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Posts for: September, 2016

By S & G Family Dentistry
September 26, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Patients who struggle with chronic snoring and sleep apnea symptoms can get help at the dentist’s office. Custom-made oral appliances sleep apneaare often all that’s needed to clear the passageways and allow for normal breathing when sleeping. Find out how an oral appliance from the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center in Leawood, KS can help you get a better night of sleep.

About Snoring and Sleep Apnea
It's estimated that about 37 million adult Americans have a significant problem with snoring. It’s caused by vibrations in the throat that happen when breathing in and out while a patient is sleeping. Snoring can happen due to general aging, a nose problem or even sleeping in an unfavorable position, but it is most often caused by a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. A blockage in the air passageway causes the patient to wake up dozens of time during the night.

More Than Just an Annoyance
Snoring and sleep apnea symptoms can be more than just a minor annoyance. It can also be harmful to your health in the long run, because you're not getting the proper amount of deep sleep that you need each night. Some patients don’t understand why after eight hours of sleep they still feel fatigued—it’s most likely due to sleep apnea. Luckily, the dentists at Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center in Leawood can create oral appliances that keep the passageways open when you’re sleeping.

Oral Appliances
Your dentist can create a custom device for you that will help stop your snoring and the symptoms of sleep apnea. There are two types of appliances:

- Mandibular Repositioning Appliances (cause the lower jaw to protrude to keep the airway open).
- Tongue Retaining Appliances (keeps the tongue positioned forward so that it doesn’t obstruct the airway when sleeping).

Call for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Why wait when there’s an easy solution to your snoring problems at your dentist’s office? Call the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center in Leawood, KS today at (913) 451-2929 to make an appointment to talk about oral appliances.

By S & G Family Dentistry
September 21, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj disorders   jaw pain  

Chronic jaw pain can make eating, speaking or even smiling difficult. What's more, finding the right treatment approach can be just as difficult.

This is because TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder: named for the joints on either side of the lower jaw) actually describes a wide range of possible problems with the joints and connecting muscles. Any of them can result in impaired jaw function, radiating pain or even headaches.

We'll need to conduct a full dental and facial exam to accurately diagnose your jaw pain's cause. Even then, the way may still not be clear: there's considerable debate among dentists about the best treatment approach. Two basic schools of thought prevail, one conservative and non-invasive and the other more aggressive and interventional.

The conservative approach seeks to alleviate symptoms in a variety of ways, including recommending softer foods to give muscles and joints time to relax, applying cold and heat to ease soreness, massage of the jaw joint muscles, gentle stretching and jaw exercises. We may also prescribe medications like ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and swelling relief, and sometimes muscle relaxers to reduce spasms. If your pain stems from clenching or grinding habits, we could fit you with a custom bite guard you wear while you sleep to reduce the forces on your teeth.

The more aggressive approach is much more invasive. These methods include altering the bite or teeth position with orthodontics or dental work or surgically altering the joints themselves or the shape of the jaw. If you're recommended one of these more aggressive treatments, you should know they're not commonly used to treat TMD and they're irreversible. There's also no guarantee you'll gain relief from your symptoms, so by all means get a second opinion before undergoing any procedures.

For most people the best course of treatment is to start with the least invasive techniques, which are usually very successful. If they don't relieve your pain and limited function, we may then consider escalating treatment to more irreversible procedures to help you find relief from this unwelcome condition.

If you would like more information on jaw joint pain and how to treat it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Seeking Relief from TMD.”

By S & G Family Dentistry
September 06, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”