How You Can Give Your Child a "Healthy Start" at the Dentist

How You Can Give Your Child a “Healthy Start” at the Dentist

As a parent, you are always looking for ways to set your child up for success. Modern parents are focusing more and more on the health and wellbeing of their children in addition to academic readiness and social and emotional competency. At the same time, the field of dentistry has grown to understand that early dental treatments in children can prevent future complications for adults. Ortho-Tain Healthy Start is one of those treatments! Dentists use Ortho-Tain, a comfortable, rubber retainer, to correct developmental deficiencies in children, giving them a “healthy start” and protecting them from a variety of dental-related adult and childhood issues! Learn more.

Ortho-Tain: A Gentle, Preventative Treatment

Ortho-Tain Healthy Start is a comfortable, rubber dental device that is free from braces, wires, and worries! It is used when common, developmental, anatomical jaw structure deficiencies are identified in children. The deficiencies treated by Ortho-Tain frequently lead to sleep apnea in adults. In many cases, sleep apnea is already present in the child and Ortho-Tain can provide relief! Ortho-Tain catches sleep apnea at a young age and prevents it by gently adjusting the teeth and the jaw while children are still growing. Many patients who use Ortho-Tain as a child avoid sleep and behavior issues, braces as teens, and sleep apnea complications as adults, including the uncomfortable CPAP machine, and in advanced cases, surgery!

What Dentists Look for in Young Patients

Dentists look for a few different developmental deficiencies in children before they decide to use Ortho-Tain for treatment. The first is poor alignment of the lower jaw, called retrognathia. Retrognathia occurs when the chin and the lower jaw are pulled back rather than lined-up with the lips and the nose, pushing the tissue in the throat back to block the airway, which can cause sleep apnea. Another deficiency is a poor alignment of the upper jaw or a collapsed arch, which can cause mouth breathing and swelling of the lymphatic tissue in the throat, a cause of sleep apnea. Each of these deficiencies can be gently treated with Ortho-Tain!

3 Benefits of Ortho-Tain Healthy Start for Kids

When dentists correct developmental deficiencies in children using Ortho-Tain Healthy Start, they are treating the root cause of a wide variety of childhood and adult maladies!

  1. Elimination of Sleep and Behavior Issues – Because Ortho-Tain corrects poor jaw structure that can cause sleep apnea, it can also correct the sleep and behavioral issues exhibited in children who struggle with nighttime breathing! Children who have sleep apnea sleep poorly and can become hyperactive during the day as a result. Ortho-Tain works against this for more rested and behaved kiddos!
  2. No Braces in the Teenage Years – Children who use Ortho-Tain are correcting teeth and jaw misalignments before their teenage years, avoiding costly, uncomfortable, and undesirable braces in high school!
  3. Avoiding Sleep Apnea, CPAP, and Surgery as Adults – When Ortho-Tain catches developmental issues early on, they are not allowed to worsen and become complications for adults. Parents can set their child up for success and protect them from sleep apnea in the future by deciding to use Ortho-Tain now!

If you think your child may suffer from a common, developmental deficiency and you would like to give them a “healthy start,” give Dr. Mandanas a call! She would love to talk with you about your options. Dr. Mandanas is an integrative dentist who looks at the whole picture when treating her patients and focuses on the root cause of the problem in her care. Learn more about what she is doing to bring more integrative dental treatments like Ortho-Tain Healthy Start to Anchorage!

Sleep Apnea in Teens: What It Is, Effects & Treatments

Sleep Apnea in Teens: What It Is, Effects & Treatments

Teens need their beauty sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between 8-10 hours of sleep each night in order to function their very best! That’s why anything that has the potential to affect our teens’ sleep should be taken seriously, sleep apnea included. Although sleep apnea can indeed affect adolescents, it frequently goes overlooked, blaming bad teenage habits in its place. Read on to learn more about what sleep apnea looks like in the teenage years and what your teenager can do to find healing and some more Zzz’s!

What is Sleep Apnea in Teens?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be defined as interruptions to breathing that occur during sleep, caused by tissues creating a  blockage in the airways. Sleep apnea ranges from mild to severe. Risk factors for severe sleep apnea include high Body Mass Index (BMI), tonsil and adenoid size, family history of apnea, and it can be more prevalent in males. Often, teens who have sleep apnea were kids who had sleep apnea that went unnoticed. If your teen has severe sleep apnea, you may think they are getting too much sleep when in reality, they are getting lots of interrupted, poor quality sleep instead! This poor quality sleep causes sleep deprivation, creating a sleep deficit.

What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea in Teens?

The sleep deficit created by sleep apnea can cause a teen to experience the following negative effects:

  • Behavior changes such as moodiness, lashing out, irritability, or depression. Although these behaviors can be expected of the adolescent years, they can accompany other effects indicating sleep apnea.
  • A negative change in academic performance as the exhausted teen struggles to concentrate on schoolwork, hurting their ability to learn.
  • Weight gain due to sleep interruptions affecting the hormones that control appetite, creating unhealthy eating habits such as cravings for energy-rich foods like sugar and caffeine. Weight gain can worsen the effects of sleep apnea.
  • Loud snoring for 3 or more nights a week, mouth breathing, teeth grinding or clenching, gasping or choking, and/or witnessed pauses in breathing during sleep. Teens may snore on occasion, but chronic snoring can be an effect of sleep apnea.
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, including unusual sleep events such as sleepwalking, nightmares, night terrors, and other indicators of restless sleep.
  • Sweating at night or bedwetting.
  • Daytime sleepiness or frequent naps.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Hyperactivity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Risk for injury and accident due to drowsiness. This is especially when many of our teens have just learned to drive!
  • Issues with growth and development.

If your teen’s sleep apnea is severe, they can suffer the following health complications:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure

What Treatments Are Available to Teens Who Suffer from Sleep Apnea?

A good starting place for a teen who may suffer from sleep apnea is a sleep study to confirm if they are experiencing the condition. As an integrative dentist, we recommend the least invasive form of treatment as the next step of a diagnosis is confirmed. Myofunctional therapy is an exercise of the tongue and the lips that tones the airway and promotes nasal breathing. It has little risk of side effects and can be a great way to treat sleep apnea in teens. Myofunctional therapy must be repeated for 45 minutes each day to reinforce the adjustments being made to the airway, but it is a safe and valuable treatment.

Depending on the reason for your teen’s sleep apnea, they may need more than myofunctional therapy. If weight is an issue, we may recommend eating healthy and exercising. If there is an issue with their lower jaw and tongue causing the blockage, your teen may need an oral appliance to shift the jaw and the tongue forward.

Many dentists recommend Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines to teens, but many teens struggle with the awkwardness of these machines and/or are too embarrassed to use them. Read more about the pros and cons of CPAP machines in our blog. If you decide to use a CPAP machine with your teen, make sure you receive a mask that doesn’t apply too much pressure to their noese or upper teeth as this can prohibit growth. Surgery is also an option for some forms of sleep apnea, but we like to consider surgery as a last-ditch option at Mandanas dental.

If you have a sleepy teen and you are worried about sleep apnea, please reach out! We would love to discuss treatment options with you and help your teen get back to a healthy sleep schedule as naturally as possible! Dr. Mandanas is an integrative dentist who always pursues this least invasive options first for the health of her patients.

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.

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.

Braces at Any Age

I am fortunate to be able to make people smile for a living!

Teri Before 6 Month SmileMany times I cannot get my guests to show any teeth in their “before” or pretreatment photos. Honestly, I so feel lucky because by the time we are done (or even close to done) with treatment, they are finally able to smile- something they haven’t actually done in years or sometimes their whole adult life.

I would like to introduce you to Teri. She came in for multiple reasons but her main concern was a front tooth that had started to stick out “like Nanny McPhee” she said. She just wanted to be able to smile, but due to other dental health concerns, she didn’t think anything could be done.

 

 

 

 

Teri After 6 Month SmileWe decided to place Teri in short term orthodontics and in my office I work with an orthodontic company called 6 Months Smiles. Teri’s case was VERY short term. She started in early February 2015 and we finished her treatment in April 2015. She was so happy with the results and tired of feeling like a teenager that I agreed to take them off and place a permanent retainer.

Sometimes I forget how blessed I am and forget to take pictures of me and my guests, but here is a shot that I love!

Orthodontic Alternatives to Conventional Braces

orthodontics AnchorageRegardless of age, the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment can come easier once patients are informed of the options available. Traditional dental braces were once the only option for treatment, but with advances in dentistry and orthodontics have come a variety of alternative treatment methods that can accommodate a wide range of patients and cases. Depending on the needs of individual patients, treatment can range from six months to several years and the treatment options greatly influence the timeline.

Using traditional braces is often an option, but braces require a significant commitment to the treatment process. After assessing the patient, the dentist carefully bonds metal brackets or alternative style hardware to the surfaces of teeth, and then connects the brackets with an archwire. If the brackets are traditional style, small wires are used to tie the archwire in place. The presence of the orthodontic hardware requires time to adjust, and the hardware stays in place throughout the entire treatment process.

Innovative treatment options for children and adults requiring orthodontic intervention include Ortho-Tain, a contemporary alternative that offers a metal-free approach to treatment. Unlike traditional braces that remain in place, Ortho-Tain utilizes a custom-made removable appliance that gradually aligns teeth where needed. Ortho-Tain treatment options go beyond straightening, however, and the treatment approach can be used to correct temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and other TMJ problems. For patients simply looking to improve their smile and confidence, Ortho-Tain offers customizable treatments that deliver satisfying results.

Adult patients that require more extensive orthodontic corrections may opt for Six Month Smiles. Through the use of clear orthodontic brackets and tooth-colored wires, adult patients can see marked improvement in as little as six to nine months. The Six Month Smiles system is similar to traditional braces but with a less aggressive adjustment approach and an aesthetic design that reduces self-consciousness associated with braces in adulthood.

To learn more about orthodontic treatment options and improving smiles and confidence, contact our skilled dentistry team today!

Am I a Candidate for Six Month Smiles®?

A discreet method for straightening teeth in a short amount of time, Six Month Smiles® is commonly used for adults in need of orthodontics. Receiving orthodontic treatment during adulthood is becoming increasingly more common—especially because of advancements in treatment methods that work to straighten teeth efficiently and inconspicuously.

Instead of using traditional braces, the Six Month Smiles® orthodontic system utilizes clear brackets rather than metal ones and tooth-colored wires. This method is often more comfortable for many adult patients because the treatment requires less force to reposition teeth. Six Month Smiles® may be ideal for adults who have already received traditional braces during adolescence or their teenage years but have encountered tooth misalignment after wisdom teeth have erupted in their early 20s.

In addition to improving a patient’s confidence and self-esteem by producing a straight, attractive smile, orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages is important for maintaining good oral health. For example, when teeth are crooked and crowded, it is nearly impossible to thoroughly clean between them. Over time, plaque buildup will harden into tartar in these hard-to-reach crevices. Plaque and tartar accumulation contribute to tooth decay, enamel loss, and even periodontal disease. With straight, properly aligned teeth, many patients possess a decreased risk for developing dental health conditions because they can properly clean their mouths.

When determining a patient’s candidacy for a particular orthodontics system such as Six Month Smiles®, your dentist will closely evaluate the current position of your teeth, how much tooth movement is necessary over time to properly position teeth, and the alignment of your bite. During your orthodontics consultation, your dentist will inquire about any past orthodontic treatment and conduct a comprehensive oral examination to determine the underlying cause of tooth displacement.

To learn more about your options for straightening teeth discreetly or to schedule a consultation to determine if Six Month Smiles® is right for you, contact the office of Dr. Owen C. Mandanas at 907-276-5522 today to reserve your appointment.