Monthly Archives: October 2020

Do I have sleep apnea

What You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea & Oral Surgery

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a dangerous condition, and while oral surgery isn’t the initial treatment approach, it can be a highly effective solution.

What is sleep apnea? How do you know if you have the disorder? For answers to those questions and information on when surgical intervention may be necessary, take a look at the following informational guide.

Do I have sleep apnea

Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition characterized by repeated pauses in breathing while sleeping. Most people who have OSA snore — and chronic, loud snoring is the most common symptom of the disorder.

That said, not everyone who suffers from OSA is a snorer. Other warning signs that may be red flags for the condition include:

  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Making frequent bathroom trips at night
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Having headaches in the morning
  • Being excessively sleepy during the day
  • Feeling irritable, short-tempered or moody
  • Experiencing memory loss or a lack of sexual desire

The warning signs listed above don’t always point toward a diagnosis of OSA, but they do indicate the need for a professional evaluation from an experienced oral surgeon.

Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

If you suspect you might have obstructive sleep apnea but ignore the issue, you’re putting yourself at risk for dangerous health problems in the future.

Left untreated, OSA can lead to a host of serious consequences, including:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke

Furthermore, your daytime sleepiness could increase the chance of workplace accidents — and you might even fall asleep behind the wheel. An experienced oral surgeon can provide the treatment you need, but in many cases, patients with OSA never need oral surgery.

Is Oral Surgery the Right Solution?

While oral surgery to enlarge the airway can be quite effective, that isn’t the first line of treatment for OSA. Other strategies can work to resolve the dangers of the sleep disorder, and oral surgeons recommend taking a conservative approach to treatment.

If you’re diagnosed with OSA, your oral surgeon may advise you to:

  • Make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, not having a nightcap before bedtime and sleeping on your side rather than on your back or stomach.
  • Use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine every night to prevent pauses in breathing when you’re asleep.
  • Wear an oral or dental appliance to reposition your lower jaw and tongue so that the airway remains open.

These conservative measures are often effective — but not always. For some OSA patients, oral surgery for sleep apnea is the best approach. And unlike other treatments for the sleep disorder, oral surgery offers a permanent solution because procedures address the underlying cause of the condition.

Do you think you might have OSA? If you live in the greater east central Indiana area, contact Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Our oral surgeons have expertise in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea, and we can formulate an effective treatment plan and discuss the ins and outs of oral surgery as a solution.

Are dental implants easy to take care of?

Dental Implant Care — Practical Tips for Implanted Teeth

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the success rate for dental implant surgery is over 95%. And when implanted teeth are placed by an experienced oral surgeon, the probability of success climbs to 98%.

Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime — but for that to happen, they need proper care. This shouldn’t be a concern, though, as implanted teeth are actually simple to maintain. To ensure the long-term success of your newly restored smile, follow these tips from the professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Are dental implants easy to take care of?

Brush Your Teeth

Are you in the habit of brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, two times a day? Keep doing that after getting dental implants. If your regular toothbrush isn’t reaching the spaces between your natural teeth and the implants, swap it out for an interdental brush — the smaller bristles can make cleaning these areas easier.

Take Time to Floss

Hopefully, you’re already flossing at least once per day — but if you aren’t, start. If you skip this step, the gums surrounding your implanted teeth stand a stronger chance of developing periodontal disease. Using waxed or unwaxed dental floss, hand-held flossers or a water flosser daily helps prevent this outcome.

Use Mouthwash

Do you use a mouth rinse? After dental implant surgery, adopting this oral hygiene habit can be beneficial. Therapeutic mouthwashes contain ingredients that help keep the teeth and gums healthy — and a mouth rinse can easily reach areas untouched by your toothbrush and flosser. Ask your oral surgeon to recommend a nonabrasive, antimicrobial mouthwash that’s safe for implanted teeth.

Protect Your Smile

If you grind or clench your teeth when you’re sleeping, consider wearing a protective dental appliance at night. Oral surgeons often advise dental implant patients with bruxism to wear custom-made bite guards or splints during sleep to diminish the effects of tooth grinding and lessen the chance of it leading to implant failure.

Schedule Regular Checkups

Being diligent about your at-home oral hygiene routine is a smart way to preserve the health, beauty and integrity of your newly restored smile — but you still need regular checkups. Seeing your oral surgeon for a professional examination every three to six months means any issues that could arise don’t go undetected — and the earlier a problem is caught, the more easily it’s treated. Routine cleanings by a dental hygienist are just as important, because thoroughly removing plaque and tartar buildup helps prevent implant failure.

The board-certified oral surgeons at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, serving patients in the greater east central Indiana area, can explain everything you need to know to know about living with dental implants. We specialize in placing implanted teeth, and with us, you can feel confident in the success of your newly restored smile.

For more information on dental implant care, or to schedule an oral surgeon consultation, reach out to Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.