Posts for: October, 2017
We all know how much better we feel after a good night’s sleep: refreshed, energized and ready to handle — even excel at — our day-to-day responsibilities. Yet millions of people, young and old, are robbed of a good night’s rest by sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, in which the soft tissues in the back of the throat block the airway during sleep. This temporarily disrupts airflow, causing numerous “micro-arousals” (sleep interruptions) that we may not even be aware of. A lack of sleep can make us drowsy, irritable and unfocused. In children, these typical symptoms of sleep apnea can lead to mistaken diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The relationship between sleep apnea and behavioral problems has been highlighted in several recent scientific journal articles, including a major study published several years ago in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The lead author, Dr. Karen Bonuck, said at the time: “We found that children with sleep-disordered breathing were from 40 to 100 percent more likely to develop neurobehavioral problems by age 7, compared with children without breathing problems. The biggest increase was in hyperactivity, but we saw significant increases across [other] behavioral measures.” Therefore, an accurate diagnosis of a child’s behavioral problems — leading to the right treatment — is crucial. While sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a physician, treatment for the condition is often provided by a dentist.
What can be done for children suffering from sleep apnea? The most common treatment is surgical removal of the tonsils or adenoids. This treatment can sometimes be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, a dentist who has received several years of post-graduate surgical training. There are several other procedures oral surgeons can perform to open the airway, depending on what anatomical structures are blocking it.
Sometimes a child with sleep apnea can benefit from a procedure to expand the palate (roof of the mouth) to enlarge the airway. This is not a surgical treatment but rather an orthodontic one. An orthodontist (a dentist who specializes in moving teeth) will fit the child with a palatal expander, a butterfly-shaped device that gradually separates the two bones that form the upper jaw and roof of the mouth. This is often done to prevent crowding of teeth and other bite problems, but has been shown in some cases to improve airflow.
There is another dental approach used to treat adults and older children, whose jaw growth is complete. It’s called oral appliance therapy, and it involves wearing a custom-made device during sleep that resembles a sports mouthguard or orthodontic retainer. An oral appliance can maintain an opened, unobstructed, upper airway during sleep in various ways, including: repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula; stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue; increasing the muscle tone of the tongue.
If your child has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can help you find the best treatment approach. For more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry” and “Snoring & Sleep Apnea.”
Professional teeth whitening is the most efficient way to get a visibly brighter smile quickly.
You are ready to wow your potential boss at your next interview. You have the power suit. You have your revamped resume. Now it’s time to tackle your appearance. After all, you want a look that screams success. So, how’s your smile? Since a smile is one of the first features you may notice about a person, you want your smile to be as radiant as possible. Of course, you might not have a lot of time for a makeover. Don’t worry; our Winter Park, FL, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Edgar Acuña, can get your smile whiter in no time.
If you are under a time crunch and you notice that your teeth look rather yellow and could use a boost (don’t let that white button-up shirt you’re going to wear for your interview outshine your smile) then it might be time to schedule a whitening session with our Winter Park dentist. No other system is as strong or produces results as effectively as professional in-office teeth whitening can. The power lies in the gel’s active stain-fighting ingredient.
Professional whitening gel contains either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Besides having this active ingredient present, it’s the percentage of active ingredient within the gel that makes the system more effective. That’s why you won’t see the same amazing results with over-the-counter whitening kits. These systems have to be safe for everyone to use, so the amount of active whitening ingredient within the gels is minimal, which means it will take a few weeks to notice any results. If you want to get fast, noticeable results, then it’s time to turn to in-office whitening.
When you come in for in-office teeth whitening we will place an applicator over the lips to keep them open and to prevent the bleaching gel from touching your lips, gums or other soft tissue (as the gel can cause irritation). From there, we will paint the whitening gel over the front surface of your teeth and leave the gel for around 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes a laser will be directed over the teeth to further activate and speed up the bleaching process. Most whitening sessions require more than one application and most of the time this can be completed in about 45 minutes to one hour.
You’ll be amazed with the results you’ll achieve with professional teeth whitening in Winter Park, FL (and you’re sure to wow them in that interview with that gorgeous smile!). But don’t take our word for it; see for yourself by scheduling a cosmetic consultation with Acuña Dentistry. You won’t be sorry!
If you're suffering from jaw pain or impaired function, it may not be the only source of chronic pain in your body. Of the millions of adults with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), many have also been diagnosed — among other conditions — with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or sleep problems.
TMD is actually a group of painful disorders that affect the jaw joints, muscles and surrounding tissues. Besides pain, other symptoms include popping, clicking or grating sounds during jaw movement and a restricted range of motion for the lower jaw. Although we can't yet pinpoint a definite cause, TMD is closely associated with stress, grinding and clenching habits or injury.
It's not yet clear about the possible connections between TMD and other systemic conditions. But roughly two-thirds of those diagnosed with TMD also report three or more related health conditions. Debilitating pain and joint impairment seem to be the common thread among them all. The similarities warrant further research in hopes of new treatment options for each of them.
As for TMD, current treatment options break down into two basic categories: a traditional, conservative approach and a more interventional one. Of the first category, at least 90% of individuals find relief from treatments like thermal therapy (like alternating hot and cold compresses to the jaw), physical therapy, medication or mouth guards to reduce teeth clenching.
The alternative approach, surgery, seeks to correct problems with the jaw joints and supporting muscles. The results, however, have been mixed: in one recent survey a little more than a third of TMD patients who underwent surgery saw any improvement; what's more alarming, just under half believed their condition worsened after surgery.
With that in mind, most dentists recommend the first approach initially for TMD. Only if those therapies don't provide satisfactory relief or the case is extreme, would we then consider surgery. It's also advisable for you to seek a second opinion if you're presented with a surgical option.
Hopefully, further research into the connections between TMD and other inflammatory diseases may yield future therapies. The results could help you enjoy a more pain-free life as well as a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on TMD, 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 “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”