You brush and floss every day in order to keep your smile bright and beautiful, but it isn't always enough. A dental cleaning goes well beyond removing stains and lifting off tartar. It can also help improve your health. A regular dental cleaning lifts the hardened on plaque, called calculus, off of your teeth. Plaque and calculus are both harmful to your body, and can result in a host of issues from an unsightly film to major cavities. Luckily, regular cleanings can help in the fight against plaque, and they can also do a few other amazing things for your body.
Regular dental cleanings help keep your teeth and gums healthierGetting regular cleanings can prevent gum disease, and help give you a healthier mouth. Many adults suffer from gum disease, the reddening and irritation of the gums, but with regular cleanings it can be successfully reversed. If you choose not to get your teeth cleaned however, this can result in the disease advancing into a more serious form, where the gums pull away from the teeth and pockets can form. Serious problems can occur such as tooth and bone loss.
They can even save you from a heart attackEvery time you receive a dental cleaning, your gums experience a reduction in inflammation. This means better blood flow and ultimately better heart health. Your heart isn't the only part directly connected to your dental health either, poor dental hygiene is associated with a number of other serious diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and even poor birth weight.
Save money through preventative maintenanceSmall cavities can quickly turn into big ones. What might just require a filling one day, could mean a root canal a little farther down the road. Taking care of your teeth through regular dental cleanings can stop cavities from forming in the first place, and alert the dentist to issues in your mouth before those small problems turn into larger ones with potentially devastating consequences. Even when things are going well in your mouth and there are no cavities, a dental cleaning can stop future cavities from happening in the first place, and no cavities is a lot better than an extra filling.
They may even save your lifeDentists are looking for more than just cavities when they are looking in your mouth. They can also spot oral cancer in the early stages, when it is still easily treatable. In the US alone, one person dies from oral cancer every hour. That's a huge number of people who may have been able to receive help if they'd had a dental screening in time.
Sleep Apnea is a deadly condition affecting millions of people, many of whom are unaware they are suffering with it. Beyond the noisy interruptions of snoring, apnea is the actual blockage of airflow from the tongue and soft tissue falling posteriorly during sleep to close your airway. Bed partners may notice the stoppage of breathing and the coinciding gasp your body creates to get air into your lungs again. The outward signs of apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness, inability to focus in everyday tasks, inappropriate episodes of falling asleep (while driving or in conversation), irritability, and other cognitive problems. The hidden dangers include hypertension and other heart diseases due to a lack of oxygen in the body, weight gain, depression, and an increased risk of car accidents.
Diagnosis is made through a physician-interpreted sleep study which can often be completed at home with modern monitoring equipment. This study will quantify how frequently and for how long breathing is interrupted and your body’s response. Treatment has historically centered on using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine which maintains a constant flow of air to open the airway. Through the years, many improvements to these machines now allow for multiple fittings, variable air pressures for breathing in and out, and the ability of the machine to “learn” your breathing patterns. Treatment for apnea is lifelong to eliminate the health risks.
But it’s not always that easy. CPAP machines, and the masks associated with them, are difficult for many people to tolerate. Studies have shown up to 70% of users discontinue wearing them within a year. People assume getting older includes changing sleep habits, and accept the fatigue in life. Also, a certain percentage of the population believe that weight gain and that not being in good physical condition is a part of life. The effects of apnea are life-changing in a chronic way, and many people just let it happen.
Dental appliances to treat apnea have been around for almost 20 years, and there are now over a dozen of them widely used for treatment. They all function by having an upper and lower component which are joined in some way- by springs, straps, hook or rod mechanisms- to hold the lower jaw in a forward position. This opens the airway to allow for improved air flow, and eliminates the apnea events. Success and tolerance is fantastic, and apnea treatment with these appliances is exploding in use. The danger of apnea has always caused us to avoid “snoring appliances” because we understand the risks of undiagnosed apnea. Now, in concert with your physician, we can offer an alternative apnea treatment with a track record of success and tolerance over years of research and patient review. Please let us help! If you are concerned you may have symptoms of apnea, or have already been diagnosed and are not willing or unable to use CPAP for treatment, an appliance will be your key to future health. Whether the call to our office is for you or someone you love or a neighbor or friend, it is a call that will save someone’s life.
Wow, this is a hot topic. At this point, most of us have heard of sleep apnea and have a basic understanding that it means you stop breathing while you are sleeping. In extreme circumstances, someone can stop breathing for one to two MINUTES. Try holding your breath that long right now, and you will understand how serious that is. Snoring is often a component of sleep apnea and can be an indicator before the official diagnosis is made that something may be wrong. Also, a bed partner may indicate you stop breathing or gasp while you are asleep. The long-term effects of sleep apnea are serious and include negative effects on blood pressure, diabetes, cognitive abilities, driving, daytime sleepiness, and the ability to live a “normal” life. To this point, the most common method of treatment is use of a CPAP device to provide a constant flow of air into your nose to keep the airway open. There are different versions of this device to vary air flow and multiple masks for comfort. Some people simply cannot tolerate these devices. There are dental devices that can be used to treat sleep apnea which are worn to hold the lower jaw in a more forward position. This opens the airway and prevents the closure that causes the stoppage of airflow. It is an exciting treatment option for those people who NEED an apnea treatment option but cannot tolerate a CPAP device.