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What to Do If You Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea

Filed under: Sleep Apnea — Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am

Sleep is essential. Without a good night’s rest, the body can’t work at its full capacity. Reaction time is slower, physical signs start to present themselves, and moodiness may set in. Forget about being “on the ball” or fully involved in conversations and daily to-dos. Sleep deprivation is a serious thing, and it is not something you can “make up” by snoozing ‘till noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

One major reason people suffer from a poor night’s sleep is due to a condition known as sleep apnea. You may have seen commercials about it or maybe you believe it is something you are dealing with personally. Perhaps your partner is afflicted, and they are not only sleeping insufficiently, but they are keeping you wide awake night after night too. Sleep apnea is invasive, annoying, and potentially dangerous. Worst of all, it prevents a decent night’s sleep.

If you think you have sleep apnea or someone you love is dealing with this bothersome bedtime issue, here is what you need to know about the condition and what you can do. Here at Cornerstone Dental Arts, we are ready to solve the problem so you can hit the sack stress-free.

What is sleep apnea?

What happens during an episode of sleep apnea is that the person stops breathing temporarily for brief periods of time throughout the night, sometimes up to dozens of times per hour! Believe it or not, they may not even realize it is happening. Most commonly, people have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The soft tissues in the mouth and throat relax, causing a collapse into the airway, preventing normal breathing. The body tries to “revive” itself by waking up to gasp for air. Obviously, this cycle is disturbing and disruptive to the sufferer as they wake up in a panic periodically all night long. It is scary, stressful, and makes them sleep deprived since they never achieve the important REM sleep, that deep sleep we all need to be well-rested and relaxed. There’s never a chance to experience REM because they’re waking up too frequently for it to set in.

Aside from feeling groggy, achy, or moody, what is really so dangerous about not getting enough sleep?

There is more to missing sleep than meets the eye. Aside from being constantly tired and cranky, there are other more harmful effects of sleepless nights including high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Weight gain is also common and losing it is more difficult.

Can my sleep apnea be stopped?

There are proven ways to treat sleep apnea. One common treatment is by way of CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure machine. All night long, air is forced down the sufferer’s throat to keep the airway open and unblocked. While CPAP can be extremely effective, being hooked up to a machine all night is not always comfortable. Thankfully, there is another way to achieve a similar outcome. At Cornerstone Dental Arts, we believe in the benefits of oral appliance therapy. A mouthguard can be custom-designed for the patient which purposefully holds the tongue in place as the jaw is shifted forward ever so slightly. It is comfortable to wear all night long and prevents the process of sleep apnea from interrupting sleep. Surgery is also a solution for those who need more than a mouthguard to manage this chronic condition.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Some people just can’t sleep well, but they do not know quite why they have this ongoing problem. If you have a hunch that sleep apnea is what is preventing you from sleeping normally night after night, you can get a better idea if it is indeed the cause by taking the Epworth Sleepiness Scale Quiz. It is a quick assessment that can give you more insight into your sleep troubles. You’ll tabulate your scores after completing a series of questions related to your ability to fall asleep in certain situations.

Do you want to know more about sleep apnea and how it can be treated by the Cornerstone Dental Arts team? We are always here to help by answering any questions you may have about sleep apnea or your other dental-related concerns. Please give us a call at 865-531-7117, and we can set up a consultation.

Before you know it, your sleep will be sounder and your overall health will be improved. There’s no reason you should be sleep deprived when a simple mouthguard may be all you need to change the way you sleep, once and for all. We will figure out if this solution is right for you, and if so, we’ll have one designed and delivered. Dreams do come true…when you can actually sleep soundly!

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am

Do the words “root canal” make you cringe? You are certainly not alone, but those old-fashioned ideas about root canals are no longer how they should be seen. While they are nothing to pass off as a piece of cake, the root canal process is not as daunting as you may expect it to be. In fact, the whole root canal procedure can be nearly painless, since the advancements in technology and the tender touch of the Cornerstone Dental Arts team make root canals something you need not dread any longer.

Coming in for a regular dental cleaning is one thing, but when a root canal is in order, many patients – maybe even you – may want to avoid the visit altogether. But pushing it off will only make matters more complicated and potentially harder to correct. Dealing with the dental issue in a timely fashion is not only smart, but can save you from worse complications down the road.

Here is the basis of what you need to know about root canals– how to tell if you or a family member may need one, what the root canal process entails, and why visiting the dentist is a must-do, as we can assess your situation and determine if a root canal is indeed in order.

Why might I need a root canal?

The human tooth is made of three distinct layers – the enamel layer which is on the outside, the dentin layer just beneath it, and the dental pulp – the innermost chamber filled with sensitive nerves and blood vessels. When a person develops a cavity, it is usually limited to the outermost enamel portion of the tooth. But if left untreated, it will continue to fester and delve deeper into the inner pulp, and this causes an infection, not to mention pain for the patient. In order to successfully clear away this tooth infection and restore the tooth back to a healthy condition, a root canal is often required.

What does a root canal entail?

We need to get the infection out from the dental pulp, and the best way to do this is by removing all the infected tissue from the inside. Then the area is carefully cleaned out and fully sanitized, filled with a special medicated substance, and restored by being topped with a natural-looking dental crown using our CEREC machine. This entire procedure is usually completed in one visit, something patients certainly appreciate.

Will the root canal process be painful?

We know that the prospect of experiencing pain of any degree is probably your biggest concern about the root canal process. Never fear; we will fully numb the area with a local anesthetic so you will not feel any pain while we complete your root canal. Perhaps you will feel some pressure, but it will not be too uncomfortable for you to bear. And if any pain is felt at any point during the procedure, we can apply more of the numbing agent until you are all numbed up again. We promise to make you as comfortable as we can. We will communicate with you the whole way through, so you can alert us to any pain you may feel while we work on your root canal.

Ouch! My tooth hurts…is it time for a root canal?

It all depends, as every patient and situation is unique. Some types of tooth pain signal that a cavity has crept in. When the tooth is aching and throbbing with pain, it could be an infection that has gone deep into the tooth, perhaps due to a cavity that has been left untreated. This may mean a root canal is in order. The only way to tell is by making an appointment with one of the Cornerstone Dental Arts’ dentists. We are able to assess the severity of your particular situation and see what can be done to relieve you of your problematic pain. But do not let any pain linger for long. As soon as you feel like something may be wrong with your tooth, schedule an appointment with a dentist immediately. It could be the early stages of a cavity which can be repaired right away. But wait too long and the issue can get far worse, with you winding up in need of a root canal.

Do you want to know more about root canals? Do you think you or a family member may need one? Are you experiencing tooth pain that seems severe? Call our office and we will get you in for an appointment as soon as possible. Your oral health is our number one concern. Our number is 865-531-7177. We look forward to seeing you and getting you back to your old self in no time, pain free and smiling.