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Posts for: January, 2014

By Jones Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
January 29, 2014
Category: Oral Health
ShaquilleONealsSlamDunkAgainstSleepApnea

You may think snoring is a minor problem, but it can be a lot more than that. Just ask hoops star Shaquille O'Neal, whose rambunctious snoring bothered his girlfriend enough for her to suspect a health problem. Her observations eventually led to Shaq's diagnosis of moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when the soft tissue structures at the back of a person's throat, including the tongue, partially close off the upper airway and prevent air from moving into the lungs during sleep. Sometimes airflow can be blocked completely for 10 or more seconds.

When air flow is reduced, blood oxygen levels drop. This leads to brief waking episodes known as “micro-arousals,” which can happen sometimes more than 50 times an hour. The sleeper might not even be aware of this, even while gasping for air. Micro-arousals prevent the person from ever reaching deep, restful sleep.

Besides suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness, studies show sleep apnea patients are at higher risks of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, brain damage and strokes. People with sleep apnea also have a higher incidence of work and driving-related accidents.

OSA can be treated in a few different ways. On the advice of his doctor, Shaq opted for a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which generates pressurized air delivered through a face mask worn while sleeping. The force of the pressurized air opens the airway (windpipe) in the same way as blowing into a balloon does.

For people with milder OSA, or who find they can't tolerate wearing a mask during sleep, an oral appliance supplied by a dental professional might be the answer. Oral appliances are worn in the mouth and are designed to gently reposition the jaw and move the tongue forward away from the back of the throat. Success rates of 80% or more have been reported using oral appliances, depending on the severity of the OSA.

If you would like more information on sleep apnea, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about sleep apnea by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Snoring & Sleep Apnea.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”


By Jones Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
January 14, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   oral health  
SeekingReliefFromBurningMouthSyndrome

There are some people, particularly women around the age of menopause, who experience an uncomfortable burning and dry sensation in their mouths most of the time. The exact cause of this condition, known as “burning mouth syndrome,” is often difficult to determine, though links to a variety of other health conditions have been established. These include diabetes, nutritional deficiencies (of iron and B vitamins, for example), acid reflux, cancer therapy, and psychological problems. Hormonal changes associated with menopause might also play a role.

If you are experiencing burning sensations and dryness, please come in and see us so we can try to figure out what's causing these symptoms in your particular case. We will start by taking a complete medical history and getting a list of all the medications you are taking as some drugs are known to cause mouth dryness. We will also give you a thorough examination.

In the meantime, here are some ways you might be able to get some relief:

Give up habits that can cause dry mouth such as chronic smoking, alcohol and/or coffee drinking, and frequent eating of hot and spicy foods.

Keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. We can also recommend products that replace or stimulate production of saliva.

Try different brands of toothpastes, opting for “plain” varieties that don't contain the foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate, whiteners, or strong flavoring such as cinnamon.

Keep a food diary of everything that you put into and around your mouth (including food, makeup and personal care products). This might give us some clues as to what's causing your discomfort.

Check with us about any medications you are taking, either prescription or over-the-counter. We can tell you if any are known to dry out the mouth and maybe help you find substitutions.

Reduce stress in your life if you possibly can. This might be achieved through relaxing forms of exercise, joining a support group for people dealing with chronic pain, or seeking psychotherapy.

If you have concerns about burning mouth syndrome or any other type of oral discomfort, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation.




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