Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is abnormal pauses in breathing while sleeping. During these pauses, the brain, and the rest of the body, may not get enough oxygen.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Affects of Sleep Apnea On Your Oral Health

Sleep apnea has been shown to have a negative impact on your teeth and oral health too. Issues that can be caused by sleep apena include:

  • Cracked or worn teeth: Grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep—a condition called bruxism—is more common in people who have sleep apnea.  Over time, grinding of the teeth can can cause tooth sensitivity, and even cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth. 
  • Jaw pain: Sleep apnea is associated with chronic pain disorders, including jaw pain like TMJ or TMD. If it hurts to open and move your jaw bones, you may have one of these conditions.
  • Higher risk of developing cavities: People who have sleep apnea are likelier to breathe through their mouths—which can dry out protective saliva and lead to more tooth decay. As a result, you may be at a higher risk for enamel erosion and cavities.

Being diagnosed and treating your sleep apnea can reduce or sometimes even eliminate these dental issues. Talk to your dentist to find out the best treatment plan for you. 

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder and can be dangerous, but is treatable in most cases.

What Treatment is Available For Sleep Apnea?

Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy should be provided by a qualified dentist who has technical skill and knowledge in dental sleep medicine. 

Schedule An Appointment

Do you suffer from sleep apnea, or think that oral appliance therapy may be right for you? Make an appointment today for a consultation.

TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or also known as TMJ, is acute or chronic pain in the temporomandibular joint that acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Dysfunction can lead to pain and discomfort. Symptoms associated with TMJ disorders may be:

  • Blinking
  • Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face
  • Earache (particularly in the morning)
  • Headache (particularly in the morning)
  • Hearing loss
  • Migraine (particularly in the morning)
  • Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
  • Tinnitus
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Dizziness

How Can You Treat TMJ?

Your dentist will discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw. Your doctor will listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth, observe the range of motion in your jaw, and press around your jaw to identify any pain or discomfort.

If your’re suspected of having TMJ, you may need dental X-rays to examine your teeth and jaw, a CT scan of the bones involved in the joint, or an MRI to reveal problems with the surrounding soft tissue.

Properly diagnosing and treating TMJ can help ease the following symptoms:

  • Jaw noise
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Soreness
  • Fatigue

If your TMJ stems from teeth grinding or clenching, your dentist may recommend that you wear a custom mouth guard at night. This dental appliance will keep your upper teeth from grinding against your lower teeth. Along with helping to alleviate TMJ symptoms and pain, this guard will prevent wear on your teeth from grinding that can lead to other problems.

Schedule An Appointment

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, or have been told by another healthcare provider that you may have TMJ, give us a call for an appointment. Our Gilbert dentists can evaluate you for TMJ and offer treatment solutions.

 

If you would like to keep your pearly whites healthy this year, here are some simple dental tips that will brighten that smile.

Plaque buildup is the main culprit of any set unhealthy set of teeth. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association your teeth are covered with a sticky bio film known as plaque which contains bacteria that releases acids that attack tooth enamel. Here are some tips and tricks that will help protect and promote a clean and healthy set of teeth!

Brush twice a day and floss once a day

Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are extremely important when it comes to keeping a healthy smile. Whenever you do these things you help clean your teeth out from bacteria, germs, and plaque. It can also help a lot with whitening your teeth and strengthening them for the future. Plaque can often be seen as a colorless biofilm which will actually grow into the crevices of your teeth.

Eat foods that are low in acidity and are high in calcium

There are a variety of foods and drinks that will easily rot your teeth more than most. The food can even be healthy or good for you such as pineapples or oranges. Although sugary foods and beverages such as soda which are pumped with added sugars tend to be the worst for oral health, even “healthy” foods can increase plaque build-up. However, there are lots of foods, that also can help your teeth such as dairy or leafy greens. It is best to avoid staining foods such as coffee, tea, or red wine, but if you do choose so it is always recommended to have it unsweetened and to rinse your mouth after to prevent staining.

Choose a quality toothbrush and replace the brush or head quarterly

A high-quality electric toothbrush will help remove plaque, but if you brush with a lot of pressure or very frequently, get a softer bristle brush to avoid wearing down enamel. Additionally, always make sure to rinse your toothbrush in hot water to kill whatever bacteria is on your bristles.

Drink more water!

Drinking water is always great for your health in many, many ways. Likewise, in oral care, it helps rinse and wash away all the acid and bacteria that lingers in your mouth. It is also significantly better than drinking acidic and sugary drinks such as soda or processed fruit juice.

Routine cleanings with your dentistScheduling an appointment for a routine cleaning has never been easier and it is highly recommended to come for a minimum of twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of the dentist here in Gilbert, you can contact our office here. Your dentist will be able to clean your teeth and gums more thoroughly than your toothbrush will ever be able to. Additionally, your dentist will be checking for signs of cavities, gingivitis and even plaque buildup to help give you advice on specifically what you should be doing on a regular basis to have a healthy and winning smile.

Teeth whitening is the new must-have beauty secret. Amidst flashy ads, you should know what teeth whitening products works and what doesn’t. Keep reading to know more.

Teeth Whitening Products – What Works… and What Doesn’t

White teeth are healthy looking, and there is a big push from marketers and the media to promote “whiter teeth”. However, there are so many products on the market that claim to whiten teeth, it is hard to know what really works… and what does not. Let’s look at some examples.

1) Whitening gum – Whitening gum will not make your teeth super-model white. But depending on the gum, it could clean off some surface stains. Gum with 100% xylitol has been shown to help build strong enamel, which is good for teeth and can make them appear whiter. Gums with sugar and sugar alternatives other than xylitol can actually promote the growth of bacteria which causes tartar and have the opposite effect, and gums with sugars will certainly cause bacterial growth.

2) Baking soda – Baking soda will whiten teeth… however in order to get the effect you would have to use so much you would have likely caused gum erosion… and then tooth loss! We do not recommend you use baking soda on your teeth.

3) Whitening toothpastes – toothpastes are great for cleaning surface stains of teeth, and keeping them free of yellow tartar (which will make your teeth whiter). Use these toothpastes in addition to a fluoride rinse for greater effect.

4) In-home whitening kits – Grocery store whitening kits (or those purchased online) can be effective for some staining. They often have trays that can be molded and gel that is used for 15 minutes a day. It is important to follow instructions with these kits as they could cause sensitivity or gum recession if over-used. Some dentists offer a similar at-home whitening set which have a higher strength whitening gel and trays which are used for a few minutes each day for 2 weeks. The advantage to these is that if there are concerns, you have your dentist to consult.

5) In-office dental whitening – Many dental offices are offering a professional-level whitening. This is a very effective whitening process and it has amazing results. Your dentist will ensure that the whitening process is both effective and safe for you by making sure the product is left of the teeth the optimal amount of time and does not damage the gums.

If you are interested in what teeth whitening options are good for you, we are happy to talk through these and any other oral health concerns that you may have. Call us at 480-409-3548 to make an appointment with our Smiles at San Tan Ranch office. We look forward to seeing you soon.

How are Dentures Made?

Following a tooth extraction, the tooth socket begins to fill in. The body seeks to heal itself and bone and gum tissue heal and changes the shape of the void left behind. After a few months, the gums and bones achieve a stable stage. Once the process has completed, (about 8-12 weeks), it is possible to make a conventional full denture.

After this healing process has completed, your dental team with take a series of impressions of your mouth. Then, a dental lab will use these impressions to make models of your mouth. The dentist and laboratory technician will begin to build the dentures on these models and then transferring them to your mouth in steps to ensure proper fit, establish a proper bite, and ensure that the appearance is desirable. You will generally need to be seen by the dentist once per week for about 4 to 5 weeks until the denture is complete. It is normal to need to return occasionally during the first month after the denture is delivered to have adjustments made.

For most patients we will provide a temporary denture to wear while the permanent one is being made. This temporary denture will be made ahead of the teeth extractions and will provide shape to the mouth and the ability to chew some foods in the interim period. It will not fit as snugly, and while many patients appreciate having one for this time, they do look forward to getting their new permanent dentures.

Other Dental Alternatives to Dentures

In addition to dentures, there are two other alternatives which may be recommended to you depending on your unique situation. Bridges replace missing teeth with a simulated tooth/teeth placed in between two healthy teeth which act as anchors by using crowns, or next to a single tooth and secured with an attached piece of metal to the back of the tooth. Bridges can span 1 to three missing teeth depending on the location. The whole appliance is cemented in place and is permanent.

A second option is an implant. Dental implants are metal posts that are inserted into the upper or lower jaw bone. The post fills the place of the missing tooth and receive a crown on top to simulate a tooth. Implants are the costliest of the options per missing tooth, but are generally most favored for aesthetics.

If you are interested in learning more about dentures, get in touch with our team at Smiles at San Tan Ranch. Contact us today at (480) 457-8600 to set up an appointment.