Monthly Archives: August 2016

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Sleep apnea treatment: Maintaining your oral appliance

Illustration showing areas impacted by sleep apnea treatmentSleep apnea is a big deal. The more people begin to understand the impact of this chronic sleep disorder, the more they seek solutions for the condition. In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, patients are often pleasantly surprised to learn of a simple form of sleep apnea treatment: a custom-fitted oral appliance.

Oral appliances — similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer — work by gently holding the jaw forward, which keeps the airway open during sleep when soft tissues could otherwise relax and block the airway.

The benefits of an oral appliance compared with a CPAP machine or even surgery are numerous and include:

  • comfort;
  • quiet;
  • portability; and
  • convenience.

Oral appliances must be maintained, however, to ensure their effectiveness with sleep apnea treatment. This includes not only cleaning your appliance but coming in for follow-up appointments (at least once every year). During this appointment, the dentists and team members at DaVinci in Southlake will assess whether the appliance needs to be adjusted.

Maintaining an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea is pretty simple; it just requires a bit of initiative on the part of the patient. At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, we’ll go over the details of what to expect and what to do to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your night’s rest. Have questions? Feel free to contact us at 817-251-9333.

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Why are TMJ problems more common in women?

TMJ pain treatment in SouthlakeMore than 10 million Americans experience TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and muscle disorders, according to the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research. While the institute recognizes that these issues seem to affect more women than men, it doesn’t offer exact numbers. By some estimates, like those offered by dental insurance carriers, women are twice as likely as men to be affected by TMJ. So what accounts for that vast difference? Is it simply that women are more likely to seek care for TMJ symptoms, or are other factors at work?

One of the prime reasons that women — particularly those of childbearing age — may experience TMJ disorders is hormones. Dental research has pointed to a link between estrogen and pain in the jaw joints. This can take on increased relevance for women taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.

While not as well researched, some commonly held beliefs about females’ susceptibility to TMJ problems include vitamin deficiencies due to menstrual cycles as well as differences in joint structure.

Arthritis, a misaligned bite and trauma or dislocation can lead to TMJ problems in males and females.

Whatever the cause, TMJ disorders can range from mildly aggravating to severely debilitating. Patients may not just experience jaw pain, clicking and popping when eating or talking, but headaches and neck pain can also be commonplace. If you experience any such symptoms, talk with the DaVinci Dentistry team. Getting to the root of TMJ pain can be a time-consuming process, involving taking an intensive health history and having willingness to try multiple solutions. We’ll do whatever we can to try to find the solution that works for you. Set up an appointment online or call 817-251-9333.

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Supporting Dentures with Dental Implants

Dental implant-supported dentures

For patients who do not have any teeth in the lower jaw, the growing use of dental implant-supported dentures may provide you with the lasting solution that you’ve been seeking. While you can have dental implants placed in the upper jaw to anchor dentures, it’s not as common, as dentures that cover the palate add enhanced stability. But, opting for dental implants even in this location makes open palate dentures a reality.

Choosing dental implants to anchor dentures provides patients several benefits, including:

  • increased stability and reduced tendency for dentures to slide out of place;
  • renewed confidence; and
  • ease of chewing.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of implant-supported dentures is the fact that dental implants help increase bone levels in the jaw, allowing you to retain your face shape. This is a common concern among patients who wear dentures, as appearance can be affected when bone resorbs and shrinks away.

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, prosthodontist Dr. Khal is a specialist in replacing missing teeth and can talk to you about whether dental implants may be a good fit for you. For starters, we’ll have to assess whether current bone levels in your jaw would support implants. Be prepared to complete a full medical and dental history, exam, X-rays, impressions and in some cases, CT scans. We can talk to you about each step in the process, and give you a realistic timeline for completion. Contact us today to get started: 817-251-9333.

 

 

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Why some dental implants fail

Illustration: Human teeth and dental implant. Dental implants have become one of the most successful and predictable surgeries within dentistry today. They’ve become the go-to method for tooth loss, because unlike dentures and bridges, which address the cosmetic concerns associated with missing teeth, dental implants help restore appearance and also help to maintain bone levels in the jaw. This helps ensure chewing function, facial shape and overall oral health are also maintained.

Despite these benefits, even when diagnosis, treatment planning and implant placement are on par, and when the patient maintains follow-up appointments and oral hygiene, a dental implant can, in rare instances, fail.

Here is a look at some reasons why:

  • Periodontitis – When a patient develops this condition, the tissue around the teeth becomes inflamed, causing gums to shrink and teeth to loosen. For patients with implants, this can contribute to peri-implantitis, which leads to inflammation in the soft tissues surrounding the implant, as well as bone loss.
  • Issues with adjacent natural teeth – If a tooth near the implant site is infected, the infection can travel to the dental implant. If caught early, tooth and implant loss and expensive regenerative repairs might be avoided.
  • Smoking – While dental implant failure rates are still quite low, even among smokers, (approximately 6 percent), those who smoke are twice as likely to experience implant failure than those who do not.

The good news is, that while dental implants have the potential to fail, it does not happen often. Current implant success rates are approximately 98 percent. At DaVinci Dentistry, if you’re considering your options to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth, we’ll discuss the pros and cons and potential concerns unique to your case. We are located in Southlake, TX, and serve patients throughout much of Tarrant County. You can get your questions answered by requesting an appointment online or by calling 817-251-9333.