Posts for: January, 2019
Do you still feel tired or unfocused even after a full night’s sleep? Do others complain about your snoring? It’s possible these are signs that you may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing while you sleep. Your brain will awaken you to breathe, although you may not consciously realize it since the waking period can be less than a second. But it does disrupt your sleep rhythm, especially during the all-important deep sleep period called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). These disruptions don’t allow your body to receive the full benefit of sleep, hence your lack of energy and focus during the day.
One of the most common causes for sleep apnea is the collapse of soft tissues near the throat as they relax during sleep that restrict the airway. Snoring is an indication this may be occurring: air vibrates rapidly (and loudly) as it passes through this restriction when you breathe in.
As your dentist, we’re well-trained in the anatomy and function of the entire oral structure, and qualified to offer solutions for sleep apnea. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea (after a complete examination, including an observation session at a sleep laboratory), we can then help you decide on a treatment approach. The following are three such options, depending on the severity of your sleep apnea.
Oral Appliance Therapy. An oral appliance you wear while you sleep is a first line treatment for mild or moderate sleep apnea. The appliance, which we custom design for you, helps hold the lower jaw in a forward position: this moves the tongue and other soft structures away from the back of the throat, thereby opening the airway.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Intended for more moderate to severe forms of sleep apnea, a CPAP machine produces continuous air pressure to the throat through a mask you wear during sleep. This forces the tongue forward and the airway open.
Surgical Intervention. These procedures remove excess tissue that may be obstructing the airway. Due to its invasiveness and permanent alteration of the throat area, surgery is reserved for patients who haven’t responded to other therapies in a satisfactory manner.
Whether mild or severe, it’s possible to effectively treat sleep apnea. If successful, not only will you benefit from better sleep and greater alertness, you’ll also improve your long-term health.
If you would like more information on treating sleep apnea, 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 “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”
Preventing tooth decay is mostly about the basics: daily brushing and flossing followed by regular dental cleanings and checkups. But there’s also a bigger picture: your own personal risk profile for decay based on factors you can modify directly — and those you can’t.
The first type of factor usually involves habits and behavior that either work with your mouth’s natural defenses to fight decay or against it. Besides regular hygiene, your diet is probably the most important of these you can modify for better dental health.
A diet rich in fresh vegetables, protein and dairy products boosts strong, healthy teeth resistant to decay. Conversely, bacteria thrive on the sugar in many snack foods, while sodas, sports or energy drinks elevate acid levels that soften and erode the minerals in your teeth’s enamel.
Lifestyle habits like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption also increase your decay risk. Not only do they promote plaque buildup (the thin film of bacteria and food particles that feeds the decay process), but tobacco especially can impede the body’s natural prevention and healing properties.
Conscientious hygiene practices, a dental-friendly diet and modified lifestyle habits all can help you prevent decay. But diligence may not be enough — there are other possible factors you can’t control or may find difficult to change. For example, you may have a genetic propensity toward certain bacteria that cause decay. You may have a condition like gastric reflux that increases the mouth’s acid level. You may also be taking medications that reduce saliva flow, the mouth’s natural acid neutralizer.
But if we know which of these indirect risk factors affect you, we can compensate with extra measures. If enamel strength is a problem we can topically apply fluoride; we can also reduce chronic bacterial levels with prescription rinses. If you have restricted saliva flow, we can attempt to modify your prescriptions through your doctor or prescribe aids that increase saliva.
The key is to investigate your complete risk factor profile through a thorough dental examination. Once we know everything about your mouth, life and health that increases your decay risk, we can put in place a balanced strategy of prevention and treatment just for you. Doing so will greatly increase your chances for keeping your teeth decay-free and healthy.
If you would like more information on preventing and treating dental disease, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”
Cosmetic Dental Treatments to Rejuvenate Your Smile
Want a smile that radiates beauty? Cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile you've always wanted. Cosmetic dentistry refers to dental proa cedure that improves the appearance of a person's smile. Atwal Dental Care, which is located in North Syracuse, NY, offers a complete range of cosmetic dentistry services to the patients we serve. Dr. Inderpreet Atwal is one of the finest dentists in North Syracuse, NY. Here are 6 cosmetic dental treatments that can rejuvenate your smile.
1. Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is a cosmetic dental treatment in which a tooth-colored, composite resin material is applied to the teeth and hardened with a special light. Dental bonding is used improve the appearance of cracked, chipped, or discolored teeth. Dental bonding can also be used to close gaps between teeth or change the shade or shape of teeth. Bonding can be done in one office visit. Bonding takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete for each tooth.
2. Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a protective covering that is placed over badly decayed, worn-down, and damaged teeth. Crowns are also used to improve the shape and color of teeth. Porcelain crowns are beautiful and natural-looking. Nothing gives the same depth, translucency, and luster like a porcelain crown. Unlike dentures, dental crowns are cemented onto teeth, and can only be removed by your dentist.
3. Dental Implants
Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are small anchors that are inserted into the jawbone. They provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. The benefits of dental implants include improved appearance, easier eating, improved speech, durability, and improved comfort. With dental implants, you will feel and look younger and more attractive.
4. Porcelain Veneers
Get the smile you've always dreamed of. Say yes to porcelain veneers! Porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made shells of medical-grade porcelain, which are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. These porcelain shells are used to restore teeth that are cracked, chipped, crooked, or discolored. It's also possible to fix gapped teeth through the use of veneers. Porcelain veneers are made of strong, durable materials. They can last from 10 to 20 years or more.
5. Teeth Whitening
In-office bleaching is a revolutionary procedure that uses a strong bleaching solution and chairside lamp to speed up and intensify the whitening process. In-office bleaching can give you a dazzling, white smile in less than 45 minutes. Dispensed by dentists, take-home teeth whitening kits involve filling a dental tray with a bleaching solution. The dental tray is worn for a few hours per day for one or two weeks. Take-home teeth whitening kits provide outstanding results in one or two weeks of use.
Invisalign is the clear alternative to conventional braces. Invisalign effectively corrects a variety of dental issues, including: an underbite, overbite, overcrowded teeth, gapped teeth, and crooked teeth. Invisalign moves your teeth using a series of transparent aligners. The aligners are removable and comfortable to wear. Invisalign has made such a difference in the lives of many people.
Ready for a smile makeover? Start your journey today! Call Atwal Dental Care at 315-452-1020 today to schedule a dental consultation in North Syracuse, NY. Cosmetic dentistry can make your smile look flawless!
Modern dental care wouldn’t be the same without x-rays. Since dentists began capturing x-ray images a century ago to detect beginning tooth decay, billions of teeth have been preserved.
“Catching it early” is the key to staying ahead of this aggressive bacterial infection. Once it breaks through the protective defenses of tooth enamel, it can advance toward the center of the tooth, the pulp, damaging dentin as it goes. While we can effectively stop it at this point with a root canal treatment, it’s better for the tooth’s long-term health to detect and treat any decay early on with a less-invasive filling or other treatment method.
X-ray imaging helps make that possible, revealing decay much easier than we can see with the unaided eye. And while we can often detect decay in front teeth by visual examination or by using very bright lighting, that’s not as easy with the less accessible back teeth. For those teeth we use a special x-ray technique known as the bitewing.
The name comes from the small frame used to hold the film. It’s held in place in the mouth by the patient biting down on small tabs or “wings” extending from the frame. The x-ray beam travels through the outer cheek and teeth to the film being held in the frame on the back side of the teeth. When exposed, we’ll be able to view the interior of these back teeth: a set of four bitewings gives us a full view of all the upper and lower molars and pre-molars on each side of the jaws.
Like other forms of radiation energy, too much or too frequent exposures to x-rays can lead to serious health problems. But bitewing x-rays carry little risk to health. That’s because they fit well with the ALARA principle, meaning “As Low As Reasonably Achievable,” which helps guide our use of x-rays. Patients receive a fraction of the radiation exposure from routine bitewing x-rays than they receive annually from the natural environment.
Without bitewing x-rays and other diagnostic methods, the chances are high that tooth decay or other dental problems can go undetected in their early stages. Using this important tool can help us head off major damage before it occurs.
If you would like more information on the role of x-rays in dental care, 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 “Bitewing X-Rays: A Routine Part of Your Dental Exam.”