Causes of Sleep Apnea

The snoring

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common, and involves apneic events in which normal breathing is interrupted. Central sleep apnea involves apneic events during which no breathing is detected, sometimes for as long as 20 seconds.

Our expert in sleep apnea in Van Nuys lists the following as common causes of sleep apnea:

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Risk factors include being male, being middle-aged, being African-American, and having a large neck size. But these do not exactly cause sleep apnea. Directly, the breathing difficulty develops when the muscles controlling the airway relax too much. This relaxation, combined with excess fatty tissue—which is where the overweight part comes in—can produce apneic events.

Causes of Central Sleep Apnea

While rarer, central sleep apnea can be greater cause for alarm because of its neuropathological roots. Some data links it to disorders of the brainstem. In central sleep apnea, the asleep subject will stop breathing entirely simply because the brain isn’t telling them to. Sometimes, an underlying medical condition is to blame. The patient may exhibit affinity for Cheyne-Stokes breathing, which is a known associate of heart failure. More episodically, central sleep apnea may occur after a drastic change in altitude, or drug use.

A small group of patients have an apneic case that combines both obstructive and central sleep apneas. This is known as mixed or complex sleep apnea.

Contact our Van Nuys dentist for more information.

When Should Inlays and Onlays be Used?

Happy Girl Undergoing Dental Treatment

Inlays and onlays are an alternative to traditional fillings, and fit a very specific set of circumstances. They are typically used for teeth that are too damaged to support traditional fillings, but not so damaged that they need to be crowned. In this alternative state, inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as indirect fillings—as opposed to direct fillings.
Inlays build up the interior of the damage tooth in much the same way fillings do. But while fillings can degrade tooth structure by 50 percent, inlays actually increase tooth strength by up to 75 percent. This gives a tooth, even a damaged one, greater life expectancy.
Onlays are meant to cover the biting surface of the tooth, and so cover more ground than inlays. Both inlays and onlays are made of composite resin or porcelain, and are tooth-colored for realism.
If you have teeth that are cracked or broken, but not so severely that you need crowns, our expert in inlays and onlays in Van Nuys will probably approve your candidacy. They can also be used as a serious upgrade to your old fillings, or to replace fillings that have fallen out.
Contact our cosmetic dentist in Van Nuys today.

Which Dental Problems Require Surgery?


Oral surgery is at the extreme end of dentistry, when milder treatments have been exhausted. This is not to say that oral surgery is not routine, as most procedures are outpatient and require minimal aftercare. However, most dentists try a range of things before recommending the patient to a surgeon.
You need an oral surgeon in Van Nuys for the following:
• Wisdom teeth removal
• Dental implants
• Bone grafting and gingival flap surgery
• The repair of broken facial bones
• Removal of tumors or cysts
One hypothetical that satisfies the “last resort” definition of oral surgery is a severe case of Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This is a mysterious condition that affects jaw movement and function and can lead to systemic dysfunction. Not a lot is known about the nature of TMJ, so surgery for it is still considered experimental.
Unequal jaw growth, usually hereditary or a birth defect, can also require surgery. Eating, speaking, and even breathing may be affected by a malformed jaw.
Something like dental implants may involve less cutting than is typically associated with surgery. But an oral surgeon usually heads this procedure, working with a periodontist and prosthodontist.
For more about oral surgery, contact our dentist in Van Nuys.

Best Age for Orthodontic Treatments


The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children start a dental treatment plan at the age of 7. This plan will start with simple evaluation, as adult teeth start to come in. Any problems the child has can be diagnosed and treated either with braces or appliances. For instance, if the child’s upper arch is too small for their mouth, the doctor may prescribe a palatal expander to ensure the permanent teeth will grow in properly. This practice is called interceptive dentistry.

Most kids get their adult teeth between the ages of 8 and 14. Before all of them erupt, it may be possible to guarantee their best positioning with dental appliances. This makes braces easier down the road.

Not all children evolve the same way. But you can do your child a favor by watching for the following symptoms:

• Excessive spacing
• Open bite
• Crossbite (front or back)
• Overjet
• Abnormal eruptions

Thumbsucking and mouth breathing are also warning signs, with the former contributing largely to overjet.

Our orthodontist in Van Nuys follows the industry trend of prescribing braces between the ages of 8 and 14, while the jaws are still malleable. A few decades ago, it was common for kids to receive braces much later, while already in high school.

For more, contact your Van Nuys cosmetic dentist.