Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: How Dental Sleep Machines and Oral Appliances Can Help Treat Sleep Apnea

When you think about services your dentist can provide, you’ll generally think of tooth cleaning, extractions and root canals. But did you know your dentist also may be able to help you with sleep apnea? “Dental sleep medicine” is a rapidly evolving field. One of the most prominent areas of dental sleep medicine is sleep apnea treatment.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea (sometimes spelled as “sleep apnoea”) is a condition where the inflicted person’s breathing is restricted while they sleep, causing short periods of time where their breathing stops entirely or becomes very shallow during the night, often after snoring. Many people suffering from sleep apnea are unaware they have it, but it can have significant effects on quality of life. Many people who suffer from sleep apnea will wake up after a full night’s sleep without feeling well-rested at all. Going a long time without treatment also can have dramatic medical consequences, such as increasing the risk of heart or respiratory disease.

How Humlicek Family Dental can help.

If you are familiar with sleep apnea, you might associate it with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines. These machines are often very effective in treating sleep apnea, but they can be loud, uncomfortable and difficult to travel with.

One effective method of treating sleep apnea is with an oral appliance. These are fitted to your teeth like a mouth guard and comfortably hold your jaw forward to keep your airways unblocked while you sleep. They may not be effective in every case of sleep apnea, but the appliances are silent, more comfortable, easier and more convenient compared to CPAP machines or other electronic breathing equipment.

Let’s find the device that’s right for you.

When you are looking for an oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea, it’s important to find a high-quality device and have your dentist professionally fit it to your teeth. Depending on the device, this can be done in a short period of time in a single visit, or your dentist may need to take the measurements and have it ready for you on your next visit.

Some oral appliances are available over the counter, but these aren’t FDA approved for treating sleep apnea—it is important to involve a dental professional. Non-fitted, unapproved devices may be uncomfortable and ineffective. In some circumstances, it may even make your symptoms worse.

Oral appliances are just one method of treating sleep apnea. CPAP machines, other breathing equipment, surgery or weight loss also might help return you to restful sleep. You may want to begin by consulting your primary care physician to explore your options first. Then, if it looks like a dental device might help, a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can help fit an oral appliance and tell you the pros and cons of different kinds.

 

Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea and your doctor determines an oral appliance is a viable option for you, Humlicek Family Dental can help. Give us a call at (316) 945-8367 to learn more about oral appliances for sleep apnea or any other dental concerns.

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

Tiny, but important ― that’s how baby teeth are referred to, especially by dentists. While most parents would look at their babies’ tiny teeth and wonder what in the world they could be thinking about, dentists realize early on that these tiny teeth aren’t just for looking at cute smiles and giggles.

Taking good care of your baby’s teeth early on is crucial to their oral health now and for the rest of their lives. We’ve come up with several reasons why you want to keep your baby’s teeth in tip top shape.

  • These teeth are crucial to your child’s health and development. They help with the development of permanent teeth by saving space for them in the jaw. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift to the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in.
  • Baby teeth aid in speech development. Taking care of your child’s teeth will help them speak and communicate better.
  • They help your child maintain good nutrition by permitting him/her to chew properly.
  • Baby teeth help children feel good about themselves and their smile. It’s so important for children to feel confident from a young age and keeping their teeth healthy is imperative.

What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?

Baby teeth can get cavities, just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by cavities, they can also lead to dental infections. Tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection. If a tooth needs to then get extracted, this can cause the teeth to drift, which may lead to overcrowding and difficulty for the adult teeth to grow in.

Be sure to visit a dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing and definitely by the time they reach the one year mark. Our team will check for cavities and any other pediatric dental problem. We’ll also help show you and your child how to properly take care of their teeth. Give us a call today at (316) 945-8367!

Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental care is so important, not only for your dental health, but your overall health as well. It is generally recommended that you should get a checkup once every six months. However, depending on your dental history, your dentist might ask you to come in more.

Typically, dental checkups are easy and painless. Nonetheless, it is always good to know what to expect when going in for your regular checkup.

How You Can Prepare

If you’re looking for a new dentist or if you’re scheduling your first adult cleaning, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Take into consideration the location of the office and if they participate in your dental plan. If you don’t have a dental plan, make sure you take a look at the office’s membership plan and if it fits your needs.

Talk with the dentist if you’re anxious about your visit and communicate what they can do to help make you more comfortable.

What You Can Expect

No matter where you go for your checkup, you can expect several things to happen.

  • Cleaning. A dental hygienist will typically bring you back and begin cleaning your teeth. Using a small mirror and tool called a hand scaler, the hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
  • Expert Flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, nothing can beat an expert flossing session with a dental hygienist. They can get deep between your teeth and locate any problem spots where you might bleed at the gums.
  • Applying Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months. Your dental hygienist may ask you what flavor you like best. They’ll then place the foamy gel (or sometimes a sticky paste) into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It’s usually left on your teeth for one minute. Besides the foamy gel, fluoride varnish is also painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Fluoride varnish will harden when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately after.
  • X-Rays. At some of your dental checkups, you might get x-rays done on your teeth. This is to look for decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. X-rays expose you to radiation so in order to avoid having them done more than necessary, bring copies of previous X-rays with you when you’re visiting a new dentist.

What To Do In Between Regular Dental Checkups

After your exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health. Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between your regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to ensure you keep on track with your checkups.

 

Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Remember to talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth right away. Here at Humlicek Family Dental, we’re always here to help you. Call us at (316) 945-8367 to get an appointment for a dental checkup. The key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. By understanding what is going on in advance, you’ll feel more at ease and maybe even look forward to visiting your dentist!

A Good-Looking Path to Better-Looking Teeth: Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.

Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.

Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

 

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (316) 945-8367. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?

We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.

1. Broken or missing teeth

It goes without saying that obvious physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.

2. Dental abscesses

A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Try to see us as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, you can reduce the pain of the abscess by avoiding cold drinks. Use a soft toothbrush to very gently clean the area until we can get you into the office.

3. Lost filling or crown

A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.

4. Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums or jaw

Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.

Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!

We want your tooth pain or mouth pain to stop.

First and foremost, if you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief. Then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices. If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give Humlicek Family Dental a call at (316) 945-8367 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment in the near future, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind.

Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth

The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.

Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:

Baby Teeth are Important

Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.

Experience Calms Anxiety

Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.

Tooth Decay Comes Early

Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.

Nip Problems in the Bud

After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.

Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give Humlicek Family Dental a call at (316) 945-8367 Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.

Taking Care of Your Teeth as You Age

As our bodies age, we know we’ll have lots of very natural physical challenges, and that includes changes in our teeth and mouth. Those changes can be unsettling – even frightening – and day-to-day dental hygiene can become difficult. But if these new challenges are met head-on, there’s no reason seniors can’t keep gums and teeth healthy well into their later years!

As you grow older, make it a point to stay aware of the new dental challenges you face and you’ll be much happier with your dental health – and with life in general!

Day-to-Day Challenges of Senior Dental Hygiene

Many common day-to-day changes seniors face in caring for their teeth fall into two categories: physical difficulties and medication side effects.

General physical lifestyle changes you experience as a senior may seem as though they are unrelated to dental care, but they can have a huge impact on your teeth. For example, if you develop arthritis, it may be more difficult for you to properly brush your teeth every day. If so, you may find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, which requires less precision and force. Similarly, you should consider using a water flosser if flossing has become difficult.

The side effects of some medications many people begin taking as seniors can cause dry mouth. This innocent-sounding condition can have serious consequences for dental health over time, because saliva is a major part of how your body keeps your teeth clean. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for germs to grow. You can manage this challenge by increasing your fluid intake and chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.

Look and Feel Natural with Dentures

Many people, despite their best efforts and good dental habits over a lifetime, will find they have significant damage to their teeth as they age and may want to consider dentures to help them with eating and speaking.

Dentures come in a variety of forms, but all of them are designed to make your mouth look and feel normal after tooth loss. If you only have a few good teeth left, you may decide to pull them and go with full dentures. If you’ve only lost a tooth or two, you may not need a full set of dentures. Partial dentures can give you strong, natural-looking replacements that blend well with your other teeth. For convenience, you might consider implants with click-on dentures that don’t require adhesives.

Make Senior Dental Care a Priority!

Dental hygiene is important at any age, but the older you get the more important it is to practice good dental hygiene to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Whether you’ve made it to a ripe old age with a full set of healthy teeth or you’ve needed a little bit of work along the way, your dentist can work with you as your partner to preserve your shining smile.

If you have any questions at all about changes to your dental care routine as you get older, or if you want to discuss a possible dental implants or dentures, give Humlicek Family Dental a call at (316) 945-8367. We’ll work with you to keep you on the road to healthy senior teeth!

Scared of the Dentist? Don’t Stress — Let’s Talk.

If you get anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. Some studies show nearly three-fourths of American adults experience anxiety or outright fear when they even think about visiting the dentist. About 1 in 10 Americans experience enough fear to classify it as a phobia. It’s okay. We know going to the dentist can seem scary!

But avoiding dental care as a result of dental anxiety can result in serious consequences for you and your teeth. Even if you’re nervous about going to the dentist, it’s extremely important to do what’s necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

We want all of our patients to be as comfortable as possible when they visit our office, so we do everything we can to give our guests a comfortable, calming environment. But there are a few things you can do on your own to help make your visit a little easier.

1. Talk with your dentist

If you’re stressed about your upcoming visit to our office, one of the best things you can do is talk with us about it. Having a clear understanding of what your visit will be like – even visualizing what will occur during your appointment – can do wonders. It’s possible we can make special accommodations to make things more comfortable for you. You’re not the first person who’s been worried about a visit to your dentist’s office, and you won’t be the last! We’re here to help.

2. Take deep breaths

We all know that deep, relaxing breaths can help reduce our stress, but sometimes we need a reminder. If you’re feeling anxiety about your visit as you drive to our office or you begin feeling fear as you sit in our waiting room, begin by taking a deep breath in, holding it for a second, and slowly letting it out. That’s the most basic start toward relaxation, and it works for almost any situation. Continue relaxing breaths throughout your appointment.

3. Bring a friend

Bringing someone you trust to our office with you is one of the best ways to reduce the stress of your dental appointment. Not only will your companion’s presence be comforting, but that person can help make sure everything is going well and get you home safely if you’re under the effects of anesthesia. Pleasant conversation can distract you from your nervousness and help pass the time more quickly.

4. Plan your appointment well

Yes, life is stressful. But you don’t need the stress of life to cause extra anxiety during your dental appointment. If you’re already nervous about your visit, it won’t help to carry in the anxiety of a bad day at work. Schedule your appointment for a day when you don’t have anything big going on outside of our office. If you have a dental appointment scheduled, try to keep the rest of the day clear. That way, your mind can be rested and fresh for your procedure.

Whatever the cause of your anxiety over a visit to our office for your cleaning or other dental procedure, we can manage it together. We want all our patients to be as comfortable as possible, and we want you to look at your visit to the dentist as a good thing. If you have any questions about a dental procedure, or if there is something we can do to ease your worry, give us a call at 316-945-8367. We’ll work as a team to keep your next visit to the dentist stress-free!