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Snoring Isn't Funny!  Got Sleep Apnea? A Sleep Appliance may be the Ticket.

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, May 2, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

 

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Does your partner complain about your snoring? Or perhaps he or she worries that you may have a problem with sleep apnea. Luckily, your dentist may have the solution to either -- or both -- problems: An FDA-approved dental appliance.

Snoring

If your partner has told you in no uncertain terms that you snore, take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. As many as half of all adults snore! Snoring occurs when breathing is partially obstructed in some way. Air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing them to vibrate and produce that harsh, often joked about sound known as snoring.

Snoring has many potential causes such as ...

  • having a low, thick soft palate
  • drinking alcohol at night before bed
  • nasal problems
  • sleep deprivation
  • sleep position
  • sleep apnea

Snoring isn’t Funny!

Snoring is sometimes associated with a sleep disorder known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Not all snorers have this disorder, so don't panic! However, if your snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, a visit to your doctor is a good idea: ...

  • extreme daytime sleepiness
  • frequent or chronic morning headaches
  • morning sore throat
  • restless sleep that's not stress-related
  • nighttime gasping or choking
  • nighttime chest pain
  • snoring that's so loud it frequently wakes your partner and sometimes even wakes you

Oral Appliances

Even though you may see your doctor for a diagnosis, your dentist is actually the person who will fit you for an oral appliance to help with snoring.

An oral appliance is a form-fitting dental mouthpiece that fits over your teeth and  helps advance the position of your jaw, soft palate and tongue to keep your air passage open and unobstructed. Many times, these appliances are covered by your medical insurance or Medicare.,

Tried a CPAP machine and are unable to tolerate it?

You are not alone.  An oral sleep appliance may be a good option.  There are no masks or hoses or sounds.  Talk to your physician about this option.

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: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea

Are you a good candidate for sedation dentistry?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

 

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Perhaps you've heard of of sedation for dental treatment. Some refer to it as sleep dentistry.  If so, you might be wondering whether you are a good candidate.

Who uses sedation dentistry? 

Do you:

  • Feel very anxious about going to the dentist?
  • Need extra help getting numb in order to not feel pain? 
  • Have a strong gag reflex?
  • Develop jaw strain during dental procedures?

If you experience one or more of these conditions, a sedation dentist can help. As a first step, contact a dentist who provides sedation dentistry and arrange to come in for a consult. The dentist can do a thorough dental exam, review your treatment options and explain how sedation for dental treatment works.  In general, IV medications are used to gradually remove your anxiety. Time will seem to go by very quickly.  While you will be sedated and conscious, many people feel as though they slept through the entire procedure.  Often, procedures such as fillings and crowns that might take many office visits without sedation, can be accomplished in one relaxing visit.

Before you schedule a sedation dentistry appointment, you should arrange a ride. You are not able to drive yourself home after the procedure, since the sedatives need time to wear off. 

Who would not be a good candidate for sedation dentistry?

There are a few health conditions that indicate that you should not receive sedation. If you are allergic to sedatives or have developed medication resistance, you might not be able to receive this treatment. If you are medically compromised, your dentist might not recommend sedation in the office. Finally, sedation dentistry is not recommended during pregnancy. 

If this has piqued your interest, we recommend that you contact a dental office that provides sedation to learn about your options.

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.  He provides safe sedation dentistry in his office using a board certified, medical anesthesiologist.

Topics: gettysburg sleep dentist, Gettysburg sedation dentist

Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 @ 16:03 PM

 

 Gettysburg Sleep Dentist


 

If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea you've probably been fully informed about all of the health problems untreated sleep apnea leads to. Heart disease, car crashes, high blood pressure, and even sky-high rates of divorce have all been linked to untreated sleep apnea. The gold-standard treatment for sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, or any of its variants. 

CPAP is very effective for treating sleep apnea. Unfortunately, it is a very intrusive device. The mask, the tubes, the noise- many people cannot sleep at all while wearing them, which kind of defeats the purpose. Luckily, there are alternatives.

Oral Sleep Appliance

The most commonly-used alternative to CPAP is a special kind of mouth guard. These look a lot like the rubbery devices that athletes use to protect their teeth. An oral appliance used to treat CPAP has to fitted by a specially trained dentist. They work by holding the jaw slightly forward of its normal position during sleep. That slight adjustment is enough to keep the airway open during sleep for most people. 

Oral appliances are well-tolerated. There may be some minor irritation to the gums during the first few days of use. It is important to be sure the mouth guard has actually stopped the sleep apnea, though. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that patients fitted with an oral appliance undergo a sleep study to be sure. Sometimes mouth guards stop the snoring but don't actually stop the repeated episodes of breathing cessation. 

Surgery

Surgery sounds like a tempting option to treat sleep apnea. Go in and get it fixed all at once is a very American approach to health problems. Surgery for sleep apnea usually consists of trimming the palate or some of the other soft tissues in the mouth. The most commonly used procedure is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. However, studies indicate it only works about 50% of the time and has a high rate of post-operative morbidity. Some doctors are suggesting it be abandoned as a viable approach to treating sleep apnea. 

Inspire 

This is a fairly new approach to treating sleep apnea. It is a device that is implanted in the throat and chest. It acts to monitor breathing during sleep, and when necessary, it stimulates the breathing muscles to prevent breathing cessation. Inspire therapy is indicated for patients who can't use CPAP. Results of a large study of Inspire were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and it appears to be fairly effective in treating sleep apnea.

However, because it requires surgery, it's probably a good idea to try non-invasive solutions such as weight loss and an oral appliance first. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and can't use CPAP, go talk to your dentist about non-invasive options for treating sleep apnea. 

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

Topics: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea

Sedation Dentistry

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

 

Being afraid of going to the dentist is a common problem, but your overall health can also suffer when you ignore dental care. If you have dental phobia, it’s important to understand why.   

Common Causes of Dental Phobia

  • One of the most common fears is of pain.  Often this fear is not based on reality but rather on second hand horror stories passed down from other people. Parents, for example, can unwittingly pass their own unfounded anxieties on to their children.
  • The fear of dental injections or even the fear that the anesthetic will not work is common. This is particularly true of people suffering from needle phobia.   
  • Some people are afraid of side effects from anesthesia. For example, they’re fearful of feeling dizzy, faint or nauseated.
  • A fear of feeling helpless and out of control is very common. Often this fear overlaps with claustrophobia.

Communicate Your Fears with Your Dentist

Share your fears with your dentist. This is the best way to overcome dental phobia. In other words, tell your dental hygienist and dentist what scares you before you’re treated.

Be transparent about any negative past experiences. Fortunately, most dental procedures have vastly improved over the past few decades and aren't as traumatizing as they were years ago. What's more, ask your dentist to explain what’s involved in a procedure.  Often, simply communicating that when you raise your hand the dentist will immediately stop, can turn a scary procedure into and easy one!

 

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is an extremely effective treatment of dental phobia

Although it’s often called “sleep dentistry,” patients aren't usually asleep, but are comfortably sedated with various medications. There are several ways the sedation medications can be administered:

  • Oral sedation involves taking an oral medication, such as valium, before a dental procedure.  This can reduce anxiety and take the edge off the procedure.   
  • IV sedation works quickly, allowing your anesthesia trained dentist or anesthesiologist to make constant adjustments in sedation levels. Time will go by very quickly and you will often have little memory of the procedure.  Often, with IV sedation, years of necessary dental treatment can be caught up in one comfortable appointment. 
  • General and deep sedation may also be used. This kind of sedation is usually reserved for the hospital setting or an oral surgeon’s office. Wisdom teeth, for instance, are often removed under deep sedation by an oral surgeon. 

The bottom line is to be proactive about your dental fears. Simply ask your dentist what can be done to make a procedure more comfortable. When I understand what makes my patients fearful, I can better determine how to lower their anxiety, putting them more at ease. 

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

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, gettysburg sleep dentist, sleep dentist Gettysburg, Gettysburg sedation dentist

Gettysburg Dentist Makes Sleep Apnea Appliances

Posted by Peter Samuels on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

 

 

dental sleep appliances

 

Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical condition.  A partial obstruction of the airway leads to shallow and even paused breaths throughout the night.  This, in turn, causes the patient to fall out of rejuvenating deep sleep in order to "catch his breath," even though he doesn't wake up enough to remember doing so.

The most immediate symptom of sleep apnea is chronic, unexplained  tiredness.  However, there are more serious complications to it as well, including a variety of heart conditions, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  The body needs restful sleep.

A common solution is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which consists of a face mask that forces pressurized air through the mouth and/or nose, keeping airways open.  The result is a better, deeper, and healthier sleep.

But what can I do if I can't wear CPAP?  Maybe the air compressor is so loud it disrupts sleep even more than the apnea.  Maybe my skin keeps breaking out in rashes in reaction to the mask, or perhaps the force of air has dried out my nose and throat to the point of nosebleeds, sinus issues, and a sore throat.  And forget sleeping on my stomach!  Or maybe I've just tried a variety of masks and found that none of them work for my particular face.

One alternative is an oral appliance worn in the mouth during sleep.  It is far less invasive than a CPAP machine and is silent, which is a relief to both me and my sleeping partner!  The appliance fits like a mouth guard and subtly repositions the jaw to open up airways and keep them open, allowing a deeper, less interrupted, and more regenerative sleep.

These oral appliances need to be properly fitted by a dentist trained in their use.  This includes evaluation of exactly what type of appliance will work best for you, measurement of your mouth for proper fitting, and the creation of the appliance itself.

by Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Topics: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea, dental snore appliance, sleep dentist Gettysburg

Sleep Dentistry in Gettysburg

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 @ 16:03 PM

Gettysburg sedation dentist

 

According to Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, about 20% of Americans experience fear of dentistry to the extent that they avoid dental visits altogether. Of this group, between 5% and 8% are considered to have a severe dental phobia. The difference is this: a fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat that causes mild to moderate anxiety. A phobia is a condition in which the fear is so strong it interferes with a person’s quality of life or their ability to function.

For the purposes of this article, however, the word “phobia” is used to denote whatever level of anxiety prevents a person from receiving regular dental care.

Most people who have a fear of dentistry have had a frightening or painful dental experience in the past, and this is especially common among persons over forty who received dental treatment when the technologies used were not as advanced as those in use today.

So what are the options for treatment of dental phobia?

The possibilities vary depending on the extent of the phobia. Norman Corah's Dental Questionnaire is an assessment tool used to measure dental fear. The highest possible score on the questionnaire is 20; a score of 15 or higher indicates the type of severe anxiety that is termed dental phobia, while a score of 13-14 denotes a very high level of anxiety.

A score higher than 9 on the 20 point assessment is said to signify moderate anxiety; a level which can be treated by managing specific stressors. For example, some people are afraid of the sound and/or vibration of the drill, while others are intensely troubled by the sound of scraping during teeth cleaning. Others’ anxiety is triggered by the antiseptic smells in the dentist’s office.

These types of stressors can be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a technique in which negative patterns of thought are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns. Learning and practicing relaxation techniques can also be effective. Sometimes a dentist will prescribe anti-anxiety medications for you to take just prior to your appointment (in this case you will not be able to drive yourself to the appointment).

For more severe anxiety, or for people who lack the time and/or money to pursue a therapeutic intervention, sedation dentistry is the treatment of choice. The process used for sedation dentistry is the same one used for a colonoscopy, and is also known as conscious sedation. In this procedure medications are administered by a medical anesthesiologist and leave you semi-conscious: you will be able to answer questions and respond to conversation, but you will be very relaxed and time will seem to go by very fast.  Many people say it felt like they were in the chair for just five minutes and they were done!

Sedation dentistry is an affordable, safe and effective procedure which can be your path to healthy teeth and gums, along with a beautiful smile.  If you’ve been putting off getting your teeth fixed and your mouth healthy, give us a call!

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, gettysburg sleep dentist, sleep dentist Gettysburg, Gettysburg sedation dentist

Three Things You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Nov 28, 2013 @ 18:11 PM

 



 

Gettysburg dentist

As with most things, periodontal disease starts small, unnoticeable. First, unattended bacteria deposit a colorless, sticky layer on your teeth, which eventually becomes plaque. Uncontrolled plaque damages gums and bone and give rise to periodontal disease. That’s the development of periodontal disease in a nutshell but there’s more to the story. More and more scientific studies are pointing to a scarier picture than at first glance. Periodontal disease is now linked to a number of systematic diseases, among them, diabetes. The periodontal disease and diabetes correlation has serious health implications.

There are ongoing debates as to whether periodontal disease compounds diabetes or whether diabetes compounds periodontal disease. Both possibilities are viable. Here are three things you need to know about periodontal disease and diabetes:

Diabetes Affects Periodontal Disease


Diabetes increases glucose presence in the saliva and that makes a conducive environment for bacteria. They have a field day and manufacture more plaque to ruin gums and teeth. That’s one scenario. In another scenario, diabetic patients tend to have high levels of inflammatory chemicals known as interleukins, that can cause damage to blood vessels. Decreased blood flow to the gums may worsen periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease Affects Diabetes

If you have periodontal disease, it may be more difficult tocontrol diabetes. Why? Severe cases of periodontal disease increase blood sugar. That does not sit well for a diabetic person as sustained high blood glucose level can lead to diabetic complications such as damaged nerves (which further jeopardize gum health), poor eye health and hypertension.

Treat One, Treat Another

As you can see, periodontal disease and diabetes are closely linked together. One affects the other. Periodontal disease makes it hard to control blood sugar and diabetes increase risks of periodontal disease. What is one supposed to do, given the close link? Break the cycle. Studies reveal that treating periodontal disease will help you control blood glucose. Conversely, living healthy and managing diabetes will lessen your appeal as a periodontal disease candidate.

Oral hygiene is key in this vicious link. Keep periodontal disease in check with regular checkups and routine cleaning. Visit your Gettysburg dentist for a comprehensive dental exam to determine if you have periodontal disease or initial gum disease (gingivitis). Our knowledgeable and caring team at our Gettysburg dental office will be happy to help you in any possible way.

 

Submitted by:  Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Topics: gettysburg sleep dentist, Gum Disease, Gettysburg dentist

Dental Sleep Appliance Treatment

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 @ 22:09 PM

 

Dental Sleep Appliance

 

 

What is it Oral Appliance Therapy?

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), or snore appliance, is a non-surgical method of controlling snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by use of dental appliance. The device, similar to an orthodontic retainer or a mouth-guard used by athletes, is worn in the mouth while sleeping to prevent the soft tissues of the throat from collapsing and obstructing the airway.

Types of OAT

  1. Mandibular Advancement Appliances (MMA): This option advances the jaw forward and helps to open the airway space.
  2. Tongue-Retaining Devices (TRD): This method focuses specifically on the tongue. By simply moving the tongue forward, the airway is opened and easier breathing occurs.
  3. Palatal Lifting Appliances (PLA): By lifting the soft palate, the airway space is opened up, allowing a freer air flow, and reducing OSA and snoring.

Do you need Oral Appliance Therapy?

OAT is the first choice of patients who experience heavy snoring or mild sleep apnea according to the The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). It is also a viable and effective solution for people who experience moderate or severe sleep apnea who are not a good candidate for a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine. Further, OAT can be used in conjunction with CPAP when there are issues with nasal CPAP alone. This done by lowering the pressure, thus making it more tolerable for the patient.

Oral appliances offer a safe, highly-effective and non-invasive treatment option for the millions of Americans suffering from OSA and severe, chronic snoring. If you think you suffer from a sleep-related sleeping disorder, you should seek the help of a qualified sleep medical professional.

Drs. Samuels and Dr. Berger have helped many PA residents who sufferer from sleep-related problems like snoring and sleep apnea. If you have any questions or concerns about a condition that you may have, contact us by calling 717.778.4268, or by email [email protected] to schedule some time for an evaluation.


Topics: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea, dental snore appliance, Gettysburg sedation dentist

Your Lack of Sleep May Have Dental Roots Says Sleep Apnea Dentist

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Sep 5, 2013 @ 16:09 PM

Gettysburg sleep dentist, sleep apnea appliance, snore appliance Gettysburg

 

Are you generally healthy and get the recommended eight hours of sleep in a
restful environment? Then why are you always tired and sleepy when you’re awake?
You may be suffering from sleep apnea and just don’t know it. A dentist trained to make sleep appliances can help.

Sleep apnea is a condition that stops your breathing temporarily while you
sleep. This stop may last a few seconds to a few minutes, and as much as 30 or
more times an hour, according to the National
Institutes of Health
. One of the most common causes of this condition is
when your jaw blocks your airway because your muscles around your airway fully
relax as you fall into a deep sleep.

So you don’t suffocate to death, your body spends time fighting this
obstruction, thus making sleep difficult. Because only a limited amount of air
passes through your airways, you start to snore, which also interrupts the sleep
of anyone in bed with you. CNN notes that
constant sleep apnea can damage the body because it does not get the required
rest. The condition can lead to such medical risks as high blood pressure,
depression, diabetes, cancer and weight gain.

One common symptom of sleep apnea is teeth grinding. You may not be aware
that you do this because it happens also while you sleep. However, as sleep apnea dentists, we can look at any roughness on the surfaces of your teeth to determine if teeth grinding is
a problem for you. We can also recommend treatment options, which may include a
visit to a medical sleep specialist to confirm our suspicions of sleep
apnea.  For mild to moderate sleep apnea a night time dental appliance can help solve the problem.  If you already have been given a CPAP machine and find it difficult to tolerate, a dental sleep appliance may be the answer.  Even if you simply snore, a simple dental appliance you wear at night can help.

Topics: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea

Sedation Dentistry Offers a Solution to Folks Afraid to Seek Care

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 @ 17:08 PM

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There are many things that scare people. The boogey man, spiders, public
speaking and dental treatments are just four of them. While we may not be able
to help you avoid spiders, public speaking or the boogey man, we can help reduce
your fear of treatments with sedation dentistry. Here’s more:

Thanks to inquisitive dentists
from the 1800s and their pain adverse patients, sedation dentistry was born.
Interestingly enough, you can watch a movie about one of the dentists involved
in the discovery process should you be so inclined. The film is titled The Great
Moment
. It was released in 1944 and starred Joel McCrea as the good
dentist, W.T.G. Morton. At the time of Morton’s heyday, the preferred method of
sedation was ether.

Understandably, techniques have changed a bit since Morton’s rise to
prominence. Today, there are several types of sedation used in dentistry. They
are general anesthesia, oral conscious sedation and intravenous conscious sedation. We like to offer our patients intravenous, conscious sedation anesthesia, which is administered by a medical anesthesiologist.  This kind of anesthsia is very similar to what one might have for a procedure such as colonoscopy or getting wisdom teeth out.

I.V. conscious sedation anesthesia differs from other methods
in several key ways. For starters, it allows the patient to remain conscious but
completely relaxed. It also doesn’t require airway intervention, pills or a
lengthy recovery process. As a matter of fact, in many instances, the effects of
the sedation will wear off within two hours or less. Time seems to go by very quickly.  Most patients feel like they were in the dental chair for five minutes!  Usually extensive treatment can be completed in one, comfortable appointment.

At this point, you may be wondering how much sedation dentistry costs and
whether or not you can afford it. In general, the sedation process is billed by
the hour. The treatment costs are additional. Because everyone’s dental needs
are different, the costs involved will obviously vary. However, we do offer no interest financing
that may help minimize your financial related concerns. We also work to maximze dental insurance coverage and are willing to help you determine if your particular dental insurance plan will cover your care. To learn more about sedation dentistry and our other
services, please contact us by phone or online. Our phone number is (717)
778-4268.

Topics: gettysburg sleep dentist, Gettysburg sedation dentist

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