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 Sleep apnea can be a sneaky, hard-to-identify threat to a patient’s dental and overall health.

Our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists are here with some information about why sleep apnea develops and how it presents. We hope that this short article helps you identify sleep apnea issues in your own life, so that you can seek prompt treatment for this common problem!

The Underlying Issue

Sleep apnea occurs when a patient’s oral tissues relax during sleep. The relaxed tissues fall into the patient’s airway, and make it difficult for the patient to inhale enough oxygen throughout the night.

The Symptoms

As the patient’s blood oxygen levels drop during the night, the patient will briefly wake in order to restart the breathing process. You may or may not remember waking, but, regardless, your sleep is being disrupted. You may suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and concentration problems
  • Dry mouth upon waking
  • Loud and disruptive snoring
  • Sensations of gasping or choking awake in the night

Treatments

The traditional treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine; this machine forces air past the obstruction throughout the night. The problem is that this type of machine is quite cumbersome, and, because the patient must wear a face mask, uncomfortable. 

Our dental team provides CPAP-alternative oral appliances to help guide the patient’s mouth into a healthier position, so that the airway remains unobstructed. These effective mouth pieces are much more patient-friendly than traditional CPAP machines.

When sleep apnea is left untreated, the symptoms can intensify, and the patient can develop a number of health issues as a result. If you think that you may be dealing with sleep apnea, our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists strongly encourage you to reach out for an assessment and treatment as soon as possible. 

You can always contact our team by calling our office, or by using the Contact Us page on our website. We’re here to help you sleep soundly again!

Bruxism is one of the lesser known, but still very common, threats to your smile. Keep reading to learn more about what bruxism is, and how it can negatively affect your oral health.

And remember, our Saint Louis dentists offer effective treatments for bruxism, so that you can protect your smile from long-term damage.

Bruxism is a condition that is characterized by chronic dental grinding and clenching. You may find that you are clenching your teeth during the day, especially during times of stress. Alternatively, many people grind their teeth when they are asleep at night. Nighttime bruxism sufferers often discover that they are grinding their teeth because their sleeping partners hear them grinding, or because they start waking up with sore or painful jaws.

Bruxism is not only inconvenient; it can also cause very serious health problems:

· Chronic dental grinding weakens dental enamel. Without treatment, you are likely to suffer from dental cracks or chips.

· Weakened enamel is also more susceptible to dental decay. If your enamel develops micro-cracks, these weak spots can become hotbeds of bacteria accumulation.

· Bruxism also puts an unhealthy amount of pressure on your temporomandibular joint. The TMJ is the joint that connects your skull to your lower jaw. When you grind and clench your teeth you strain this joint. Bruxism sufferers are prone to developing TMJ dysfunction: jaw pain/stiffness, popping sensation in the jaw, limited jaw mobility.

There are a number of ways to address bruxism. Our team may recommend that you wear a protective mouth guard at night. We may also suggest that you refine your bite—either using bonding or orthodontics—so that your bite comes together in a comfortable way (poorly aligned bite is a common cause of bruxism).

Call our Saint Louis dentists to get more information and to schedule your personal consultation with our team!

Dental staining and discoloration can make your smile look older and less healthy than it actually is. The good news is that this type of aesthetic problem does not need to be permanent. Our Saint Louis cosmetic dentists are here to help you figure out the best way to whiten and brighten your smile. In this short article, we’re going to be talking about some of the most commonly used treatments to overcome dental staining.

One of the keys to treating dental discoloration is to figure out why your smile has started to change in appearance in the first place. Your teeth may develop stains due to foods and drinks; red wine, coffee, tea, chocolate, red sauces, berries, and more can all leave color deposits on your enamel. Alternatively, your teeth could start to look yellow or dull because your enamel has become thinner, and more of the dentin is able show through to the surface of the tooth. Once we figure out why your smile is discolored, we can make some personalized treatment recommendations to fit your needs.

Professional dental whitening treatments are great for minimizing existing environmental stains. During treatment, our team applies a topical whitening formulation to the natural enamel. This gel goes to work lifting entrenched stains from the tooth structure, helping to restore the patient’s smile to its previous level of whiteness.

If you are dealing with structural changes to your teeth, you may have more success with treatments that cover natural enamel, like dental bonding and porcelain veneers. Both of these treatments resurface the existing enamel and cover damage, textural irregularities, and discoloration.

When you meet with our Saint Louis cosmetic dentists, we’ll assess your smile and help you evaluate your treatment options. The best way to get started is to call our office to schedule a consultation, or to use the Contact Us page on our website to submit a question for our team.

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