prevention of bacteria build-up. If you have sore, tender gums or see blood when you brush, call us toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for an exam. These are signs of gum disease and will only worsen without treatment.

The sooner you restore your mouth to a healthy state, the less time and expense you’ll incur from treatment. Plus, a healthy mouth can contribute to maintaining good, overall health. Be committed to excellent oral health and know your smile is not the only thing that will benefit!

Better Chewing For Better Smiles

These days, I often find myself staring at my microwave, impatiently waiting the 60 seconds needed for a cup of steaming hot tea. I have to remind myself that I used to wait far longer to boil water on the stove for the same thing. It seems we have grown ‘in a hurry’ for everything these days. In many ways, our world has evolved positively in this regard. For example, I appreciate the technology that enables me to digitally ‘x-ray’ a patient’s teeth and have the image appear immediately on a computer monitor that the patient and I can view together.

There are things that shouldn’t be hurried, however. Eating is one of them. The old rule of thumb of “chew every bite at least 26 times” has been overtaken by a rash of fast food restaurants and portions that can be super-sized. This seems to have created an eating frenzy, where Americans are eating too quickly and taking large bites as they eat on-the-run. When you hurriedly eat large chunks, you risk chipped teeth and aggravating the TMJ joint.

When you take large bites, you may be opening your mouth to the point where it becomes uncomfortable (especially a problem for those with TMJ disorder). And, because digestion begins in the mouth, insufficient chewing fails to break down food, sending it unprepared into the gastrointestinal system. When we bite into hard candy, rather than savor it in our mouths as it dissolves, we risk chipping or fracturing teeth.

Slow down, for the good of your oral and overall health. Take smaller bites or cut food into smaller pieces. Chew each bite thoroughly and try not to be distracted while eating. Also, avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels or cracking nut shells with teeth. These items are common causes of tooth breaks and chips.

Men’s Sexual Health Tied To Periodonal Health

A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has revealed that men in their 30’s with severe gum disease are 3 times more likely to have erection problems. This comes after past research has shown that periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease, which is a common cause of erectile dysfunction. Although there are no claims that one disease causes the other, the association is thought to be related to inflammation brought on by gum disease bacteria.

These are all valid reasons that men should take an active role in the health of their teeth and gums before other areas of the body are affected. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimate that nearly half of U.S. adults have periodontal disease. Of that, over 56% of men have periodontal disease, compared to just over 38% of women.

Other areas where periodontal health has been associated with men’s health, in particular, include prostate health, heart disease, impotence and cancer. For example, research has found that men with a history of gum disease are 14% more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums. Additionally, 49% of men are more likely to develop kidney cancer, 59% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer and 30% more likely to develop blood cancer.

Men need to do a better job of protecting their overall health by keeping their periodontal health at an excellent level. Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, sore or swollen spots on gums, persistent bad breath, and gums that are red rather than a healthy pink color. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for an examination as soon as possible. Gum disease does not improve without treatment.

What Happens When You Don’t Replace A Lost Tooth

When children lose their ‘baby’ teeth and smile at you, it’s cute. When an adult smile has gaps from missing teeth, it’s anything but. Visible gaps ruin the appearance of an adult smile and cause many people to feel less confident. Yet, even when teeth that are not visible in a smile are lost, there are additional consequences.

Missing teeth are attributed to creating an aged appearance far beyond one’s actual years. Because missing teeth cause the supportive jaw bones to shrink, jowls can form from the detachment of facial muscles. Bone loss also causes deep wrinkles around the mouth with the corners of the mouth turning downward, even in a smile. Also, missing teeth make it more difficult to chew properly and can affect the way you speak.

If you are missing any of your teeth, consider replacing them with dental implants. Dental implants have a look and feel just like natural teeth. During a free consultation, I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss the type of implant that may be best for your needs. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule yours!