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TMJ Syndrome Treatment Options

The temporomandibular joint, known as TMJ for short, consists of muscles, blood vessels, bones, and nerves. TMJ syndrome is a sharp pain in the jaw joint that is caused by a variety of medical problems. If you’re experiencing headaches, ear pain, facial pain, and jaw clicking when you open your mouth, you might have TMJ syndrome. 

Continue reading to find out which treatment option is best for you. 

Here are the leading causes of TMJ syndrome:

Dental trauma: You probably subject your teeth to trauma daily without knowing it. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, and jaw clenching are the most common causes of trauma. Frequently clenching your jaw joint can change the alignment of your teeth over time. Constantly moving your facial muscles causes the membranes surrounding your joint to inflame. 

Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. As it worsens, it can destroy your cartilage, erode bone, cause joint deformity, and leave you with TMJ syndrome. Unfortunately, young children are disproportionally affected by TMJ syndrome due to rheumatoid arthritis. 

Other causes include jaw joint infection, cancer, and bone deformity at birth. 

If you have this condition, you will experience ongoing episodes of both sharp and dull pain. 

TMJ Syndrome Treatment

If your dentist has determined you have chronic TMJ syndrome, you will need to work with a team of professionals moving forward. You will consult with an orthodontist, oral surgeon, pain specialist, physiotherapist, and a primary care physician. Working with a variety of professionals can help you select the treatment option that’s best for you. 

Your dentist or orthodontist can prescribe you medication such as tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and painkillers to help alleviate muscle spasms and pain. However, keep in mind these aren’t permanent treatment options, and you should only take them in moderation. 

Another option to consider is physical therapy for your jaw joint. Your dentist will send you to a physical therapist who will help you restore your jaw mobility, increase your jaw’s muscle strength, and use techniques to reduce muscle stiffness. Manual therapy procedures can help you loosen your lockjaw, and your therapist will prescribe light exercises to control your jaw’s muscles. 

If you follow your physical therapist’s instructions, the joints surrounding your jaw will re-learn their proper motion, and the discomfort associated with TMJ syndrome will decrease or disappear. Unfortunately, physical therapy might not be enough for your condition, especially if it’s permanent. 

If other treatments fail, jaw surgery is another option to consider. Surgery is a last resort option because it’s permanent, but there’s no reason to feel intimidated. Fortunately, there are a variety of procedures to consider, ranging from non-invasive to complex ones. 

Some jaw surgeries include: 

Arthrocentesis: This is an outpatient procedure. Your surgeon will insert a small needle into your jaw joint to lubricate it; it’s the least invasive procedure available.

Modified Condylotomy: This surgery is performed on the mandible to keep the jaw from locking. 

Discectomy: Your surgeon will remove the cushioning disc from your jaw joint, and it may need to be wired shut. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you think jaw surgery is right for you, contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Our board-certified surgeons will provide you with the pain relief you’ve been looking for. Schedule your consultation today. 

Is Sleep Apnea Preventable?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Diagnoses of this disorder have increased by over 850 percent in the last five years, according to FAIR Health. Do you snore loudly and feel tired after a full night’s rest? If your answer is yes, then you may be at risk of developing sleep apnea. 

Continue reading to learn how you can prevent this disorder. 

Sleep Apnea Is a Public Health Concern

If you have sleep apnea, then you repeatedly stop breathing in your sleep for about ten seconds, which can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Some people don’t realize they have it, and they can sleep without a problem; however, they might experience excessive daytime sleepiness. 

Undiagnosed sleep apnea has been linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Moreover, daytime sleepiness can result in mistakes at work and an increased risk of car accidents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims it’s a public health epidemic. 

Unfortunately, sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose on your own. If you suspect you have it, ask a loved one to monitor your sleep before you turn to a professional. Alternately, you can record your sleep and listen to your snoring. 

Sleep Apnea Prevention

Currently, there’s no direct method to prevent sleep apnea, but there are tips you can follow to reduce its likelihood. Consider the following five strategies:

Number One: Stay Fit: Obesity is one of the leading causes of sleep apnea, so shedding a few pounds will help you combat it. If you’ve already been diagnosed with it, working out a few days a week can make the symptoms less severe. 

Number Two: Avoid Sedatives: Taking over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills will make breathing difficult, which puts you at a higher risk of sleep apnea. If you need to take muscle relaxants or antipsychotic medication, and you have this condition, tell your doctor to lower your dosage. 

Number Three: Limit Alcohol: Drinking alcohol multiple times a week can slow down your breathing, even if you’re in shape. Moreover, if you also consume caffeine and nicotine, your sleep becomes fragmented; this increases your risk for weight gain and developing heart conditions. You don’t have to cut off alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine entirely, but if you’re consuming them daily, you should reduce your usage. 

Number Four: Invest in a Breathing Device: One of the most common treatment options for sleep apnea is using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It consists of a mask connected to a small fan-like device, which you will have to wear while sleeping. A CPAP machine will blow air into your airways to keep them open. 

Number Five: Talk to Your Dentist: If you’ve used a CPAP machine, but it didn’t help, you will need to visit your dentist. They can recommend you to an oral surgeon who can provide you with an appliance to pull your jaw forward, which will create an open airway while you sleep. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you have sleep apnea, you should consult with an experienced oral surgeon who can determine if you need jaw surgery. Undergoing jaw surgery will expand your airways, which can ease your condition. Schedule your consultation with the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today. 

Life After Dental Implants

Your teeth are one of the first traits a person notices about you, and if yours are damaged, or you have missing tooth gaps, you may feel less than confident about your smile. Dental implants can help you treat these issues and restore your self-esteem.

Continue reading to learn more about how your life will change for the better with dental implants

Dental Implants Are Like Real Teeth

Dental implants are metal posts that are surgically implanted into your jaw underneath your gums. Your surgeon will attach replacement teeth onto them for a better smile. Although they’re artificial, they’re the option closest to real teeth. 

The surgeon will fuse them to your jawbone to offer more stable support, so you don’t have to worry about your replacement teeth slipping out of your mouth each time you open it. You will be able to eat, drink, and speak without a hassle. Unlike dentures, implants are customizable, so your surgeon will select replacement teeth that blend perfectly with your real teeth. 

Dental Implants Are a Long-Term Solution

Decades ago, dentures and bridges were the go-to options for teeth replacement; however, they’re now considered dated and unreliable. Both of these options can loosen due to excessive mouth movements, and it’s a painful and embarrassing experience. Dentures need to be repositioned multiple times a day, and bridges only last about five years. 

Dental implants need occasional readjustments, but they’re meant to last a lifetime. Compared to other teeth replacement options, they’re a more durable, cost-effective solution.

Dental Implants Are Comfortable

Dentures and bridges are uncomfortable for most people because they weren’t designed with durability in mind. Additionally, many people don’t qualify for either of these options due to previous issues such as mouth sores, uneven ridges, or excessive gagging. In years past, these people didn’t have any other options, and they had to learn to live with their oral conditions. 

Another negative aspect of bridges is that they require the presence of other teeth on each side to fill the space of missing teeth. In contrast, dental implants don’t require any neighboring teeth to be fused into your jawbone. All you need to worry about is maintaining proper oral hygiene and taking care of your gums for implants to be successful

Dental Implants Protect Your Oral Health

Dental implants safeguard your oral health. For example, if you have gaps in your teeth, you are susceptible to bone loss and degeneration because you don’t have the full support of your teeth; implants can offer the help you need. Not only do they improve your oral health, but they also preserve it by encouraging natural bone growth. 

Dental Implants Will Make You Smile

Imagine being able to live your life again without worrying about your teeth? Implants will provide you with a healthy, natural look without distorting your face shape. No one will be able to tell the difference between the implants and your real teeth. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Are you ready to reclaim your confidence? The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in dental implant surgery, and they’re more than happy to help you attain the smile you deserve. Schedule your consultation with us today. 

What Your Tongue Is Trying To Tell You

Have you ever inspected your tongue? Believe it or not, your tongue’s appearance says a lot about your health. For example, a black tongue can signal poor oral hygiene, and it’s also one of the first symptoms of diabetes.

Start paying attention to your tongue’s health, and don’t ignore any irregularities. Continue reading to learn more about the correlation between your tongue and physical well-being. 

Understanding Your Tongue’s Anatomy

It’s easy to downplay your tongue’s role because most people only pay attention to their teeth when it comes to oral health. However, your tongue is a muscular organ that deserves as much attention and care as the rest of your body. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to chew, swallow food, or talk. 

Covered in moist, pink tissue called mucosa, your tongue has papillae, tiny bumps that give your tongue its rough texture. Taste buds are a collection of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves running into your brain. Thousands of them cover the surfaces of your papillae. 

A tongue is anchored to the mouth by webs of tough tissue and mucosa. The tether holding down the front of the tongue is called the frenum. Tongues are attached to the hyoid bone in the back of the mouth. 

The four familiar tastes are sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Your tongue has thousands of nerves that detect and transmit taste signals to your brain. Additionally, there’s a fifth taste called umami, which you can experience by tasting glutamate.

White Patches on Your Tongue

If you notice white patches on your tongue, don’t worry just yet. Most of the time, white patches aren’t an indicator of poor oral health. However, sometimes they’re linked to an overgrowth of yeast in your mouth. 

Brush your teeth twice a day and pay extra attention to your tongue for the next two weeks; brush it for 30 seconds. If the patches are still there, you likely have an oral yeast infection. 

Fortunately, you can cure this condition at home by brushing your teeth every day and using an antifungal mouth rinse. 

Black Hairy Tongue

Black hairy tongue is a condition that can stem from an oral yeast infection, diabetes, cancer therapies, or poor oral hygiene. Usually, a tongue becomes black and hairy due to a buildup of dead skin cells on the papillae. 

You don’t need medical care for this condition; all you have to do is practice oral hygiene and brush your tongue with a tongue scraper. 

Dark Red Tongue

Your tongue usually turns red when you have a sore throat. However, if it’s strawberry red and you have a headache, you might have scarlet fever; it’s time to take a trip to your doctor’s office. A red, swollen tongue can also be a symptom of vitamin deficiency. Take your vitamins and brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If your tongue’s irregularities persist, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist might recommend you to an oral surgeon if they detect you have an underlying condition that needs advanced treatment. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are experts in all fields of oral care. Schedule your consultation today. 

   

How To Prepare For Oral Surgery

Oral surgery is usually an outpatient procedure that requires local anesthesia, which means you will be able to go home afterward. Knowing what to expect during the procedure and how to recuperate will help you achieve a speedy recovery. Don’t put off researching and asking your orthodontist questions until the day before surgery, as this will make you more anxious. Continue reading to learn how to best prepare for your big day. 

What Should I Do Before Surgery?

Finalize your transportation arrangements on the night before the procedure. You won’t be able to drive home due to the side effects of anesthesia, so ask a family member or friend for a ride to and from the hospital. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to take care of you the day after because anesthesia can impair your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. 

Additionally, you will have to fast the night before surgery. Your surgeon will let you know for how many hours, but 8 to 12 hours is standard for most oral surgeries. Take any prescribed medications in the evening and morning before your procedure. However, if you’re diabetic, you should eat breakfast; let your surgeon know. 

What Do I Wear During Surgery?

Dress practically for your surgery. Wear a short-sleeved, comfortable shirt if you’re scheduled to have an IV drip. Wear clothes you wouldn’t mind getting stained. Do the following:

  • Avoid wearing jewelry.
  • Don’t wear contact lenses because your eyes will remain shut for an extended period.
  • Don’t wear any makeup, but do bring lip balm because your lips will be chapped after surgery.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne out of courtesy to your surgeon. 

What Should I Do After Surgery?

Preparing for postoperative care is as important as preparing for the surgery itself. You will be bedridden after surgery, so set up extra pillows on your bed so you can rest in a comfortable, reclining position. Set up a list of television shows and movies you want to watch or books you want to read while you’re in bed. 

Anticipate swelling around the surgery site. For the first days after surgery, you will need to place an ice pack over the area for 15 minutes at a time, taking 15-minute breaks in between. Your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and other medications to help you heal. After the first week, start rinsing your mouth four times a day with salt water after every meal. 

Only eat foods that are room temperature right after your surgery. Don’t drink out of a straw or consume alcohol for the first 24 hours. Stick to soft foods, such as soups and yogurts rich in vitamins A and C, for the first two days. Avoid all hard and crunchy foods, such as nuts and popcorn, for six to eight weeks. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

No matter how much you prepare for surgery, it can still be intimidating. It’s essential to turn to an experienced surgeon who will make the process go as smoothly as possible. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in a variety of procedures, ranging from TMJ surgery to jaw surgery. Schedule your consultation today.

Everything You Should Know About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that won’t go away, and approximately fifty-three thousand Americans are diagnosed with it every year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Mouth cancer refers to cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, such as the lips, gums, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, and the roof or floor of the mouth. This condition can be life-threatening if it’s not diagnosed early. Continue reading to learn more about oral cancer

Understanding Oral Cancer

One person dies from oral cancer each hour, resulting in over nine thousand oral cancer-related deaths each year. Of the fifty-three thousand Americans diagnosed with it, only an estimated fifty-seven percent of them will be alive in the next five years. If you expand the definition of oral cancer to include larynx cancer, the numbers of diagnosed cases increase to fifty-four thousand individuals, and over thirteen-thousand deaths per year in the U.S. alone. 

Some countries don’t track cases of oral cancer, so the above figures are bound to increase when you consider unreported cases. The mortality rate of people who live with it is higher than that of cancers that are more talked about, such as cervical or breast cancer. Historically, the death rate of this cancer is alarmingly high because it’s usually discovered late in its development. Even with today’s technology, there’s no comprehensive program in the U.S. to screen for it during its early stages; this is why late-stage oral cancer is prevalent. 

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Here are the most common symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Swellings, lumps, rough spots, and crusts forming on the lips, gums, or other areas of the mouth 
  • Development of velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth 
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Numbness or pain in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and don’t heal within two weeks
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Feeling like something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Sharp ear pain
  • Change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist or orthodontist immediately. 

Risk Factors Associated with Oral Cancer

Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer compared to women, according to the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, men who are over age fifty are the demographic who are most at risk. Other risk factors include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancer is six times more common in people who drink. 
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive exposure to the sun, especially at a young age. 
  • Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smokers

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you suspect you may have oral cancer, consult with your dentist immediately. Your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for a definitive diagnosis. Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, and our board-certified surgeons will help you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule an assessment today. 

What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, known as TMJ for short, is a pain in the jaw joint that can stem from a variety of medical problems. Problems in this area can result in headaches, neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, a locked jaw, biting issues, and jaw clicking when you take a bite. Do you think you have TMJ? Continue reading to learn more about this disorder. 

TMJ Basics

The temporomandibular joint connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull (temporal bone) in front of the ear. This joint lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, which is how you’re able to talk, chew, and yawn. TMJ is also known as Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD for short. 

Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ is known for causing severe pain and discomfort, which can be temporary or last for several years. Women are more prone to experiencing TMJ than men, and it’s most common among people ages 20-40. It might only impact one side of your face, but in severe cases, this disorder can affect both sides of your face. Here are the most common symptoms of TMJ:

  • Pain and tenderness around your face, jaw joint area, neck, shoulders, and inside your ear when you chew or speak.
  • Inability to open your mouth wide
  • Jaws that become locked when your mouth is open.
  • Popping, clicking, or grating noises in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth, which may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Swelling on the sides of your face.
  • A suddenly uncomfortable bite or trouble chewing, as if your upper and lower teeth no longer fit properly.

Additionally, people who have this disorder experience frequent dizziness, hearing problems, and ringing in the ears, though these symptoms are less common. 

Causes of TMJ

Unfortunately, because the study of TMJ is relatively new, dentists don’t exactly know what causes it; however, they do have suspicions. Some dentists believe the symptoms arise from jaw muscle problems. Injuries to your jaw, the jaw joint, or your head’s muscles can lead to TMJ. People who have recently been involved in a car crash are more susceptible to experiencing TMJ as a result of whiplash. 

Dentists believe other causes include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which places too much pressure on your jaw joints
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Rough movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Chronic stress, which can lead you to tighten your facial and jaw muscles or clench your teeth unknowingly

TMJ Diagnosis

Many other conditions cause similar TMJ symptoms, such as sinus problems, tooth decay, or gum disease. Your dentist will check your jaw joints for pain or tenderness and listen for clicks, pops, or grating sounds when you move them. Additionally, they will test your bite and check for problems with your facial muscles. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you were diagnosed with TMJ and your condition is becoming severe, you’ll need TMJ surgery. For help managing this condition, contact our board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Schedule your consultation with us today.

What Is Maxillofacial Surgery?

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the branch of dentistry that focuses on treating diseases in the tissues of the head, neck, jaws, face, and mouth. People who experience pain in these areas are referred to as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for treatment by a dentist. “Oral” refers to the mouth, and “maxillofacial” refers to the face and jaws. 

If you ever experience a severe dental emergency, you’ll be in good hands when you visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These dental surgeons must complete a four-year graduate degree in dentistry, as well as a four-year hospital surgical residency program; sometimes, the residency program lasts a minimum of six years. 

Are you preparing for an appointment with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, but don’t know what it entails? Continue reading to find out more about these dental specialists. 

What Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Specialize In? 

Being an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a demanding job. This type of surgeon must understand all the ins and outs of dentistry, such as general medicine and every kind of oral and facial surgery. Think of an oral surgeon as a combination of a dentist and an orthodontist. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat hard and soft tissue problems. Moreover, oral surgeons work on sensitive areas such as gums, as well as hard structures like the jawbone and parts of the neck. 

Not only do oral surgeons have to be well-versed in all areas of dentistry, but they must be able to work under intense pressure. Typically, most people only see an oral surgeon when they’re in a crisis that requires immediate attention. For instance, someone who has broken some of their teeth as a result of a car collision or a sports-related accident is likely to be referred to an oral surgeon. Although oral surgeons are equipped to treat bleeding gums and chipped teeth, a patient should consult with a dentist if their injuries are minor. 

What Procedures Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Perform? 

Here are a few of the procedures oral surgeons perform daily: 

  • Tooth extractions: Tooth extractions are the most common procedure oral surgeons perform. Patients are referred to an oral surgeon when wisdom teeth are forming in a position where they can’t erupt properly. Minor surgery is required to extract impacted wisdom teeth, even if the teeth aren’t causing any problems. Oral surgeons can perform a tooth extraction in minutes because of how commonplace this surgery is. Surgeons perform this procedure in their office using sedation dentistry techniques. 
  • Corrective jaw surgery: Also known as orthognathic surgery, it corrects a wide range of skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. A person who undergoes jaw surgery usually has their jaw reshaped and repositioned by the surgeon. Successful jaw surgery can improve breathing, speaking, and chewing issues. Oral surgeons use general anesthesia on their patients when performing jaw surgery, and they work closely with orthodontists in planning for this procedure. 
  • Cleft lip surgery: Cleft lip is the separation of one or both sides of the lip present at birth. Cleft lip surgery is reconstructive surgery for people born with this condition, and the operation is typically performed on children. If your child must undergo cleft lip surgery, they will be placed under general anesthesia. 

The thought of going through oral surgery might make you feel uncomfortable, but surgery will improve your quality of life. If you or a family member need oral surgery, schedule an appointment with Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Our board-certified oral surgeons specialize in wisdom tooth extraction, jaw surgery, dental implants, and several other procedures. Contact us today. 

   

What The 24 Hours After Wisdom Teeth Removal Looks Like

Congratulations if you’ve gotten your wisdom teeth removed. You’ve undergone a surgery most Americans are scared to undertake. Now what? Postoperative care is necessary because if you don’t take care of yourself after surgery, you’ll experience pain from swelling and infection. Follow the instructions your orthodontist gave you. Here’s what the 24-hours after wisdom teeth extraction feels like. 

Pain

Living with wisdom teeth is a wild ride. From the pain of erupting wisdom teeth, to the fear of surgery and dealing with the resulting pain after surgery, it feels like you’ll never be able to move on. Experiencing pain after any surgery is common, and opening your mouth will cause discomfort. To minimize the pain and discomfort, make sure you take the appropriate amount of medication prescribed by your surgeon. Although you should anticipate a dull pain the first day after surgery, experiencing sharp pains for a whole week isn’t normal. If your pain and swelling worsen after a few days, or if any other unusual symptoms occur, contact your dentist.

Swelling

Your cheeks will swell after surgery, also known as “chipmunk cheeks.” Minimize swelling by using an ice pack on your cheeks; you can either buy one or make one at home. To make an ice pack, fill up two zipper-lock bags with crushed ice. Press one ice pack on each cheek for 20 minutes at a time. Use the ice pack on and off. After the 20 minutes are up, take a break, then 20 minutes later, do the ice pack treatment all over again. Following this method might annoy you because it’s uncomfortable and repetitive, but it’s better to experience mild discomfort from ice instead of the pain that comes with wisdom teeth removal. Expect to swell for the next 36 hours after surgery.

Bleeding

Expect to ooze blood the day after your surgery, so don’t be scared if blood comes out of your mouth. Oral bleeding consists of a little blood with lots of salivae, so you’ll also uncontrollably drool post-surgery. When your mouth starts to bleed, you’ll need to sit upright and avoid all physical activity; this includes walking. Reduce the bleeding by biting on a piece of gauze for one hour. Another way to minimize bleeding is by biting a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. Teabags contain tannic acid, which helps form a clot by constricting your mouth’s blood vessels. 

Diet 

Avoid chewing foods until your tongue’s sensation and taste buds are restored. Following surgery, avoid popcorn, nuts, seeds, and anything crunchy for the next six weeks. Drink water regularly to prevent dehydration.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a long-winded process, but if you follow your doctor’s orders and take it easy, you’ll successfully recover in no time.

If you don’t notice improvement one week after your surgery, visit your orthodontist. The board-certified orthodontists at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are here to help you with all your wisdom teeth needs. Schedule your consultation today. 

   

Signs Your Partner Has Sleep Apnea

Does your partner’s loud snoring wake you up at night? If your partner frequently gasps for air and has abnormal breathing patterns, then you may have reason to be concerned. It’s likely your partner has sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The main symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring, so if your partner lets out an audible snore and is tired after a full night’s rest, they might have sleep apnea. 

According to the Alaska Sleep Education Center, more than 20 million adults suffer from sleep apnea in the United States. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to multiple health problems, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, morning headaches, depression, cardiovascular issues, and several more. Unfortunately, many people who live with sleep apnea aren’t aware of their abnormal sleeping habits, so they don’t know what’s causing their health problems. Bring this problem to your partner’s attention so they can schedule a doctor’s appointment. Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea. 

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Here are the main symptoms of sleep apnea: 

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Not being able to breathe consistently during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (Insomnia)
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Irritability

The two main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.  

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the throat muscles relax. When your throat muscles relax, your airway closes as you breathe in, which results in low oxygen levels in your blood. The brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly wakes you up during sleep to force you to reopen your airway. You might snort, choke, or grasp, and this pattern can repeat itself up to 30 times in one hour. You won’t be able to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep. 

The following factors increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea: 

  • Excess weight: Being overweight significantly increases the risk of OSA. Fat deposits around your airway can obstruct your breathing. 
  • Being male: Men are three times more likely to experience OSA than women.
  • Family history: Having family members who have OSA increases your risk of experiencing it. 
  • Smokers: Smokers are more likely to experience OSA because smoking increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. 

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing, which means you involuntarily make no effort to breathe for short periods. This type of sleep apnea is less common than OSA. Risk factors of central sleep apnea include:

  • Aging: The elderly are at higher risk of experiencing central sleep apnea. 
  • Heart disorders: Having congestive heart failure increases the risk of central sleep apnea. 
  • Stroke: Being prone to recurrent strokes increases your chances of this type of sleep apnea. 

If your partner was diagnosed with sleep apnea, they’re at risk of destroying their teeth due to constant teeth grinding. Grinding causes tooth wear and breakage, so your partner should consult with an orthodontist before they unknowingly ruin their teeth. Schedule an appointment for your partner with Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today