500 Crystal Falls Pkwy, Leander, TX 78641, (512) 260-7400

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Posts for: March, 2015

By Crystal Falls Dental
March 16, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   gum disease  
YourGumTissueBiotypeCouldDetermineHowGumDiseaseAffectsYou

Periodontal (gum) disease can cause a number of devastating effects that could eventually lead to tooth loss. However, you may be more prone to a particular effect depending on the individual characteristics of your gums.

There are two basic types of gum tissues or “periodontal biotypes” that we inherit from our parents: thick or thin. These can often be identified by sight — thinner gum tissues present a more pronounced arch around the teeth and appear more scalloped; thicker tissues present a flatter arch appearance. While there are size variations within each biotype, one or the other tends to predominate within certain populations: those of European or African descent typically possess the thick biotype, while Asians tend to possess the thin biotype.

In relation to gum disease, those with thin gum tissues are more prone to gum recession. The diseased tissues pull up and away (recede) from a tooth, eventually exposing the tooth’s root surface. Receding gums thus cause higher sensitivity to temperature changes or pressure, and can accelerate tooth decay. It’s also unattractive as the normal pink triangles of gum tissue between teeth (papillae) may be lost, leaving only a dark spot between the teeth or making the more yellow-colored root surface visible.

While thicker gum tissues are more resilient to gum recession, they’re more prone to the development of periodontal pockets. In this case, the slight gap between teeth and gums grows longer as the infected tissues pull away from the teeth as the underlying bone tissue is lost. The resulting void becomes deeper and more prone to infection and will ultimately result in further bone loss and decreased survivability for the tooth.

Either of these conditions will require extensive treatment beyond basic plaque control. Severe gum recession, for example, may require grafting techniques to cover exposed teeth and encourage new tissue growth. Periodontal pockets, in turn, must be accessed and cleaned of infection: the deeper the pocket the more invasive the treatment, including surgery.

Regardless of what type of gum tissue you have, it’s important for you to take steps to lower your risk of gum disease. First and foremost, practice effective daily hygiene with brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque, the main cause of gum disease. You should also visit us at least twice a year (or more, if you’ve developed gum disease) for those all important cleanings and checkups.

If you would like more information on hereditary factors for gum disease, 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 “Genetics & Gum Tissue Types.”


By Crystal Falls Dental
March 11, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Sleep Apnea  

Sleep ApneaIs snoring disturbing your sleep and that of your spouse, too? Frankly, loud and frequent snoring can be more than a relationship issue. During a snoring episode, the soft tissues in the roof of the mouth and the back of the throat vibrate, creating the characteristic "ZZZZZZZ" noise. This sound can happen when someone has a cold or is sleeping with their mouth open.

However, instead of simple snoring, the real issue may be sleep apnea, a serious health problem that affects millions of middle-aged men and women, some children and many individuals over the age of 65. When a person has sleep apnea they don't only snore, they actually stop breathing.

If ignored, sleep apnea can lead to heart attack, stroke, hypertension and heart arrhythmias. Fortunately, this common health condition is something that can be evaluated and treated by primary care doctors, sleep physicians and dentists.

Signs that snoring is sleep apnea

Besides the obvious symptom of loud and frequent snoring, sleep apnea is characterized by:

  • breathing that stops during sleep
  • sleepiness during the day
  • insomnia
  • memory fogginess
  • inattentiveness and poor concentration
  • headaches
  • mood swings and depression

Kinds of sleep apnea

There are 2 kinds of sleep apnea:

  1. Central. This happens when the brain does not communicate with the muscles in the chest that tell a person to breathe.
  2. Obstructive. This occurs when the soft tissues of the throat are floppy and obstruct airflow.
  3. Mixed. Some individuals have a combination of the other 2 kinds of sleep apnea.


What to do if snoring is really sleep apnea

A physician can determine how medically dangerous a person's snoring is, and there are several courses of treatment. Some involve surgical reconstruction of the structures at the back of the throat. Another intervention is CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure. Individuals who use CPAP wear a mask at night which delivers a continuous stream of oxygen. This air flow helps keep the airway open and the person breathing normally.

For mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, some health care providers recommend a nighttime mouth guard. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) states that these guards resemble those worn by athletes. They prevent the soft tissues of the mouth from blocking the throat by changing the position of the tongue or by moving the lower jaw forward. Professionals agree that mouth guards can alleviate sleep apnea. The best devices are fitted by a dentist who has experience treating sleep disorders.

Optimum health

At Crystal Falls Dental in Leander, Texas, Doctors Loftus and Anderson want you to have a healthy, attractive smile. They provide a range of restorative and cosmetic dental services for the entire family. Also, they want your overall health to be its best, too. If you are concerned about snoring, call Doctors Loftus and Anderson to set-up a consultation. They would be happy to answer your questions and get you the right treatment. Call them at (989) 799-6250.


TheScareThatMadeIronChefCatCoraBelieveinMouthguards

Cat Cora, philanthropist, author, chef, restaurateur and the first female chef on the Food Network's hit series Iron Chef America is a dynamo driven by a desire to change people's lives for the better. And she is no different when it comes to tackling her most challenging role: caring for the needs of her four active young sons. This includes monitoring the food they eat, their oral hygiene habits and protecting their teeth from injuries.

During an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, Cat describes a backyard accident in which one of her boys, Zoran, was accidentally knocked in the mouth by another child while jumping on the family's trampoline. While her son was not seriously injured, it did cause her to take proactive steps to avoid future injuries. She had her dentist make a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect his newly erupted adult teeth. He now wears the mouthguard while on the trampoline and when playing soccer.

If you and/or your children routinely participate in contact sports — boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, water polo, rugby and basketball, for example — or other forms of vigorous physical activity, you too should consider getting a professionally made mouthguard. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent injuries to the jaws, lips and teeth. And unlike those cumbersome “boil and bite” mouthguards you can purchase at a drugstore, the ones we make will stay in place, making it easier for you to breathe and talk.

If you are still not convinced, consider these facts: According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. And the US Centers for Disease Control reports that sports-related dental injuries account for more than 600,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Furthermore, people who do not have a knocked out tooth properly reserved or replanted may face a lifetime cost of $10,000 to $20,000 per tooth, according to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety.

To learn more about mouthguards, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouthguards.” Or if you are interested in obtaining a mouthguard for yourself and/or your child, contact us today to schedule an appointment. And to read the entire interview with Cat Cora, please see the article “Cat Cora.”