Anyone diagnosed with sleep apnea will want to do something about it, but sadly there is currently no cure – although there are appliances and devices that have been designed to help you sleep better and more safely. Unfortunately, the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device, also known as CPAP, is not a very comfortable thing to have to use, especially when you are trying to sleep, and it means that many people who have sleep apnea are putting themselves at risk because they decide not to use it! What they do not realize is that dentists are just as able to treat sleep apnea and prescribe devices to help you sleep as doctors are – so what can they offer that is different?
Well, for a start, they can offer you a fitting for an oral appliance. It may sound a little weird, but put simply, this is like a mouth guard or a retainer that sits happily in your mouth – and is made custom for you so it fits perfectly – and it helps to keep your tongue in one place, ensuring that your airways can remain open while you sleep. It does all of the hard work of a CPAP without any of the inconvenience or hassle. Dentists even recommend the oral appliance for people who have not been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but have difficulties with snoring or breathing at night.
Of course, these oral appliances only work so well as they do because they have been uniquely made to fit that particular patient. Just like a friend’s mouth guard or retainer won’t fit you that well, neither will an over the counter oral appliance. Getting a custom made one from a certified sleep specialist dentist will make all the difference to the way that you are able to sleep – and your partner may even thank you for snoring less!
If you are afraid of the dentist, then you are not alone. It is one of the most frequently experienced phobias, and many people never learn to overcome this fear of someone having such intimate access and control to our mouths. However, just because you are afraid of the dentist does not mean that you will not need to go and visit one at some point or another, and when that time comes around and you really need some dental care to keep you healthy, it can be a challenging time. Of course you want to get some medical help, but at the same time, the last thing that you want to do is go to the dentist! This can lead to dental problems getting worse, and then the dental treatments will take longer – it is a vicious cycle!
Thankfully, there is a way that a dentist can help a nervous patient to relax, and it isn’t by humming or chanting or visualising: it actually involves a little medication that helps them to relax and reduce their stress. In higher levels it would actually make someone go to sleep, but dentists always ensure that the dose is much smaller, so that the patient stays awake and able to make conscious decisions, but their panic and anxiety have disappeared. This is called oral conscious sedation, and it has completely transformed many people’s lives – before they tried it, they had not been able to go to the dentist for years. With oral conscious sedation, they were relaxed enough to sit through the diagnosis and the treatment without any stress.
If you get very anxious when you think about going to the dentist, why not ring them up and ask them whether they offer oral conscious sedation? It could just be the perfect thing for you.
Most people don’t really like going to the dentist – even other dentists! Many people within the industry have worked hard to make it a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable, whether it is making the visit more personalised and specific to that patient, or making the dental practice itself feel less like a hospital and more like a day spa. Known as dental spas, these tend to offer slightly different services to their patients that the traditional dental practices, such as teeth whitening and aromatherapy. This new type of experience can really start to challenge people’s expectations of what ‘going to the dentist’ really looks and feels like.
Aromatherapy itself has been around for a very long time, and thousands of people have benefited from the clever way that practitioners are able to gently encourage the emotions of a patient to change simply by using different smells. It really goes to show how much of an influence the mind can have over the body – and vice versa! By attending a few aromatherapy for dental anxiety appointments, you can see a drastic change in the way that a person feels about going to the dentist.
What is fascinating about this shift in dental mentality is that many dentists are not actually even bothering to advertise that they do things a little differently – their patients are such brilliant walking adverts themselves! They cannot stop telling people the difference that aromatherapy has made to their dental anxiety that more and more people start to visit that dentist for that very reason. After all, dental anxiety can be absolutely crippling, and prevent some people from receiving the dental care that they so desperately need. By reducing stress, aromatherapists are giving back those patients control over their own bodies.
Researchers have just made a discovery (that if proven) that will have game changing effects on the way dental medicine and stomatology (oral medicine) are practiced. In fact, it can make your future trips to the dentist infinitely more comfortable and rewarding.
What if someone told you that you had a cavity but you didn’t need a filling? Or your filling failed, but you didn’t need a root canal?
These may seem highly improbable to you, however, researchers at Wyss Institute at Harvard University and University of Nottingham have made this a very real scenario.
We have all heard of stem cell (cells that divide and multiply to replace cells that have died due to wear and tear, disease or injury) research. Yes, it is hotly debated and both sides have viable arguments. Most of the controversy surrounding stem cell research deals with using embryonic stem cells, and for some that poses a moral and ethical dilemma.
This research, however, uses what is called native stem cells. That means stem cells that already exist in our bodies. The researchers developed a synthetic biomaterial that they inject into the affected tooth and then harden with an ultraviolet light.
The biomaterial stimulates the stem cells already present in the tooth to begin to regenerate dentin. Dentin is the hard bony-like material that makes up the bulk of a tooth. It is just under the enamel.
This is huge for a couple of reasons. One the need for traditional fillings is eliminated. With traditional fillings, the tooth is drilled out and filled with a substance such as: gold, plastic or resin based material, or amalgam. Amalgam fillings are toxic to the body and detrimental to a person’s health as they contain mercury. Many people do not even feel comfortable with the safer materials, as they are still technically a foreign substance to the body and come with its own set of concerns for some.
This new research could make fillings (of any kind) obsolete. Since the tooth can essentially heal itself, the filling would not be necessary.
Statistics show that 10-15% of fillings fail. This is a problem because when that filling fails, a root canal is then needed to address the issue. Root canals can also fail and then the tooth must be extracted/replaced, and replacement options often present biocompatible concerns. This new advancement can eliminate the need then for not only fillings, but root canal as well. Since the tooth is regenerating and healing itself, there is no filling to fail and therefore, no root canal to perform.
This is all still in the preliminary phases, but much work and research has been done in the last several years and we can only hope that soon, this will be a standard treatment in every dental office. All future dental “fillings” will be comprised of this biomaterial and will save many of us from choosing from the difficult dental options we have today.
Globally, elderly populations are increasing, and with this comes a greater awareness of the issues that plague our senior citizens. One of the diseases that has the most profound effect on the elderly is Alzheimer’s, which is caused by brain cell death and is progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. It starts with short term memory loss and can rapidly progress to advance stages, where, amongst other effects, can cause the person to no longer remembers their own family and loved ones. Eventually people afflicted with this disease will be unable to perform the most mundane of tasks for themselves.
Alzheimer’s is the biggest source of dementia in the older demographic in the United States, and, non-coincidentally, periodontal disease is also prevalent in the senior population. Studies have shown that there may be a direct correlation between the two.
Science daily commented on a joint study on this very subject conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College London:
“The presence of gum disease at baseline was associated with a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline in participants over the six-month follow-up period of the study. Periodontitis at baseline was also associated with a relative increase in the pro-inflammatory state over the six-month follow-up period. The authors conclude that gum disease is associated with an increase in cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s Disease, possibly via mechanisms linked to the body’s inflammatory response.”
The initial stages of periodontal disease are characterized by sore, inflamed and bleeding gums, which progresses to severe infections, bone loss and the eventual loss of teeth. Studies are now showing links to a number of other health problems, including lung and heart conditions. Gum disease should be taken seriously, and addressed when symptoms first present to prevent the progression of the disease.
Often the real tragedy is that as an elderly person begins suffering from Alzheimer’s, they are less able to care for themselves, often allowing the gum disease to thrive unchecked.
Prevention is the key here. Our elderly loved ones should be encouraged to have regular dental checkups and practice daily dental hygiene behaviors at home. In fact, everyone, regardless of age, should adhere to the same guidelines. Gum disease can have a negative impact on anyone’s life and it is one of easiest things to prevent.
Daily brushing and flossing along with a healthy diet go a long way in preventing gum disease from gaining a foothold. Regular cleanings and ozonizing (ask our office about home units) are key to preventing and often reversing the effects of gum disease. The bacteria contained in tartar can be toxic to our health and taking care of our teeth from the toddler through to old age can have an overall positive impact on our lives.
To make an appointment for a dental cleaning in San Diego, please call us at (619) 359-6569.
When you receive a diagnosis of Lyme Disease, you can be sure that your health will never quite be the same again. From now on, every diagnosis has something that little more complex, every medication that you take could have a slightly different outcome, and you can to take a lot more into consideration when you are offered food when you’re out and about! The important thing to do is ensure that you do everything you can to keep yourself as healthy as possible, and one key factor that many ignore is your dental health. This is something that Dr Paige Woods, a dentist based at Brighton Dental, is working hard to combat.
Many people do not realize that their Lyme Disease can be completely altered if their body is fighting any other infections, and so it is very important to try and prevent any infections from getting into your body. People can be very good at keeping themselves warm and wrapped up in winter, and making sure that they do not go anywhere near sick people, but then they don’t even brush their teeth before they go to bed! There can be millions of different types of bacteria living in a person’s mouth if they are not taking care of their dental health, and any of these can become full blown infections that really make your Lyme Disease worse.
Dr Paige Woods has some simple advice for people who have Lyme Disease and want to make sure that they keep their dental health a priority as they focus on their health: brush your teeth for three minutes twice a day, use a mouthwash, and ensure that you visit your dentist twice a year for a check up. Your dentist is going to be your best ally when it comes to fighting your Lyme Disease, so it is vital that you see them often.
For a free consultation on how oral health can improve your overall health, call (619) 359-6569.