Holistic dentistry in Anchorage, Alaska

Why is Holistic Dentistry Important?

More people are adopting the holistic approach to better health and wellness. Dentistry is one particular field where many practitioners have chosen to use holistic methods.

Of course, holistic dentistry can and is often misinterpreted and misunderstood when compared to “traditional” dentistry. Many times, it is perceived that “holistic” dentistry and “traditional” dentistry are two completely different, mutually exclusive practices and that any given practitioner MUST be one or other. So before we start exploring the value of holistic dentistry, it is extremely crucial to remember: every dentist is different. He or she can borrow from both holistic and traditional schools of thought. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s explore what makes holistic dentistry so special!

BACKGROUND OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

The term “holistic” is a reference to “the whole.” So holistic dentistry doesn’t just address your teeth and mouth – it addresses factors that have implications for your entire health and well-being. A holistic dentist will focus on educating their patients on how dentistry plays a major role in their overall health. For example, did you know your dental and oral health can have a direct effect on sleep apnea (and vice versa)? In fact, some dentists even offer things like Ortho-Tain to help resolve sleep apnea issues! General health concerns are completely in considered when you visit a holistically oriented dentist.

 

EXAMPLES OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

Another benefit of holistic dentistry is that practitioners pay very close attention to the effects their dental appliances and materials will have on your overall health. Here are some examples:

  • Holistic dentists tend to avoid things like mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury, of course, is poisonous to our bodies. Even the smallest amounts will put your overall health at great risk. As a metal, mercury fillings can also put extreme pressure on your tooth and as a result, will last longer than the tooth itself.
  • Root canals are addressed with extreme caution and attention to detail, as holistic dentists understand that 100% sterilization of the canal is difficult to achieve. Also, some sterilization chemicals in fact toxic, such as formaldehyde. Leftover bacteria in the canal can also lead to things like breast cancer and heart disease. Many holistic dentists will instead recommend the total extraction of the tooth, but would prefer to provide detailed insights towards preventing symptoms in the first place.
  • Holistic dentists prefer topical fluoride is favored over ingested fluoride. Ingested fluoride can cause health defects like cancer and bone damage, and research has shown that it has no real benefit to your teeth.

Take the time to ask what your local holistic dentist can do for you and your family. You may find that as you utilize this form of care for your mouth and teeth, your overall health will improve as well, leading to a happier, healthier life!

healthy foods for sleep apnea diet in Anchorage, Alaska

Eating Right When You Have Sleep Apnea

There is a growing awareness that sleep apnea and oral hygiene have much to do with each other. However, many patients would be surprised if their dentist asked them about their sleeping patterns. The truth is our oral cavity has a direct role in the cause of sleep apnea – a disorder caused by inhibited breathing pathways. What we eat, how we eat, and how our mouths allow the passage of air are all important factors – factors that have a much more obvious association with dental health.

Dentists will, of course, tell you to avoid the traditional sugary treats in order to improve dental health. I want to go a step further and offer some tips that are not only good for dental health – they are great for sleep health. If you suffer from sleep apnea, try adding more of these foods into your daily diet this summer:

  1. Fruits and vegetables: Rich in nutrients and fibers – and of course low on calories – fruits and vegetables are ideal substitutes for cookies and candy. Also, fiber promotes a longer feeling of fullness; the longer you feel full, the less likely you are to overeat. This is especially crucial, as most sleep apnea sufferers tend to be overweight. Just avoid bananas (we’ll get to that later, promise).
  2. Low-fat dairy products: Full of vitamin D, protein, and calcium, low-fat dairy also helps you feel fuller, longer. Try swapping out whole milk, heavy cream, and cheddar cheese for skim or low-fat milk and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Again, these foods will help promote healthy weight management, which in turn aids in your sleep apnea management.
  3. Plant-based oils: Overweight sleep apnea sufferers can also benefit from the unsaturated fats from plant-based oils as a great substitute for saturated fats in butter and margarine. Oils from canola, olives, safflowers, sunflowers, flaxseeds, and of course vegetables mean a wide variety of options.
  4. Whole grains: Whole grains operate in much of the same way as fruits and vegetables – they are richer in nutrients and fibers, which makes you feel fuller for a longer amount of time. Breads and cereals have a wide variety of whole grain options, and you can also opt for wild or brown rice, pearled barley, and old-fashioned oats.

Watch out for the following foods, which can make sleep apnea conditions worse:

  1. Bananas: While most fruits are great for improving sleep apnea symptoms, bananas are an exception. They actually can increase mucus production, which can make breathing problems worse while you sleep. The softer and more over-ripe they are, the more likely they can be to contributing to your problem.
  2. High-fat dairy: We already explained why low-fat dairy is a better option compared to high-fat products. The reason is simple: they are higher in fat! Since sleep apnea and obesity have a direct relationship, it will benefit you to cut out heavy cream, whole milk, cheddar cheese, butter, etc.
  3. High-fat meats: Because curbing fat intake is so crucial to addressing sleep apnea, beef and pork should be eaten very sparingly at best. The same goes for fried chicken and fish. When NOT fried, however, fish can be extremely beneficial. As an Alaskan staple, salmon’s high Omega-3 yield is optimal for maintaining ideal fat intake.
  4. Refined carbs: These foods are why whole grain options (mentioned above) are a better choice; refined carbohydrates contain a high amount of added sugar – already on the “unapproved” list as far as dentists are concerned. Their likelihood of contributing to weight gain is obviously higher, and will increase the risk of sleep apnea symptoms.

If you are concerned about how your oral health or diet may be affecting or even causing sleep apnea, it might be a good time to contact your local comprehensive, holistic dental expert.

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.

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.

Get Ready for Another Commercial!

 

img_4158_720 This week my marketing team convinced me to sit down in front of a cozy fireplace to talk about one of my passions – helping adults and children get a better night’s sleep. But there was a catch.

They were going to film it!

I love helping people to achieve their perfect smile. I enjoy creating solutions to make my patients more comfortable. I’m passionate about breathing well. And I’m eager to share these things!

We had a long talk in front of TerraBella’s fireplace and the camera crew was so amazing that I felt almost normal despite the mic and cameras surrounding us!

Over the course of the evening we talked about how I got started in my practice and all of the new things I’ve been learning and incorporating into my practice through the years. We discussed Othro-tain and braces, the connection between breathing well and sleeping soundly, the correlation between poor sleep and ADD, and my collaborations with other providers such as chiropractors and physical therapists. Another key topic came up was all of the new technology that we’ve been incorporating into the practice.

img_4152_720There are so many exciting things happening.  I would love to elaborate on everything we talked about right now but I want to keep some things a surprise for the commercial!

Look for us on your TV soon and let us know what you were doing when we came on screen!

Use DNA to Improve Snoring

 

shutterstock_346374167_720Did you know that 27.4% of Alaskans are sleep deprived?

As we discussed the connection between Sleep Apnea and TMD we touched on some ways that we could help you with snoring and sleep apnea problems. The newest tool in our arsenal is a DNA Appliance System. As one of only two certified providers in Alaska, we are proud to begin introducing this system to our state and helping nearly a third of our state to rest better.

So what is the DNA Appliance System?dna logo

Though your genes can be a factor in whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, in this instance we aren’t talking about Deoxyribonucleic acid or Ribonucleic acid. The Daytime-Nighttime Appliance (DNA) is a patented, FDA registered device that aims to correct the underlying issue instead of simply masking it. In combination with the mandibular Repositioning-Nighttime Appliance (mRNA) this system allows us to gently and non-surgically correct many of the issues that cause TMD, Sleep Apnea, snoring, and headaches.

The other method that we like to use to manage snoring and sleep apnea is a Mandibular Advancement Device. This simple protrudes your lower jaw in an effort to keep your airway from collapsing as you sleep. This device still has a firm place in our treatment line-up, but it does have some drawbacks. The biggest one being that it has to be worn over a lifetime.

A longer term solution is to use non-surgical airway remodeling of the upper airway so that the underlying issues can be fully resolved.

The DNA is worn during the evening and at night. It gently increases the size of your upper jaw over time. Which, in turn, increases the volume of the nasal airway. More volume means more air, less constriction, and more sleep.

The mRNA is worn at night. It corrects the position of your teeth and places them in a more natural position. It also increases the redevelops the upper airway. This combined approach helps to reduce TMD symptoms, headaches, and snoring in patients of all ages.

If you’re looking for a solution to your sleep issues that doesn’t involve surgery, drugs, pain, or injections, contact us today! We’d be happy to tell you more about the new option and see if it’s right for you.

The TMD and Sleep Apnea Connection

headache

Are you suffering from daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, morning headaches, depression, decreased libido, or impaired concentration? Is your partner suffering with a bed-mate who snores?

You might have sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.

Do you hear clicking in your jaw, struggle with painful chewing, have trouble opening or closing your jaw properly, feel tension in your temple muscles, have toothaches, or headaches?

Then you might have Temporal Mandibular Disorder.

Be wary though, TMD and SDB share many symptoms and occasionally TMD symptoms can mimic or mask those of sleep apnea. More often however, where there is one you will find the other because the two are interconnected.

Sleep apnea leads to TMD.
When people who suffer from sleep apnea grind their teeth or shift their jaw in an unconscious attempt to find a better position in which to breathe can cause the temporomandibular joint to become inflamed and exacerbate a pre-existing TMD.

TMD leads to sleep apnea.
If your teeth aren’t positioned correctly then your lower jaw can go back too far when it closes. If your jaw goes back too far this can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint. TMD can lead to headaches and jaw aches. Head and jaw aches cause your head to move forward, straining the neck. Ongoing neck strain can cause the normal curvature of your spine to degenerate which restricts normal movements like those needed to breath unobstructed. The DNA Appliance System is a new solution that we’re excited to begin implementing.

In most cases this cycle can be prevented. With a simple treatments such as Six Month Smiles or Ortho-tain, we can make sure that your teeth are properly aligned. And with a simple Mandibular Advancement Device we can prevent your airway from being blocked by your tongue and the soft tissues of your throat.

If you’re suffering with TMD, jaw pain, headaches, and interrupted sleep, contact us today to see if we can help you feel better.

Can Sleep Apnea Affect My Health?

 

How would you rather sleep-

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Untreated sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing repeatedly as they sleep, this can deprive the brain and body of much needed oxygen.

The two types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by the airway being blocked when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep. A popular analogy is to think of drinking a thick milkshake through a paper straw. As you suck in, the weak paper collapses and you can’t get any of the milkshake. When you’re awake your brain signals the muscles of your tongue and throat to stay strong, acting like a stronger plastic straw. But when you sleep those signals don’t always reach your muscles, especially when you sleep on your back.
  • Central sleep apnea – This type of sleep apnea is not caused by a blockage but by the brain. CSA is caused by instability of the respiratory control center causing the brain to fail to signal muscles to breath.

Who’s At Risk For Sleep Apnea?

Anyone is susceptible to sleep apnea at any age – even kids. But there are certain traits that will increase your risk.

  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Over 40 years old
  • Menopause
  • A large neck (Over 17” in men and 16” in women
  • Large tonsils or tongue
  • Small jawbone
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Nasal obstructions from a deviated septum, allergies, or other sinus issues.

 

How Can You Tell if You Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Anchorage Snoring – When you don’t get enough air into your lungs your blood oxygen level drops and your levels of carbon dioxide go up. With OSA your brain detects that you’re not breathing and wakes up. The amount of time that you can be affected varies from a few seconds to over a minute. Normal breathing resumes, but your airway may not be at its full size. When this happens the tissue surrounding the restricted airway vibrates causing snoring.

Silence – No snoring does not necessarily mean that someone is breathing unobstructed. Silence could indicate that they’re not breathing at all as a result of sleep apnea. If you listen or watch carefully when someone is sleeping you can see when they semi-wake up and take a deep breath.

 

What are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea has a large variety of effects on your health. Your body and brain are extremely sensitive to oxygen levels and when those drop it can wear on your overall health. The longer your periods of no breathing are, the higher your chances for more serious effects.

Effects due to your heart being under extra stress.

*Inflammation                                                *Diabetes

*High Blood Pressure                                    *Stroke

*Irregular heartbeat                                      *Heart attacks or heart failure

Effects due to increases in hormones and neurotransmitters.

*Increased inflammation                              *Higher stress

*Mood swings                                                 *Hypothyroidism

Because you have to wake up to end an episode of sleep apnea you will be forced to wake up over and over again during the night. This reduces the quality and quantity of sleep you get. Even if you don’t notice the periods of wakefulness your brain does.

Effects due to insufficient sleep.

*Headaches                                      *Poor performance at work

*Insomnia                                         *Academic underachievement

*Heightened ADHD                         *Motor vehicle crashes

*Daytime sleepiness                       *Fatigue

*Lowered concentration               *Reduced memory

*Depression                                      *Cognitive Deficits

 

How Can I Treat Sleep Apnea?

Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, there are several options available. Most require the care of a doctor or sleep specialist.

*Weight Loss – If your sleep apnea is caused by being overweight then shedding some of those pounds can reduce the pressure on the muscles around your airway.

sleep-device*Removal of the tonsils – If you have larger than normal tonsils then having them removed will open up your airway.

*CPAP – A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine provides a positive flow of air via a mask worn all that keeps your airway open and prevents it from collapsing.

*Oral Appliance – These appliances work by keeping the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open and prevents the tongue and muscles from relaxing and blocking the airway.  These simple mouth pieces are custom made for each individual and can be worn at night without restricting movement or limiting comfort. This is not suitable for all cases of sleep apnea, but it is the best, least invasive, first defense. A simple trip to your dentist is all it takes to get started.Sleep apnea process illustrator

 

What is Sleep Apnea?

snoring AnchorageSleep apnea is a condition where the individual ceases breathing multiple times while sleeping. One of the symptoms can be chronic snoring, but snoring can be the result of many other conditions so one should not jump to the conclusion that they are suffering with sleep apnea just because they snore.

Sleep apnea can be a very serious problem … if you suspect you may suffer with this sleeping disorder, there are several approaches to take.

  • Lose weight as carrying extra pounds can contribute to the problem.
  • Stop smoking, which is excellent advice for your overhaul good health.
  • Try a different sleeping position like moving from your back to your side.
  • Make an appointment with your dentist.

What does your dentist have to do with a sleeping disorder? Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the throat and/or tongue collapse blocking the airway. The individual usually awakens and their movement causes the airway to open. Your dentist can fabricate a mouth guard that will keep your jaw positioned in a way to prevent the blockage from occurring.

What side effects occur if the problem is not corrected? The most obvious, of course, is oxygen deprivation.  This can lead to a stroke. High blood pressure is another.

The inability to think clearly can be the result of night after night of interrupted sleep patterns. The patient might not even realize this is happening. Even though they might be waking up as much as hundreds of times each night, they may not be aware of this occurrence.

A partner may provide the first clues that sleep apnea is a possibility. Snoring, choking or gurgling sounds while asleep are indicators. Daily fatigue when you felt like you had a good night’s sleep or the need for regular naps can be a hint as well as persistent morning headaches.

If you suspect this sleep disorder is disrupting your life, a sleep study is often required to determine if sleep apnea is occurring. Following a sleep study, a consultation with your dentist for a sleeping device that will position your jaw to prevent the blockage is the next step. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended for a more permanent solution.

If you have questions about your sleep apnea concerns, contact our skilled dental team today to schedule an informative consultation.