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Snore much? Snoring isn't funny!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

 

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Snoring is often one of the first symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea so don’t be surprised if your dentist asks if you snore.  If your dentist or hygienist notices evidence of tooth grinding sleep apnea may be suspected.

 

Snoring and Health Problems

While many see snoring as a mild problem, there is research showing that it could factor into some serious health conditions. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that snoring and associated apnea may be associated with artery damage and atherosclerosis. The study also presents the possibility that snoring and apnea is are factors in ischemic stroke. Snoring and sleep apnea can also cause a range of issues not directly related to one’s health including marital discord and daytime fatigue.

 

Using a Snoring Appliance

The common treatments for snoring and sleep apnea include the use of CPAP and dental appliances. The two major types of snoring appliances are mandibular advancement devices and tongue retaining devices. Mandibular advancement devices fit over the upper and lower dental arches and look similar to the mouth guards used by athletes; they work by pushing the lower jaw forward to keep the airway clear. Tongue retaining devices work by holding the tongue in the right position to keep the airway open. Both types of snoring appliances are especially useful for treating sleep apnea and snoring in patients who sleep on their back or stomach.

 

If you snore excessively, talk to your dentist about getting tested for sleep apnea and treatment options with a custom fitting dental appliance to suit your specific needs. If you already have been diagnosed, but are unable to tolerate CPAP, a dental sleep appliance may be just the ticket.  Often these appliances are covered by medical insurance.

 

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of  Maryland School of Dentistry.

717-334-0555     GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Sleep Apnea Dentist: Treatment and Management Strategies

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 12:09 PM

 

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While we may not automatically associate dentistry with healthy sleep, sleep apnea dentists have effective treatments for this debilitating disorder. Diagnosing sleep apnea requires a physician, though a qualified dentist can provide effective treatment and strategies that will make a positive impact on sleep apnea.

Identification of Sleep Apnea

  • According to the article A Dentist’s Role in Sleep Apnea, identifiable characteristics of sleep apnea include morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning, excessive snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, insomnia, and waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
  • To ascertain if the above mentioned symptoms could be sleep apnea, there is a Google application Sleep Bot that will monitor your sounds and movements as you sleep. While a smart phone application can help identify your sleep behavior, it is still important to discuss your sleep pattern data with a physician or your dentist.

Coping With Sleep Apnea

The Mayo Clinic

  • recommends simple common sense measures to address sleep apnea, including weight loss, improving healthy sleep, regular moderate exercise, and limited or no alcohol use.
  • While sleeping pills and tranquilizers can break patterns of insomnia, they also aggravate sleep apnea and ought to be used with discretion.
  • Smoking exacerbates sleep apnea, so if you suffer from this dangerous sleep disorder, consider quitting. Giving up smoking will have a positive impact on sleep apnea management.
  • During the daytime hours, notice if you are tightening your jaw and clenching your teeth together. When you notice this strain in your mouth and jaw, take a moment to relax your neck and shoulder and drop your jaw. You can even gently stretch your jaw, in a yawning position, for further relief. When you lay down to sleep, make sure you are not clenching your teeth and once again drop and relax your jaw while breathing. Relaxing your jaw, in this manner, will also keep your upper and lower teeth separate, therefore you are less likely to grind your teeth.
  • Side sleeping is the best position to avoid loss of breath during the night. If you can only fall asleep on your back, consider a wedge type pillow to elevate your head slightly.
  • If sleep apnea is serious, your dentist may be able to fashion a dental device for sleep apnea. “A dental appliance for sleep apnea, which looks similar to an athletic mouth guard, repositions the jaw and tongue to improve airflow.”

For further questions about sleep apnea, feel free to contact us.

Topics: gettysburg sleep apnea

Root Canal: 4 Common Myths

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 06:09 AM

 

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When it comes to dreaded treatments at the dental office, most fearful patients rank root canals at the top of their list. Much of the fear associated with root canal therapy, however, is likely due to misconceptions. Let's consider some of the most persistent myths regarding root canal therapy:

I'll definitely know if I need a root canal. Most patients mistakenly assume that if they're not in severe pain, they certainly don't need root canal therapy. It's true that tooth pain sometimes indicates the need for a root canal, but that's not always the case. In fact, some patients who need a root canal have no pain at all because the nerve in the affected tooth has died. Yet the tooth still needs treatment, as a dead tooth in the mouth can lead to infection.

Root canals are painful. In the minds of fearful patients, root canal therapy and pain go hand in hand. In fact, it's often the fear of pain that results in anxious patients avoiding dental treatment for years at a time. Indeed, root canal therapy likely was painful in the past, before modern dental treatments were commonplace. Modern dentistry has come a long way and most patients report that root canal therapy is not painful at all. It’s more like just getting a filling.

Root canal treatment isn't a long-term fix. Some patients avoid root canal therapy, reasoning that it's just a temporary fix that will need to be addressed again down the road. However, dentists consider root canal treatment a long-term restorative solution. Of course, no dental restoration lasts forever, but if  the patient practices good oral hygiene, the benefits of root canal therapy can save a tooth for many years.

Extraction is a better choice. If the tooth is severely damaged anyway, isn't extraction a better option than restoration?  Yes, sometimes extraction of a tooth and replacement with a dental implant is an alternative.  Every situation is different and the options should be discussed with your dentist.  Extraction of a tooth without replacement can result in bone loss and shifting of the bite.  Even with the advent of alternatives such as dental implants, root canal treatment to save a tooth is still often the best alternative.

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of  Maryland School of Dentistry.

GettysburgFamilyDentist.com      717-334-0555

Topics: Root Canal Treatment

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