How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health

The snoring

Patients at our office are often surprised to hear that dentists tend to be the first medical practitioners who find signs of sleep apnea. While it is true that only a medical doctor can formally diagnose sleep apnea, our San Francisco dentist frequently spots indications of sleep apnea and then refers patients to medical doctors for sleep apnea tests.

Our dentists and staff want to correct the misconception that sleep apnea is just loud snoring. This disorder has potentially dangerous effects because sleep apnea sufferers have a temporary pause in their breathing, which can bring about oxygen deprivation in some cases.

Sleep Apnea affects more than ten-million people every year, and it has negative impacts on your oral health.

• Bruxism, typically called teeth grinding, often occurs when your brain uses it as a signal to wake up and breath. Teeth grinding impacts your dental health in some negative ways. When grinding and clenching your teeth, you put added strain on the temporomandibular joint. After a time, this could lead to a full-blown TMJ disorder. Additionally, you can injure your teeth by cracking the enamel or wearing down your tooth so much that the root is exposed.

• Dry mouth is an effect of sleep apnea. We know this because patients who see our sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco are typically mouth breathers because of the sleep apnea. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, it can lead to several oral health problems. Having little or no saliva increases your odds for gum disease, mouth infections, and tooth decay. This happens because saliva continually rinses away bacteria which cause these diseases.

In addition to these dental issues, sleep apnea links to other disorders such as headaches, depression, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Our sleep apnea patients also report excessive sleepiness which can be dangerous when paired with driving or operating machinery.

There are successful treatments for sleep apnea that our office can provide for you. Be sure to talk to one of our dentists if you believe you may have sleep apnea.

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How is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?

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Our patients here at our dental office are often concerned about Periodontal disease also called gum disease. They are curious about prevention and how we diagnose it in our practice. Because it is usually painless, it is easy to develop gum disease and not know you have the disorder. This is especially true for patients who have gone for long periods of time with no dental care.

Our dentist finds most cases of periodontitis during routine dental exams. The earliest symptoms are easy for our periodontist in San Francisco to spot.
These signs include:
• RED AND SWOLLEN GUMS- These are one of the earliest signs of a problem with your gums. The gums react this way because they are fighting off the attacking infection.

• LOOSE TEETH- Unless you still have baby teeth, loose teeth are always a sign of a problem. Your tooth should stay anchored in place and never move. Even if your teeth that wiggle just a few millimeters, it could indicate gum disease.

• BLEEDING GUMS- Healthy gums do not bleed when gently brushed or flossed. The bleeding could mean you are overly aggressive when caring for your teeth, but it is quite likely that it is a signal of a periodontal problem.

If our dentist suspects gum disease, he will examine your teeth with a dental probe. The probe is a small and thin dental tool that measures, in millimeters, the size of gaps between your teeth and gums. Any pockets more than three millimeters deep indicate gum disease additionally, bleeding when our dentist inserts the dental probe is also a sign of periodontitis.

Another way to diagnose periodontal disease is with x-ray technology. A panoramic x-ray will show the level of bone around your teeth. If our dentist sees a variance of bone levels, it denotes gum disease.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can create problems like tooth infection, tooth loss, and bone loss. Fortunately, there are treatments which are highly successful in eliminating gum disease. These vary according to the severity of your condition.

The best option is to prevent periodontal disease by:
• Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day
• Flossing your teeth at bedtime
• Regular dental check-ups

If you suspect you have gum disease, or would like more information, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

Uses of CAD/CAM Technology

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Anybody who has been the recipient of one or more cosmetic dental implements over the course of their life is probably more than aware of how long and drawn-out the process can be. While the final result is always pristine, there is usually more than a bit of back and forth to and from the dental office. The most significant waiting period is probably the time between being measured for the new addition and the time spent waiting for it to be physically produced in a dental lab. Technological breakthroughs in recent years, however, have made this inconvenience completely obsolete. With the advent of CAD/CAM technology, our dentists are now able to outfit your smile with the appropriate enhancements in less time than ever before.

 

In the past, an initial consultation appointment with out dentist was required to both go over the goals of the patient and also to prepare the mouth for the fixture and take the impressions an off-site dental lab would use to manufacture your new crown, bridge, or onlay. Once the fixture was ready, you had to go back to the office to have it placed. The CAD/CAM workflow streamlines the process, allowing our dentists to restore your teeth with much less unnecessary waiting.

 

CAD/CAM technique involves special equipment that enables our dentists to complete the process entirely in our own office and in one visit. After the tooth or teeth in question have been cleaned, sculpted, and prepared in anticipation of the coming procedure, a highly-accurate scanner is used to gather as much data as possible about them, and a digital 3D model of the patient’s mouth will be generated. From this model the appropriate measurements will be taken. This data is then used to instruct a built-in, extremely precise milling chamber on what to build and how to build it. Using this information, your new fixture will be hewn from either composite resin or porcelain. When the machine has finished producing the implement, the rest of the process is as simple as having it placed, set with cement, and adjusted within the context of your bite.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

The snoring

Sleep apnea is associated with out-of-control snoring. But that’s just one symptom, and it’s harmless. Multiple other symptoms could be more disruptive of your quality of life. Comparing your symptoms to a list won’t help you feel better, but it could put you on a path to a diagnosis.

 

Sleep apnea is a pattern of interrupted sleep, caused by the collapse of throat muscles. This condition can be either obstructive, when the cause is physical, or central—when the cause is neurological. Either one is bad for the business of your sleep. While it’s up to your sleeping partner to rate your snoring, there are signs you can notice yourself. These include:

 

Waking multiple times per night to urinate
Waking up with a headache, sore throat or dry mouth, or a sore jaw
Recurrent reawakening or insomnia
Persistent feelings of fatigue
Inability to concentrate or increased irritability during the day

 

In an apneic episode, the body ceases to breathe. In severe cases, it happens consistently throughout the night. Obviously, this can impact your health. Along with the pre-existing health patterns that may have led to sleep apnea in the first place—like obesity or alcoholism—you should treat your sleep apnea with urgency. This means getting a diagnosis, which often means getting a sleep study. Sleep physicians like our San Francisco dentist often recommend a sleep study both before and after diagnosis—one to determine a course of treatment, and the other to determine the effectiveness of that treatment.
Available treatments include CPAP—or continuous positive airway pressure—and OAT—or oral appliance therapy. CPAP is a machine that regulates airflow through a mask. OAT is for patients who do not respond to the invasiveness of CPAP, and uses a mouth guard to reposition the jaw for better breathing.

 

To find out if you have sleep apnea, contact our expert in sleep apnea in San Francisco.

Features of CAD/CAM Dentistry

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CAD/CAM technology is among the most advanced dental options available today. It refers to computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, and in dentistry, it is used to design and complete restorations in a single appointment. This saves you time and improves your comfort by eliminating the need for temporary acrylic restorations. Our dentist can use CAD/CAM dentistry for a variety of applications, including crowns, inlays and onlays.

Some of the features of CAD/CAM dentistry include:

1. Fast results
Rather than waiting weeks for your new restoration, you can often be in and out of our office in about an hour. We prepare your tooth just like we would for any other restoration and then take a digital impression. This impression is used to customize your new crown to fit your tooth precisely.

2. Unparalleled quality
High-quality porcelain is used to create CAD/CAM restorations, and we use advanced technology to match your tooth precisely so that you can get the most aesthetic results possible.

3. Improved comfort
Not only do you not have to wear a temporary restoration, but you also will not need multiple anesthetic shots. Once your tooth is prepared, your final restoration can be placed as soon as it is finished.

Call today to learn more about same day dentistry or to schedule your appointment with our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco.

How Does Acceledent Work?

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Once you make the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment, you will be excited to see the results of your new smile. With Acceledent, that may happen sooner than you would expect. Acceledent is an FDA-approved device that can significantly speed orthodontic treatment. Our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco can help you decide if this treatment is right for you.

During orthodontic treatment, continuous pressure is applied to the teeth through braces or invisible aligners. Acceledent uses vibrations that can speed the bone remodeling process. You will wear the Acceledent mouthpiece for 20 minutes a day. During this time, you simply bite down on the appliance while you read, watch TV or relax. The gentle vibration will help the tissues adjust to treatment so that your teeth move more quickly. There is never any pain or discomfort associated with Acceledent, and the vibrations are mild enough that the system can even be used for patients with low pain tolerance.

If you want to unveil your new smile faster or simply speed your orthodontic treatment, Acceledent might be an appropriate solution for you. Call to schedule your consultation today to learn more about Acceledent in San Francisco.

Teeth Whitening Process

Friends having funOur teeth are supposed to be bright and white. Unfortunately, they can quickly become darkened and yellowed over time. This is often due to certain diet staples, such as berries, red sauce, tea, and coffee. It can also be caused by some lifestyle habits, such as smoking. Our dentist in San Francisco can perform a teeth whitening treatment in order to remove these extrinsic stains.

There are many different types of teeth whitening treatments, however most of them work very similarly. It will begin with a teeth cleaning, in order to remove any plaque, tartar, and food debris. Then they will apply a rubber block in order to protect the gums and other soft tissue of the mouth.

A whitening liquid or gel is then applied directly on to the teeth. It will be activated with a special dental light or laser. For most types of treatments, the liquid and light will stay in place between a few minutes and fifteen minutes. It will then be removed and reapplied one to two more times.

If an in-office treatment is not what you are looking for, we can also offer take-home kits. These provide you with the tools, materials, and instructions you need to brighten your teeth at home.