Little boy sleeping. Ortho-Tain is a safe treatment for Sleep Apnea in children

Ortho-Tain Safely Treats Sleep Apnea in Kids

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops breathing and then starts again. While it is more common in adult males, children can also suffer from it as well. In fact, more and more studies seem to link intention, bad behavior, ADD and ADHD with a lack of sleep and poor sleep quality in children. Ortho-Tain can help Anchorage children get better sleep and improve their quality of life.

What is Ortho-Tain?

Ortho-Tain is a removable orthodontic appliance that can not only be worn by teens and adults but also by children as young as five. The appliance is custom made to fit your teeth and can be worn during the evening as well as during the day. For many people, it is a safe, efficient and affordable alternative to traditional braces.

In addition to offering an alternative to traditional sleep apnea treatments, Ortho-Tain can treat a variety of conditions including overbite, overjet or buckteeth, spacing issues, crowding, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion.

How Does Ortho-Tain Help with Sleep Apnea in Children?

Ortho-Tain offers two appliances, the Nite-Guide and the Occlus-o-Guide, that can make a dramatic impact on the quality of your child’s sleep. Originally, both appliances were designed to straighten teeth, and they still do a very effective job at that. In additional they have been found to promote the healthy downward and outward growth and development of both the upper and lower jaw. This is critical because sleep problems like sleep apnea come from kids not getting enough oxygen while they sleep. When their upper and lower jaw has developed correctly, then their airways can expand fully providing for more oxygen and better sleep quality. The Nite-Guide and the Occlus-0-Guide are both appliances worn while sleeping and can also eliminate teeth grinding and reduce snoring.

Early diagnosis and orthodontic treatment in children as young as 5 is not something most parents traditionally consider. However, some Anchorage dentists are hoping to change that mindset. Early treatment tends to be less invasive and shorter in duration. This has many obvious benefits for both child and parents including:

  • Better sleep earlier in a child’s life can reduce or eliminate issues like anxiety, moodiness, hyperactivity, sleep apnea, ADHD, etc.
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Lower costs
  • Reduction or elimination of more traditional braces later in a child’s teens, which tend to be more expensive, invasive, and painful
  • Early treatment can catch and treat medical conditions like TMJ and stop it before it develops.

Sleep apnea can be a contributing factor if your child is suffering from behavioral issues or even just struggling to pay attention. Ortho-Tain is an option that is less invasive and expensive than traditional sleep apnea treatments and can address teeth issues in addition to the sleep problems.

Happy smiling couple. Teeth whitening safety tips in Anchorage

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Many people are interested in and want to have their teeth whitened, but are concerned about the possible risks and even the pain involved with having their teeth whitened. There are some minimal risks involved with whitening your teeth, but the results are one of the fastest and least expensive ways to update your look (when compared to Botox or cosmetic surgery).

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening methods and techniques have improved over the years and now consist of a bleaching agency called carbamide peroxide. This bleach eliminates the colored organic molecules that give your teeth a stained look. These molecules usually hide out between the crystals of tooth enamel (the outside of your tooth) and the dentin (the inside of your tooth).

Bleaching will have the best results on yellowish and some brown stains, but will not effect gray discoloration. If you have had any restorations done to your teeth, the bleach will not work on them, so keep that in mind when considering teeth whitening.

Will Teeth Whitening Hurt?

Following the process of teeth whitening, it is possible for some tooth sensitivity, which will vary based on the intensity of the solution used. The symptoms usually last one to four days. If the bleaching solution comes in contact with your gums, it can cause pain and irritation. If you are doing the process at home, it is important to wipe any excess gel from your gums immediately. If your dentist is doing the procedure, make sure to inform him or her immediately if you feel irritation.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Yes, in most cases, teeth whitening is safe. The mineral structure of the tooth is not affected by the chemicals used to eliminate the stained molecules. Before getting your teeth whitened, it is important to let your dentist know so they can check your teeth to make sure there won’t be any surprises during the procedure.

What Options do I Have for Teeth Whitening?

There are two main directions to go for teeth whitening, and they both have pros and cons. Your choose depends on which one is best for your circumstances. There are professional teeth whitening options that can either be done in the office or at home. And there are over-the-counter options that can be done at home.

Professional teeth whitening options can either be done in the office or at home. These professional options have a higher concentration of whitening gel than what you can find over the counter. They work faster but can cause more discomfort to the gums or tooth sensitivity. Having a dentist’s supervision can help many feel better about the procedure, however these options are the more expensive.

The over-the-counter teeth whitening options are not as concentrated so there is usually less risk of gum irritation or tooth sensisitivy. However, due to the lower amounts of whitening gel in the mixture, they tend to take longer to achieve the level of whiteness that you might want. Over-the-counter options will be less expensive than the professional options, which can make a difference in some people’s decision.

 

man snoring, 4 common myths about sleep apnea in Anchorage

4 Common Sleep Apnea Myths

Sleep disorders are a common topic in Anchorage due to our issues with too much or too little light. Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) doesn’t have anything to do with light, but it is a sleep disorder that we are becoming more and more aware of these days. As with most topics that increase in popularity a lot of myths get mixed in with the facts. Today we are going to clear up some of the common misconceptions about sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea isn’t dangerous.

Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea is a very real and hazardous thing. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that truck drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea were five times more likely to get into an accident. This means that unfortunately, the consequences of this sleep disorder can affect more people than just the person dealing with it. Additionally, the health risks for the person with sleep apnea are also dangerous. If left untreated, it can increase the possibility of heart attack, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.

Sleep apnea and snoring are the same thing, right?

Snoring and sleep apnea are both are caused by the blocking of the respiratory tract. But that is where the similarities end. Snoring can be loud and disruptive, but that is usually the extent of it. However, the blockage that causes snoring could get so severe that it causes the sufferer to stop breathing up to hundreds of times each night. This is why loud and persistent snoring is usually an indicator that someone should get tested for sleep apnea.

I’m still young, so I’m not at risk for sleep apnea.

Men who are over the age of 40 and obese tend to be at the highest risk for sleep apnea. However, anyone can have it. Some in the medical industry speculate that the rise of sleep apnea in children could be due to the increasing number of obese kids. A growing number of dental specialists believe that sleep apnea stems from incorrect jaw growth as well as facial development during childhood.

I’ll need surgery to correct sleep apnea.

Outside of some very extreme cases, most people will not need surgery to correct their sleep apnea. One of the most common non-surgical treatments for sleep apnea is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine. A CPAP device gently blows the right amount of air directly into your airways to keep them open during the night. Another route is the orthodontic approach in which your dentist or orthodontist fits you with Othro-Tain or Myobrace appliances. Using the appliances, and with some time, some of the oral-facial issues can be corrected, thus solving or minimizing the sleep apnea problem.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can greatly affect your life or the life of a loved one. There are great options out there for treatment, so it is worth giving a specialist a call to get diagnosed and to explore all of the treatments available.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

With the plethora of choices that we are posed with everyday, it can be difficult to determine what type of toothpaste is right for you. First, there are several brands to choose from as well as for different purposes. Are you looking for something to whiten your teeth, help your enamel, and prevent cavities or another reason? Another huge factor that goes into choosing the right toothpaste is the flavor. Do you like spearmint, regular mint, or possibly cinnamon?

Well, with all of these options, where do you even begin?

American Dental Association

Next time you are on the lookout for new toothpaste, keep your eye out for the ADA’s seal of acceptance logo. This means that this toothpaste is marked as safe and effective by the ADA and that the claims on the packaging are found true.

Cavities

We are all at risk of getting cavities from our diets and our dental care. If you are looking for toothpaste to help with cavity prevention, make sure your choice contains fluoride. If you choose toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance, it will contain fluoride. (Flossing will also help eliminate the risk of getting cavities.)

Enamel strengthening

When you eat a highly acidic diet, your dental enamel could be at risk. This softens the outer most layer of the tooth, putting it at risk of further damage. By utilizing a remineralization toothpaste, you can strengthen your enamel over time.

Sensitive teeth

There are special toothpastes made especially for tooth sensitivity. This would be useful for root canals or patients with periodontal disease. These products contain ingredients to reduce the pain associated with these conditions.

Flavor

This one is up for personal preference. Some form of mint is most popular, giving your breath a fresh scent.

With all of the options out there, we hope that you can determine which option is best for you. Perhaps you have several uses you’d like to include in your toothpaste, sometimes you can find a brand with several benefits.

Overall, it might be more beneficial to consult your dentist for a specific recommendation, from brand all the way to use.

If you’d like to meet with us in regards to your toothpaste choice, let us know.

If you have other questions or concerns surrounding your dental health, we would love to work with you and find a solution for your specific case.

National orthodontist month

October is the month for us all to appreciate orthodontists. Not only do they create beautiful smiles, they create functional smiles! Orthodontists use external appliances to help guide teeth to a straight shape.

Usually, these treatments are used on kids and teenagers, as this is optimal for best results, but that’s not to say that adults cannot benefit from orthodontia.

There are many options for orthodontia, as technologies are advancing. There are traditional methods such as braces, and there are also more subtle methods like Invisilign.

We know orthodontic treatments can be unattractive to many adults but the benefits are very promising.

Benefits

Straight teeth make for less nooks and crannies that plaque can get caught in. This leads to healthier overall oral health as well as healthier overall body health. A poor bite can cause abnormal wear on the teeth and jaw issues if not corrected.

Depending on your specific case of crooked teeth or misaligned jaw, your orthodontist may recommend special treatment.

For more of an aesthetic problem, Invisilign is normally used to help. You wear the retainer for 24 hours a day and swap out the retainer every couple of weeks, working your way up to the straightest one.

In more complex cases, traditional braces will be used. This method gives the orthodontist much more freedom to correct your teeth and jaw bite with one appliance and some accessories.

It is important to remember that while you may want one version of orthodontia over another, it is best to listen to your orthodontists’ advice based on your specific dental issue.

Another use for orthodontics is TMJ. A simple mouth guard could possibly help your TMJ case.

No matter what your age, you could benefit from orthodontic treatment!

As always, each case is different and everyone will be treated differently according to his or her dental condition. If you have an orthodontic related issue that you would be interested in learning more about treatment options, contact you dentist or orthodontist.

Please join us by celebrating National Orthodontics Month by expressing appreciation for your orthodontist or exploring orthodontic treatment options for your dental condition. A straight smile is a healthy smile!

If you would like to set up an appointment with one of our dentists or orthodontists or if you’d like to learn more about your options, please give us a call. We would love to chat!

Acidic foods and your enamel

Enamel is a very strong substance used to protect your teeth from damage. It does a great job preserving your teeth from normal wear and tear while eating except for when it comes to acidic foods. While other issues can cause enamel to deteriorate, such as grinding or other abrasions, acidic foods can eat right through your most protective layer of your teeth, exposing the vulnerable layers to harsh substances and other factors. Deteriorating enamel can lead to countless other dental issues, so we want to go over how certain foods you eat can damage your teeth and what you can do about it.

So what exactly causes the erosion of enamel?

We’re sure, at this point, that you are aware of the effects that acidic foods have on your teeth. Basically, foods with a low pH level, less than 7, may cause erosion of your enamel. While candies and sodas are sugary and oftentimes harmful to you teeth, they also contain acidic qualities. Many candies contain seriously low pH levels as well as most sodas.

What foods should I avoid?

Surprisingly, foods across all spectrums can be very acidic. Many fruits and vegetables contain low pH levels, while they are healthy, they can also damage your enamel. As listed above, candies and sodas are not good for your overall health. They are also harmful to your tooth enamel.

So what kind of diet should I try to maintain?

This is a better question for your dentist, as they can take a look at your current condition and give you professional suggestions based on your case specifically. However, a general rule is to maintain a diet of a higher pH level or more alkaline.

Specific things you can do to help keep your enamel healthy:

  • Drink water throughout the day to rinse the mouth of dangerous acids.
  • Use a straw to drink acidic drinks.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to create more saliva to rinse the mouth of dangerous acids.

We hope you take it upon yourself to look at your diet and make changes accordingly to ensure that your enamel stays healthy to protect your oral health. Talk to your dentist and schedule a check-up at least twice a year. They will be able to give you a more personalized plan, should your enamel need extra care.

If you have any questions or if you’d like to make an appointment with us, give us a call.

What are the effects of teeth grinding?

Many people around the world suffer from teeth grinding and are usually unaware of their habit. While there are symptoms that you can look out for as signs of teeth grinding, there are usually other factors involved causing you to grind your teeth. As with other dental issues, dental health and overall health are very connected with one dependent on the other and vice versa. So we want to take a look at what causes teeth grinding in the first place and what can we do to control it or ease the symptoms?

Causes of teeth grinding

Grinding your teeth is usually accompanied by increased stress or anxiety. This happens to people of all ages. If you have a lot of stress or anxiety in your life, you could be grinding your teeth and not even realize it. While most of us do grind our teeth occasionally, it really becomes an issue if it is a constant habit, causing oral health problems.

Symptoms of teeth grinding

Since most harmful teeth grinding occurs during sleep, it can be hard to tell if you have an issue. The most common symptoms to keep and eye out for are headaches, sore jaw muscles, tooth sensitivity and others.

Effects on dental health:

Teeth grinding can cause serious dental issues and it can do damage to previous dental care. Grinding can cause wear on tooth surfaces, chips or cracks in the teeth, increased tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, gum recession, dental decay, and more.

So how can we treat it?

Some home remedies can be to reduce your stress and anxiety. Try to calm down and relax. Learn to give your jaw a break. You can massage the jaw muscles to release tension or use a warm wash rag to hold on your jaw to help relax the muscles. In addition to these, it is highly recommended that you see your dentist right away if you are experiencing teeth grinding. It is best to catch the issue early and do the least amount of damage possible.

If you or someone you know is experiencing teeth grinding, take a closer look at the issue and try to prevent any further damage. If you have and concerns or if you would like to schedule an appointment with us for your teeth grinding, give us a call. We look forward to helping you get back on track and get your teeth looking as healthy as can be.

Wisdom tooth removal

Usually beginning in your early adult years, the four or less furthest back teeth in your mouth, your wisdom teeth, may begin to give you problems. It is very common for people to have these teeth removed to prevent any overcrowding or decay. Some people have enough room in their mouths to keep their wisdom teeth without experiencing any complications or problems. So at what point is it recommended that you remove your wisdom teeth?

Impacted teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth means that the wisdom tooth is disturbing other teeth or is growing in at an odd angle, getting trapped partially under gums. This can result in pain, food particles getting stuck and tooth decay. Leaving an impacted tooth can alter the way that your teeth sit in your mouth, causing your teeth to go crooked. If you have ever had orthodontic work, this is a bad idea. Having impacted teeth is the most common reason for wisdom tooth removal.

The procedure

If it is deemed necessary that your wisdom teeth must be removed, at your scheduled appointment for your wisdom teeth extraction you will be given anesthesia to put you to sleep during the duration of the surgery. Your dentist may need to remove some gums or bone that may be covering your tooth, if necessary. Then they will be able to properly remove the tooth and sew the wound with stitches.

Recovery

Your dentist will prescribe pain medication to take during your recovery time, which usually only lasts a couple of days or so. You will want to relax during this time and eat foods that you don’t have to chew. You will want to avoid touching the wound in anyway for the first couple of days to ensure that it will heal properly. Keep and ice pack to reduce the swelling and inflammation.

Wisdom teeth removal can be a bit scary to people, but it is a very common and necessary procedure to preventative dental health. By removing your wisdom teeth, if needed, you protect yourself from future complications and infections. So do yourself a favor and check with your dentist about your wisdom teeth, just because they aren’t causing a problem now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us to determine your wisdom teeth needs, give us a call. Don’t hesitate to come to us with any additional concerns or questions.

Purpose and process of dental sealants

You can feel and see that our teeth, especially our molars, have several groves and dents. The way that our teeth are shaped presents a risk for food particles and plaque to get caught in, causing decay. By sealing our teeth with a thin coating, we provide an extra barrier of protection for our teeth, keeping them healthier, longer. Sure we can brush and floss our teeth, as we should, but sometimes bacteria can get caught in the crevasses of our teeth and cause cavities.

Sealants are made of different types of materials and the specifics vary from dentist to dentist. The basic principles are the same. Your dentist will prepare your tooth by cleaning it thoroughly; adjust the tooth’s surface to ensure a secure and solid bond, and apply the sealant to the tooth while ensuring that it dries quickly and properly.

Sealants are recommended for almost anyone that would like to maximize the protection of their teeth. However, most often, sealants are performed on children and adolescents that are developing their adult teeth. By sealing the teeth at this cavity prone age, you and help protect your child’s teeth from cavities for about 10 years post-sealant!

Upkeep for sealants is simple, have your dentist check for chips in the sealant and monitor the wear to best project when you may need to get your teeth resealed.

To keep your sealants in tip top shape, avoid eating especially hard or gummy foods such as jawbreakers, licorice, caramels, etc. as these foods could cause your sealant to pop out of place.

Sealants are a major factor in preventative dental care. Protecting your teeth from harmful decay and cavities will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in the future.

Most dental insurance providers cover dental sealants, however, it is always a good idea to check beforehand, just in case. We recommend contacting your insurance provider directly before making an appointment for dental sealants.

Once you’re ready, make an appointment with your dentist! Getting dental sealants is a fairly simple dental procedure and will really benefit your overall dental health in the long run. You already brush and floss your teeth, now is the time to take your preventative dental care to the next level.

To schedule an appointment with us to discuss dental sealants or to seal your teeth, give us a call!

How to avoid dental injuries

As we see summer come to an end, we can expect school to be right around the corner. In no time, football games, swimming and diving competitions along with so many other contact sports will be in full swing. With all of these physical activities comes some concern for dental injuries. So how can you protect your children’s smiles while encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities?

The most common solution to preventing dental injuries from sports is the use of a mouth guard.

With almost any major sport that children participate in, mouth guards are recommended or required. These typically cover the upper teeth to protect broken or chipped teeth as well as damaged lips. For those of you with some other form of orthodontia, talk to your dentist for recommended solutions.

So how do mouth guards work exactly?

There are several different types of mouth guards to choose from, however, it is necessary that whichever moth guard you chose does not restrict your breathing and fits properly or it could not work as well as it should.

Custom mouth guards are designed by your dentist to fit your teeth as comfortably as possible and provide you the best protection against dental damage.

Boil and Bite mouth guards are made in a pre-formed shape that is designed to be altered after boiling in hot water and biting down on the plastic for a recommended amount of time, offering a decent fit and comfort. Be sure to follow directions closely to ensure the best fit and protection.

Stock mouth guards are ready to wear when you buy them, however they provide the least protection and worst fit, but it is better than no protection!

Whichever style of mouth guard you decide to choose for your needs, make sure you change it out every so often as it can get quite nasty with all of the bacteria present in your mouth. To reduce the amount of times you will need to change it out, take extra precaution to keep it clean.

When it comes time for you or your children to shop for a mouth guard for sports related uses, talk to your dentist for recommendations and help deciding which option will be best for you.

If you have any additional questions about dental safety and sports or if you would like to ask us specific questions related to your dental needs, give us a call.