What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when an individual experiences a pause in breathing or shallow breathing while sleeping. These pauses, or periods in which breathing is interrupted, can happen hundreds of times each night, often causing a person to wake up repeatedly throughout the night.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other severe health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, we encourage you to discuss this with your dentist. They will likely refer you to a physician who can diagnose you and provide treatment.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Snoring or sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway during sleep that stops air from getting to the lungs. This type of sleep disorder occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much and cause the airway to collapse or become blocked. When the blockage occurs, the patient will snore loudly or make choking/gasping sounds as they try to breathe. This obstruction can cause interruptions in breathing that can wake them up throughout the night, leaving them feeling exhausted during the day.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, your dentist can help you find which treatment option will work best for you. We offer oral appliances for patients who can’t tolerate CPAP therapy or who prefer a less invasive treatment for their condition. Oral appliances are worn in the mouth similar to braces or retainers that reposition your jaw and/or tongue to keep your airways open while you’re sleeping. Many patients are able to improve their symptoms with these simple devices and get the rest they deserve.

How does a sleep apnea appliance work?

A sleep apnea appliance works by preventing the tongue from blocking the back of the throat. By keeping the airway open, the appliance can open up the airways and relieve symptoms of sleep apnea like snoring, dry mouth, morning headaches, and more. The appliance is custom-made for each patient’s unique needs to provide comfortable fit and effective results.

What are sleep apnea appliances?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which an individual’s airway becomes blocked while they are asleep, causing them to suddenly wake up in order to breathe again. This can happen multiple times throughout the night and interfere with a person’s ability to get a good night’s rest. Once an obstructive sleep apnea patient is diagnosed, your dentist may suggest the use of a mouthpiece or mouth guard for treating the condition. These appliances can position the jaw in a forward position during sleep, which helps to open the airways and prevent snoring and more serious cases of sleep apnea from occurring. Some patients may also choose to use a CPAP machine to treat their condition.

What is a mandibular advancement splint?

An oral appliance that you wear at night, like a mouth guard, is a mandibular advancement device. It works by repositioning your lower jaw forward using a comfortable acrylic base and a screw to adjust how far the jaw is moved forward or back. By positioning the jaw in a forward position and opening the airway, this prevents it from collapsing and keeps your air passage open when you breathe. This can also resolve obstructive sleep apnea. These devices are considered a very effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Mandibular advancements also work to alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, which is an unconscious clenching of the jaws and grinding teeth while sleeping. The constant grinding wears down the surface of the teeth and can cause discomfort and pain. Shifting the jaw into a forward position will relax the muscles in the head and neck and prevent you from unconsciously grinding your teeth while you sleep. This allows you to get a better night’s rest and avoid painful symptoms that result from clenching and grinding teeth.

How do sleep apnea appliances work?

There are three main types of sleep apnea appliances, and each one works a little differently to prevent interrupted breathing during the night.

The continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) uses a mask that fits over your mouth or nose to deliver air at a pressure just high enough to prevent the collapse of your airway. This airflow helps to keep your throat open and prevents the throat muscles from collapsing to block your airways. This option is very beneficial because it keeps your airways open without constricting your throat. However, some people may find the mask uncomfortable, and the air pressure can become irritating over time.

Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) fit inside your mouth and adjust the position of your jaw to help open the airways. These devices are often more comfortable than CPAP masks because you’re less likely to notice changes in air pressure throughout the night. However, MADs are not as effective as CPAP machines at preventing snoring.

Tongue-retaining mouthpieces are a small plastic device fitted to your teeth that prevents you from moving your tongue backward while sleeping. This prevents the tongue from blocking your air passageways and causing apnea. These mouthpieces are often considered the most effective sleep apnea appliances and are easy to use, but they can also become uncomfortable over time, so they may not be the best choice for everyone.

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your dentist may recommend one of these appliances to help you sleep more soundly at night. Your dentist can evaluate your needs and determine which option will work best for you.

Define teeth whitening treatment.

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that can improve the appearance of teeth that are stained or discolored. Whitening products contain an active ingredient such as hydrogen peroxide, which penetrates the teeth and breaks down the stains. 

The benefit of using a professional-strength whitening agent is that it can whiten teeth by up to 8 shades in about an hour. However, treatment success varies from person to person based on several factors, including the cause of discoloration and the type and amount of staining present on the teeth. Factors such as age, gender, and personal habits can affect the speed and efficacy of treatments. Other considerations include the type of whitening product used as well as the condition of the teeth and the level of whiteness desired. These considerations may impact how long the treatment takes, how many treatments are necessary, and the overall results.

After professional whitening, patients are advised to continue practicing proper oral hygiene by brushing their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once a day to remove debris from the teeth and gums. Additionally, people should avoid foods and beverages that can stain teeth, such as coffee, wine, tea, soda, and berries.

What are the benefits of teeth whitening?

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and whiter teeth can help you feel more confident about your appearance. Whitening treatments can also help remove surface stains that have accumulated over time from certain pigmented foods and beverages like coffee, tea, berries, etc. Teeth whitening treatments are also great for restoring your bright, youthful smile if you have had years of tooth discoloration or staining due to medication use, tobacco use, age, and other factors.

For some patients, whitening treatments are a fast and inexpensive way to boost self-esteem and improve overall oral health. After the procedure, most patients experience a boost in confidence and can actually feel more attractive to others when smiling.

What are Invisalign aligners? How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign aligners are custom-made, clear dental trays that fit over your teeth. Each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks and then replaced with the next set in the series. The aligners gradually shift your teeth into proper alignment.

With Invisalign, there are no wires or bands to get in the way of your lifestyle. The aligners are removable and virtually invisible. Since they are made of smooth plastic, they won’t irritate your cheeks, and gums like traditional braces often do. You simply pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks until your treatment is complete. Your teeth will gradually move into proper alignment over the course of the treatment period. You’ll visit our office every six weeks so we can check your progress and give you your next few sets of aligners. Our patients find that these visits help them stay on track with treatment visits while they’re on the go. Visit us for your visit if you’re ever experiencing difficulty wearing your aligner for more than one day, as this may indicate that your teeth have shifted.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a restoration that is placed on a tooth that has been damaged. The damage may be due to decay, trauma, or a crack or chip in the tooth. The crown covers the tooth, restoring its shape, size, and strength.

A tooth crown is a restorative cap that covers the entire visible portion of a tooth. It’s used to repair teeth that are damaged, decayed, or worn. It’s also used to replace a large filling when there isn’t enough of the tooth left to support a regular filling. Most people get a crown after having a root canal done as well. The crown is placed over the treated tooth to protect it from breaking and to restore its strength and appearance. Crowns are also used to hold a bridge in place for patients missing multiple teeth in a row. Your dentist may recommend a crown if you have a weakened tooth that may crack or if you need to cover an implant with a restoration.

There are two different types of crowns to choose from. The first type is all-metal crowns that are made of precious metals like gold. These are most often used for molars in the back of the mouth since they’re very durable and long-lasting. The second type is porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns that are a combination of metal and ceramic. These blend in for a more natural look than an all-metal crown but still provide strength and durability. You can also choose a high-quality all-ceramic crown that blends in perfectly with the rest of your teeth. This is a popular choice for patients who want their teeth to look as natural as possible. Ask your dentist about your options when you come in for treatment.

How do dental crowns work?

When a tooth is severely damaged, your dentist may recommend installing a crown to protect the remaining tooth structure. Crowns are made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, ceramic, and resin. The dentist will typically shape the tooth to receive a crown and then place a temporary cap while the permanent crown is made in a dental lab. Once the crown is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary cap and permanently cement the crown into place. The temporary cap will prevent the tooth from shifting until the permanent restoration is in place. A temporary filling will be used to cover the prepared tooth while the crown is being made.

After a crown is placed, patients should follow all instructions provided by their dentists to ensure the crown is properly attached. Patients should also take good care of their teeth by brushing often and flossing daily to prevent decay and gum disease. Crowns can last up to 15 years or longer with the proper maintenance. Patients who receive crowns to replace existing restorations should schedule a follow-up appointment with their dentists every six months to check the health of their oral health and schedule additional cleanings or exams as needed.

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