Posts for: October, 2016
For millions of Americans, sleep apnea is a serious health condition. Not only can it impair your day-to-day living, you might be more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke.
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for short periods while asleep. When blood oxygen drops too low, your body automatically wakes you to take a breath. This can disrupt your sleep several times a night. Chronic symptoms like drowsiness, irritability or headaches during the day, or indications you're a loud snorer, are all possible signs of sleep apnea.
Fortunately, we can treat sleep apnea. One way is continuous airway pressure therapy (CPAP), a pump device that supplies pressurized air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. Although CPAP is effective, some people find it uncomfortable to use.
There's a more comfortable option for sleep apnea caused by mouth structures like the tongue or tonsils obstructing the airway. It involves a custom-fitted oral appliance worn while you sleep that moves these structures out of the way.
Such appliances come in two basic types. One type fits over the upper and lower teeth and uses tiny metal hinges to move the lower jaw and tongue forward away from the airway. The other fits around and presses the tongue down like a tongue depressor to move it forward.
Before starting treatment, we need to first find out if you actually have sleep apnea and what's causing it (some cases may be more acute and require advanced treatments like jaw surgery). We'll need to perform medical and oral exams and take a history, and we'll likely refer you to a sleep medicine specialist for further testing.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, a custom-fitted appliance could be a good solution. We'll create and adjust it according to your particular mouth and jaw contours for maximum comfort. Besides the appliance, you might also lose excess weight, adjust your sleep position, seek treatment for allergies, and quit smoking. All these could help reduce sleep apnea.
In any event, your first step is to find out if you have sleep apnea. From there we'll help you find the right treatment to improve your overall health and well being.
If you would like more information on treatments for sleep apnea, 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 “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”
When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?
For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.
Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.
Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:
- It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
- A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
- Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
- Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!
Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!
Discover the telltale signs that may be warning you to get a wisdom tooth extraction.
About the time that your wisdom teeth start to erupt it’s a good time to setup an appointment with our Spokane, WA oral surgeons, Dr. Gailey. For the majority of people, wisdom teeth will need to be removed at some point, since these teeth can often cause more problems if they stay. Find out if it’s time to get your wisdom teeth removed.
Many patients won’t experience symptoms when their wisdom teeth first start coming in, but this isn’t exactly an indicator that your teeth don’t have to be removed. One of the first things our oral surgeons in Spokane will do is take an X-ray of your mouth. Since not all dental issues can be see with the naked eye, we sometimes need imaging tests to help us detect signs of decay and to actually see how wisdom teeth are developing (particularly if they haven’t erupted or aren’t fully erupted).
Why Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed
If wisdom teeth are coming in crooked or partially erupted, they can cause crowding in the rest of your smile. And if you have already had braces to correct your alignment, the last thing you want is for your wisdom teeth to affect your smile. Misaligned wisdom teeth can also damage nearby teeth.
And if your wisdom teeth have only partially erupted, this opening in the gums leaves your mouth susceptible to decay and infection. So it’s always best to play it safe and have your wisdom teeth extracted before they cause serious issues for your smile.
Here are some of the common issues to look for that could be telling you that your wisdom teeth are causing problems and need to be removed:
- A stiff or painful jaw
- Swelling and/or pain near the wisdom teeth
- Dental pain caused by a crooked or misaligned wisdom tooth
- Gum or soft tissue irritation from the partially erupted tooth rubbing against it
- A cyst that forms on the gums (this is a sign of infection)
If you’re noticing any of these symptoms above then it’s high time you called the dental surgeons at Inland Oral Surgery in Spokane, WA for a consultation. There is wisdom in knowing when to have your wisdom teeth removed.