In order to ensure a relaxing and pleasant experience at Miami Designer Smiles, we’ve answered some of the questions patients of our practice frequently ask. Reviewing these suggestions will help you prepare for your upcoming visit.
Sleep apnea is a condition occurring when your throat collapses while you sleep, blocking your airway. As a result, you experience brief pauses in breathing which may happen hundreds of times a night. Your brain will rouse you from sleep so that you can resume breathing. A common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring.
Yes. If untreated, sleep apnea can lead to life-threatening health problems such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Daytime fatigue
There can be many reasons why you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, including:
- Being overweight
- Large tongue and/or tonsils
- Small airway due to the shape of your head and neck
Almost anyone can develop sleep apnea. Approximately 15 million Americans currently suffer from the condition. However, it generally affects men more than women. Risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, and loud snoring. Certain studies have also indicated that sleep apnea may be hereditary.
The best way to conclusively determine whether you suffer from sleep apnea is by participating in a diagnostic sleep study conducted by a certified sleep apnea dentist. Miami sleep apnea dentists Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia are members of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), and they can perform all of the necessary diagnostic tests for you.
While there are a variety of sleep apnea treatments, our Miami sleep apnea dentists generally recommend using mandibular repositioning appliances and tongue-retaining devices. These appliances are custom made to fit your teeth and mouth so it will be comfortable and healthy.
We find that our patients tolerate sleep apnea appliances much better than CPAP.
Your body needs a certain amount of sleep every night to function properly. When you do not get this minimum amount of sleep, your health, performance, and quality of life may suffer drastically.
For some, lack of sleep is a by-product of a chaotic and hectic lifestyle. However, for many people, sleep deprivation is often the result of unrecognized sleep disorders. One of the most common conditions affecting your ability to get a good night’s rest is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes blocked, depriving your brain of oxygen. In order to resume breathing, your brain rouses you from sleep. This cycle often occurs hundreds of times a night. For you, the end result is a lack of sleep which may jeopardize your long-term health.
Some of the Effects of Sleep Loss on Your Everyday Life
Sleep loss can affect every aspect of your life. It carries both short-term and long-term consequences, including:
- Cognitive decline
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Chronic fatigue
- An inability to fully enjoy your favorite activities
- Loss of libido
- Weight gain
- Poor performance at work or school
- Overall decline in physical health
- Sleep Loss Kills
If your sleep apnea goes untreated, it may increase your risk of developing potentially fatal health conditions such as:
- Heart attack
Your Sleep Loss Affects Your Loved Ones
Sleep loss affects your mood and your behavior. It can make you irritable and short-tempered with your family and others around you. Over time, this can put a strain on your personal relationships.
Your sleep apnea may also be seriously affecting the quality of your partner’s life. One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. As a result, your condition may be keeping your partner awake for long stretches of the night as well.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The consequences for all aspects of your life are too severe to let your sleep apnea go untreated. Miami sleep apnea dentists Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia can help correct the condition so that you can finally start enjoying a night of restful sleep. Your family and your body will be happy you decided to seek sleep apnea treatment.
If you have read or heard about sleep apnea treatment, you have probably heard of CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.
In theory, CPAP is a very effective treatment. In application, it is so poorly tolerated that most patients will not or cannot use it properly and therefore do not get the full benefits. Common problems with CPAP include :
- Skin irritation and rashes
- Dry mouth and throat
- Inability to sleep due to noise
- Keeps bedmate awake due to noise
- Interference with intimacy
- Very inconvenient when travelling
- Requires inconvenient maintenance
Unfortunately, some sleep apnea sufferers shy away from treatment because they believe that CPAP is the only option. That is not the case.
Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances
We offer our patients several types of sleep apnea oral appliances. They are mandibular advancement appliances that keep your lower jaw in a forward position, ensuring your airway remains open as it should be.
The sleep apnea oral appliances we offer are nothing like the anti snoring and sleep apnea mouthpieces you can buy over-the-counter. Ours are custom made medical devices created to fit your mouth.
Our appliances are designed for comfort, so you will be able to wear them all night long. You can choose the SomnoDent MAS or the Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP). We will help you decide which one is best for your unique needs. Both have a much higher compliance rate than CPAP.
Learn more by visiting Questions about Sleep Apnea or How Sleep Loss Affects Your Life. You can also view our Free E-Book All About Sleep Disorders.
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help you feel more relaxed during your dental procedure. It is an ideal option if you experience severe dental anxiety or if you are having multiple procedures performed in the same day.
- Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
- Conscious oral sedation
At your initial appointment, they will explain the difference between the two sedation methods so that you can choose the appropriate method to meet your needs.
Yes. Our Miami sedation dentists only perform sedation dentistry using nitrous oxide and conscious oral sedation. With these methods, you will be in either a conscious or semi-conscious state throughout your procedure. Either way, you will be able to breathe on your own and communicate with our Miami sedation dentists during your treatment.
Some types of sedation will not interfere with your ability to drive after your procedure, but others will have a more lasting effect. Dr. Garcia and Dr. Sanchez-Garcia will let you know in advance so you can arrange for a ride if you need it.
The effects of nitrous oxide wear off a few minutes after you stop breathing the gas. Oral conscious sedation drugs can stay in your system for hours, and they may even affect you for the rest of the day, depending on the type of medication our Miami sedation dentist administers to you.
Sleep dentistry, or sedation dentistry, is recommended for patients who have one or more of the following problems that impair dental treatment:
- Dental anxiety
- Strong gag reflex
- Jaw discomfort during long procedures
- Difficulty getting numb
HEALTH AND SLEEP DENTISTRY
In general, there are few health reasons that prevent a person from taking advantage of sleep dentistry. However, if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are allergic to sedatives
- Have central nervous system depression
- Have glaucoma
- Have developed resistance to medications
You may not be a good candidate for sleep dentistry. Elevated blood pressure may also merit additional precautions.
PLANNING FOR SLEEP DENTISTRY
Also important for sleep dentistry is the ability to plan and prepare for your procedure. This means:
- Scheduling adequate time for an appointment
- Arranging a ride home
- Avoiding alcohol consumption before procedure
If you are able to do this, then you may be a good candidate for sleep dentistry.
TMD is a condition in which the hard and soft tissues of your jaw are not working in harmony. The muscles try to pull the jaw into a different position than it naturally rests in, or pulls it out of position as it moves through its normal range of movement. Even when you think you’re not working them, your jaw muscles are waging a constant battle against your jaw and teeth. The impact on your jaw can be pain, sticking in position, clicking, and worn or damaged teeth.
But the effects go far beyond there. Because the jaw muscles work in concert with the neck muscles to hold the spine upright, you might suffer misaligned cervical vertebrae and pinched nerves. Sometimes, this effect can spread to the rest of the body.
Your jaw muscles can also dramatically impact local nerves and blood vessels, especially the trigeminal nerve, a crucial nerve that is commonly cited as the origin of migraine headaches.
NEUROMUSCULAR DENTISTS TREAT TMD
A neuromuscular dentist is trained in the treatment of not just the teeth in your mouth, but in the full system of hard and soft tissue that makes up your mouth. This includes the jawbone and muscles that are often to blame for TMD. Neuromuscular dentists have the tools to diagnose TMD scientifically, using jaw tracking, electromyography, and electrosonography. By creating a comprehensive picture of the hard and soft tissue in your jaw, a neuromuscular dentist can help you understand the extent of your TMD and design a comprehensive treatment plan.
WHY CHOOSE MIAMI DESIGNER SMILES
At Miami Designer Smiles, both of our dentists have received extensive training in neuromuscular dentistry at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). They have helped many patients in the Miami area to receive relief from neuromuscular dental problems, including TMD.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD/TMJ disorder) is condition occurring when your temporomandibular joint, the joint connecting your jaw to your skull, becomes misaligned. TMJ disorder can result in chronic, debilitating pain. However, the condition is easily treated using the principles of neuromuscular dentistry, which focus on bringing your jaw and bite back to its ideal resting position.
There are many factors which may contribute to your developing TMJ disorder. These include:
- Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles in the head and neck by a blow or impact
- Grinding your teeth
- Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket of your temporomandibular joint
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in your temporomandibular joint
- Stress, causing you to tighten your facial and jaw muscles or clench your teeth
Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Clicking or popping sound when opening and closing your jaw
- Locking jaw, which limits your range of motion
- Difficulty chewing
- Uneven or uncomfortable bite
- Ringing in your ears
Miami neuromuscular dentists Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia will examine your temporomandibular joint for pain and tenderness, listen for clicking or popping sounds during jaw movement, look for limited range of motion in your jaw, and examine your bite. Sometimes, panoramic x-rays will be taken to provide a more detailed view of your jaw and teeth to rule out other causes of your symptoms. In certain situations, an MRI or CT scan may be ordered as well.
Treatment is different for everyone and depends on the nature and severity of your TMJ disorder. Our Miami neuromuscular dentists will first work to alleviate the pain caused by your TMJ disorder, and then they will correct the underlying issues causing the misalignment of your jaw.
Possible treatments may include:
- Pain medication
- Custom bite appliances
- Orthotic mouthpieces
- Dental restorations