An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious sleep disorder that can lead to other health issues. With OSA, the soft tissues collapse in the throat, which restricts the airways and causes periods where breathing stops. These apnea episodes cause you to briefly awaken and resume your normal breathing. Some people experience this pattern more than 100 times a night.
What are the types of sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is less prevalent and occurs when the brain fails to signal the body to breathe.
How do I know if I have OSA?
For those who suffer from OSA, sleep apnea can create various unpleasant side effects. Irritability, daytime drowsiness, and headaches are common symptoms experienced by individuals with sleep apnea. Snoring often indicates the presence of sleep apnea, but not all snorers have OSA.
Should I be worried about sleep apnea?
Not only does sleep apnea disturb your ability to rest, but it can also create other issues. Without treatment, sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and depression.
How do you treat sleep apnea?
If you are worried about sleep apnea, your dentist or orthodontist can review your symptoms and may possibly suggest a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. Use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is a typical treatment recommendation for sleep apnea; however, many individuals find this therapy uncomfortable or ineffective. Your dentist can fit you for a night guard, an oral appliance that will hold your jaw in the correct position and keep your airways open.
Dental Care Rick Van Tran DDS & Associates Manteca, California
There are lots of brands and styles of electric toothbrushes on the market today, but are they any better than using your trusty manual toothbrush? There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of toothbrushes.
Let’s compare them to help you decide which might be right for you.
Advantages of manual toothbrushes
• Less pressure on your teeth and gums. It’s easier to feel how much pressure you’re applying with a manual toothbrush. Too much pressure can deteriorate tooth enamel and increase your risks for decay.
• Convenience. Manual toothbrushes are easy to pack for trips or tuck away for use away from home.
• Learning tool for kids. Children should learn at a young age how to properly use a manual toothbrush, so that they can maintain good oral hygiene for the rest of their lives.
• Cost. Manual toothbrushes are inexpensive and readily available in many stores.
Advantages of electric toothbrushes
Many dentists claim that electric toothbrushes are more effective in getting rid of plaque buildup on your teeth and gums. They are often considered to be better at maintaining healthy gums. Also, electric toothbrushes are recommended for people who have difficulty brushing manually. Often this affects patients with arthritis or other conditions that affect their dexterity or mobility.
Change your toothbrush
No matter which type of toothbrush you choose, look for soft bristles that will less likely damage your enamel and gums. Remember to change your toothbrush or your toothbrush head when the bristles become worn, which is usually about every three months. It’s also a good idea to change your toothbrush after you recover from an illness such as a cold.
Many parents wonder when the right time is to start taking their children to see an orthodontist. As orthodontics has advanced through the years, oral health professionals have learned that it’s beneficial to address problems early when possible. Most specialists recommend taking children to the orthodontist around age seven, since the mouth has usually developed enough and permanent teeth are starting to come in.
Orthodontists are trained to identify issues at an early age and recognize which problems can be corrected before causing worse trouble later. Some conditions are simply easier to repair if they’re addressed early. This gives the orthodontist more control over where the permanent teeth erupt, especially when jaw structure is affected.
Some of the benefits of early intervention for orthodontics include:
• Correcting bite problems
• Guiding jaw growth to accommodate future teeth
• Predicting permanent teeth development
• Reducing the risks of damage to protruding teeth
• Correcting harmful habits like thumb sucking or tongue pushing
• Improving appearance
• Boosting self-esteem
• Lowering the risk for future invasive orthodontic treatment
A common trend in modern orthodontics is a two-phased approach. The first phase begins when the child still has mostly baby teeth, and treats issues like widening the palate or altering the bite. This is in preparation for the second phase when your child is older and more permanent teeth have erupted. The exact timing is determined by the child’s dental needs and growth patterns.
A consultation around age seven gives you and your child the opportunity to establish a relationship with an orthodontist, and obtain the peace of mind that you’re headed the right direction with your child’s treatment plan. This is just one way to ensure your child’s healthy, beautiful smile for life.
Chances are you’ll be under and orthodontist’s care for a number of years, so you’ll want to choose the right doctor. Also, a very visible part of your body is being treated and you want the highest level of skills.
Follow these guidelines in your search for an orthodontist.
Orthodontics is a specialization within dentistry, which requires a degree in dentistry plus an extra 2-3 years in an accredited orthodontic program. Completing the residency program provides an orthodontic specialty certificate and often a master’s degree. Ask if the doctor you are considering is a specialist with the required training. You can verify this information by checking to see if the doctor is a member of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO).
Many qualified orthodontists are certified through the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), which orthodontists voluntarily join in order to have their skills and competency evaluated. This certification demonstrates the orthodontist’s dedication to excellence and continued proficiency in this specialization.
Your general dentist can be a great resource for referring you to a qualified orthodontist. Ask your dentist about a specialist in your area who has a good reputation.
Friends, neighbors and coworkers are all good sources for orthodontist recommendations. Take note of those you know with braces or whose children have braces, and ask them about their experience with that provider.
The internet, magazines and newspapers are good places to look for ratings of orthodontists. Find specialists in your area and scheduled consultation appointments to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
If your smile makes you unhappy because of problems like crooked teeth or a misaligned bite or large gaps, you may be anxious to correct your smile with braces. There are numerous options available for braces today such as traditional metal braces, ceramics, Invisalign and more. Once you and your orthodontist decide which treatment is best for you, it’s important to reserve time to repair any dental issues that might affect the success of your orthodontics before you get started.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough checkup and professional cleaning prior to getting braces. If any of your teeth have decay that requires dental fillings, now is the time to have them done. You don’t want any extra teeth sensitivity due to decay, and having fillings completed may improve the fit and comfort of your braces. Also, it’s easier on both you and the dentist to perform the work without braces in your mouth.
Chips or cracks on your teeth should also be repaired at this time. You might need a dental crown or cap to best correct your problem. Have your dentist make the right corrections before you begin orthodontic treatment.
Wisdom teeth are a common culprit for problems with the spacing in your mouth. If you have wisdom teeth that have already erupted, it’s easy for your dental professional to tell if they should be extracted to achieve your ideal smile. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, it’s likely they should be removed prior to orthodontic treatment so that the process isn’t later ruined by your wisdom teeth coming in.
A professional teeth cleaning is an important step before getting braces. Brushing and flossing alone usually isn’t enough to eliminate all of the plaque buildup, tartar and bacteria that has accumulated on your teeth. Scaling and polishing is often necessary to make your teeth the best they can be prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. Even if you opt to go with Invisalign, your smile will look and feel better after a professional cleaning.
Once you have visited your dentist and had any necessary procedures completed, you can return to your orthodontist to begin your journey to a beautiful smile.