Posts for: April, 2016
If your sleeping partner snores, it could be more than an annoyance: it could be a sign of sleep apnea. This occurs when air flow into the lungs becomes obstructed in the throat for a few seconds during sleep. The obstruction can take many forms, but a common one arises from the tongue relaxing against the back of the throat, producing snoring sounds as air attempts to pass through this restricted area.
Sleep apnea can cause severe problems: lower daily energy levels and mood from poor sleep; lower oxygen saturation that could affect brain function; and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. So, if you’re awakened by your partner’s snoring (or they’re complaining about yours!), it’s important to have it checked and treated.
This begins with a visit to us for a complete oral examination. Like many dentists, we’re well trained in the anatomy and structures of the mouth, as well as the causes and treatment of sleep apnea. We’ll examine your mouth, take into account any possible symptoms you’re experiencing and, if your suspicions are correct, refer you to a sleep physician to diagnose if you have sleep apnea.
Treatment will depend on its cause and severity. An oral appliance worn during sleep is the recommended first treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea that involves the tongue as an obstruction. We develop a custom appliance that helps move your tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing both apnea and snoring sounds. For more advanced sleep apnea you could benefit from a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This device generates continuous air pressure through a mask worn while sleeping that helps keep the airway open.
Of course, there are other causes for obstruction, some of which may require surgical intervention to relieve the problem. Abnormally large tonsils, adenoids or excessive soft tissue can all restrict air flow. Surgically removing or altering these structures could help reduce airway restriction.
Whatever type or degree of sleep apnea you or your partner may have, there are solutions. The right treatment will not only improve overall health, it will help both of you get a better night’s sleep.
If you would like more information on sleep apnea and how to treat it, 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 “If You Snore, You Must Read More!”
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.
What you need to know about dental fillings
There’s a lot to know about dental fillings. There are so many new techniques and materials it’s hard to keep up with dentistry. Just a few years ago, the only dental filling choice was a metal filling which was not very natural-looking. Now, you have a few choices for dental fillings that will protect, and enhance your smile. Your cosmetic dentists at Countryside Dental in Chatham, New York, want to help answer your questions about dental fillings, such as:
What are the different materials used for dental fillings?
Silver fillings, also called amalgam restorations, are the strongest dental fillings. They are typically placed on back teeth where you need biting strength. These fillings can be placed in one appointment.
Composite fillings are tooth-colored liquid resin, which is hardened with an ultraviolet “curing” light. Your cosmetic dentists at Countryside Dental can match the color of composite perfectly to your existing teeth, so you won’t even know it’s there. Composite fillings can also be placed in one appointment
Porcelain fillings are the most beautiful dental restorations. They are created in a dental laboratory and cemented at a later appointment. Because they require more appointments and creation in a lab, porcelain restorations are more expensive.
Glass ionomer fillings are also matched to your existing tooth color. They are typically placed along the gumline where you need aesthetics but not chewing strength. Glass ionomer can also be placed in one appointment.
How much do dental fillings cost?
The cost of your fillings will depend on which material you choose, how many surfaces of the tooth are restored, and how many teeth are involved. Fillings are priced according to each surface restored, with amalgam and glass ionomer being the least expensive, and porcelain and gold the most expensive.
What happens during a filling appointment?
Your cosmetic dentists at Countryside Dental prepare your tooth to receive the filling by removing all of the decay and creating space for the filling material. If you choose amalgam, composite or glass ionomer, you will receive your filling at the same appointment. If you have chosen gold or porcelain after your tooth is prepared, a mold of your teeth is taken and sent off to the dental laboratory. Lab technicians create your custom dental restoration and return it to the office. Your cosmetic dentists at Countryside Dental cement your filling at a later appointment.
If you have more questions about choosing the right dental filling for your needs, don’t hesitate to call your cosmetic dentists at Countryside Dental in Chatham, New York. You have an important decision to make, so don’t make it alone. Find out more about dental fillings and call today!