When you awake in the morning do you still feel exhausted? Are you irritable during the day, unable to think or focus clearly? Is your loud snoring bothering your bed partner?
If you answered affirmatively to any of these questions, you may have sleep apnea. This happens when an obstruction (usually the tongue) blocks the airway during sleep, preventing you from breathing. Your brain notices the drop in oxygen and wakes you to re-open the airway. The arousal lasts only a few seconds, and you may not even notice. But because it can happen many times a night, these waking episodes can rob you of the deep sleep your body needs.
Sleep apnea is more serious than simply waking up grumpy. Over time, it could contribute to dangerous health conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease. If you’re noticing any of these signs, it’s important then that you undergo a complete examination by a physician or dentist trained in sleep-related issues.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce sleep apnea. One of the most common is continuous airway pressure (CPAP): This method uses a small pump that pushes pressurized air through a face mask worn while the patient sleeps. The forced air keeps the airway open and reduces apnea episodes.
While it’s an effective method, it can be uncomfortable and cumbersome to use—some people can’t tolerate wearing the mask while they sleep. But if your sleep apnea symptoms are mild to moderate, your dentist may be able to provide an alternative therapy with a specially designed oral appliance.
Similar to a mouthguard or retainer, a sleep apnea appliance worn during sleep holds the lower jaw forward, which helps move the tongue away from the airway. It’s much less cumbersome (and noisy) than a CPAP machine. And your dentist can custom design and fabricate your appliance for a comfortable fit.
Not all cases of sleep apnea can benefit from such an appliance, or even from CPAP therapy. Extreme cases could require surgery to remove tissues blocking the airway. But most sleep apnea patients don’t require this invasive intervention. Getting checked by a qualified medical professional could open the door to a more convenient and effective way to a better night’s sleep.
When you’re buying a tool or appliance, you compare brands for the best quality you can afford. There’s another important item that deserves the same level of scrutiny: your toothbrush. Choosing the right one for you can make a huge difference in your oral hygiene effectiveness.
But a visit to your store’s dental care aisle can dim your enthusiasm. You have plenty of options involving all manner of shapes, sizes and features. Perhaps too many: After a while, the sheer number of choices can paralyze your decision-making process.
You can streamline this selection process by concentrating on a few important toothbrush basics. First up for consideration: the bristles. While you may think a good stiff brush would be best, it’s actually the opposite—most dental professionals recommend softer bristles. That’s because hard bristles can potentially damage your teeth and gums over time.
Softer bristles are gentler on your teeth and just as effective for removing plaque, if you use the right technique and thoroughly brush all tooth surfaces. And look for rounded bristles, which are friendlier to your gums.
Next, look for a brush that feels right in your hand. If you have problems with manual dexterity, look for one with an oversized handle. Some brushes come with angled necks and tapered heads, which you may find effective in reaching less accessible back teeth. This might mean trying different brushes until you get one that’s right for you. Don’t worry, though, you’re not buying a brush for life—in fact, you should change out your brush every three to six months.
You’ll also rarely go wrong buying a toothbrush with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on the packaging. This seal signifies the toothbrush has undergone testing and met the ADA’s standards for hygiene effectiveness. While some manufacturers of effective brushes don’t pursue this seal, you can be sure one with it has passed the test of quality.
It makes all the difference in the world having the right tool for the job. Be sure your toothbrush is the right one for you.
If you would like more information on toothbrushes and other dental care products, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sizing up Toothbrushes: How to Choose the Right Brush for Optimal Oral Health.”
Cosmetic dentistry changes the appearance of people's smiles so they look and feel their best. Cosmetic dentists such as Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh devote time and effort to excellent aesthetics which complement a patient's oral health. Which cosmetic dentistry treatment is right for you?
A look which looks like you
Together, you and your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist will talk about your smile goals. Your job is to tell Dr. Machiko how you want your smile to improve. His job is to tell you what's possible. Because he has delivered wonderful smiles for years, he can tell you what treatment will work for your specific preferences and needs.
For example, think about how wide and high your smile is. Does too much gum tissue show? What about tooth color? Does it truly complement your skin tone? Does some mild crookedness bother you, or do your want your teeth perfectly straight?
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) says that the information and ideas you and your dentist communicate to each other drive the perfect smile makeover. And, that makeover can be as simple as brightening your tooth enamel to as complex as receiving dental implants. Ultimately, the choices are yours, and Dr. Machiko and his team will help you make them.
Plus, did you know that your dentist can show you how your finished smile will look? Three-dimensional models, photo mock-ups, and more give you a realistic preview and shape the decision-making process.
Some featured cosmetic services
From tooth color to smile alignment, you can improve several aspects of your smile. For instance, Dr. Machiko may recommend Zoom! Whitening. Its active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, is accelerated by a special light, improving tooth color by about eight shades. For any cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening is his or her most popular aesthetic treatment because of its dramatic results, relatively low cost and ease of treatment. Zoom! Whitening is available in both at-home and in-office versions.
Another sought-after service is porcelain veneers. These high-quality laminates custom-cover the front of teeth flawed by cracks, stains, cracks, odd shape or weak structure. They also reinforce enamel, rendering a Hollywood look and increasing tooth longevity.
In addition, most cosmetic care plans include composite resin bonding. This innovative blend of glass and acrylic reshapes chips, craze lines, cracks, and small gaps. Sculpted, trimmed, hardened, and polished by your cosmetic dentist, composite resin looks and acts just like real tooth enamel. Dr. Machiko also uses it to repair tooth decay for a filling which simply blends in with the rest of the tooth and flexes just as natural enamel does.
Dr. Gary Machiko offers other aesthetic dental treatments, too. To learn how they could help you achieve your dream smile, contact his office team for a consultation appointment in Pittsburgh, PA, at (724) 719-2866.
Have extractions created smile gaps which mar your oral function and personal appearance? Have you considered how your facial structure actually deteriorates due to tooth loss? If so, why not ask your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gary Machiko, about dental implants, the best tooth replacement option available today? He'll be happy to give you the details.
Dental implants are amazing
That's no exaggeration. Dental implants behave, look and even feel just like natural teeth. A single-tooth implant has three basic parts:
- A titanium screw or cylinder inserted into the jaw bone by your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist
- An abutment post made of a durable metal alloy
- A custom-fabricated porcelain crown which shows above the gums, normalizing chewing and smile appearance
Dental implants may support fixed, multi-tooth bridgework, and full dentures, too, with a process called All-on-4 (specifically, four titanium implants).
Implants strengthen your jaw and more
How do dental implants from your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist do that? The secret lies in a bonding process called osseointegration.
Through this natural phenomenon, human bone adheres to the titanium screw forming a nearly inseparable bond. And, once the surgical site has healed, that bond continues to improve as biting and chewing exert pressure on the implant.
Other tooth replacement options, such as conventional bridges and dentures which set on top of the gums, cannot improve jaw bone quality. So, if you're eligible for the treatment, your implant(s) will deliver:
- Excellent oral function
- Clear speech
- Youthful facial contours and healthy bone and gum tissue
- Dental aesthetics which are completely realistic
The implant treatment
Dr. Machiko evaluates his implant patients with a complete oral examination, review of medical history and three-dimensional scans. Good overall health is essential to implant success as is sufficient bone in your jaw to anchor your new teeth.
If you qualify, Dr. Machiko performs the entire oral surgery and implant restoration right in the office. The implant placement takes about an hour, and healing/osseointegration takes several weeks. When that's complete, you'll return to the office so your dentist can uncover the implant and bond on the abutment and porcelain crown. All-on-4 dentures proceed on a similar schedule.
Caring for dental implants
Expect your implants to last for the rest of your life, says the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness. To prolong their life, it is important to:
- Brush and floss as your dentist and hygiene instruct to keep implant sites clean and healthy
- Get six-month cleanings and check-ups at the office
- Stop smoking because tobacco usage harms implant sites and may cause implant failure
Have a complete smile once again with state-of-the-art dental implants from Dr. Gary Machiko. Contact his friendly office team in Pittsburgh, PA, to arrange your personal consultation with this award-winning dentist. Phone (724) 719-2866.
Have you had a bathtub resurfaced or a laminate placed over old flooring? If you have, then you understand dental veneers, thin, tooth-shaped shells of fine ceramic bonded to the front of selected teeth. Veneers from Dr. Gary Machiko, your cosmetic dentist in Pittsburgh, improve the size, shape, and color of front teeth, making them look realistically attractive.
Veneers and you
People with healthy teeth and gums frequently qualify for porcelain veneers. When you see your cosmetic dentist in Pittsburgh, you'll discuss how you wish to improve the appearance of your smile. Dr. Machiko will examine your gums and teeth and explain how veneers work. If they're appropriate for you, you'll undergo a two-step treatment and learn how to keep your veneers shining for years to come.
Dr. Machiko offers both traditional veneers which require removal of a 1/2 millimeter slice of tooth enamel. An altermative, Lumineers, are made from patented Cerinate porcelain and are so thin they require no enamel preparation whatsoever. As such, Lumineers are a reversible cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Whether you choose traditional veneers or Lumineers, you'll love the benefits of a bright, even smile. Porcelain veneers cover problems such as:
- Hairline cracks
- Deep stains which cannot be corrected with professional teeth whitening
- Tooth rotation
- Uneven tooth length
- Worn enamel
In fact, Dentistry Today maintains that porcelain veneers even may be a great way to cover mild orthodontic problems such as crowding and gaps. Weakened tooth structure is reinforced by these porcelain beauties, too.
Caring for Veneers and Lumineers
Brush twice daily, floss once a day and see Dr. Machiko for your semi-annual cleanings and check-ups. These practices comprise basic veneer care.
In addition, consider wearing an acrylic bite guard if you grind or clench your teeth. And refrain from super-hard foods such a peanut brittle and candy apples. They chip and dislodge veneers.
Find out more
Porcelain veneers may be just part of a comprehensive smile makeover. Combined with composite resin bonding, crowns and other beautiful refurbishments, the smile which once disappointed you can shine for years to come. Call Dr. Machiko's office in Pittsburgh, PA, now for a cosmetic dentistry consultation, won't you? Phone (724) 719-2866.
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