What Are Dental Implants Like Today?

It’s a given that our teeth are important—they are one of the first things people see when they meet us, and a healthy smile goes a long way. Unfortunately, our teeth are susceptible to many problems, from cavities to gum disease. And while there are treatments available for these issues, sometimes the damage is too significant, and the tooth must be removed.

This is where dental implants come in. A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a natural tooth. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants today, including the available types and how to choose one.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium posts surgically placed into the jawbone to support a replacement tooth or teeth. The implant fuses with the jawbone over time, providing a strong and stable foundation for the new teeth.

Dental implants can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. They can also support a dental bridge or denture, providing a more secure fit and making it easier to eat and speak.

What Are the Different Types of Dental Implants?

There are 2 main types of dental implants: subperiosteal and endosteal.

Endosteal implants are undoubtedly the most popular type of implant. They are typically placed directly into the jawbone, and once they have healed, a second surgery is needed to place the post that will support the replacement tooth.

Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum but on top of the jawbone. They are an option for people with insufficient jawbones to support an endosteal implant. Once the implant heals, the metal frame becomes attached to the bone, and the replacement teeth are placed on the gum.

How Do I Choose a Dental Implant?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a dental implant, including:

The number of teeth replaced: One dental implant can support one tooth, and multiple implants can support a dental bridge or denture.

The Location of the Tooth

The type of implant will be determined by the tooth’s place. For example, an anterior (front) tooth will require a different implant than a posterior (back) tooth.

The Health of the Jawbone

The implant must be placed in a healthy area of the jawbone to ensure proper fusion.

The Overall Health of the Patient

Overall health is essential in any surgical procedure, and dental implants are no different. Patients who are smokers or have certain medical conditions may not be candidates for dental implants.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

There are many benefits to choosing dental implants, including the following:

Improved Appearance

Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth and are designed to match the color of your existing teeth. Furthermore, because they are placed in the jawbone, they support the lips and cheeks, giving you a natural-looking smile.

Improved Speech

Dental implants are placed securely in the jawbone, so they will not slip or move when you speak. This can be specifically beneficial for people who wear dentures, as loose-fitting dentures can cause slurring or mumbling.

Enhanced Comfort

Dental implants eliminate the pain and irritation caused by dentures that do not fit properly.

Better Oral Health

Unlike dental bridges, which rely on adjacent teeth for support, dental implants do not require any alteration to the surrounding teeth. This helps to preserve your oral health.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The implant screw, with regular brushing and flossing, can last indefinitely; however, the crown will only last 10 to 15 years before replacement due to everyday wear and tear. Furthermore, the jawbone around the implant will continue to degrade over time, which can eventually lead to the loss of the implant. It is essential to visit your dentist regularly to ensure that the implant is still securely in place and to monitor the health of the surrounding jawbone.

Procedures That You May Have With Dental Implants

Ridge Expansion

A ridge expansion is a standard procedure to make more room for dental implants in the patient’s mouth. This is often necessary when the patient has suffered from tooth loss, and the gum tissue has receded, exposing more of the jawbone.

Socket Grafting

Socket grafting is a kind of bone grafting often performed with dental implants. The procedure involves taking bone from another area of the patient’s body and grafting it into the socket where the tooth was removed. This helps to preserve the jawbone and prevent further deterioration.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a procedure often performed in conjunction with dental implants. The process involves taking bone from another area of the patient’s body and grafting it into the jawbone. This helps to preserve the jawbone and prevent further deterioration.

Sinus Lift

Implants are notoriously difficult to place in the upper back jaw due to the proximity of the sinuses. A sinus lift is a type of bone grafting performed to make more room in the jaw for dental implants. The procedure involves lifting the sinus membrane and grafting bone into the space created.

Get Your Perfect Smile

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so it’s vital to ensure it looks its best. Dental implants can help you achieve a beautiful, natural-looking smile that you can be proud of.

If you are thinking of getting a dental implant, consult a seasoned implant dentist to go over your options and ensure that you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. Once you have decided to proceed with dental implants, your dentist will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Dental implants may be the right solution for you if you want to improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence. Consult a qualified implant dentist such as Dr. Kevin F. Postol to learn more about this exciting treatment option.

Can My Dentist Stop My Snoring?

Snoring is a major problem for many adults in this country. There are many effects of snoring, but the inability to breathe properly is the most serious. For some adults, snoring causes them to wake during the night, which can lead to fatigue during the day.

One possible cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnea. This condition affects almost 10 percent of women and around 25 percent of men. Adults aren’t the only ones who can suffer from this condition. Babies and children can also have obstructive sleep apnea.

Why is Obstructive Sleep Apnea a Major Issue?

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway. This usually occurs when the soft tissue in the throat collapses. This is much different than central sleep apnea, which occurs because of changes in the central nervous system.

Some people are more prone to obstructive sleep apnea than others. These include people who are overweight, have a large neck or suffer from a small upper airway. People who have an overbite, those who have enlarged tonsils, and those who have a nasal obstruction may have a small upper airway.

The problem with obstructive sleep apnea is that it can lead to major health problems. These include:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Enlargement of heart muscle tissue

There’s also the possibility of this condition making it difficult to live life normally because of fatigue. Some people who have obstructive sleep apnea are at an increased risk of work-related and automobile accidents. Lax work or academic performance might also occur.

What are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea causes symptoms that are noticeable while you’re sleeping, but there are also some that are present while you’re awake. In some cases, you won’t notice these but your partner will. These signs include:

  • Snoring, often loudly
  • Headaches
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Problems with memory
  • Mood swings, including irritability
  • Sore throat or dry mouth when waking
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue during the day
  • Sexual dysfunction

Sleep apnea interrupts the breathing cycle that occurs during sleep. These disruptions can last a few seconds or longer than a minute. They may occur hundreds of times during the night. The longer the episodes and the more frequent the episodes, the more issues they can cause.

How Can a Dentist Help People Who Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

People who have obstructive sleep apnea sometimes need to have continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, when they sleep. This requires them to wear a mask that’s connected to a breathing machine. Typically, people who have a severe case of obstructive sleep apnea will require this.

For those who have a minor to moderate case of obstructive sleep apnea, a dental appliance might help to prevent the soft tissue from blocking the airway by adjusting the lower jaw. Oral appliance therapy uses a device that looks similar to a mouth guard.

There are three categories of devices that may help with obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Kevin F. Postol will determine which of these three would benefit you.

  • Mouth guard: These provide a minor adjustment to the lower jaw by pulling it forward some.
  • Mandibular advancement devices: These snap over the teeth to pull the lower jaw forward. They’re made of hard plastic that’s molded specifically for your tooth alignment. They also have screws and hinges that are adjusted to get the position of you lower jaw set correctly.
  • Tongue-retaining devices: These devices help to prevent your tongue from falling back over the throat. They are usually uncomfortable and can cause dry mouth.

Once you’re given a dental appliance to help control your obstructive sleep apnea, you’ll need to wear it on a consistent basis. It can be challenging to get used to sleeping with it in, but the symptoms you’re experiencing will be reduced if it’s the correct one for you. In some cases, you’ll have to try more than one of these before you find the one that provides the most relief from obstructive sleep apnea.

How Does a Dentist Determine What Can Help Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Dentists work closely with sleep specialists to determine the best way to help a person who has sleep apnea. Determining the best course of treatment usually starts with having a polysomnography test, which is an in-lab sleep study, or a home sleep apnea test. Both of these tests help to determine what happens to your airway while you sleep.

Dr. Postol can also use an i-CAT imaging scan to find out about your tooth and jaw positioning. This enables him to find ways to reduce the obstructions of your airway while you sleep.

What are the Risks of Dental Appliances to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

While using a dental appliance to treat obstructive sleep apnea is usually a successful treatment, there are some risks that are present when using these devices.

  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Bite changes
  • Drooling excessively

These risks are usually outweighed by the benefits of wearing the device. Most adults would rather deal with those instead of having to wear a CPAP mask while they sleep. But, it’s important to remember that CPAP might be necessary if the obstructive sleep apnea isn’t controlled by the dental appliance.

Contact Kevin F. Postol, DDS to Treat Your Snoring

Getting treatment started for obstructive sleep apnea can help you to enjoy a more restful night’s sleep. It can also help to improve your overall health and make it easier for your partner to get a good night’s sleep. Contact Dr. Kevin F. Postol to schedule an appointment to learn how our team can help you address the snoring that’s become a major problem in your life. Our team has more than 25 years of combined experience in treating sleep apnea and snoring.

Your 2022 Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry

Looking after your teeth is about more than simply keeping your teeth healthy enough to chew comfortably. A bright smile gives a valuable first impression and shows that you are a person who takes care of even the tiny details of your appearance. It also helps you feel more confident and to project that feeling to those around you.

Unfortunately, a dazzling smile doesn’t always come naturally, and accidents and circumstances can damage your teeth, making you less inclined to smile at all. So what can you and your dentist do to improve your smile and give back that feeling of confidence?

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry covers a whole range of treatments designed to improve your smile, from simple ones that can be done in one appointment to complex procedures that may involve surgery. This contrasts with general dentistry, which concentrates on basic needs and keeps your teeth and gums healthy. Cosmetic dental procedures may be offered to rectify congenital defects (problems you are born with) or to repair the effects of accidents, decay or lack of care.

What Are the Top Choices for Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures?

Cosmetic dentistry offers a wide range of treatments, some for tidying up discoloration and stains and others for replacing missing or damaged teeth. If you’re unsure which procedures might suit your needs, here is a quick breakdown of six of the most common procedures, all of which can be provided by Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his professional team.

Dental Implants

A missing tooth certainly doesn’t improve the look of your smile, and dental implants are one way to fix this issue. This procedure involves placing a titanium post into the jawbone, providing a solid foundation for the replacement tooth. Unlike a bridge, a dental implant places no stress on adjacent teeth, and it’s also much more durable and has none of the drawbacks of dentures. In addition, a dental implant that is cared for will last for many years and looks and feels just like one of your natural teeth.

Smile Makeover

A complete smile makeover is the choice of those who have had a significant injury or are living with the effects of years of tooth decay and neglect. It begins with a full assessment of the condition of any remaining teeth, the gums and the jawbone. Next, Dr. Postol will talk you through the options available, which will cover a combination of treatments. These might include orthodontic treatments to correct alignment issues, dental implants or bridges where teeth are missing, veneers or crowns for damaged teeth and gum reshaping. The process is a total team effort by dentists such as Dr. Postol, other specialists and their support staff.

Porcelain Veneers

Suppose the enamel on your teeth is cracked or badly discolored or stained. In that case, porcelain veneers are an excellent way to restore a dazzling smile. Firstly, Dr. Postol will remove a thin layer of the enamel under local anesthetic and take an impression of your teeth which they send to a lab. The lab may take up to four weeks to produce your veneers, so we will often send you home with a temporary set. Once the porcelain veneers are ready, they are cleaned and etched to provide a strong bond before Dr. Postol fits them. With proper care, a set of veneers should last you for many years.

Teeth Whitening

If you have discoloration or staining on your teeth that isn’t sufficiently bad to require veneers, teeth whitening can be an ideal way to make your smile shine more brightly. It’s a quick procedure—usually taking less than an hour—and you will notice that your teeth are immediately much whiter. Alternatively, you can use a home-whitening system provided by us that includes a customized appliance worn over your teeth and a mild topical solution. Unfortunately, this method is not as fast, and it can take several weeks for you to see the full effects.

Gum Contouring

Sometimes, the line of your gums along your teeth doesn’t look even. This may be down to periodontal disease, or it could simply be the shape you were born with. Gum contouring improves your smile by removing some gum tissue or adding it from other parts of your mouth should there not be enough tissue. Dr. Postol will accomplish this with a scalpel or laser under a local anesthetic, which will generally be completed in one visit. There may be some discomfort after this procedure, for which we will prescribe painkillers. Healing will usually take days or maybe a couple of weeks, but your even gum line will improve your smile immensely once you are fully healed.

Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding is a procedure that dentists use to rectify minor issues with your teeth that would otherwise require crowns or veneers. Examples of this include a small gap between teeth or a little crack in the enamel. During a cosmetic bonding procedure, Dr. Postol will use a resin agent matched to the color of your teeth to repair the issue.

Suppose you think you might be a suitable candidate for cosmetic bonding. In that case, Dr. Postol thoroughly examines your teeth, detailing all imperfections and damage. We then etch the area to prime it for binding and apply the bonding agent. Curing takes only thirty to sixty seconds. After this, Dr. Postol files and polishes until the treated area looks like a natural part of your tooth.

Take Care of Your Teeth to Keep Smiling Brightly

Much of the time, cosmetic dentistry becomes a necessity due to a lack of preventive care. Even after you have had some of these procedures done, you can save yourself from further intervention by taking good care of your teeth personally and in partnership with Dr. Postol. To do this, there are five simple steps you can take:

  • Floss once and brush twice each day
  • Visit us for a check-up every six months
  • Brush your teeth immediately after consuming staining food or drinks such as wine or coffee
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports
  • Orthodontics: having your teeth straightened with a brace can make them easier to take care of

Most importantly, if you are considering cosmetic dentistry procedures, ensure that your dentist is a reputable, experienced professional like Dr. Postol, with a skilled team around them. To find out more about cosmetic dentistry procedures, contact one of our professional and friendly team members today!

Why It’s Necessary to Replace Missing Teeth

From gum disease to injuries, there are tons of issues that can lead to missing teeth. Not only do tooth gaps negatively impact self-confidence, but they may also cause oral health problems. Let’s take a closer look at the potential consequences of missing teeth, as well as available treatment options.

What Are the Consequences of Missing Teeth?

Even a small gap in your smile can greatly impact your day-to-day life. Here are a few possible oral health issues that may occur as a result of missing teeth.

Difficulty Chewing

Every tooth plays an essential role in the chewing process. For example, front teeth are used to break off small bites of large food items (such as apples), while back teeth help grind up chewier foods (such as meats). Molars, meanwhile, are used to chew virtually everything. Foods that become especially challenging to consume with missing teeth include:

  • Hard foods (like raw vegetables or nuts)
  • Sticky foods (like gum or candy)
  • Hot foods (like hot beverages)

Difficulty chewing is more than an inconvenience. If you don’t chew properly, you may experience acid reflux and similar digestion problems.

Misaligned Teeth

When you have a gap in your teeth, the adjacent teeth will gradually move closer together in an effort to fill the gap. As a result, your teeth may become misaligned. Known as malocclusion, this can cause the following problems:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle plain
  • Tooth sensitivity or decay
  • Gum recession
  • Further tooth loss

Uneven teeth also pose cosmetic issues. If your teeth aren’t aligned properly, it’s harder to be confident in your smile.

Weakened Jawbone

Every time your top teeth make contact with the bottom teeth, your jawbone is stimulated and strengthened. If a tooth is missing, the part of the jawbone around that area will not receive the stimulation it needs. When this happens, the jawbone will shrink and the gums will recede into the gap, leading to these consequences:

  • Sagging facial skin
  • Changes in facial structure
  • Difficult speaking and chewing
  • Headaches and facial pain
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TJD)

In addition to causing pain, a weakened jawbone may alter the appearance of your face and make it harder to pronounce certain words.

What Are the Solutions for Missing Teeth?

Even just one missing tooth can cause long-term problems for your oral well-being. Fortunately, there are treatments available for those with tooth gaps. Here are three common solutions.

Partial Dentures

Dentures are artificial tooth replacements that look and feel just like real teeth. Some dentures are removable, while others are secured in place with an adhesive. While they’re typically used in situations where a patient is missing most or all of their teeth, there are partial dentures available for filling in small-scale gaps. To create the dentures, Dr. Kevin F. Postol will make a wax or plastic impression of the patient’s jaw and mouth. Then, a technician will shape them until they’re a perfect fit. Benefits of dentures include:

  • Realistic appearance: Dentures are designed to look natural.
  • Low maintenance: Fixed dentures can be maintained with regular brushing and flossing, while removable dentures just need to be rinsed regularly.
  • Works for most patients: Unlike other tooth replacement options, partial dentures can suit almost any patient.

Of course, there are some cons to dentures as well. For instance, they cannot handle certain foods and need to be replaced regularly (about every seven to 10 years). They’re also prone to slipping, which can be embarrassing in social situations.

Dental Bridges

If you’re missing teeth but think dentures are too extreme, dental bridges may be the right solution. Staying true to their name, they quite literally “bridge the gap” between teeth using posts and prosthetic teeth. Dr. Postol will start by installing two posts (or crowns) over the teeth adjacent to the gap. Then, he will place artificial teeth over the posts. Secured in between these teeth is another artificial tooth, which seamlessly fills in the gap and completes your smile. Benefits of dental bridges include:

  • Strong bite force: Compared to dentures, dental bridges offer a stronger bite force that can maintain the shape of your jawbone.
  • Long-lasting: On average, dental bridges last for about 15 years.
  • Secure: Dental bridges remain secure in your mouth, meaning you don’t have to worry about an embarrassing slippage situation.

On the downside, dental bridges are not 100% effective in preventing bone loss and jawbone deterioration. Moreover, if the crowns don’t fit properly, the patient may experience tooth decay underneath.

Dental Implants

When it comes to tooth replacements, dental implants tend to be the most popular option. They involve artificial, customized tooth roots that are implanted directly into bone tissue. First, Dr. Postol will make a small incision in the gum to expose the jawbone underneath. If the bone is strong enough to support implants, he will drill holes and install the tooth roots. Patients with weaker jawbones may need a bone grafting procedure before they can use implants. Benefits of dental implants include:

  • Permanent solution: Unlike other artificial teeth options, dental implants typically last a lifetime.
  • Easy maintenance: Dental implants are designed to function just like normal teeth, so they can be maintained with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Stability: Since they’re anchored to your gums, dental implants are highly secure.

In comparison to dentures and dental bridges, dental implants offer the most benefits. Not only are they permanent and easy to care for, but they’re also the closest thing you’ll find to real teeth.

Where Can I Get a Tooth Replacement?

Whether you’re missing one tooth or several, it’s important not to let the problem go unaddressed. Over time, missing teeth can cause tooth decay, gum disease and serious jawbone deterioration. If you’re looking for high-quality dental implants or other tooth replacements, Dr. Postol and his team are here to help. After an initial consultation, we can determine the best solution for your needs. Learn more by requesting an appointment today!

Effects of Eating Disorders on Oral Health

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating are all eating disorders that have the potential to cause dental health concerns. Symptoms range from mild to severe and hurt both your oral and overall health. Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his team can identify early signs of an eating disorder and help patients access the treatment they need to stop harmful behaviors and improve oral health.

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Oral Health?

It’s no secret that your diet has a huge impact on the health of your mouth. A lack of nutrients and consuming too many sugary or acidic foods may lead to tooth decay and other problems. However, the harm caused to the mouth by an eating disorder is often just as devastating to your oral health.

What Are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is any abnormal or dangerous eating habit. They are serious and potentially life-threatening mental illnesses that may cause long-term damage to a person’s mental, physical, and oral health. Some of the most common eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia: Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa severely limit their food intake out of fear of gaining weight.
  • Bulimia: Individuals with bulimia nervosa engage in a pattern of binge-eating numerous calories and then purging. Vomiting, taking laxatives, and engaging in long periods of exercise are all methods of purging.
  • Binge-eating: This eating disorder involves an individual who consumes excessive amounts of food. The person typically eats until they are uncomfortable and experiences associated feelings of shame, guilt, depression, or disgust after the episode.

There are many types of eating disorders that have varied behaviors and characteristics. They usually start with an unhealthy view or obsession with food or body weight.

How Do They Cause Complications In the Mouth?

Dietary habits have a major impact on oral health. Visible signs may emerge in the mouth that indicate a problem or change in routine behavior. Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his team can check for early signs of an eating disorder as changes in the mouth are often the first symptoms a patient presents.

Restricting food leads to deficiencies in key nutrients like calcium, vitamins, and iron. A trained dentist will notice the signs of nutritional deficiencies such as tooth decay, gum disease, and sores. Other behaviors associated with an eating disorder, such as frequent vomiting, also leave behind signs. Vomiting brings stomach acid into contact with the teeth and can cause them to lose enamel or change color. It also can leave behind small cuts and redness in the mouth, which is a warning sign to dentists that there may be a deeper problem.

Individuals who binge eat may consume unhealthy amounts of sugar and carbonated beverages that increase the amount of plaque present on the teeth. This raises the risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.

Signs of Damage From an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are serious and the associated lack of essential vitamins and nutrients can lead to dysfunction in the body. Higher levels of acidity in the mouth can also cause harm by wearing away the teeth and gums. These are some of the oral signs of an eating disorder:

  • Bleeding of the gums and soft tissues
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Cracked and dry lips
  • Mouth sores
  • Bad breath
  • Change in tooth color or shape
  • Erosion of enamel
  • Redness and small scratches or cuts in the mouth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bruising around the mouth

When left untreated, an eating disorder can progress to cause serious and permanent health issues in the mouth and throughout the body.

Treatment of Dental Concerns Caused by Eating Disorders

Dr. Kevin F. Postol can identify concerning signs that a patient may have an eating disorder. Routine check-ups look for problems and issues with the hard and soft mouth tissues. If warning signs are found, our team gently addresses the issue by discussing the oral health problems and giving advice and treatment options to correct them. Your dentist won’t judge you, so be honest so you can get the best care, advice, and ongoing support.

Dental Procedures

Dental care for individuals with eating disorders varies according to each person’s unique needs. The first step is to get the help necessary to treat the disorder and receive proper dental care. The longer the damaging behavior continues, the harder it is to reverse the oral health consequences.

Visit your dentist regularly to get an assessment and advice. If you require crowns, a root canal, or any form of cosmetic dentistry, you will need to address these issues immediately and then follow up with good oral hygiene and consistent follow-up visits.

Oral Hygiene Practices

You can help prevent further problems and protect your dental health by following a dentist-recommended oral hygiene practice. Start by brushing and flossing every day. Avoid brushing your teeth after vomiting as this can lead to further damage. Instead, rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash. Ask for specific instructions to treat your additional areas of concern. Dr. Postol may prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste, remineralizing substance, or another product.

Restore Your Smile With Dr. Kevin F. Postol

If you need dental services, schedule an appointment with Dr. Postol today. Our dental team has more than 25 years of experience in family and cosmetic dentistry. We use the latest techniques to help you improve your oral health and maintain a gorgeous smile. Whether you need a routine examination or have specific needs, your health is our priority. If you are currently dealing with an eating disorder, our team can step in and help you restore your oral health. Early detection is best for a smooth and successful recovery.

You can be confident that your comfort and care are our primary focus. We understand that a trip to the dentist can be stressful. We do our best to ease your anxiety with our friendly environment and various amenities so you can relax through your appointment and have a pleasant experience.

What is a Sleep Apnea Dentist?

At first, the signs of sleep apnea can be easy to dismiss. Some people simply snore loudly, have trouble staying asleep or have headaches in the morning. However, these symptoms could point to a much bigger issue that can be fatal if left untreated.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes patients to stop breathing while they’re asleep. They often wake up gasping for air, then fall back into a restless sleep. When a patient has obstructive sleep apnea, their throat muscles relax while they sleep, closing their airways. Other patients have central sleep apnea, which happens when their brain doesn’t tell their breathing muscles to keep working.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Insomnia or restless sleeping might not be an isolated issue. Instead, it could be a sign of sleep apnea. If you have trouble sleeping, look out for these common symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating or staying awake during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Sudden episodes where you stop breathing
  • Dry mouth

Many people don’t know that they have sleep apnea because they can’t hear themselves snoring. If you sleep with another person, they might notice that you snore loudly or suddenly stop breathing during the night. Don’t assume that you’re just a restless sleeper–take these concerns to your dentist before complications arise.

In children, sleep apnea symptoms include bed wetting, sweating, mouth breathing, snoring and choking or coughing while asleep. During the day, the child might act out in frustration. Parents assume that they’re misbehaving, but they’re actually tired and stressed after a night of restless sleep.

What is a Sleep Apnea Dentist?

A sleep apnea dentist works specifically in the sleep apnea field to provide patients with the best possible care. Patients can visit the clinic on their own or get a referral from a doctor. Once they schedule a consultation, the dentist talks about their symptoms, evaluates the patient’s mouth and discusses a treatment plan.

Sleep apnea dentists offer custom-made appliances that fit directly over the patient’s teeth. They make impressions of the patient’s teeth, then sends them to a lab that crafts the appliances. If necessary, dentists recommend other treatments like surgeries and CPAP machines. They stay in touch with the patient throughout the process to answer questions and adjust their appliances.

How Do Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea?

In some cases, dentists recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that keeps your airway open while you asleep. When you sleep, you’ll wear a face mask connected to the CPAP machine. The machine feeds air pressure through the mask that keeps your airway tissues from collapsing. You’ll enjoy reduced snoring and a better quality of sleep without disturbances.

If you have mild sleep apnea, we prefer to prescribe oral appliances that open your airway while you sleep. Appliances are smaller and quieter, making them an efficient treatment for people who don’t need a full CPAP machine. The appliances hold your jaw open at night to clear your airways without pain or discomfort.

Many patients prefer appliances because they’re much more portable. Patients can easily take trips, stay in hotels or crash at friends’ houses without hauling their CPAP machine around. They’re also more comfortable and less invasive. At night, the patient simply inserts the appliance, then takes it out when they wake up the next morning.

Dr. Postol’s office makes customized appliances for qualifying sleep apnea patients. We offer five different appliances that suit various needs. When we start treatment, we’ll evaluate parts of your mouth like the jaw, tongue and soft palate, then decide which appliance offers the best treatment.

Which Appliances Treat Sleep Apnea?

Studies have shown that oral appliances are just as effective as CPAP machines. You might be a candidate for appliances if you have mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, you’re not comfortable with CPAP therapy or you can’t undergo surgery. Some patients use an appliance along with their CPAP machine for comprehensive treatment.

EMA

The EMA is thinner than other appliances, making it ideal for people who aren’t comfortable holding large appliances in their mouths. EMA appliances feature plastic trays with adjustable straps on each side. While this appliance is less durable than its counterparts, the straps offer different lengths that gradually adjust the patient’s jaw.

TAP® 3

Many patients prefer the TAP® 3 because they can make their own adjustments. This appliance uses a hook and socket to connect your upper and lower jaw while you sleep. To make adjustments, simply use the key to gradually shift the position, then close your mouth once you’re satisfied.

HERBST OA

While the HERBST OA’s components look intimidating, this appliance is safe and comfortable for patients. The design allows greater flexibility so patients can move their jaw during the night. Each appliance comes with a simple adjustment mechanism and uses rubber bands to keep the patient’s mouth closed, preventing a sudden episode.

What Happens When You Start Wearing Appliances?

When you first start using oral appliances, you might experience minor discomfort like tension, sore gums, dry mouth or salivating. Typically, these symptoms disappear as your mouth adjusts to the appliance. If the discomfort persists, schedule an appointment so we can make adjustments. Talk to us immediately if you experience jaw pain, tooth movement or damage to existing structures like crowns and bridges.

As you adjust to the appliance, you might notice reduced headaches, more alertness in the morning and restful sleep that gives you energy for the day ahead. Your partner may remark that you’re snoring less and don’t wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for air. You’ll enjoy a better quality of life without surgeries or CPAP machines.

Contact Our Office Today

If you suspect that you’re suffering from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Dr. Postol’s office. We may start with a Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT) or polysomnography test (PSG) to provide an accurate diagnosis. Otherwise, we’ll talk about treatment options that suit your condition’s severity.

Why Choose Dr. Kevin F. Postol for TMJ Treatment

Do you suffer from TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder? If so, you’re not alone. TMD, or Temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is located in the lower jawbone and allows patients to open and close their mouths. TMJ disorder is when the temporomandibular joint does not work properly.

TMJ is a common dental problem that can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw and neck. In some cases, it can even lead to other health problems, like headaches and difficulty speaking. Fortunately, several treatments can help reduce the pain and improve your quality of life.

The treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder can be complex and involve various therapies and surgeries. If you’re looking for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, Dr. Kevin Postol is one of the best TMJ experts who can help you get started. So, whether you’re looking for an online guide to the causes and symptoms of TMJ and the treatment options available, our blog is the perfect place to start your journey in finding the best TMJ treatment for you.

What Causes TMJ/TMD?

TMJ affects patients of all ages; however, women of childbearing years are the most affected. In many cases, the causes of TMJ disorders aren’t always clear or understood. Causes may include muscle weakness, stress or anxiety, teeth grinding, poor posture, braces, gum chewing, and inflammation. Other risk factors that will increase an individual’s chances of developing TMJ disorder are:

  • Jaw injuries
  • Different types of arthritis
  • Certain connective tissue disease
  • Neck strain
  • Poorly positioned teeth
  • Genetic predisposition to pain sensitivity and increased stress response

Multiple factors can contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition. It is not clear whether some of these causes directly lead to TMD or if they are a direct result of the disorder itself.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of TMJ/TMD?

Although pain is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders, it affects patients differently. Common signs of a TMJ disorder include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw
  • Pain in the temporomandibular joints
  • Pain while chewing or difficulty moving the jaw while chewing
  • Aching around the ears or in other areas of the face
  • Swelling around the face
  • Stiff joints or locking referred to as lockjaw
  • Popping or clicking in the jaw joints

Many patients experience this popping or clicking in their jaw joints, but they don’t have any pain or difficulty opening and closing their mouths. In this case, you may not need TMJ treatment if you are willing to live with the clicking. Each patient is unique; therefore, the number, intensity and frequency of TMD symptoms can vary in each patient. However, if your symptoms are severe, it is vital that you schedule an appointment for an evaluation right away. Dr. Postol can identify the causes of your TMJ disorder and decide on the most appropriate treatment. There are many effective treatments available for TMJ, and a diagnosis can help you get started on the path to healing.

How Do We Diagnose TMJ/TMD?

There is no widely recognized method for diagnosing TMJ because the exact causes are unknown and it is often caused by a variety of factors. Typically, during your appointment, we will consider your symptoms and ask you a few simple questions about your medical history. Based on this information, we may perform a physical examination of your jaw. In some cases and if we suspect a problem, we may also recommend x-rays, so we can examine your jaw in more detail.

What Treatment Do We Offer for TMJ/TMD?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating TMJ, as the condition can be significantly affected by your individual circumstances and symptoms. We offer a broad range of TMJ treatments through various methods. Some of the most common treatments include oral appliances, medication, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy.

Oral or injection therapies such as corticosteroid therapy can effectively relieve TMJ symptoms. Sometimes, patients also benefit from botox injections into the jaw to prevent pain when chewing. Habits such as teeth grinding, biting your fingernails, and leaning on your chin can also lead to TMJ disorder. If this is the case, we may prescribe counseling to address any underlying issues that leads to this behavior.

You may require surgery if other therapies are not successful in relieving the symptoms. If this is the case, Dr. Postol will take you through your different options for surgical procedures. We often use arthroscopy as an alternative TMJ treatment to open-joint surgery as it is less invasive. During this procedure, we insert a small thin tube, known as a cannula, into the joint space, followed by an arthroscope, a small camera, to view the problem area to help determine a diagnosis. Although there are fewer risks involved than open-joint surgery, this treatment is limited, and in some cases, open-joint surgery is necessary. What is important to know is that TMJ can often worsen over time if left untreated, leading to reduced jaw mobility and even tooth loss.

When it comes to TMJ, there’s a lot that we still don’t know. However, we hope this blog helped you understand TMJ and the available treatment options.

At Kevin F. Postol, DDS, our caring dental team is highly trained, health-oriented, and experienced in all areas of dentistry. We aim to provide a reassuring atmosphere, excellent service and state-of-the-art dental techniques. As a recipient of the “Top Dentist” award every year since 2008, trust Dr. Postol and his team to provide the proper TMJ treatment to give you the relief you need.

Find out more by requesting an appointment with Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his professional dental team today.

Should My Gums Bleed?

Most people have noticed bleeding from their gums at some time. If you do see it, you’re probably not sure whether to worry about it or not. The simple answer is that this is not normal and should be taken seriously. If you’ve started a new brushing or flossing routine, bleeding may occur at first but, should it last more than a week, you should consult your dentist.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

Some reasons for bleeding gums are straightforward and can be rectified by simple adjustments to your oral care routine. These include:

  • Poor brushing technique
  • Your toothbrush is too hard
  • You just started a flossing routine

The second group includes reasons that are serious enough to warrant a visit to your dentist and will get worse if left untreated. This group includes:

  • Gingivitis
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Periodontitis

The final group of possible causes for bleeding gums includes more severe conditions that are more in the area of a medical doctor’s care. Your dentist will be able to eliminate the less serious causes and refer you for medical treatment if they suspect one of these reasons. This list includes:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • leukemia
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Scurvy
  • Hemophilia or von Willebrand disease
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Vitamin K deficiency

Other reasons may include hormonal changes during pregnancy or side effects from blood-thinning medications.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease and simply means inflammation of the gums. This is caused by a build-up of plaque at your gum line, causing your gums to become irritated, red and swollen and causing them to bleed during brushing. Taking good care of your teeth will usually sort out this problem. You can do this by regularly brushing and flossing, using an antibacterial mouthwash and regularly visiting your dentist.

What is Periodontitis?

If you don’t take care to treat gingivitis, it may lead to periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease. This long-term condition affects the tissue and bone around your teeth, leading to lasting damage that your dentist will need to repair.

If your gums are regularly bleeding easily when brushing your teeth or even when you’re eating, this may be a sign of periodontitis. You may get bad breath, loose teeth, a bad taste in your mouth or a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite down. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. You should always consult your dentist if you suspect that you have periodontitis.

Preventive Action

There are two main groups of actions to prevent your gums from bleeding due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. These fall into the categories of “home routine” and “dental visits.”

Home Routine

You must have heard the advice to brush your teeth at least twice each day. If you don’t do this already, you should start immediately. A soft-bristled toothbrush is best to avoid damaging your tooth enamel and causing gum recession. You should brush for roughly two minutes, using a circular motion and ensuring that you reach all parts of your mouth.

Once you have brushed and removed all superficial food debris, follow this up once a day with flossing. Again, make sure you reach all of your teeth and follow the curve of your teeth to avoid damaging your gums.

Dental Visits

Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque may still build up, possibly leading to gingivitis. So even if your gums show no signs of bleeding, you should still schedule an appointment with your dentist every six months. Your dentist can do a thorough examination and see any signs of plaque build-up, gingivitis or periodontal disease.

You can also have a dental hygienist perform regular cleanings, removing plaque build-up from under your gums and tartar from your tooth enamel. Bear in mind that your dental checkups don’t take the place of your own oral hygiene regime; they supplement it, and you should keep up with your regular brushing and flossing.

At Dr. Postol’s office, we have a dedicated team who will care for all your preventive dentistry needs. Contact us to schedule your regular appointment today.

Treatment for Bleeding Gums

If you have gingivitis, a simple clean by your dental hygienist should sort out the issues and stop your gums from bleeding. However, even if you have progressed to advanced stages of periodontal disease, there is still time to repair the damage. Dentists can use two techniques to treat and repair the damage. These are:

  • Scaling—the removal of plaque from below the gumline
  • Root planing—smoothing the tooth root, allowing the gum to re-attach

This type of deep cleaning may leave you with tooth pain for a day or two and sensitive teeth for about a week. Your dentist might prescribe a pill or mouth rinse to prevent infection and control pain. Your gums may also be a little swollen and feel tender or bleed.

After scaling and root planing, you should schedule another appointment a couple of weeks later so your dentist can check your progress. If pockets from periodontitis persist, another treatment may be required.

Get Quality Dental Care Today

As you can see, poor dental care and hygiene can lead to serious issues that affect your whole life. Nobody wants the bad breath that comes with gingivitis or the pain from eating that comes with periodontitis. A good oral hygiene program maintained at home and with your dentist can save you much pain and discomfort and prevent the worries caused by bleeding gums.

Dr. Kevin F. Postol has a dedicated team that will greet you with a warm and sincere welcome and places as much value on your oral health as you do. To find out more about why your gums might be bleeding or to make an appointment, contact us today.

What Are the Benefits of Regular Periodontal Maintenance?

When you think of dental care, you probably think of brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist twice a year. While these habits certainly help establish the foundation for good dental health, they only begin to scratch the surface. There’s a lot more to maintaining healthy teeth and gums than simply covering the basics.

This is where periodontal maintenance comes in. Regular periodontal maintenance plays a key role in enhancing your overall gum and bone health. This procedure also goes above and beyond routine dental cleanings to keep gum disease at bay. If you’re ready to give your smile the boost it needs, here is everything you need to know about periodontal maintenance.

Periodontal Maintenance vs. Regular Cleanings: What’s the Difference?

Periodontal maintenance, also known as deep cleaning, is a special dental cleaning procedure that typically occurs more frequently than a regular cleaning. While a standard dental visit is normally scheduled every six months, periodontal care tends to takes place every three to four months.

Regular dental cleanings are also preventive, while periodontal maintenance targets existing dental issues. The goal of this procedure is to get to the root of gum problems and prevent periodontal disease from advancing. If you currently have gum disease, it’s crucial to schedule periodontal care on a regular basis to keep your gum and bone health in optimal condition.

Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance

Stopping by your dentist’s office for regular periodontal care can lead to incredible benefits. Here are some of the main ways a deep cleaning can transform your smile for the better.

1. Slowed Progression of Gum Disease

The most important benefit of regular periodontal maintenance is slowing the progression of gum disease. Periodontal care is typically recommended to dental patients who have already been diagnosed with gum disease and need rigorous treatment to address the problem. Fortunately, periodontal treatment sessions can help prevent gum issues from becoming more severe.

It’s important to remember that a single periodontal maintenance therapy session isn’t enough to tackle chronic gum problems. To properly protect your teeth and gums from further damage, be sure to schedule periodontal care at least every three to four months.

2. Thorough Plaque Removal

Over time, plaque and tartar build up on the surface of your teeth, which can lead to gum disease and other forms of damage. While regular brushing and flossing can help slow down the accumulation of plaque, it’s a good idea to supplement with professional periodontal maintenance therapy to remove any unwanted buildup.

Periodontal treatment is so thorough that it targets various other dental problems as well. Through the use of specialized dental equipment and techniques, periodontal experts can effectively remove bacteria, gum pocket deposits and other forms of debris that have built up on your teeth.

3. Fresher Breath

One of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease is bad breath, also known as halitosis. This occurs when food particles that are trapped below your gum line begin to rot. Over time, hidden particles of food can lead to gum infection and other types of periodontal issues.

During periodontal maintenance therapy, a skilled hygienist will thoroughly remove any plaque, tartar, hidden food particles or other forms of debris from your teeth. This process helps to alleviate any existing irritation and keeps further problems at bay. The result is fresher, cleaner breath that gives you a healthy and rejuvenated feel.

4. Aesthetic Appeal

Periodontal care doesn’t only keep your teeth clean and healthy. This dental cleaning also plays a key role in promoting a more polished smile. Oftentimes, people who struggle with periodontal disease have yellowed, stained teeth that they may try to hide in photos or even when they’re talking to other people.

Fortunately, regular periodontal maintenance can help restore your confidence in your smile. Once you’ve parted ways with harmful buildup, your teeth will take on a new, radiant look that you’ll want to show off to everyone you see.

5. Stronger Teeth

If you let your dental problems persist, they may become serious enough that your teeth begin to fall out. There are a number of reasons this may happen, including periodontal disease, cavities, recessed gums, poor dental hygiene and a decline in bone strength. It’s crucial to take the right precautions to keep your teeth strong and guard them against decay.

Periodontal treatment is designed for this exact purpose. By cleaning up any lingering debris and addressing existing gum issues, periodontal maintenance experts allow you to maintain stronger teeth that are less likely to fall out. This is vital to keeping your smile healthier overall.

6. Reduced Risk of Infection

One of the goals of periodontal care is to reduce the depth of pockets in your gums. If these pockets are left untreated, they will continue to deepen, causing bacteria to accumulate inside your gums. This bacteria may then begin to travel through your bloodstream, where it can spread and infect other areas of your body.

By curbing the growth of harmful bacteria, periodontal maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of infection. This helps to promote optimal health and well-being overall. The next time you schedule a periodontal appointment, think about all the good you’re doing for your entire body—not just your pearly whites.

Be Proactive About Your Dental Health

When you’re diligent about keeping your teeth and gums in good shape, you help build the foundation for better dental health. Don’t put off periodontal maintenance therapy if you have existing gum damage or notice signs of periodontal disease. The earlier you take action, the easier it will be to address any issues you have and prevent your gum disease from advancing.

Once you’re ready to give your smile the care it needs, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin F. Postol. His unwavering commitment to high-quality dental care ensures that you’re in good hands. Our team is eager to learn more about your needs and give you the smile you deserve.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Traditional braces involved metal wires, headgear, rubber bands and visits to the orthodontist that left your mouth sore afterward. Adults who need braces often choose crooked teeth over a mouth full of metal. However, technological advancements have replaced the metal wires with clear, removable braces. Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his team set you up with clear braces that gradually adjust your teeth, offering minimal pain and discomfort.

While they might work gradually, clear braces are more efficient than traditional braces. Typically, they straighten your teeth within six months or less. No one will notice that you’re wearing braces–and when you need to floss or brush your teeth, they detach in seconds. Schedule an appointment to talk about starting an Invisalign regimen.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign braces are clear aligners that fit directly over your teeth. Each aligner is custom made to fit your teeth while applying a slight pressure. As you wear the aligners, the pressure gradually straightens your teeth. You’ll use multiple aligners over the course of the treatment. Invisalign braces are removable, non-invasive and virtually invisible, allowing you to correct your teeth in adulthood without feeling self-conscious.

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?

Here’s why patients prefer Invisalign over metal braces:

  • Invisalign is invisible–no metal bands or wires that everyone notices immediately. You can go to work, attend school and smile in photographs, and no one will notice the difference.
  • Invisalign is safer and more comfortable than traditional braces. When an orthodontist installs metal braces on your teeth, you have to return periodically to get your braces tightened, making your mouth sore again. Plus, loose wires and brackets can injure the inside of your mouth.
  • Invisalign is removable so you can take out the aligners to brush and floss your teeth. You won’t have to brush around metal brackets and hope you don’t get cavities.
  • Invisalign fits directly over your teeth. Since you don’t have complicated metal brackets and wires, food particles won’t get trapped in your teeth and cause tooth decay.

Do You Qualify for Invisalign?

Many patients choose Invisalign simply because they want a better smile. If you have crooked or uneven teeth, Invisalign straightens your teeth and improves their appearance. However, your dentist might recommend Invisalign if you suffer from certain conditions like overbites, underbites, teeth crowding, jaw pain, bone loss and sleep disorders. You’ll improve your health and enjoy a straighter smile at the same time.

While Invisalign is popular with adults, children and teenagers also choose Invisalign as an alternative to metal braces. Traditional braces are painful and unattractive, which makes children feel self-conscious. Invisalign is virtually invisible–in fact, no one will know that your child’s undergoing treatment. They’ll feel increasingly confident as they watch their teeth become straight and even.

Is Invisalign as Effective as Traditional Braces?

Invisalign is actually more effective than traditional braces. While metal braces take up to four years to straighten your teeth, Invisalign corrects your teeth in two years or less. In fact, some patients end their treatment after six months. You’ll enjoy the benefits of traditional braces with none of the metal brackets, wires, rubber bands or cement.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Here’s what happens when you undergo Invisalign treatments:

  1. You’ll set up an appointment with our team. When you arrive, we’ll take impressions of your teeth that we’ll use to craft the aligners.
  2. We’ll create a set of dental trays and give them to you at your next appointment. You’ll use these trays one at a time until you’ve completed your treatment.
  3. To start, you’ll wear the first set of aligners. The aligners apply pressure to your teeth that gradually makes them shift.
  4. After a certain time frame, you’ll swap out the trays for the next set of aligners. These aligners continue to apply pressure to your teeth, straightening them even further.
  5. You’ll continue the process until you’ve used all the trays. Periodically, you’ll return to our office to see how your treatment is going.
  6. At the end, you’ll have straight teeth, better health and less discomfort.

We’ll discuss the process in more detail when you arrive for your consultation.

How Do You Get the Most Out of Invisalign?

While Invisalign is faster and more comfortable than other treatments, you’ll still need to stay on track to make it work. Wear your Invisalign trays for at least twenty hours day, and remove them only for brief periods, like when you brush your teeth. Swap out the trays according to schedule to keep straightening your teeth. If you stop wearing the aligners too early or take them out too often, your teeth will remain crooked.

Does Invisalign Come with Any Risks?

Invisalign is a non-invasive procedure that comes with few risks. At most, you might notice a slight lisp when you first start wearing your aligners. In rare cases, you could damage the aligners if you clench your teeth hard enough. Let us know if you have a polyurethane allergy that makes you ineligible for Invisalign. Otherwise, slight discomfort is the most you’ll experience during your treatment.

How Do You Get Started?

When you’re ready to straighten your teeth, contact us to set up an appointment. We’ll discuss your options and decide if Invisalign is the best treatment for you. If you qualify, we’ll move onto the next steps and start treatment as soon as possible. With Invisalign, you may enjoy a brighter, straighter smile in two years or less.

Other services at our clinic include X-rays, screenings, preventive cleanings, cavity fillings, crowns, bridges, sealants and cosmetic dentistry. We serve patients at every age–children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. If you have anxiety about visiting the dentist, we’ll employ relaxation dentistry techniques that keep you calm during your visit.

Call our office, or request an appointment online to get started. We’re accepting new and returning patients. If we ask you to fill out forms before your visit, print them directly from our website and bring the forms when you arrive.