How sleep apnea is treated through holistic dentistry

How Sleep Apnea is Treated Through Holistic Dentistry

It is estimated that as many as 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. If you are among them, you’ve probably heard of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. Those who’ve experienced CPAP machines know how effective they are, but can also testify to the discomfort involved in using them. This discomfort leads to low adherence, which means that many people who need them don’t use them as often as they should. The other key trouble with CPAP machines is that while they alleviate the symptoms, they don’t treat the causes of sleep apnea.

So, how can a holistic dentist help?

A holistic (or integrative) dentist will look for causes of sleep apnea, not just the symptoms. Major causes of sleep apnea actually include poor alignment of the jaw, and of the tongue, which are all things your dentist can help treat. These conditions can include:

  • Retrognathia: Poor alignment of the jaw can often be seen when the lower jaw is pulled back. This can push the tongue and the pharyngeal tissue backwards, restricting the airway and causing sleep apnea.
  • High tongue: Dr. Mandanas also looks for a higher than average tongue level. During sleep, the tongue relaxes and falls back. If it is larger than usual or set higher, it could block the airway when it relaxes, causing you to struggle to breathe when you’re asleep.
  • Mouth breathing: This can be caused by either a bad habit, sometimes brought on by a persistent cold, or by a developmental issue such as a collapsed arch. Mouth breathing is sometimes a symptom of an underlying issue which is also causing sleep apnea. However, mouth breathing can also cause sleep apnea itself as well. The tonsillar tissue at the back of the throat is designed to catch and kill bacteria before they enter the lungs. Excessive use, caused by constant mouth breathing, can cause this tissue to swell and lead to sleep apnea. Nose breathing, on the other hand, has many benefits – for example, nose hairs filter bacteria before they enter the airway; nitric oxide gas in the nasal passage kills bad bacteria; nasal passages warm air before it enters the lungs.
  • Tongue positioning: The tongue is a strong muscle and over time it shapes the mouth. Improper positioning of the tongue can, therefore, lead to mouth breathing and sleep apnea as we age.

What treatments can a holistic dentist provide?

The treatment naturally depends on the cause of sleep apnea. For tongue issues, retraining exercises can help by teaching the tongue where to sit while not in use. However, if your sleep apnea is caused by retrognathia, Dr. Mandanas may prescribe a mandibular advancement device (MAD). This device prevents the lower jaw from slipping back during sleep.

Like the CPAP machine, a MAD is worn during sleep. However, unlike a CPAP machine, a MAD is much less restrictive, allowing the patient to roll over and sleep in their preferred position. As treatment progresses and the jaw learns to stay in the new position, the MAD is adjusted to gradually push the lower jaw forward. It’s a really effective treatment.

Dr. Mandanas is also studying Advanced Light Force (ALF) therapy for patients who need a more advanced treatment than mandibular advancement. The ALF device works by applying light pressure to the interior of the teeth and facial bones to adjust the cranial structure, enacting neurological as well as physical changes by using the natural forces of the body for advanced sleep apnea patients. It is able to be worn during the day and is almost invisible to others, making compliance so much easier and delivering great results!

What are my options?

When you visit Dr. Mandanas, she will assess the causes of your sleep apnea and recommend the best treatment plan for you. The integrative options discussed above are covered by most insurances, although that coverage does depend on the exact nature of your sleep apnea.

If you or a family member suffers from sleep apnea and you are interested in Dr. Mandanas’ approach as an integrative dentist, contact us during office hours to schedule an appointment! We look forward to seeing you.

Holistic Dentistry

What is Holistic Dentistry? We Answer Your FAQs

If you’re curious about holistic dentistry, you’re in the right place. Maybe you’ve come across the concept while researching local dentists on the internet; perhaps a friend or family member has recommended holistic dentistry. Either way, you’re looking to try something different.

Holistic dentists have the same credentials as regular dentists. In my case, I have a DDS, and I’ve been a general dentist for 17 years. Over time, I developed an interest in sleep breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. I’m passionate about craniofacial anatomy and development, which can be the source of many sleep issues in children and adults. The past few years have taken me professionally into a new direction of integrative dentistry. It is exciting and fun for me as I continue to grow and learn how to be a safer and more effective provider. Basically, I’m committed to having an open mind about natural approaches to oral health.

This is pretty common for holistic practitioners. Most of us practiced traditional dentistry for years before making the switch to our current models of practice. It’s really simple – the word “holistic” simply means “whole.” We look at the role dentistry plays in optimizing your overall health and wellbeing. That’s why we prioritize natural remedies and avoid harmful materials wherever possible. We will also typically ask more questions about other aspects of your health – for example, diet, sleep, mental health – than regular dentists.

However, we still do the things you’d expect in general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, dentures, implants, and more. This includes checking for things like cavities and gum disease, performing clinical and radiographic examinations, conducting preventative care for things like custom mouth guards, and taking care of all your needs for things like fillings and crowns. Remember, we’re fully-qualified dentists, so we’ll take care of your needs.

Keep reading, because we’ll answer a few more FAQs below.

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment today.

What does a holistic dentist do?

Holistic dentists do all the same things as regular dentists, but as we said before, we focus on whole-body health. Because of that, our scope of work is slightly wider than regular dentists.

For example, we can help treat things like sleep apnea. We can provide non-invasive treatments that consider all the factors at play and work naturally with the body to find a solution. A major cause is poor alignment of the jaw and tongue, which can be corrected. Mouth breathing is another, which can be treated through referral to a physical or speech therapist. Tongue positioning is another frequent factor, which can also be improved. Talk to us about alternatives to CPAP machines.

The concept of mouth-body connection is also very important. We know the mouth doesn’t function in isolation from the rest of the body, so we ensure the connection between the mouth and the body is optimized. That’s why your holistic dentist may ask you about things like diet, lifestyle, and mental health, before recommending a treatment. We want to ensure it works for you.

How do holistic dentists treat root canals?

Root canals are one area where you’ll notice a significant difference. Holistic dentists address root canals with extreme caution and attention to detail, because we understand that 100% sterilization of the root canal is difficult to achieve. We also know that some sterilization chemicals are toxic, such as formaldehyde, which can be harmful. On top of that, we know that bacteria left in the canal can lead to diseases like breast cancer and heart disease. It’s a big decision to make.

Obviously, prevention is always better than a cure in cases like this. However, if the problem becomes serious enough to prompt a discussion about root canals, you might find your holistic dentists recommends something like total extraction of the tooth instead. The treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis, so if you have concerns around this, talk it through with your dentist.

What do holistic dentists use for fillings?

Holistic dentists avoid harmful materials, which means we favor alternatives to things like mercury amalgam silver fillings. Studies have shown that these fillings can have adverse effects on patient health, such as accumulation of bacteria around decaying fillings, sensitivity, weakening of the teeth, and more. We recommend replacing them with modern composite fillings.

If your amalgam fillings show signs of wear or decay, you’ve had issues with them in the past, you’re concerned about the level of mercury in your mouth, and you’re concerned about the aesthetics of silver fillings, please talk to us about modern alternatives. They’re a great alternative for small to medium restorations and may be the right option for you. Ask your dentist!

Concerned about mercury filling removal? Read more about this procedure.

Do holistic dentists take insurance?

Yes, holistic dentists take insurance. Remember, we’re fully-qualified dentists! However, some treatments we recommend may not be covered by insurance – it can vary from company to company. If you have any concerns, please discuss it with your insurance provider.

If you have no insurance, you may wish to consider joining our membership club. We take care of the preventative dental care of all our members with a monthly subscription, saving you money. Our adult membership is just $38/month (with a $50 lifetime activation fee), and it includes two professional dental cleanings per year, 1-2 doctor exams per year, necessary x-rays, one emergency exam per year, and $15% off all other treatments (although some exclusions may apply).

We value loyalty and we launched this program to simplify payments for preventative care. If you’d like to learn more about our membership club, please click here.

Best holistic dentist in Anchorage, Alaska

Here at Mandanas Dental, we understand that properly addressing the needs of our patients allows them to live healthier, fuller lives. Think about it: food is our fuel, and it enters our bodies through our mouths. We ensure your mouth is healthy so your body can function as it should.

We don’t overbook. Instead, we reserve your time exclusively, without interruptions. This means you get to spend the time you need with Dr. Mandanas. She will talk to you about your health goals before even taking an x-ray, and after completing a thorough examination, she’ll review her findings with you and develop a personalized plan to achieve the best results possible.

We’re committed to making your dental treatment comfortable, convenient and rewarding. That’s why Mandanas Dental is the best holistic dentist in Anchorage, Alaska.

Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us today!

Why Do I Need to See an Integrative Dentist

Why Should I See an Integrative Dentist?

Integrative dentistry is an exciting new perspective for your regular dental check-ups. Rather than just looking at your mouth and trying to keep it healthy in isolation, an integrative dentist (also known as a holistic dentist or biological dentist) looks at the way your mouth impacts your overall health. Integrative dentists recognize that good oral health is only a single element of what’s needed to optimize your wellbeing.

When we discuss the best treatment for your dental issues, we’ll also take factors like mental health, sleep disorders, behavioral disorders, lifestyle, diet and more into consideration. We also actively look for natural alternatives to traditional treatment methodologies when they are proven to be effective. We always prefer to use the least invasive techniques possible to reduce damage and protect you from chemical exposure.

Of course, integrative dentists do all the things you expect from a normal dentist. They can take care of all your dental issues, including:

  • Clinical and radiographic examination for hidden dental problems
  • Inspecting the teeth for cavities and any signs of wear and tear
  • Inspect the gums for signs of gingivitis or gum disease
  • Professional teeth cleaning
  • Emergency dentistry
  • And much more.

We simply recognize that the mouth is the gateway to the body, and that by taking care of the mouth, we can help optimize whole-body health.

How Dr. Mandanas became an integrative dentist

Dr. Owen Mandanas worked as a general dentist for 17 years. Eight years ago, however, she began helping people with sleep disorders, through the use of dental appliances. We’ve discussed the treatment of disorders like sleep apnea in our blog before – you can read more about it here. Dr. Mandanas particularly likes the use of alternatives to CPAP machines, such as mandibular advancement devices. These devices push the jaw forward while you sleep, which helps to keep your airway open.

This experience led her to look into other ways she as a dentist could help patients in other ways. Her view of the role dentistry plays in healthcare more widely began to change as she began studying new techniques and working with other holistic practitioners, including medical doctors, nurse practitioners, naturopaths, and chiropractors.

Today, Dr. Mandanas is affiliated with multiple professional organizations, in both traditional dentistry and integrative dentistry. These include the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines, and the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, which awards the SMART certification for mercury amalgam filling removal (click here to read more).

Why not just see a normal dentist and a doctor?

There are lots of advantages to seeing an integrative dentist, but the most important reason to choose this option is because they are more aware of the impact dental issues have on the rest of the body than a traditional dentist. Often, they may identify potential issues that you can then raise with your doctor. It doesn’t matter what the issue is; early detection and prevention is always the best way to optimize and protect your health.

What types of issues can integrative dentists address?

Sleep apnea is just one example of this, because Dr. Mandanas can suggest different treatment options you can talk through with your physician. This is a large part of her practice, and she’s passionate about studying craniofacial anatomy and development. She approaches every new patient with an open mind and is committed to finding the right solution for you.

Oral microbiome is another. Your mouth is home to the second most diverse community of micro-organisms in your body, after your gut. In fact, more than 700 species of bacteria live on the hard and soft surfaces of your teeth. The balance can be disturbed by external factors, such as your diet, which can cause problems like gum disease. This is something we can talk about during a routine appointment. Read more about it here.

Oral health also has an impact on serious diseases like diabetes, which comes with risks of periodontal disease. This is the name of a common infection of the gums that can lead to bone loss in the jaw and teeth. It starts as plaque and causes inflammation of the gums as it progresses. Diabetics with severe periodontal disease have an increased risk of things like kidney disease, heart attack, stroke and eye issues. Click here to read more.

These are just a few examples, but hopefully they help explain the “big picture” of dentistry. It’s not enough just to look after your oral health, you need to view your mouth as the gateway to whole-body health.

Want to learn more about integrative dentistry? Get in touch today!

Mercury Filling Removal and the Importance of SMART Certification

Removal of mercury amalgam fillings is a concern that more people are sharing.

We’ve previously written about reasons why people may choose to have their mercury amalgam fillings removed, here. Among these reasons are concerns about aesthetics, wear or damage, or mercury content.

Whatever your reason for wanting a change, you should make sure that the dentist you choose to remove your old mercury fillings is SMART certified. We’ll go into detail about what exactly SMART is in the next section, but first, we’ll explain why it’s so important to have your fillings removed by a specially trained dentist.

The FDA says that mercury amalgam fillings are safe as long as they aren’t damaged. However, the risk of mercury vapor being emitted is greater during the removal process.

This is why it is important to have a SMART certified dentist remove your mercury amalgam fillings.

What is SMART?

SMART stands for Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique.

It was created by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. You can read more about the IAOMT and the SMART protocol in more detail, here.

The SMART protocol is a multi-step process that ensures that no mercury is inhaled by either dental personnel or the patient. It requires the dentist to put in place many precautions so that the patient is completely safe.

These precautions include:

  • Installation of an amalgam separator to remove amalgam waste from general effluent.
  • Filtration and airflow in the room where removal takes place, to ensure the removal of mercury fumes.
  • The patient is given a slurry made of charcoal or a similar substance which will fix the mercury so that it is safely removed from the body, should any be swallowed.
  • Protective gowns for all people in the room to ensure mercury does not adhere to clothes or the body.
  • Appropriate gloves, face shields, and hairnets should be worn by both the patient and dental personnel.
  • The dental personnel should wear a face mask capable of filtering mercury particles.
  • The patient should be given an oxygen mask that covers the nose so that they don’t breathe in mercury vapors.
  • The dentist should use a dental dam and a suction device to ensure mercury vapors and particles are collected and not ingested or inhaled.
  • A drill is used to remove the amalgam in as large chunks as possible.
  • After removal, the patient’s mouth is rinsed with water and a charcoal slurry again

Important safety steps

This breakdown of the process may make it sound as though mercury amalgam fillings are highly dangerous and may make you ask why they are allowed to be used in the first place. It is important to remember that when mercury is mixed into the amalgam that is put into your mouth, it is deemed safe. However, the process of removal causes some of that mercury to be released, which can then cause health issues.

It is also important to remember that the biggest health risk is to the dentist, as they are exposed many times over. Consider the way your dentist behaves when taking x-rays of your teeth. You may wonder why they leave the room, while you are given no protection. This is because a single dose is not harmful, but the dentist is exposed many times over their career. A good dentist will make sure they have all the proper safety procedures in place.

If you want to have your mercury amalgam fillings removed, and you want to ensure that they are removed according to the SMART protocol, contact Dr. Mandanas today.

Sedation Dentistry, Is It Really Safe?

Were you that kid who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the dentist’s office? Are you still nervous about seeing your dentist? Are you concerned that your dental health may be affected because you’re not having your teeth checked as regularly as you should?

You may have heard of sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry is becoming increasingly popular, and many dental practices now offer it for nervous patients.

In this blog, we’ll explain what sedation dentistry is and look at the safety considerations.

What is sedation dentistry?

It has long been standard practice to offer certain types of sedation for a range of dental procedures.

Most significant dental surgeries are performed under sedation, but the procedure is now becoming more common for routine treatment, and even just for an examination.

Sedation can be administered in a variety of ways. This can be oral (by taking a pill), by inhaling nitrous oxide, or intravenous (a needle directly into your bloodstream).

As well as a range of delivery options, sedation can come in multiple levels. It may be that you receive some local numbing, or you may be given medication to calm you while allowing you to remain conscious. In some cases, you can be given a general anesthetic so that you are unconscious for the entire procedure and won’t remember anything.

So, is sedation dentistry safe?

The American Dental Association publishes guidelines for dentists who wish to undertake all levels of sedation, to ensure that it is practiced safely.

These guidelines apply to the level of sedation, as well as the method of sedation. However, the main takeaway from the guidelines is that sedation dentistry is safe as long as it is performed by a properly trained professional, so you should take care to ensure that you trust your dentist, or any other providers they work with.

In 2015 the Journal of the American Dental Association published a paper entitled How safe is deep sedation or general anesthesia while providing dental care? The authors found that general anesthetic and deep sedation are safe for dental procedures. Again they emphasized that proper training is paramount for anyone administering anesthetic.

Where can I find a sedation dentistry provider?

As we mentioned before, sedation dentistry is becoming increasingly popular, but it is important to make sure you find a provider who is properly trained and safe.

Dr. Mandanas has teamed up with Sheila Jensen, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), to help us with patients that require something more than local anesthetics. Sheila has practiced anesthesia for almost twenty years in hospital and surgery centers, providing all types of anesthesia for all types of surgery.

Monitored anesthesia care administered by a separate provider allows Dr. Mandanas to give her full attention to the procedure while Sheila ensures that you are safe and comfortable!

Your sedation will begin once a small IV has been painlessly inserted. Medication to help you relax and to relieve pain will be administered by a pump that will measure exactly the amount of medication you require. Sheila will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, and oxygen saturation continuously throughout your procedure and for a short time after Dr. Mandanas is finished, to be sure it is safe for you to leave our care.

If you’re interested in visiting a dentist who understands your nerves and will do everything she can to ensure a comfortable visit, contact Dr. Mandanas today!

Here's Why Your Oral Microbiome Is So Important

Here’s Why Your Oral Microbiome Is So Important

Humans are not really single organisms, we are really superorganisms, coexisting with our microbiome!

We have three or four microbiomes in our bodies: oral, gut, skin and vaginal. Here we’ll discuss the oral microbiome and its relationship with the gut. We’ll cover some research that reveals how your oral microbiome affects whole-body health.

What is the oral microbiome?

Your mouth is home to the second most diverse community of micro-organisms in your body, after your gut.

In fact, it is home to over 700 species of bacteria that colonize both the hard and soft surfaces of your teeth.

Humans and their microbiomes evolved together over millions of years to create a superorganism, or holobiont, that represents a mostly harmonious symbiotic relationship. We keep them healthy, and they keep us healthy!

How does the oral microbiome get out of balance?

The balance in our oral microbiome can be disturbed by modern-day lifestyles and diets.

This lack of balance is called dysbiosis, and it allows disease-causing bacteria to grow, which can cause problems like caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis.

In particular, our modern consumption of excess refined sugar, as well as consumption of acidic drinks, and even cigarette smoking all impact the oral microbiome.

What happens if my oral microbiome is unbalanced?

Changes to the composition of the microbiome can have large impacts on human health.

There are bacteria in your mouth which convert nitrates in your food into nitrites. These nitrites are then swallowed and get converted into nitric oxide, which has been shown to be highly important to cardiovascular health.

Although the effects of these chemicals on health are still debated, there is some evidence that balance is key to staying healthy.

Even consuming fairly small amounts of nitrates has been shown to have positive effects such as reducing blood pressure and improving heart function. However, the nitric oxide which is produced has also been suggested to have negative effects on cells. It may not have been solved yet, but it’s clear that diet has more of an impact on your health than you might think!

On top of this, it is now accepted that “bad” oral bacteria exist in healthy mouths in low numbers. Oral disease isn’t actually the result of outside infection, but of something causing this bacteria to multiply out of control.

One particular dental issue caused by diet is caries. Carbohydrates in diet can be fermented into acids by oral bacteria, which leads to the demineralization of the tooth enamel. This then causes caries.

This isn’t to say you should stop eating carbs entirely! People have eaten them for centuries without having to much trouble, and they’re a great source of energy. However, sugar, a carbohydrate, is now eaten in way larger quantities than your oral microbiome can deal with, which is why 92% of American adults have had caries.

If you think you may have caries, or just need to make a routine appointment, you can learn more, or contact us!

What You Need to Know About Treatment of Sleep Apnea

What You Need to Know About Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that can cause discomfort and tiredness for many people. There are multiple causes that can lead to the condition. Here we’ll cover some of those causes and address some of the treatments.

What are the most common causes of sleep apnea?

There are two main types of sleep apnea. The most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The other form is called central sleep apnea and is a result of the brain not sending the correct signals to allow a person to breathe during sleep. OSA is caused by some kind of obstruction to the airways. Both the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the UK National Health Service list some of the most common causes of this obstruction. Among these are obesity, large tonsils, excess growth hormone leading to increased throat size, age, and changes in facial bone structure.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Sleep apnea is typically treated through the use of a CPAP machine. This stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The machine works by continuously and gently pumping air into a mask worn over the mouth and nose during sleep. This works by preventing your airways from narrowing while you sleep, thus improving your breathing. However, there are other options. An alternative is a device called a mandibular advancement device (MAD).

Although a post on the Harvard blog site suggests that this may not be effective for those with the more severe forms of the condition, a MAD may be useful for those with mild sleep apnea.

A MAD is a gum-shield-like device that works by pushing the lower jaw forward during sleep. This helps to open the airway, reducing breathing pauses. Its main advantage over the CPAP machine is increased comfort. Comfort is important in treating sleep apnea as compliance with the treatment is necessary for success. A MAD allows a patient to sleep on their side, rather than on their back, as with the CPAP.

Why should I see a dentist about sleep apnea?

Dr. Mandanas is a dentist, and you may be wondering what sleep apnea has to do with your teeth. However, Dr. Mandanas prides herself on her holistic and integrative approaches to dentistry. As a result of her experience with the mouth and its structure, she has a good idea of when patients may have an oral structure that could lead to sleep apnea. Although Dr. Mandanas is not able to provide diagnoses, she is able to identify symptoms and recommend a visit to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, contact Dr. Mandanas and she will be able to help with finding a treatment that works for you!

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: Know the Facts

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: Know the Facts

If you have diabetes, your doctor has probably talked to you about the risks associated with periodontal disease.

It is now widely accepted in the medical community that diabetes and periodontal disease have a two-way relationship–diabetics are more likely to get periodontal disease and people with periodontal disease are more likely to get diabetes OR to experience increased difficulty controlling preexisting diabetes.

Understanding the relationship between these two diseases can help you take better care of your overall health.

What Is Periodontal Disease and How Is It Related to Diabetes?

Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a common infection of the gums that can lead to bone loss in the jaw and teeth. It is estimated that one-half of the U.S. populate of 30 years old and older has periodontal disease, including 60% of 60 year-olds. Severe periodontal disease affects 10-15% of adults.

Periodontal disease starts as plaque that worsens and progresses beneath the gum line, causing inflammation of the gums. It is speculated that the bacteria in gums infected and inflamed by severe periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and cause a reaction in the body, including the increase of blood sugar levels, although the link is not completely understood. Diabetics understand the implications of increased blood sugar levels for complicating their disease. The combination of diabetes and severe periodontal disease is dangerous for your health.

Diabetics with severe periodontal disease have an increased risk for:

Generally speaking, periodontal disease makes controlling diabetes and taking care of your overall health much more difficult.

On the other hand, diabetics are at a higher risk for periodontal disease, making it a compounding problem. Susceptibility to periodontal disease is increased by approximately threefold in people with diabetes, according to the National Institutes for Health. In addition, people who are not diabetic have a higher risk of having higher long-term blood sugar levels and developing diabetes if they have severe periodontal disease.

For these reasons, the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease have become a part of diabetic management. Doctors recommend that everyone, especially diabetes patients, follow best practices for oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist once every six months. They recommend that you ask your dentist to check your gums for periodontal disease. Proper treatment of periodontal disease can drop blood sugar levels, reducing HbA1c counts by as much as 0.4%.

When was your last dentist appointment? Dr. Mandanas is an Anchorage holistic dentist who has been studying the connection between the mouth and the body for years. She understands the link between diabetes and periodontal disease and she can have an informed discussion about your questions and concerns with you. She would be happy to know that you are proactive about educating yourself and taking care of your overall health.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mandanas today!

Here's Why You Should Go to a SMART Certified Dentist in Anchorage

Here’s Why You Should Go to a SMART Certified Dentist in Anchorage

If you’ve opened this blog, you are probably wondering what “SMART certified dentist” means.

Our very own Dr. Mandanas is a SMART certified dentist in Anchorage. We are very excited to share how this certification makes us different from other dentists and what makes it so beneficial to our patients!

You’ll learn why going to a SMART certified dentist matters. We hope you get a lot out of this blog, especially the information you need to make a smart choice about your dental provider (wink, wink). Enjoy!

What Does “SMART Certified Dentist” Mean?

The acronym SMART stands for the Smart Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique. The SMART certification is something administered by the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT), a global network of dentists, health professionals, and scientists who research the biocompatibility of dental products.

Biocompatibility (our definition) – Compatibility with the mouth and body, typically used in reference to dental treatments and devices, meaning that they do not pose a risk to the health of the mouth and body.

You can learn more about biocompatibility in our blog, What Is Biocompatible Dentistry? Philosophy and Practice.

The IAOMT is especially interested in the risks associated with mercury amalgam fillings. The Smart Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) was created to protect the mouth and body against those risks.

Why Does Going to a SMART Certified Dentist in Anchorage Matter?

So what are the risks of mercury amalgam fillings and why does going to a SMART certified dentist matter?

The risks of mercury amalgam are not agreed on by the scientific community. Mercury amalgam fillings release low levels of mercury in the form of vapors over their lifetime. The levels of mercury vapors released by amalgam fillings are not high enough to pose a risk to your health. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have marked amalgam fillings safe for use in dental practice. However, studies have shown changes in the health complaints of patients who have had their amalgam fillings removed, though the exact reasons for these results have yet to be determined

There are many reasons why you might want to get your mercury amalgam fillings removed besides concern over mercury vapors. Mercury amalgam fillings have a lifespan of 10-15 years, which means they need to be replaced if they are getting old or worn. They can also cause teeth to chip and crack. You can learn more in our blog, 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Amalgam Fillings Replaced.

Because health complaints have been correlated with the removal of mercury amalgam fillings specifically, when you need to get your fillings removed, you should go to a SMART certified dentist. A SMART certified dentist is trained to protect you from the risks of mercury amalgam and they will replace your fillings with composite, a material that is known to be biocompatible, or, safe for your mouth and body.

What Is the Smart Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique?

The Smart Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique is a protocol that SMART certified dentists use to remove mercury amalgam fillings as safely as possible. We have broken it down into 10 easy-to-understand steps in our blog, What Is the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique? Get SMART About Your Fillings. The protocol includes water separation and air filtration devices, mercury absorbent cleaning materials, protective coverings, and more.

Do you need fillings or are you interested in getting your mercury amalgam fillings removed? We would love to get you in to see our SMART certified dentist here in Anchorage, Dr. Mandanas. She can discuss your treatment options with you and talk more about the risks of mercury amalgam. Schedule an appointment today!

(Video) Which Is the Best Solution for Your Child? Healthy Start vs Braces

(Video) Which Is the Best Solution for Your Child? Healthy Start vs Braces

Braces have long been the mainstay of modern orthodontics, but as the scientific community learns and progresses, effective alternatives to the traditional wire and bracket method of teeth alignment emerge (thank goodness!). One of those is Healthy Start. Born in a world where braces are the go-to orthodontic treatment, you are probably wondering if Healthy Start can truly deliver on its promises for your child. As a provider of Healthy Start, Dr. Mandanas affirms that yes, it can! Read on for an open discussion of healthy start vs braces.

Healthy Start Is a Holistic Approach to Orthodontic Care

Let’s start by recapping how Healthy Start works. Whereas braces are applied once your child’s adult teeth have already come in, Healthy Start is used while they are coming in. What this means is that your child’s adult teeth create roots and fibers in the right place to start (i.e. a Healthy Start!) rather than having them tweaked and adjusted after the fact. When these fibers are stretched into the right place with braces, they have a tendency to bounce back. That’s why ex-braces wearers are required to wear removable and sometimes permanent retainers.

Healthy Start is a holistic approach to orthodontic care. The Healthy Start treatment takes into consideration the patient’s entire lifetime and what will work for them over the long-term, which is treating misalignment early. It also considers the effects of orthodontic care on the whole body, including the mouth, jaw, and throat. Healthy Start can help prevent and treat jaw issues such as TMJ, something braces are infamous for. By treating jaw issues, it can open your child’s airway, which has significant ramifications for their breathing, sleep, and related behavioral issues.

Healthy Start Is More Comfortable Than Traditional Braces

What are some of the top complaints pre-teens, teens, and young adults make about braces? Perhaps if you had braces when you were younger, you will remember some of your woes. Braces can be unattractive and painful (especially after adjustment), they limit many of the things you can eat and they can be impossible to clean. Healthy Start, on the other hand, is a simple, wire-free “mouthguard” that only has to be worn at night and gently adjusts the teeth and jaw. Watch this video on what patients and providers think about Healthy Start vs braces!

Yes, Braces Are Easier to Comply With Than Healthy Start

Because a Healthy Start patient must remember to wear their mouthguard for a couple hours each day and every night, there is some responsibility required. Braces are fixed to a patient’s teeth which makes them by nature easier to comply with. Many would argue, however, that the benefits of Healthy Start vs braces far outweigh the compliance challenge and patients who are committed to their health will experience positive results.

Healthy Start Is Cheaper Than Traditional Braces

Healthy Start is widely estimated to be half the cost of traditional braces. This is due to two factors, the high cost of braces hardware and the cost of frequent visits for braces adjustments. Healthy Start mouthguards are cheaper and do not need to be monitored as closely as braces.

When it comes to Healthy Start vs braces, which will you choose? We hope this information sheds some more light on the matter and helps you clarify your decision. To continue the conversation or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mandanas regarding Healthy Start and your child, contact us today! Dr. Mandanas has been using Healthy Start to treat misalignment for 10 years. You can also take the Initial Sleep & Speech Questionnaire provided by Healthy Start to assess the viability of this treatment for your child. We hope to hear from you soon!