Know The Medications & Supplements That Don’t Mix Well

posted: January 09, 2019

At each visit, we ask patients to update their medical status as well as check the list of all medications – those prescribed as well as taken as supplements. Although this may seem an insignificant part of your oral care, it is vital information.

To the surprise of many, there are a number of medications that contribute to oral problems. For instance, adults taking antidepressants and high blood pressure medications were found to have elevated levels of plaque and signs of gingivitis.

A a side effect of more than 400 medications is ‘dry mouth’, a condition that contributes to higher plaque levels and the development of periodontal (gum) disease. Without a sufficient flow of saliva, oral bacteria can accumulate. Hence, the formation of plaque, which is the sticky film of bacteria that coats teeth and gums.

If you have been prescribed medications that cause oral dryness, ask your physician if an alternative is available. Also, drink plenty of plain, filtered water throughout the day to support oral moisture. (Tea, coffee, and colas don’t count! They actually contribute to oral dryness even more!) Too, oral rinses are available OTC that can also help minimize the risks associated with dry mouth.

People are often surprised to learn just how much sugar exists in cough drops, medications in syrup form and antacids contain sugars that often leave a sticky residue on teeth, making them more susceptible to decay.

Oral contraceptives and blood pressure medications have been linked to mouth sores and inflammation. Certain antibiotics and ibuprofen can cause lesions or ulcers in the mouth. Tetracycline, typically used for treating acne, can discolor teeth as well as supporting bone.

And, the list of problems go on and on. For example, calcium channel blockers used to control high blood pressure can contribute to gum tissue overgrowth. Gingival enlargement, a condition that causes the gums to swell and grow over teeth, can lead to severe periodontal infection.

As more and more people turn to herbal supplements as a ‘safe’ alternative to synthetic medications, be aware that what is not known CAN hurt you. And, much is NOT known about many of the companies packaging these supplements or what they’re putting into the mix.

Too, it is important to know that some dental patients can have serious side effects these supplements. For example, Ginkgo Biloba and Vitamin E can act as blood thinners. When combined with aspirin, the combination may cause difficulties in blood clotting. For patients undergoing surgical procedures, this can be a serious problem.

Taking high dosages of vitamins before undergoing anesthesia can also put you at risk. For instance, high doses of Vitamin C can weaken the efficiency of anesthesia. On the flip side, supplements such as Kava and St. John’s Wort can accentuate anesthesia’s effectiveness. (Kava has actually been banned in the U.S. but still attainable through some online vendors.)

Especially concerning are the herbal supplements with a high risk of interfering with medications. In addition to Kava, Gingko, and St. John’s Wort, these include Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Hawthorn, Evening Primrose Oil, and Yohimbe. Be sure, also, that your prescribing physician is aware you are taking these supplements.

It is also risky to ‘bargain hunt’ online for herbal supplements, lured by low cost with unknown manufacturers. Some unregulated distributors in foreign countries could be shipping you unsafe ingredients, including lead and mercury. It is best to shop U.S. based companies with familiar brand names.

As your Summerville dentist, it is important that we are aware of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. This way, we can help you avoid issues that can be risky or leave you vulnerable to undesirable reactions or future problems. Keep us informed of any new medications you are taking as well as those that have been eliminated from those listed in your file.

While not all side effects create high risk, we want to ensure each dental visit provides you with an individualized approach to your care. Working together, we can achieve this! Bring current medication information (including dosage) to every appointment.

Need an appointment to update your smile? Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.

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Not Getting Enough Sleep? We May Be Able To Help. No CPAP Needed!

posted: October 31, 2018

If you’re a parent, you probably remember nights of too little sleep, resulting in daytime hours where you felt tired, sluggish, and foggy. Stressful situations at work, relationship problems, and too much caffeine close to bedtime can all result in a night of tossing and turning. With insufficient sleep during the night, we all know we’ll pay the price the next day.

Yet, the problem of sleep loss can go much further, as research has found.

Occasional incidences of missing a full night’s sleep are a normal part of life. However, when sleep quality is compromised on a regular basis, its impact reaches far beyond being groggy the following day.

While it was once believed that the brain is at rest during sleep, scientists now know this is far from the case. It has been found that, during the state of sleep, the brain goes through a ‘spring cleaning’ process to remove build-up that interferes with the proper function of how it operates.

As your body’s central control center, the brain is designed to regulate every aspect of the body. During REM sleep, which is the level of restorative sleep the body needs every night, the brain is resetting its systems and cleaning out clutter that interferes with efficient operation.

It’s similar to a coffee shop that closes at night so it can clean the prep areas, rest rooms, dining section, restock the shelves, wash the serving pieces, and be ready for business the following morning. Imagine walking into a coffee shop that failed to take the time for these tasks. It wouldn’t be a very efficient or healthy environment, would it?

When lack of sleep reduces the brain’s ability to ‘clean its house’ on a regular basis, the repercussions don’t take long to emerge. The next time you have a night of inadequate sleep, take note of your hunger levels the following day. You will likely experience an urge to eat more, especially craving carbohydrates as the brain seeks ways to resupply quick energy to a sluggish system.

Feeling tired and sleepy the next day may not seem like a hazard, but imagine someone who is less alert at work or behind the wheel. It has been said that drivers with sleep disorders are more deadly than drunk drivers. Plus, you not only put yourself (and passengers) at risk, others on the road are at risk by merely being in your proximity.

While sleep apnea is a common cause of sleep loss, heavy snoring (often a precursor to sleep apnea) can also cause disrupted sleep to both the snorer and his or her mate. Heavy snoring requires greater energy during sleep and causes the airway passages to work harder under strain.

If you sleep with a heavy snorer, your own sleep is likely compromised. Being awakened over and over at night means your sleep is disrupted. The results can be similar to those who have sleep disorders – daytime fatigue, feeling groggy and less alert during the day, being hungry more often, craving carbs, being less energetic, and nodding off easily.

Imagine your life after having awakened from a restful night’s sleep. You feel ready for the day, have more energy, are more motivated, feel more alert. For those who have sleep apnea or snore heavily, the solution can often be as simple as a small, FDA-approved custom-designed mouth piece worn during sleep.

Oral appliances are small, comfortable and highly effective for those who have mild to moderate sleep apnea or snore. By moving the lower jaw forward just slightly, the airway passages are more open and normal breathing is typically restored.

These oral appliances are affordable with easy payment plans available. The most important thing is that you resolve your sleep quality for your own health (as well as the well-being of your sleep mate).

Life should be lived to its fullest each day! Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to arrange a free consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the process, anticipated costs, and answer your questions thoroughly. We are also Medicare Certified.

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How We Enhance Comfort For Every Dental Visit.

posted: August 22, 2018

The health and appearance of your smile depends on a daily commitment of thorough at-home care. It also depends on regular involvement with your general dentist.

These visits are designed to remove plaque and tartar buildup that has accumulated between visits and catch problems at early stages. The appointments are spaced at 6-month intervals to keep you in a better position to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

Not many people look forward to a dental cleaning or exam, although we actually have some who tell us they DO look forward to their oral hygiene visits. They enjoy seeing long-time staff members whom they’ve grown close to. Primarily, though, they like the clean feeling and bright smile they get from these twice-a-year visits.outside and inside office photo

I understand people who don’t look forward to dental check ups, however. I feel the same way about my ophthalmologist. I know I need an annual eye exam and like the doctor and staff very much. But, the process isn’t something I deem pleasant, even though I appreciate its importance.

One of the reasons many of our patients are such long-time patients is because they trust us. They know we will never over-treat or under-treat, recommend treatment according to their specific needs, respect their preferences, and make their comfort a high priority at every visit.

Comfort is a big deal when it comes to dentistry. There are many individuals who avoid dental care altogether because they have such intense dread or fear associated with these visits. Dental fear or anxiety is said to affect over 70 percent of the American adult population.

To lessen the worries of anxiety or fear of being in pain, we have taken a number of measures. We pride ourselves on having a relationship of trust with our patients — they trust us to keep them comfortable and minimize the potential for discomfort. Yet, we know that comes with time. New patients simply don’t walk in and perceive that; they need to experience it to just know it’s part of our commitment to care.

Below are just a few of the ways my team and I optimize your comfort in our Summerville dental office:

  • Oral & I.V. Sedation – For many years, I offered oral sedation to help anxious and fearful patients relax. In pill form, this provide a very drowsy state and typically erases most (if not all) memory of the procedure afterwards. However, some people with deeper levels of dental fear need IV sedation. This sedative, also known as twilight sleep, provides a sleep state that some people prefer. I became Certified to provide IV sedation and also have specially trained staff members who use advanced safety equipment to oversee sedated patients throughout treatment.
  • Advanced Technology – Over the years, I’ve incorporated many advanced features into our office. Each is selected for its ability to provide optimal results while helping to minimize treatment time. Most also enhance patient comfort. For exadental camerample, our Cordless Drills make a gentle whirring sound rather than a high-pitched whine. Our CEREC 3D technology creates crowns and bridges in a single appointment, reducing numbing requirements by half. Our dental laser reduces bleeding, speeds healing time, and provides a more comfortable process for procedures involving gum tissues.
  • Modern Treatment Chairs – Some people are fine until they are reclined in a dental chair. Then, once on his/her back on a narrow surface with an open mouth full of tender tissues, it makes perfect sense that some uneasiness can result for those already anxious or fearful. For procedures that require an hour or more, we know the surface under you plays a big part in whether you relax or begin to get antsy. The treatment chairs we’ve selected are ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable fit and cozy support.
  • Special Features – We have found that some people do better when they are distracted from what’s taking place in their mouths. Our patients know they can watch a video, listen to music, avoid bright lights under darkened ‘shades,’ and relax under a warm blanket. Dentistry? What dentistry?!!!
  • Pacing Treatment Appropriately – One of the secrets to giving a ‘pain-less’ injection is going slow. By administering the medication at a slow pace, our patients often say they feel “nothing.” We also provide topical numbing to the area prior to injections. Too, some high-fear patients are more relaxed going through treatment in small stages. We respect that. Once these patients realize they can trust us to protect their comfort at every visit, moving forward at a faster pace can be arranged.
  • Good Communication – Sometimes, it’s the NOT knowing part that provokes the most fear. We have found that keeping patients informed of what is being done throughout the procedure helps. For others, they prefer the distraction of a movie or music. Our goal is to nurture the unique needs of each patient so they are more relaxed throughout their care.
  • Complete Care – Patients like that they can have all their dental needs tended to in one, convenient, comfortable location. Whether you need regular cleanings, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, treatment for gum disease, a stop-snoring sleep appliance, or crown & bridge, we make all services available for all ages.

For adults who have fear, anxiety, or even dental phobia, we have been able to help the majority to achieve a healthy, appealing smile while being relaxed and comfortable. Here, we know you can learn to dread less and smile more!

Consider starting with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we will discuss your concerns, make recommendations for your specific needs and goals, and give you a firsthand look at the exceptional Summerville SC environment we offer for your very best smile.

While you’re here, we can also have our Administrative Manager discuss easy payment plans and review insurance coverages, if desired.

To schedule, call 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.

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Struggling To Lose Weight? Your Sleep Quality May Be Making It Harder.

posted: July 23, 2018

Summer in the South means fun in the sun! With summer comes lighter clothing that, unfortunately for most people in the U.S. these days, is more revealing. That’s because over one-third of Americans are fat. Well, more than fat; they’re obese.

The latest estimates show that 40 percent of the population is obese, according to a March 2018 article in the NY Times. Over 7 percent are classified as severely obese. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html)

Diet is certainly a factor. Americans are known to be over-consumers of sugar. And, while the American Heart Association recommends daily intake of sugar to no more than about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men, the average U.S. adult consumes over 19 teaspoons daily on average.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#4_need_to_reduce_added_sugars

Fortunately, Americans are becoming more aware of “you are what you eat.” Consumption of sugar has gotten more press these days, emerging as a key contributor to the weight problem of Americans.

Yet, losing weight is a tedious process. While diet and exercise are part of the normal requirements for weight loss, sleep quality has been found to be an influencing factor by crisscrossing brain signals.

Apparently, having the willpower to bypass the dessert cart may be more challenging if you have a sleep disorder. Studies now show that Sleep Apnea can contribute to improper alterations in hormones that regulate satiety and hunger. This means that the brain is actually working against our efforts to lose weight when we are sleep deprived.

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the body of sufficient oxygen during sleep. People who have Sleep Apnea can have pauses in oxygen intake, not breathing for up to a minute. These pauses can occur hundreds of times over the course of a night, which robs the heart and brain of sufficient oxygen. Not only does this present a tremendous health risk, it tips the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls out of whack.

In addition to lacking the energy and drive to exercise, Sleep Apnea sufferers also endure a reaction in the brain that revs up carb cravings for a quick fix of energy. It’s difficult to opt for a handful of raw almonds when your brain is pushing you to down a few Oreos.

Consuming sweets and carbohydrates gives us a temporary energy surge. Because the brain knows this will perk you up, carb cravings are triggered by the brain. The combined “need” to consume carbs and lack of energy results in guess what? Right – weight gain! For those who are trying to lose weight under these conditions, they are fighting an uphill battle.

Research has found that the brain is actually very active during sleep. In REM sleep, the brain is busy removing toxins and other elements that have accumulated during the day. During this time, the brain can restore itself to peak efficiency to properly regulate hormones and other functions in the body. Some hormones trigger hunger cravings and others signal feeling full.

The intake of sufficient oxygen levels during sleep allows the brain to reset itself to keep these hormones operating efficiently for the coming day. When you wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, your brain has no need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to pull you out of sluggishness. Nor does it need to urge you to eat more when you really don’t need it.

In addition to fatigue, sleepiness, feeling foggy and food cravings, Sleep Apnea has been linked to a number of serious health problems. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, a

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

nd impotency.

Once diagnosed, a common therapy for many Sleep Apnea sufferers is a CPAP device. This is a mask worn over the face that is attached to a fan that pushes air into airway passages. Although CPAP is an effective oxygen delivery system, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have been prescribed CPAP are consistent users. This is due to patient claims that they can’t move around comfortably in bed, the mask makes some feel claustrophobic, and some find the devices noisy, inconvenient and embarrassing.

For mild to moderate levels of Sleep Apnea, we offer an FDA approved, custom-designed oral appliance that eliminates the need for CPAP. Our Oravan mouth pieces are comfortable and will not interfere with sleep. They are also effective for heavy snoring (a common precursor of Sleep Apnea).

If you are a heavy snorer or suffer with Sleep Apnea (or sleep with one), these problems will not resolve on their own. Begin by calling 843-871-6351 for a free Consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the small, comfortable Oravan mouth pieces we will custom-design for you. You’ll quickly find that you can sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.

We are also Medicare Certified and offer easy payment plans. Our Financial Coordinator will gladly explain how we can make this an affordable solution for you.

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Sleeping Without CPAP Is Possible For Sleep Apnea Sufferers.

posted: March 28, 2018

As more and more research is conducted, it’s becoming obvious that the amount of sleep we get each night has a direct impact on our physical and mental well-being.

Want more supple skin? Research shows you need to get good sleep. (https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/advice/a42908/ways-sleep-can-mess-with-your-face/)

Want to keep your weight in check? Research shows you need to get good sleep. (https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/why-sleep-no-1-most-important-thing-better-body)

Want to lower your risk for serious health problems? Again, research shows you need to get good sleep.(https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html)

Yet, the amount of time we spend in bed each night isn’t a true measure of getting ‘good’ sleep. It is necessary to get ‘quality’ sleep that includes a sufficient amount of REM sleep.

What is REM sleep?

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep makes up about 25% of your total sleep cycle. It typically occurs about 90 minutes into your sleep cycle. Because there are 5 sleep cycles, REM sleep occurs several times each night.

For those who have sleep apnea, the brain reacts to periodic pauses in breathing with signals to wake up in order to ‘reset’ breathing at a normal pace. This leads to fragmented sleep. This fragmented sleep can occur in sleep apnea sufferers for hundreds of times each night, the amount of REM sleep is insufficient.

The brain is the body’s central control system, regulating its overall operation. Because the brain is deprived of sufficient oxygen during these pauses, it becomes less efficient in some areas or sends distorted signals in others. Hence, everything from skin to weight to energy levels are effected.

A common ‘therapy’ for sleep apnea in the past has been a C-PAP device. Although these devices can look pretty archaic, they do the job when it comes to supplying oxygen during sleep.

Most C-PAPs consist of a mask that is worn over the face that has a hose attached to a machine. This machine includes a fan that sends air through the hose at a force that pushes air into breathing passage ways.

While effective at delivering sufficient oxygen to sleep apnea patients, typical complaints are:

“The machine is noisy.”
“I’m unable to move around comfortably in bed.”
“It’s bulky to travel with and they inspect it at airport security like it’s a dangerous threat.”
“I frequently wake up and realize I’ve taken it off sometime during the night.”
“It’s embarrassing.”
“It has caused me to sleep with my mouth open and I wake up with a horribly dry mouth every morning. I had to start using a chin strap in addition to the CPAP.”
“We used to go camping a lot but can’t now since I have no place to plug it in.”

For those who have severe sleep apnea, C-PAP is necessary. However, for people with mild to moderate levels of sleep apnea, an alternative may be an oral appliance. In our office, a number of patients have found these effectively and comfortably resolve their sleep problems.

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

We use Oravan devices that are FDA approved and custom-designed to fit the unique contours of each mouth. These hold the airway open by bringing the lower jaw slightly forward and position the tongue to keep it from falling backwards during sleep, causing airway obstruction.

We are also Medicaid certified.

If you suspect you suffer with sleep apnea or are frustrated with your CPAP device, call us at 843-871-6351 to request a no charge, no obligation consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the best way to help restore your quality of sleep so every night provides a good night’s sleep!

 

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Tend To Dental Needs Before End Of Year

posted: October 18, 2017

I was walking through a warehouse store the other day and noticed aisle after aisle of Christmas decor, gift baskets and holiday wrapping supplies. While Christmas and the end of 2017 seem far off (after all, it’s not even Halloween yet!), it’s actually only 67 days away.

Every year, it seems that Christmas comes earlier than it did the year before. Many of us tend to postpone certain things until the last months of the year such as annual physicals or carpet cleaning. Yet, one thing to be certain is on your end-of-year check list is “Tend to dental needs.”

Want to replace a crown-&-bridge with dental implants? Behind on dental cleanings? Would you like to improve your smile’s appearance? Has sleep apnea become a problem?

Scheduling delayed cleanings, dental treatment or consultations NOW can benefit you in two ways. First, early scheduling allows you to select appointment times that are most convenient for you. Because the final months of the year find many people remembering the needs of their smiles, the appointment days and times that you prefer may be booked when scrambling to schedule at the last minute.

Another advantage of early scheduling is in financing. For those who have unused dental insurance benefits and/or Health Savings Account (HSA) funds, early scheduling can help us arrange your treatment so you can maximize your benefits.

For example, some treatments require several appointments to complete. For those who have dental insurance, we can schedule initial appointments at the end of 2017 (taking advantage of this year’s coverage) and arrange appointments for completion to occur after the first of 2018 (providing you with the coverages of an entirely new year).

Additionally, we can combine these annual benefits with payment plans that break uncovered treatment into easy monthly payments. This provides an interest-free option with no down payment required. For those without dental insurance, these easy payment plans can be set up to blend in with almost any budget.

Achieving the healthy smile you desire can be affordable and conveniently arranged. If desired, call 843-871-6351 to request a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the treatment you need or desire and determine the appointments and cost involved. Call today!

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Snoring No Laughing Matter

posted: September 23, 2017

I remember watching a “Three Stooges” episode when I was young and laughing at the different sounds that Moe, Larry and Curly Joe made while sleeping. Their snoring was comedic, but I know, as an adult, that snoring can be more than a nuisance, it can be a health risk.

For those who sleep with heavy snorers, they know that sleep quality can be greatly compromised. Some mates end up sleeping in separate rooms so at least one escapes the disruptions caused by the noise. Some snorers can be coaxed to “turn over,” which can put a halt to snoring. However, some snoring is so intense Many factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight, can lead to snoring.

When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate.

Snoring effects up to 25 percent of women and 45 percent who are categorized as habitual snorers. Snoring is also the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), effecting up to 95 percent of patients. However, snoring is a poor predictor of OSA because of the high prevalence of snoring in the general population. In addition to snoring, OSA is associated with a number of serious illnesses, including arterial hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952752/

What causes snoring?
The following can affect the airway and cause snoring:

Anatomy – Due to individual anatomy, one may be more prone to snoring. For example, a low, thick soft palate creates a more narrow airway. The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful airflow becomes. This causes tissue vibration to increase, which causes your snoring to grow louder.

Sleep Position – Sleeping on the back narrows the airway passages from gravity’s effect on the throat.

Weight – Being overweight means extra tissues in the back of the throat, which can narrow the airway.

Nasal Problems – For people who have chronic nasal congestion or a deviated septum (crooked divider between the nostrils), the uneven path of airflow can lead to snoring.

Elongated Uvula – When the piece of tissue than hangs down from the soft palate is longer than normal, it can obstruct airflow, which increases vibration sounds.

Drinking Alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol before bedtime can cause the throat muscles to over-relax.

Yet, the most intense snoring is associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the throat tissues partially or completely block the airway, which halts the breathing process during sleep. Eventually, the pause in breathing (which can last for up to a minute each time) causes the person to wake up, which often begins with a loud snort or gasping sound.

Louder snoring associated with more severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was actually evaluated through one study of over 1640 habitual snorers who were referred for evaluation of sleep apnea. In the study (published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine), the average age was 48 with the average BMI of 31 with 65 percent of study participants being male.

With the intensity of snoring, also assessed were body mass index (BMI), neck size, sleep stage, and body position. It should also be noted that the male participants were older, heavier, and had larger neck circumferences than the females.

Using AHI grading (apnea-hypopnea index), the severity of OSA was measured as none for less than 5, 5 to 15 for mild, 15 to 30 for moderate, and severe being 30 to 50 with very severe registering over 50. The results showed that snoring intensity increases progressively across all categories of AHI frequency with the intensity of snoring increasing as OSA becomes more severe. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/complications/con-20020286)

While snoring is no laughing matter, sleep apnea can be deadly. Sleep apnea has been associated with heart attacks, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, liver problems and complications following surgery.

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

For people who are heavy snorers or suffer with mild to moderate sleep apnea, there may be a simple, effective solution.

We are certified to create custom-fitted oral appliances that open up air flow by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. These appliances are FDA approved, small and do not interfere with sleep.

These are ideal for people who have tried CPAP devices and find them too cumbersome, noisy or confining. We use the Oravan system, which has an ideal track record for comfort and ease of use. For those who have tried our Oravan system, many agree with this user:

“I am sleeping soundly and have no problems using the mouth piece. This has helped me get rid of that bulky CPAP and my wife is thrilled!”

If you’d like to discuss the Oravan system for yourself or someone you know, call 843-871-6351. Consider beginning with a no-cost consultation. I will be happy to answer your questions and discuss costs. We can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, if desired.

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Want To Avoid A Cavity? It’s Easy!

posted: May 30, 2017

Periodically, I have my car’s tires rotated and oil changed. I change the air filters in our HVAC vents every month. I fertilize our yard each year and apply a weed control. And, like most pet owners, I apply a monthly flea-&-tick preventative. You probably do the same.

Obviously, we do these tasks because we want to avoid future problems from occurring in the first place. By NOT tending to them, I know I could be looking at a lot of expenses and time, not to mention the desire to kick myself!

When a patient has a cavity, it’s typically because their oral hygiene routine at home was insufficient. Of course, some people are simply more susceptible to decay. These people have higher levels of a certain type of bacteria in their mouths which leaves them more prone to cavities and gum disease.

However, even those more susceptible to decay can still prevent its onset with simple measures and regular dental check-ups. Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes each time using a fluoridated toothpaste and soft bristle brush) and daily flossing are necessary. But, a few extra steps can make a world of difference.

Since the majority of the problems pertaining to the mouth originate with bacteria, decreasing their numbers is beneficial to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing, there are other ways to keep oral bacteria to manageable levels.

You may be shocked at the amount of bacteria that are embedded in the grooves of your tongue. There are BILLIONS of bacteria in the tongue, with the greatest concentration in the back of the tongue. Uprooting these little creatures can be done by brushing the tongue after brushing your teeth. Or, you can use a tongue scraper, sold in many drug stores. Scrape from the back to the front several times, rinsing after each pass.

Swishing or gargling with mouthwash can also help. Just be sure to read the label of your mouthwash to ensure it is alcohol-free. Alcohol is very drying to oral tissues, which leaves the mouth more vulnerable to bacteria reproduction.

Speaking of a dry mouth, it can also be the result of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, smoking, a number of medications, and mouth-breathing (including snoring). Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day (colas and tea don’t count!). If you feel your mouth is frequently dry, you can replenish oral moisture with a special rinse made for this purpose. Several good options are available over-the-counter.

Sugar is the ideal food for oral bacteria, so try to limit sweets. This also applies to carbohydrates, which convert into simple sugar in the mouth. If you indulge, just be sure to swish afterwards.

And, try to limit snacking. Every time you eat or drink, the mouth endures an acid onslaught for 20-30 minutes. This acid, which helps aid digestion, is powerful enough to soften tooth enamel. This is why we caution patients to delay brushing for a half an hour after eating.

Find flossing awkward? Then, don’t! Instead, purchase a water flosser. These are great for people who find flossing difficult, such as those with large fingers or limited manual dexterity. Water flossers are just as effective as string floss when used correctly.

Finally, don’t delay your six-month dental cleanings and exams even if nothing hurts! Just because you don’t FEEL any problems doesn’t mean that oral bacteria is not hard at work damaging teeth and gum tissues. Remember, most diseases begin silently. This is just as true for periodontal (gum) disease or the formation of a cavity.

By keeping oral bacteria to a minimum, you can prevent a cavity. When you prevent a cavity, you save time and money. Plus, your breath will be fresher and your dental cleanings will be more comfortable. When gums are healthy, dental cleanings are easier with less probing and scraping needed.

We want you to have a healthy mouth and a confident smile. If you’ve delayed dental check-ups, call (843) 871-6351 to arrange an appointment. You’ll be welcomed here with respect and warmth.

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Poor Sleep Quality Can Interfere With Sex Life

posted: April 12, 2017

Life happens. With busy schedules, pressures from the workplace, and unanticipated complications of everyday living, not feeling ‘up for’ sex some nights is common. However, for more than 12 million Americans who suffer with sleep apnea, disrupted sleep creates a much more complicated issue when it comes to a healthy sex life.

Feeling fatigued, sleepy and foggy during the day are common symptoms of sleep apnea. This comes from the body receiving insufficient oxygen during sleep, due to frequent pauses in breathing. When sleep disorders cause frequent loss of sleep, it can lead to weight gain and depression. However, as the amount of true REM sleep declines, so does the sex hormone that REM sleep is structured to boost.

A study of over 400 men revealed that nearly 70% of those with sleep apnea had erectile dysfunction compared with 34% for men without sleep apnea. In another study, 80 women with sleep apnea were compared to 240 women without sleep apnea (both groups being less than age 65). The findings showed dramatically higher rates of sexual dysfunction than for those who did not suffer with sleep apnea.

CPAP therapy is a commonly prescribed remedy for sleep apnea. The device includes a mask worn over the face that is attached to a fan that forces air into the throat. In addition to improving oxygen levels in the brain and heart, improved oxygen flow also helps the sex drive. For patients who begin CPAP therapy, an increase in sexual relationships is commonly reported.

However, when it comes to consistent use of CPAP devices, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have CPAPs are consistent users. Many users complain about discomfort, feeling claustrophobic, unable to move around in bed, bothered by the noise or embarrassed to wear them.

The solution for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea may be an FDA approved, comfortable oral appliance worn during sleep. In our office, we use Oravan, a small, custom-designed device that adjusts the position of the lower jaw so the airway is less constricted. Through this therapy, many who have mild to moderate sleep apnea are able to forego CPAP and enjoy restored, sound sleep.

Begin by calling for a free consultation, during which time I’ll answer your questions thoroughly. Call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule.

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Daylight Savings Time Is Here Again. Is The Time Adjustment Worth It?

posted: March 09, 2017

Again, most of the nation is preparing for Daylight Savings Time’s “spring forward,” which begins in 2017 at 2:00am on March 12th. If the transition of losing an hour’s sleep each Spring seems like an extended period of jet lag, you are not alone. Losing just one hour of sleep can alter one’s energy level, alertness, motivation and hunger.

Daylight Savings Times began during World War I as an effort to conserve energy. The time changed back to normal after the war ended but was reinstated when World War II began. After the second world war, the time changed back again, sparking the terms “War Time” and “Peace Time.”

For many reasons, these time switches back and forth became a dilemma. Thus, the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966. However, individual states were allowed to opt out of daylight saving time, if desired.

Today, those passing on the time change include Arizona and Hawaii along with U.S. territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands. Residents of Utah may also drop Daylight Savings Time when it is brought to a vote in 2018. Across the globe, there is no Daylight Saving Time in South America, Africa and Australia or the majority of Asia.

The growing debate today is – Is there sufficient savings or other benefits to justify the mental and physical drag created by disrupting our sleep patterns?

Daylight Savings Time originated as an effort to make more efficient use of energy. When households set their clocks ahead in the spring, they found they could reduce awake time between sunset and bedtime. A century ago, it was felt that minimizing the awake hours after sunset would require fewer lights and a savings of energy needs per household.

Back then, light bulbs were the only thing that used electricity in most households. Today, think about the standard electricity-powered items that are ‘on’ at all hours of the day and night. For items such as televisions, computers, microwaves, refrigerators, heaters, air conditioners, hair dryers, and security systems, darkness has far less to do with usage. Light bulbs (which are also highly efficient today) are but a minute part of a home’s electrical consumption.

Some studies estimate the actual savings attributed to Daylight Savings Time is 1 or 2 percent. Is that worth it? If the transition of Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time seems to restore your internal clock to normal, you are not alone. Some studies question the need for DST for more reasons than its paltry savings.

Our internal body clock operates by circadian rhythms that coincide with the earth’s natural light-to-dark cycles and seasonal changes. When you set your clocks back each fall, your circadian rhythms instill an urge to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than the normal pattern of daylight and nightfall.

There are ways to ease into the DST transition, such as pre-adjusting your internal clock. A week before you ‘spring forward,’ get extra sunlight exposure in the morning. Before ‘falling back,’ absorb more late afternoon sun.

It’s not hard to feel the effects of getting too little sleep (or sleep of poor quality). Not enough sleep can cause daytime fatigue, feeling foggy, being more accident prone, nodding off easily and feeling less social. Even worse, sleep deprived drivers are said to be more deadly than drunk drivers.

Adequate, sound sleep is necessary to your health and supports your overall system Research has shown that REM sleep periods allow the brain to clean out toxins and regulate hormones. Without good sleep, you risk some pretty serious – and even deadly – health problems. Sleep disorders (such as Sleep Apnea) have been associated with heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, migraines and headaches, obesity, and impotency.

If sleep is alluding you, a simple FDA-approved oral appliance may be all you need to restore your sleep quality. These comfortable, custom-made mouth pieces can help to open air passages during sleep, restoring oxygen intake and restful, rejuvenating sleep. Heavy snorers also benefit greatly (as do their mates!) from these custom-made appliances.

Begin with a free consultation. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to arrange a time to discuss the best options to help you overcome sleep problems affordably and effectively.

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How Sleep Quality Effects Weight

posted: February 09, 2017

As the new year approached, I watched commercials on TV touting weight loss programs and products. Everything from gym memberships to meal plans to home fitness equipment were being promoted as effective solutions for weight loss. And, losing weight has become big business in America.

The number of obese Americans (those who are beyond fat) is at a whopping 35%, which is more than a third of the population. Yet, in spite of all these weight loss options, there is often a cycle of one-step-forward-two-steps-back for adults struggling to lose weight and keep it off.

There has been a growing awareness of the hazards of America’s excess sugar consumption. When you consider the amount of sugar in foods (even those not categorized as sweets, such as Catsup) and beverages (from colas to energy drinks to fruit juice), adults are learning to make wiser choices with what they put into their bodies.

With this awareness has been a growing trend in ‘eating natural.’ While some food and beverage manufacturers have distorted what is deemed ‘natural,’ more Americans are leaning towards organic, antibiotic free, and ‘grass fed’ in spite of their higher prices.

Yet, every January, fitness centers fill up and calorie-counting begins. By Easter, however, the drop-off rate of those who dove enthusiastically into the new year with weight loss goals is drastic. While an estimated 40% of Americans make new year’s resolutions, a mere 8% actually achieve their goals, according to 2013 research at the University of Scranton (read article published by Boston University: http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/about-those-new-years-resolutions/).

Losing weight is a long, slow process that requires commitment to a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, new studies are now revealing that losing weight may be made more challenging for those who have sleep disorders.

The battle to lose weight often becomes a battle of willpower. But does ‘willpower’ work against those who have sleep disorders? While diet and exercise are certainly factors that influence weight, studies now show that Sleep Apnea can alter the brain so it is actually working against us.

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the body of sufficient oxygen during sleep. Sleep Apnea sufferers can experience unconscious pauses in breathing for up to a minute. These pauses can occur hundreds of times per night. Not only does this depletion of oxygen to the heart and brain pose an enormous health risk, it has been found to alter the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls.

Common symptoms of Sleep Apnea are daytime fatigue, nodding off easily, feeling less alert and energetic, and being more accident prone. It has been said that Sleep Apnea sufferers behind the wheel are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

It’s difficult to talk yourself into hitting the treadmilll when your body is begging for a nap. And, it’s also difficult to reach for a carrot when your brain is craving a cookie. In addition to lacking the energy and drive to exercise, Sleep Apnea patients also endure a reaction in the brain that revs up cravings for a quick fix of energy.

After consuming sweets and carbohydrates, we experience a temporary boost of energy. The brain knows this will perk you up when sleep deprivation drags you down. When carb cravings are triggered by the brain to keep you going, weight gain is the natural result. Thus, those who are trying to lose weight under these conditions are fighting an uphill battle.

Modern research has found that the brain is actually very active during sleep. In REM sleep, the brain is busy removing toxins and other elements that have accumulated during the day. During this time, the brain can restore itself to peak efficiency to properly regulate hormones and other functions in the body. Some hormones trigger hunger cravings and others signal feeling full.

The intake of sufficient oxygen levels during sleep allows the brain to reset itself to keep these hormones operating efficiently for the coming day. When you wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, your brain has no need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to pull you out of sluggishness. Nor does it need to urge you to eat more when you really don’t need it.

In addition to fatigue, sleepiness, feeling foggy and food cravings, Sleep Apnea has been linked to a number of serious health problems. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, and impotency.

Once diagnosed, a common therapy for many Sleep Apnea sufferers is sleeping with a CPAP device. This is a mask worn over the face during sleep. It is attached to a fan that pushes air into airway passages. Although CPAP is an effective oxygen delivery system, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have been prescribed CPAP are consistent users. Many claim they are unable to get comfortable in bed with the mask, find the devices noisy, feel claustrophobic, find them inconvenient and feel embarrassed by having to wear them.

For mild to moderate Sleep Apnea sufferers, there is an alternative. We offer a small, custom-designed oral appliance that eliminates the need for CPAP. Our Oravan mouth pieces are FDA-approved and comfortable so they don’t interfere with sleep. They are also effective for heavy snorers (a common precursor of Sleep Apnea).

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

If you are a heavy snorer or suspect you suffer with Sleep Apnea, these problems will not go away on their own. It is vital to your health to restore your sleep quality and ensure you are taking in sufficient oxygen.

Begin with a no-cost Consultation to discuss these comfortable appliances. If desired, we can put you in touch with patients who use our Oravan mouth pieces and now sleep restfully and wake up feeling refreshed. Call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule or to learn more.

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Are Sex Life & Sleep Quality Related?

posted: November 14, 2016

All adults have periodic lulls in their libidos interspersed with spurts of “revved-up” mode. It’s natural that we are not “ready to go” all the time. However, new studies are showing just how much sleep disorders can zap the mood.

For example, a study published by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), found that young men who slept less than 5 hours per night for a week had 15% less testosterone than normal, or the loss of testosterone that results from aging 10 – 15 years. Naturally, the lower the testosterone level, the lower the libido.

Another study of college-aged females conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School showed that, for every extra hour of sleep, their liklihood of being in sexually active increased by 14%. Additionally, a 2009 study tested over 400 men who suspected they had sleep apnea. Of those who were actually diagnosed with the disorder, 70% also had erectile disfunction (ED).

Sleep Apnea is a a sleep disorder that causes breathing pauses during sleep. These pauses can last for up to a minute and occur hundreds of times per night. Typical symptoms of Sleep Apnea include: daytime fatigue, feeling less alert and more sluggish, nodding off easily during the day and being less motivated to be physically or socially active.

Health repercussions are worse. The oxygen deprivation in the blood (compromising heart and brain efficiency) contribute to weight gain and obesity, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, migraines and impotency. Drivers who suffer with Sleep Apnea have been said to be more deadly behind the wheel than drunk drivers.

It has been noted that patients who undergo surgery to correct abnormalities that contribute to apnea see improvements in intimacy. Those who start CPAP therapy also report an increase in sexual activity. These devices consists of a mask worn over the face during sleep that forces air into airway passages. However, it is estimated that only 22% of those prescribed with CPAP are consistent users. Why is this?

CPAP isn’t for everyone. Many users claim it makes them feel claustrophobic, unable to move around in bed, bothered by the noise and inconvenient (especially for those who travel). Fortunately, for adults with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea, the solution may be a simple, FDA-approved oral appliance worn during sleep.

Oravan Sleep Appliances - Small, Comfortable & Affordable

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

In our office, we use the Oravan system for those who can’t or don’t wish to wear CPAP. This is a custom-designed mouth piece created to fit the unique contours of each mouth. They are small and comfortable and won’t interfere with your ability to sleep. While effective for many levels of Sleep Apnea, they can also be used to treat heavy snoring, a common precursor of Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea is nothing to ignore, but it can be easily managed without surgery or wearing a bulky contraption over your face throughout the night. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to learn more about overcoming Sleep Apnea or ask to schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions so you can determine if this is right for you.

If you have Medicare, we are also Certified providers. If not, we have several easy payment plans that allow you to make affordable, monthly payments without interest and no down payment. Just ask to speak with our Financial Coordinator while you’re in our office or over the phone.

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Bacteria In The Gut Influenced By Quality Of Sleep

posted: September 13, 2016

Modern scientific research is amazing. I frequently read new findings on how the body works, how the brain functions and how unknown factors are emerging as playing a prominent role in our lives.

One of the reasons I decided to add oral sleep devices to my practice was based on findings surrounding the importance of restful sleep. The more I read into the severe (and even deadly) health repercussions of sleep disorders, the more I was determined to help heavy snorers and sleep apnea sufferers.

Over the past decade, there have been a number of studies that have shown a correlation between sleep and obesity. However, a recent study revealed that your sleep quality affects the mix of gut bacteria that impacts whether you are lean or obese.

Our bodies follow a particular circadian rhythm, which has peaks and lulls that determine certain functions, such as when to sleep. It has been found that your intestinal bacteria have a circadian rhythm, too. These help in the production of serotonin and neuro-transmitters that influence sleep.

During sleep, the ‘good bacteria’ sweep away the build up of ‘bad bacteria.’ However, insufficient sleep can hamper the ability of the good bacteria to purge the bad kind. Researchers have noted that an imbalance of the two can contribute to anxiety, depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), ADD, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

It has been known for some time that insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity. This has to do with two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which help to regulate feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates the appetite while leptin sends the brain a message when you are full.

Lack of sleep suppresses the production of leptin, leaving you feeling less satisfied after eating. Too little sleep makes this worse by increasing ghrelin levels, which stimulates your appetite so you are hungry more often. When these two hormonal imbalances collide, the result is weight gain.

Now that scientists have found the additional complication of imbalanced intestinal bacteria, sleep is taking on a new prominence in our healthy living commitment. While the recommended amount of sleep is 7 hours each night, though, nearly 35% of American adults aren’t getting this.

Heavy snoring and sleep apnea are common sleep disorders that decrease sleep quality and open the door for a long list of health problems. Sleep apnea, in particular, has been associated with heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, migraines, depression and impotency in addition to weight gain and obesity.

Symptoms of sleep apnea are typically daytime fatigue, being more accident prone, nodding off easily during the day, poor attention span and alertness, and feeling cranky or unmotivated. It has been said that sleep apnea sufferers behind the wheel are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

While CPAP therapy is a common remedy for sleep apnea, many who have the devices are not consistent users, citing feeling confined, claustrophobic, embarrassed or being uncomfortable with the noise. For those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, we make custom-fitted oral devices that are small and comfortable so they do not interfere with sleep.

oravanIn our office, we use the Oravan system. And, for those who have Medicare benefits, we are certified providers. Begin with a free consultation to have your questions answered thoroughly. We can discuss costs, payment options and even put you in touch with patients who have opted for oral appliance therapy — and are now sleeping restfully every night!

Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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Don’t Feel Rested After Sleeping All Night?

posted: August 03, 2016

We’ve all occasionally heard the phrase, “I need my eight hours!” And, for good reason. Adequate sleep is necessary to feel rested and energetic the next day. It also provides the brain with time to do some necessary housekeeping.

During sleep, the brain is NOT dormant. It goes through a process to eliminate toxins and regulate functions that keep our bodies in check throughout the day. Without sufficient REM sleep (which is our deep sleeping time), we drag through the day and our brains function with reduced capacity.

Lack of sleep makes us more accident prone, forgetful, sluggish and less motivated. As a matter of fact, drivers who suffer with Sleep Apnea (which causes pauses in breathing during sleep) have been said to be more dangerous behind the wheel than drunk drivers.

Sleep Apnea affects more individuals than many suspect. This sleep disorder has been diagnosed in an estimated 9% of females and 24% of males. It is also estimated that as many as 80% of Sleep Apnea sufferers go undiagnosed.

When the brain is not only deprived of sufficient sleep time, but necessary oxygen as well, there is a long list of repercussions that can follow. These include heart attack, stroke, obesity, migraines, impotency and more. Alzheimers Disease has also been associated with Sleep Apnea in some studies.

However, common symptoms typically arise in obvious ways. Daytime fatigue, feeling foggy or unenergetic, being more accident prone and nodding off easily while sitting are all warning signs of insufficient sleep. Sleep Apnea may very well be the true source of these problems. Heavy snoring is often a precursor of Sleep Apnea.

We have helped many patients overcome the problems associated with Sleep Apnea and heavy snoring. Using the Oravan system, we custom-design a small oral appliance that is worn during sleep. It moves the jaw forward slightly to open the airway, allowing for easier oxygen intake during sleep. And, because the appliances are made to fit the unique contours of your mouth, they are comfortable and will not interfere with sleep.

oravanOravan oral appliances are FDA approved and effective for most people with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. They are also beneficial for people who cannot get used to a CPAP device. In CPAP therapy, a fan pushes air into the throat via a mask worn over the nose and mouth. A large percentage of CPAP users feel they are noisy, cumbersome, inconvenient (especially for travel) and even embarrassing.

If you feel you may be suffering with Sleep Apnea, this will not improve on its own. Worse, it will continue to deprive your body of much-needed oxygen, resulting in many debilitating problems and health risks. On Medicare? We are also certified to assist those who are covered.

Regain your active life again and reduce your risk for serious, and even deadly, health problems. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 for a free consultation. I’ll explain the process and answer your questions so you can determine if this is right for you.

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Losing Teeth Can Lead To Feeling Of ‘Loss.’

posted: July 07, 2016

Are feelings of depression overwhelming you? Is your self-esteem an issue? Having problems advancing in life or your career? Feel nervous or self-conscious in social settings?

According to a presentation at an Annual Meeting of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), you may want to start by checking your smile.

Tooth loss may very well be the culprit, and apparently you are not alone. Nearly 20 million teeth are extracted each year, leaving scores of people to deal with the psychological affects of an “incomplete” smile.

As a presenter at the AGD Annual Meeting, Asuman Kiyak, PhD addressed the psychological issues affecting people who deal with tooth loss and discussed how this loss can affect one’s quality of life.

In Dr. Kiyak’s course, she covered the traumatic effects a patient endures after tooth loss, focusing on ways to help them cope with and understand their options for restoring their smile.

In fact, survey results from nearly 20,000 AGD members revealed that over 86% of dentists reported social embarrassment is one of the greatest problems their patients experience as a result of tooth loss and more than half of these patients avoid social interaction because of it.

In coping with tooth loss, Dr. Kiyak encourages patients to:
➺ Weigh the pros and cons for replacement teeth or even root canal therapy to save a tooth.
➺ Review videos or photos of others who have lost teeth and their current status with removable or implant-supported dentures.
➺ Read testimonials of others who have undergone tooth loss and replacement of teeth with removable or implant-supported dentures.

Helping our patients enjoy healthy, natural teeth for a lifetime is always our goal. However, for patients who must replace teeth, the look, feel, and function is no less important to their well-being. This is why so many adults are selecting dental implants.

Dental implants are an ideal replacement for missing teeth. It’s like getting your natural teeth back. With a natural function, they are also designed to last a lifetime, making them an excellent investment.

Begin with a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions thoroughly and discuss associated fees. If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator explain our financial plans. These can break your treatment fee into easy monthly payments. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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