Sleep Apnea

Perhaps you snore or your partner snores. It can be irritating and frustrating at times. Did you know there is an illness called sleep apnea that can cause such chronic snoring? Sleep apnea by definition is a breathing disruption while sleeping. You can actually stop breathing for up 20 seconds in your sleep. Signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, not breathing for long periods of time, choking, snorting, gasping, and daytime drowsiness, to name a few. There are various causes for sleep apnea, such as excessive smoking and drinking, being overweight, and family history of heart disease or sleep apnea.

You could go to a medical physician to get diagnosed. But I bet you did not know you could be diagnosed and treated by your dentist. Dentists treat sleep apnea in various ways, depending on the situation. CPAP, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is a mask and headgear that blows pressurized air from the room onto your face to keep your passages open. Then there are oral appliances that push the lower jaw forward and keep the tongue in place, so it does not fall over the passageway, cutting off the air supply. A last resort is surgery. If the sleep apnea is bad enough it could be the only option. Dentist have several types of surgeries that work to open your airway.

If you feel you or someone you know suffers from sleep apnea, bring it up to your dentist. He could potentially help you with your problem.

Source: 1800Dentist
Image ℅: Wikimedia Commons
Sponsored by: Englewood Dental

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What Causes Gums to Recede?

Gum recession is a slow process by which the gums recede from the teeth. Exposure of the roots of the teeth is the result. This isn’t something that happens overnight. You may not even notice it until your next dental visit because the recession and the sensitivity to hot and cold that may come with it are generally very slow. The result is that the root is exposed and periodontal disease may ensue if it hasn’t already.

If you have family members who have suffered from gum recession, you may be at risk as well. Hereditary factors can cause gums to recede, but other traits that are passed through family members are just as likely to be the cause. A poor diet as well as poor dental hygiene can be handed down from those you live with and learn from.

Eating disorders, lip and mouth piercings, and incorrect use of the toothbrush and floss are some other things that can cause your gums to recede.

If you have receding gums, you want to treat them immediately before the condition worsens. In some cases, if the problem is caught soon enough, improving dental hygiene and changing your lifestyle in the way of diet and habits like the use of tobacco can be enough to improve the health of your gums. In some cases, you may have to resort to gum grafting.

Gum grafting is the process of taking tissue and grafting it onto the existing gums. You can use tissue directly from the roof of your mouth, under the roof of your mouth or even get tissue from an approved outside source. Gum grafting is even done simply to improve the look of your smile and is not all that uncommon.

Photo credit: DRosenbach

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Types of Conscious Sedation

If you are going to the dentist or oral surgeon for an extraction or some minimally invasive procedure, you may experience conscious sedation. That is, you will be awake for the procedure, but you will not be as articulate in your thinking or actions. The level and type of conscious sedation that is used will depend on the procedure, your medical history, stress levels and past experience. This method is used not only to limit the amount of discomfort you feel, but also to keep you calm so that the dental professional can do their job.

There are four types of conscious sedation. They are inhalation, oral sedation, intravenous and intramuscular. Each one is used for a specific reason.

Inhalation sedation is the method by which the patient inhales a substance prior to the procedure. It is sometimes used in combination with another type of sedation, depending on the severity of the dental issue. Typically the inhalation procedure can take from a few seconds to about 10 minutes to begin to work.

Oral sedation is sedation that you ingest. Since it takes longer to work, this type of sedation may even be taken the night before the procedure as well as a few hours before the procedure. The drawback to this method is that the dentist has no immediate control over the level of sedation.

Intravenous sedation is used for a higher level of control. The medicine is transferred directly to your veins through an IV. Your dentist can adjust the amount immediately because you are given an IV in the office, with the dental professional present. This method is used for situations where a more intense level of sedation is required, but consciousness is desired.

Intramuscular sedation is similar to intravenous sedation, but is done through an injection to a muscle rather than an IV to the bloodstream. This is most often used with a patient with immediate high stress levels, such as children who react in a violent, physical manner.

Photo Credit: Ian W. Anderson

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What the Heck is a Prosthodontist?

It is the specializing of dental treatments that has afforded many patients a new smile. Dentists who specialize in prosthodontics are one of the most favored but very few people actually know what this procedure includes.

What is a prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in facial and oral prostheses in order to correct or treat speech, swallowing problems or appearance that are the often the result of injury or disease. The most commonly consumed form of this procedure are in dentures, however, this area of specialty also includes dental implants and oral and facial prostheses. These prostheses can include artificial cheeks, noses, ears and oral inserts to aid in speech or swallowing impairments.

Properly referred to as maxillofacial prosthodontist, these specialists are one of only eight that are recognized by the American Dental Association. This branch of dental specialty is a way for patients to restore natural teeth or to replace missing teeth. This area of practice also offers injured patients with a way to have facial tissues that offer lifelike substitutes.

Treatments from Prosthodontists

This group of specialized dentists treat a wide range of needs including complete and partial dentures, dental implants such as cosmetic restoration or to treat pain or dysfunction, congenial deformities, traumatic injuries or acquired defects.

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Photo courtesy of CNBC

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About Oral Cancer and Oral Exams

Visiting the dentist every six months should be about more than just getting your teeth cleaned. While you’re visiting your dentist, take the opportunity to have he or she complete a thorough check of your teeth and gums. This is also the opportune time to mention any oral concerns you may have, such as cancer.

About Oral Cancer

There are two types of oral cancer. There is oral cavity cancer which develops in the mouth and there is oropharyngeal cancer, which often begins behind the mouth, in the throat. These types of cancers can be induced from excessive alcohol consumption, chewing tobacco, sunbathing and smoking.

Most oral cancer patients are people over the age of 68 and men, who are twice as likely to develop oral cancer over women. It is necessary to note, however, that 25 percent of patients who develop oral cancer are not smokers or considered high risk. It is for this reason having your dentist check for signs of oral cancer during a routine exam is important.

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Exam?

During an oral exam your dentist will inspect the roof of the mouth as well as the back of the throat. He or she will also look at the base and underside of the tongue to see if there are any signs of abnormal texture, color or swelling. Your dentist will also take a look at the inside of cheeks and lips for discolored patches as well as the underside of the jaw and side of the neck for lumps.

An At-Home Oral Cancer Check

It is easy enough to give yourself an oral cancer exam. Simply look for warning signs of red or white lesions, spots or patches as well as any rough spots or lumps. Also note any changes in the way your teeth fit together as this could be a warning sign that something is not right. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist to perform a professional oral cancer exam during your next visit, even if you have done one at home.

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Steve S.

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The Effects of Modern Dental Laser Surgery

Most people avoid the dentist if they know their visit will involve pain. With recent studies and research, some dentists are reverting to laser surgery, which in many cases, has effectively replaced the traditional periodontal therapy that often included needles.

What is Laser Gum Treatment and the Process?

Laser gum treatment is a form of periodontal treatment that can help with gum treatment and surgery quickly and painlessly. A treatment consists of a laser decontamination where a laser is used to trace around the gum line of each tooth. This process kills the anaerobic bacteria. In many instances, this form of laser treatment has proven more effective than antibiotics.

After this treatment, patients will be sent home with an oral hygiene kit that may include items such as a special rinse and nutritional supplements. Upon your return to the dentist, patients will be in a more comfortable position to receive a proper deep cleaning.

What Does Laser Gum Treatment Used For?

Dental laser gum treatments are used primarily in scaling and root planning. Using the laser gum treatment beforehand greatly improves the effectiveness of the deep cleaning procedure by eliminating much of the swelling, bleeding and discomfort that some patients experience.

Once the roots of the teeth are clean, it is then when they can reattach themselves to the teeth. The laser process is used to vaporize the diseased tissue around the roots. By decontaminating and treating the roots, they stand a better chance of new bone and tissue growth.

Photo courtesy of Dental Design of Rockland

Blog sponsored by: Englewood Dental

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What is Dentin?

Dentin is the ivory-colored mineralized substance that makes up the bulk of the teeth. Dentin is made up of minerals such as calcium, as well as mineral rich fluids and is intended to protect the pulp of the tooth, which would otherwise be very sensitive. Dentin also creates a base underneath the enamel so that we have more than just enamel covering the tooth. It’s essential that dentin is taken care of properly, and by regular flossing and brushing, you can do so rather easily. It’s important to note that because dentin is dense, it is vulnerable to rotting and infection. If it gets to this point, you could be in store for expensive and painful dental work.

Although many people aren’t familiar with dentin, it’s one of the four major components of teeth. There are different types of dentin as well: Primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary dentin is what forms most of the tooth, while secondary dentin develops after the root formation has completed. It is much slower than primary dentin, but the third slowest is tertiary. Tertiary dentin only forms as a response to certain stimuli such as tooth decay.

Dentin, unlike enamel, continues to form throughout life, so you don’t really lose it. It can also grow in response to tooth decay or attrition; the body’s way of saying that the tooth needs to be stronger. Even though it does regenerate, doesn’t mean dentin doesn’t need to be cared for. It does wear away quickly, especially because it’s softer than enamel. Exposed dentin is what causes sensitivity in humans, and we all know how difficult that can be to live with, especially when eating hot and cold foods.

Interestingly, dentin is harder than bone, which has made it popular in less conventional ways such as for carving and other crafts. In fact, elephants, walruses and hippos have been hunted for their dentin. For example, elephants’ tusks are made of dentin and enamel, and once the enamel wears away, only the dentin is exposed. The structure of dentinal tubules is used for such items as billiard balls and piano keys as well, as it has the sturdy, elastic properties that are required.

If you have been experiencing symptoms of sensitivity, you may have exposed dentin. 1-800 Dentist recommends seeing a dentist as soon as possible, as cavities form in the dentin. You should see your dentist twice a year and brush and floss regularly to protect the dentin. Once the enamel wears down, you don’t get new enamel, so this can cause further irritation. Make an appointment to see your dentist today. It’s a new year – so you might as well start fresh!

Image c/o:

Blog sponsored by: Englewood Dental

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What are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Traditionally, dental patients who needed to have cavities repaired or teeth strengthened were required to get fillings. Modern dentistry, though, allows patients to have a more streamlined procedure done through the use of dental onlays and dental inlays. Rather than repairing a tooth through a filling, dentists place bonding material over the tooth to strengthen the entire surface.

Typically, onlays and inlays are done only on rear teeth where there is significant damage. The procedures are also done in cases where a tooth is cracked, but not severe enough to require a complete crown. Since dental onlays and inlays can be made from material that mimics the color of teeth, these coverings are far more natural looking than traditional fillings.

Patients who intend to have these procedures done must typically get them in two separate visits. During the initial visit, the dentist must prepare the mouth, take a mold of the tooth that will be repaired, and put on a short-term covering. The mold is then sent to a dental lab where the onlay or inlay covering is made. On the second visit, the initial covering is removed and the permanent covering is put on.

Blog sponsored by: Englewood Dental

Image c/o: Zak Greant

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The Lifetime Of Teeth in 3D [INTERACTIVE]

Have you ever thought about how much your teeth have changed over your lifetime? When you actually have the opportunity to see a visual timeline, it’s pretty impressive! We recently came across a great resource from that illustrates these changes that occur over time, and we think you should take some time to check it out too. Here are some screenshots of what you’ll see when you visit the site:

To explore this 3D interactive resource, click here.

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How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth [VIDEO]

Did you know that your dog can have the same dental problems as you if their teeth aren’t taken care of? It’s true! It’s extremely important to take care of your dog’s teeth just as often as you take care of your own. To learn how you can start cleaning your dog’s teeth, watch this great video below from

Do you have experience brushing your dog’s teeth? If so, what advice can you give to others? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page today!

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