Do you snore? You can admit it. Most everyone does, from time to time. But if snoring becomes a frequent and disturbing feature of your nighttime routine, it may be more than just an annoyance. Did you know that excessive snoring — when accompanied by irritability and depression, daytime sleepiness and confusion, and/or several other physical and mood problems — is one of the common symptoms of a sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD)?
SRBDs are potentially serious conditions, with consequences that can range from poor workplace performance to possible cardiovascular and brain damage. One of the most significant of these maladies is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, a condition in which the tongue and surrounding soft tissues fall back into the throat and obstruct air flow. This reduces oxygen levels in the blood, causing the body to wake suddenly — and in severe cases, it can happen up to 50 times an hour, without a person consciously realizing it.
Needless to say, that doesn't make for a good night's sleep. But even if it turns out your snoring problem isn't severe OSA, it can still prevent you (and your partner) from feeling refreshed in the morning. Did you know that we may be able to recommend an oral appliance that has been proven to alleviate problem snoring in many cases? This custom-made device, worn while youâ??re sleeping, helps maintain an open airway in the throat and reduce breathing problems.
If you have this condition, it's critical that you get professional advice. Dentists who have received special training in sleep problems can evaluate you, provide medical referrals when needed, and help determine the type of appliance that may work best for you. Since sleep disorders can be problematic, a thorough evaluation and follow-up monitoring is essential.
Several treatments for SRBDs are available. But oral appliance therapy, when it's recommended, offers some distinct advantages. The small appliances are comfortable, easy to wear, and very portable — unlike more complex medical devices such as CPAP machines. They're a non-invasive and reversible treatment that should be considered before undertaking a more intensive treatment, like surgery. Could an oral appliance benefit you? Why not ask us if we can help you get a good night's sleep.
If you would like more information about oral appliance therapy for sleep problems, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Sleep Disorders and Dentistry” and “Sleep Apnea FAQs.”
Clenching, or grinding of your teeth (also known as bruxing) are common habits. Biting forces are normally small, gentle, fleeting and very frequent throughout the day. In fact, it's the normal stimulus necessary to keep your teeth and jawbone healthy. When you clench or grind your teeth you apply forces up to ten times normal (in the 200 lb range). And it's not just the force, it's the duration and frequency with which they're applied. High forces lasting for seconds or minutes, frequently exerted, can affect some or all of the masticatory system. This includes the teeth, jaws, jaw joints and muscles, causing aching jaws, headaches, earaches, neck and even backaches; and the teeth themselves causing excessive wear, fractures, or even loose teeth.
Why does grinding occur? Habitual grinding is most frequently a reaction to stress. Sometimes abnormalities in your bite or malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) can trigger clenching or grinding. It is normal for children to sometimes grind their teeth when new teeth are coming in, but it may be indications of stress too. You may be grinding your teeth subconsciously in your sleep, but it may be so loud as to awaken your sleeping partner. Or our office may be the first to suspect it during a dental exam because of the apparent signs of change to muscles, joints and teeth especially abnormal tooth wear.
What can be done about teeth grinding or bruxing? If you are symptomatic, having pain, muscle, joint or tooth soreness, the first step is to get you comfortable. Generally, a mild non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin, ibuprofen) and muscle relaxants will help in addition to moist heat and mild jaw exercises. Stress management is also helpful. To prevent further damage, we may recommend a bite guard made of wear-resistant plastic that fits over the biting surfaces of your upper teeth. These customized unobtrusive appliances when properly fitted and adjusted stop clenching and grinding activity, or at least the damage they can do. A bite guard can be worn day or night especially during stressful periods.
We all know that dentistry can do amazing things these days to give you the smile you've always dreamed of. With the latest cosmetic and restorative dental techniques, it is possible to achieve amazingly natural-looking results. But how do we map out the best route to a better smile? And how do we know that the results will hold up over time?
Every individual has a unique set of conditions in his or her mouth and it is our job to figure out how you have come to your present state, dentally speaking. We need to correct or at least manage any factors that could risk the success of your treatment. These risk factors fall into four basic categories:
Periodontal Risk — This involves the condition of the structures that support your teeth, including your gum and bone tissue. It's important to establish good periodontal health before we perform any restorative or cosmetic procedures.
Biomechanical Risk — This has to do with the structural integrity of your teeth. We will look at whether any tooth structure has been lost due to decay, and take steps to reduce your susceptibility to decay if necessary.
Functional Risk — This relates to your bite: how your teeth, muscles and jaw joints are functioning. For example, do you have excessive tooth wear or joint pain? If so, you are at a higher risk in this category and we need to figure out why.
Aesthetic Risk — This is the most subjective of the categories as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Still, if you display a lot of your teeth and gums when you smile, any issues you have (gum recession, for example) will be that much more visible and affect your smile more. We will have to take this into account when we plan your treatment.
Only when we have determined how best to minimize your risk in all four of these categories can we restore or enhance your smile in a way that will not only look great but also last as long as possible.
Metal braces are often considered a rite of passage for teenagers whose teeth need straightening. While some teens have no problem with this, others are more self-conscious and would like a less noticeable and less restrictive form of orthodontic treatment (“ortho” – to straighten; “odont” – teeth). After all, traditional braces can sometimes require diet modification, regular tightenings can cause discomfort, and the hardware itself can irritate the inside of the mouth. All of these things can limit a teen's ability to function normally during an already difficult stage of life.
That's why many teens today are opting for removable clear aligners, which have been popular with adults for years. In this system of orthodontic treatment, transparent, flexible, plastic “trays” are custom-made to move an individual's teeth into better alignment in a step-by-step fashion. Each tray moves the teeth a little bit further, according to a precise plan developed with specialized computer software by an orthodontist, or a general dentist who has received special training. It's not available from every dentist, but we are happy to be able to offer it here.
It used to be that clear aligners were not recommended for teens for two main reasons. For one thing, because they are removable rather than attached to the teeth, it was assumed a teenager would not be as conscientious as an adult about wearing them nearly 24 hours a day, which is necessary to achieve the desired results. Now, however, clear aligners for teens have colored “compliance indicators” that fade over time. With this new tool, dentists and parentsâ??and teens themselves — can monitor compliance and progress.
The other main problem in prescribing clear aligners for teens had been that their second molars are still growing into position. This problem, too, has been solved. Clear aligners now have “eruption tabs” that serve as space-holders for teeth that have yet to grow in.
Finally, in recent years, improvements have been made to the whole clear aligner system that allow it to be used for more serious malocclusions (bad bites). So it's actually a viable option for more orthodontic patients in general — teens as well as adults.
If you would like to learn more about clear aligners for your teenager, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also find out more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners For Teenagers.”
You have only one chance to make a first impression, and a big part of that impression is your smile. For many people, poor self-image starts with being self-conscious and inhibited about their smile.
A great smile is contagious. It can help you win friends and influence people. Conversely, inhibitions about your smile can have a negative impact on your relationships with family and friends, your career goals, and even your love life. If you think that self-consciousness about how your smile looks is holding you back, consider a smile makeover. With cosmetic and restorative dental procedures your smile can be the image of radiant health and happiness that you wish it could be.
A smile makeover is designed to enhance or even transform your self-image by giving you a brighter and more youthful smile, making your teeth look and function better through cosmetic and restorative dental procedures.
Here are ten reasons you may need a smile makeover:
- You are self-conscious about spaces and gaps between your teeth.
- Your teeth seem too small, and your smile seems “gummy.”
- Your teeth make you look older because they are stained or yellow.
- Your teeth are crooked, chipped, crowded or worn out.
- Your teeth do not work together effectively when you are biting or chewing.
- You hide your smile when posing for a photo, and you habitually hold your hand in front of your mouth when speaking or laughing.
- When you are interviewing for a new job or networking as part of your current job, your self-consciousness limits your ability to connect with people.
- Your friendships and family relations are suffering because of your low self-esteem.
- You wish you had a certain celebrity's smile or a friend's smile, instead of your own.
Perhaps most importantly:
- Your inhibitions about your smile are affecting other people's perceptions of you in all areas of your life.
If any of the above sound like you, contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry and a smile makeover. You can also learn more by reading the article “The Impact of a Smile Makeover: What does it really mean?” in Dear Doctor magazine.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
Lake View Dental Associates
Chicago, IL 60657
Our office has flexible hours to fit your busy schedule
- April (4)
- March (3)
- February (4)
- December (4)
- November (3)
- October (5)
- September (4)
- August (3)
- July (5)
- June (3)
- May (4)
- April (4)
- March (4)
- February (3)
- December (4)
- November (4)
- October (5)
- September (4)
- cosmetic dentistry (20)
- dental implants (8)
- veneers (5)
- smile makeover (15)
- replacing teeth (2)
- missing tooth (2)
- dental implant (3)
- common symptoms (12)
- dental hygiene (5)
- oral health (33)
- tooth decay (9)
- oral cancer (2)
- crowns (2)
- oral hygiene (11)
- bad breath (3)
- power bleaching (1)
- teeth whitening (1)
- periodontal (gum) disease (2)
- chewing gum (1)
- x-rays (1)
- tooth colored fillings (1)
- fillings (1)
- celebrity smiles (5)
- dental injuries (5)
- chipped tooth (2)
- bonding (2)
- impacted wisdom teeth (1)
- wisdom teeth (1)
- mouthguards (3)
- snoring and sleep apnea (5)
- laser dentistry (3)
- root canal (2)
- denture (1)
- pediatric dentistry (1)
- sports dentistry (3)
- bone grafting (1)
- smile (1)
- bridgework (1)
- clear orthodontic aligners (2)
- orthodontics (2)
- invisalign (1)
- tooth loss (1)
- dental health tips (2)
- dental emergencies (2)
- tmd (1)
- tmj (1)
- fun dental facts (2)
- floss (1)
- wedding day smiles (1)
- toothache (1)
- tooth pain (1)
- brushing (1)
- braces (1)
- sedation dentistry (1)
- oral sedation (1)
- medication (1)
- aspirin (1)
- periodontal disease (1)
- gum disease (1)
- clear aligners (1)
- teeth grinding (1)