Snoring can be a warning sign of a much bigger health issue.
Have you ever been snoozing away only to receive a face-full of pillow from your partner, telling you that your snoring keeps waking them up? Or have you been on the other end of it, struggling to sleep through the halting, impossibly loud snores of your partner? Whether you’re putting on a marathon chainsaw impression or are the one trying to sleep through it, the experience can make for a frustrating night, especially if it’s becoming a nightly routine. Snoring isn’t just an annoying problem, though—it can indicate a dangerous or even life-threatening condition called sleep apnea. We’ve answered some basic questions about sleep apnea below to help you understand its potential dangers as well as how your Greensboro dentist can help you stay healthy and get a full night’s sleep again.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where you repeatedly stop breathing for short periods throughout the night. Different types of sleep apnea have different root causes for this issue, but the most common type is caused by obstructive sleep apnea. With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat relax when you fall asleep, allowing your tongue and the tissues in your throat to narrow or completely close. This causes you to stop breathing. Fortunately, your brain recognizes the danger and wakes you up just enough to widen your airway again. You generally don’t remember waking, so you may feel like you’re getting uninterrupted sleep for the entire night when you aren’t. In fact, since you can stop breathing anywhere between five and 30 times an hour all night long, sleep apnea can greatly impact your ability to enter a deep sleep. This keeps you from getting the benefits of these more restful sleep phases. As a result, sleep apnea causes a range of symptoms in addition to loud snoring, including:
- Gasping, snorting, or choking sounds during sleep.
- Lack of concentration.
- Daytime fatigue.
- Dry mouth in the mornings.
- Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night.
- Morning headaches.
If you or your partner notice these symptoms, it’s always best to visit a sleep doctor to investigate whether you have sleep apnea. This way you can begin receiving treatment, which will help you stay healthier and sleep better.
What makes sleep apnea so dangerous?
Based on most of the symptoms we’ve listed so far, sleep apnea may sound exhausting and unpleasant, but not too dangerous. After all, you start breathing again automatically, right? Unfortunately, the reality is that sleep apnea significantly raises your risks of other health complications. These include high blood pressure, liver problems, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart problems, like heart disease, a heart attack, and abnormal heartbeats.
Additionally, the constant fatigue and difficulty concentrating that result from this condition can hurt your performance at work and increase the likelihood of accidents. In addition, the condition itself can cause issues with surgery and certain medications. Symptoms like irritability and moodiness can also create problems of their own, potentially putting a strain on your relationships.
What are the risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea?
There is a wide range of risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea. Some are completely outside of your control and others are a little easier to change. Your likelihood of having or developing this condition is greater if you have a family history of the condition, have a naturally narrow throat, or are male. Your age and existing medical conditions also increase your risk. Some other factors that are slightly more controllable are your weight, smoking, or using alcohol or sedatives, as these can relax the muscles in your throat.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, you should schedule an appointment with a sleep doctor right away. They will likely perform a sleep study at home or in a sleep center. During the study they will monitor your breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure throughout the night. Studies done in a sleep center also allow doctors to keep track of how much you’re moving around in your sleep. They will also monitor your lung and brain activity. This allows them to determine when you’ve stopped breathing, how long you stop breathing for, and how often you’re doing this each hour. If you stop breathing five times or more each hour, you’ll likely be diagnosed with sleep apnea.
How can your family dentist help?
A CPAP machine is a common and extremely successful treatment for sleep apnea. The problem with a CPAP machine is that it’s bulky, high-maintenance, and isn’t comfortable for many patients. Not everyone wants to—or can—use a CPAP machine. If you fall into this category, dentists like Dr. Farless can actually help treat your sleep apnea or snoring by using an oral appliance. This appliance looks a lot like a nightguard or mouthguard, but it’s custom-made for you and designed with comfort in mind. When you’re fitted for the oral appliance, Dr. Farless will find your ideal jaw position, which is a comfortable, relaxed position for your jaw that naturally widens your airway, keeping it open.
As a result, the oral appliance you receive is designed to work with your unique body rather than being a one-size-fits-all solution. This helps ensure it’s comfortable and effective. One study found that oral appliances eliminate the symptoms of mild to moderate sleep apnea in 40% to 50% of patients. They improve symptoms in an additional 10% to 20% of cases, making it an effective treatment for the majority of patients.
Snoring might sound harmless, but untreated sleep apnea can lead to a wide range of dangerous health conditions. It’s wise to visit a sleep doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms related to it. Don’t let the idea of using a CPAP machine get between you and your health. Oral appliances are a viable, effective, and comfortable treatment option that you can use instead! If you’d like to learn more about oral appliances and how they may help you get the rest you need, feel free to call our Greensboro dentist office to schedule a consultation.
Learning to listen to the messages your teeth are sending you.
Do you have an aching tooth that distracts you throughout the day or sends sharp pains shooting through your jaw when you’re trying to eat a meal? It’s easy to try and write these kinds of pains off when you’re busy and feel like you should prioritize other tasks over your tooth pain, especially if over-the-counter pain medication is strong enough to knock out or reduce your pain. Whether you feel like you don’t have time in your schedule to make a trip to the dentist, that you have bigger priorities, or you’re trying to put off going to the dentist because you’re worried about what they’ll find, you should never ignore a toothache.
Even small toothaches are trying to tell you something about your oral health and will likely worsen without treatment into a larger, more painful dental issue that requires a more expensive treatment. Getting prompt treatment can even mean the difference between saving or losing your tooth. As a result, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist in Greensboro, NC, to treat your toothache as soon as possible. To help you know what kind of dental issues you may be facing and understand why even a small toothache is a cause for concern, here are 5 types of tooth pain and what it may be trying to tell you.
1. A Toothache that Causes Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity often appears as a sharp pain that occurs in response to hot, cold, or sweet foods, then fades relatively quickly. This pain can be relatively minor or it can be quite painful, and it can indicate a range of issues, including relatively simple things like brushing your teeth too hard, enamel erosion, or gum recession. It can also be a sign of more major issues like a cavity or an abscess. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, especially if it’s minor, there are several steps you can take to eliminate it at home before you make an extra trip to our office.
Make sure you’re brushing your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, since scrubbing your teeth too hard can erode your enamel and result in tooth sensitivity. You can also use a specialized toothpaste that’s designed to help reduce tooth sensitivity and make sure that you’re brushing your teeth with it for two minutes at least twice a day, as well as flossing, and using mouthwash. If you’re still struggling with tooth sensitivity after you’ve taken these steps, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Farless and mention your tooth sensitivity, especially if it focuses on a single tooth, so that he can examine your mouth more closely for signs of decay.
2. Tooth Pain that Causes Widespread Soreness
Another common type of tooth pain is a more widespread, generalized soreness that worsens when you chew. In many cases, this type of soreness, which you may notice is worse in the mornings, is caused by clenching or grinding your teeth. Whether you’re doing this during the day or in your sleep without being aware of it, it can wreak havoc on the health of your teeth. Clenching or grinding runs the risk of cracking, chipping, or breaking your teeth, and even if you avoid dental injuries like this, it’ll wear your teeth down over time. Any of these issues can be painful and may require treatments like dental bonding or dental crowns to seal cracks or restore broken teeth. Thankfully, Dr. Farless can help you prevent dental injuries caused by clenching or grinding and eliminate this frequent soreness using oral appliances like nightguards, which are comfortable, custom-made devices that you wear to sleep to prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth.
3. Dull, Aching Pain due to a Toothache
This type of dull, aching toothache is usually relatively minor, to the point that taking over-the-counter pain medication will likely knock it out temporarily, but it’s persistent and will continue coming back time and time again—even if you avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth. In this case, the likely culprit of your pain is a cavity that has reached the center of your tooth, which means that you likely need a root canal. The pulp at the center of your tooth contains all of its nerve endings, so small cavities are usually painless—as a result, even minor tooth pain can be a sign that decay has reached the tooth’s center and may need to be removed with root canal therapy. While this type of toothache isn’t major enough to be considered a dental emergency, it’s still vital that you get treatment as soon as possible. The decay will only get worse if you put off visiting your family dentist, potentially resulting in an infection or loss of the tooth entirely, so it’s wise to immediately call and schedule an appointment at your Greensboro dentist office.
4. A Toothache With Sharp, Shooting Pain
These shooting pains are often intermittent but incredibly painful, so much so that you may find yourself taking in a sharp breath and then holding it while you wait for it to pass. Pain may shoot through one or more teeth in response to actions like chewing, opening your mouth, or changes in temperature—sometimes even breathing in cold air can trigger it. If this sounds familiar, you may be suffering from a cracked tooth (which isn’t always visible to the naked eye), a cavity, or an abscess. Without immediate treatment, each of these issues can become worse, so if you’re experiencing this type of pain you should call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Farless—depending on the severity of your pain or other symptoms like a fever or swelling, you may even need to schedule an emergency appointment.
5. A Tooth that is Experiencing Extreme Throbbing Pain
A tooth that is constantly experiencing extreme, throbbing pain, often bad enough that you simply can’t ignore it and over-the-counter pain medications don’t knock it out entirely, is the telltale sign of an infection or abscess. You may also experience other symptoms, such as swelling, the area being hot to the touch, or a fever. Any time you have a severe toothache like this—and especially if it’s accompanied by any of these additional symptoms—you need to schedule an emergency dental appointment right away.
Resolving painful decay and protecting your teeth.
If you suspect that you have a cavity, getting it treated as soon as possible will help ensure that the procedure to resolve the decay is easier and less involved than it would otherwise be. In some cases, you may be able to choose between getting a large filling or a dental crown, and while it may be tempting to choose the cheaper option of a filling, it’s wise to consider a dental crown as well. Large fillings are more prone to cracking your tooth in the future, especially if the tooth has undergone a root canal, and fillings don’t do anything to protect against future tooth decay. In contrast, dental crowns fit over your natural tooth like a cap, holding it together and protecting it from future injury and decay. This can make it an especially wise choice if you’re worried about future cavities, for instance, if you have any increased risk factors for tooth decay.
Although there are many potential causes for your tooth pain, all of them require immediate attention from a dentist—even if your pain is minor. Starting a search for a “dentist near me” or the “best dentist in Greensboro, NC,” can help you find a skilled and compassionate dentist like Dr. Farless who will treat your toothache. Once your treatment is complete, you should also do your best to fit in a dental checkup every six months. We’ll work with your schedule to find a time that works for you, and your mouth will thank you for the extra effort and care that will keep it healthy and pain-free!
Periodontal disease is a widespread issue, but it’s also highly preventable.
Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, affects millions of American adults. The CDC has found that about half of adults have diagnosed or undiagnosed periodontitis, the most advanced form of gum disease. Other oral health authorities believe that closer to 80% of the adult population has some form of gum disease if you add gingivitis to the equation.
Although the numbers may be startlingly high, the good news is periodontal disease is largely a preventable oral health condition. Better yet, most cases of periodontal disease respond very well to treatment.
Knowledge is the best tool for protecting your oral health so let’s take a look at periodontal disease prevention and what you can expect from treatment.
What is periodontal disease?
Before we go over prevention and treatment, it’s a good idea to review what exactly periodontal disease is.
Types of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an oral health disease that affects the gums. Although often blanketed under one term, periodontal disease is made of two different conditions—gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis refers to gum inflammation and is the mildest form of periodontal disease. This condition is most often caused by plaque build-up from poor oral care.
Gingivitis symptoms include red, swollen gums that lightly bleed during brushing or flossing. Some tenderness may occur but generally, patients don’t really experience any pain or discomfort.
The second type of periodontal disease is periodontitis.
Periodontitis most often occurs when gingivitis is left untreated for a period of time. As plaque continues to build up bacteria run rampant and become trapped inside the gum pockets surrounding the teeth. This results in infection as well as pain, bleeding, and a number of other symptoms.
Periodontitis is severe and unlike gingivitis, it isn’t a reversible condition.
What Happens Without Treatment
Without treatment, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis. And when periodontitis isn’t treated it can lead to advanced periodontitis—severe permanent damage to the gums, teeth, and even the jaw bone. In fact, advanced periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
What risk factors increase your chances of getting periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is often the result of a bigger problem. Certain lifestyle factors can put individuals at more of a risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis.
You are more likely to develop gum disease if the following applies to you:
- Don’t brush or floss twice a day
- Don’t see a dentist often
- Smoke or use tobacco products
- Drink alcohol often
- Eat a diet high in starches and sugars
Outside of lifestyle, there are also a number of other risk factors. Even if you take excellent care of your teeth, you may still be more likely to develop gum disease due to the following reasons:
- Family history and genetics
- Certain medications
- Bruxism or TMJ disorders
- Systemic disease
Patients who are battling cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are much more likely to also develop periodontitis.
Maintaining a high level of oral hygiene is the best way to prevent periodontal disease.
The most common cause of periodontal disease is a lack of oral hygiene. This means improving your oral hygiene routine will be the most effective way of preventing gingivitis and periodontitis.
Take care of your teeth and gums at home.
Here’s a quick look at what you can do at home to care for your teeth and gums:
- Floss daily, ideally before your bedtime brushing
- Brush twice a day for two minutes
- Upgrade to an electric toothbrush
- Use a mouthwash designed for gum health
- Scrape your tongue before brushing
- Use only ADA-recommended oral care products
See your dentist at least every six months.
Maintain biannual check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. Your dental team will be the first to notice signs of inflammation long before these symptoms become apparent to you. If you’re at a higher risk for periodontal disease your dentist may even recommend more frequent appointments every two, three, or four months.
Look for ways to improve your lifestyle.
You can’t eliminate all of the risk factors we mentioned earlier, but you can look for ways to improve upon your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a smoker, consider getting help to quit the habit. If you have a strong sweet tooth, maybe it’s time to switch up your diet to one that’s balanced and healthy.
If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, treatment is straightforward and very effective.
Patients who are already in good health with a mild to moderate case of gum disease often respond extremely well to treatment. Patients who may be battling with other health conditions (i.e. cancer or diabetes) and have severe periodontal disease may take longer to respond to treatment.
With that in mind, gum disease treatment is generally simple and healing begins fairly quickly for the average patient.
How is gum disease treated?
This bulk of the treatment process is known as periodontal therapy or perio therapy.
Perio therapy is a non-surgical procedure that’s essentially a super deep cleaning session for your gums. Your dentist or a specially trained hygienist will perform root scaling and planing, a procedure that removes plaque build-up and gunk from inside the inflamed gum pockets. This process removes infection and allows the gums to begin to heal.
For more serious cases or in the event of a live infection, we may also start patients on a course of antibiotics and recommend oral surgery for the removal of damaged gum tissue.
Book a consultation at Farless Dental Group to learn more about your gum health and how to prevent periodontal disease.
Whether you suspect you might have some form of gum disease or you’re simply interested in learning more about protecting yourself from periodontal disease, we’re ready to help!
A consultation appointment with one of our dentists is the first step to your healthiest smile yet. To book a visit, just give our office a call or fill out our handy online request form.
Wishing for a straighter smile? Clear aligners are the perfect solution.
Your smile is one of your most unique features. It’s one of the first things people notice when they meet you and something that truly leaves a lasting impression. Every smile is beautiful, but if you’re feeling less than confident with yours because of crooked teeth, it’s time to consider finding a solution.
Clear aligners have completely transformed the way adults are straightening their teeth. They make the straightening process easier, faster, and subtle—all important things for adults who want minimal changes to their normal lifestyle.
Here are the 5 biggest advantages to straightening your teeth with a clear aligner system.
1. Clear aligners are so effective that they can cut treatment time in half.
One of the most important factors for adults seeking any type of cosmetic dental care is the speed of treatment. You have a busy life and the dental treatment you opt for needs to complement that rather than cause interference.
Clear aligners are not only extremely effective at straightening teeth, but they’re also very efficient. The average adult can cut their treatment time in half or more by choosing clear aligners over traditional metal braces.
Farless Dental Group offers a system called Six Month Smiles. The average treatment time is only six months, though some treatments may range between four and nine months depending on a patient’s individual smile. You can also opt for Clear Correct, another clear aligner system with just as many benefits.
2. No one needs to know that you’re straightening your teeth unless you want them to.
Orthodontic treatment isn’t something to feel embarrassed about, but many adults would rather not get traditional braces because of their obvious appearance. Clear aligners are not exactly invisible, but they are so subtle that the average person will have no idea you’re wearing them—even in up-close conversations.
Knowing that you can keep your teeth straightening journey a secret is really reassuring, especially for patients that are working in a professional atmosphere, entering the world of dating, or otherwise in a position where appearance is especially important to them.
3. You’ll be able to brush, floss, and whiten your smile without any obstruction.
An unfortunate result of traditional braces is the system relies on semi-permanent brackets and wires. These brackets and wires can make it trickier to brush and floss. They also prevent things like teeth whitening from happening until after treatment is over.
A huge plus to clear aligner systems is the ability to simply remove your aligners whenever you wish. When you’re ready to brush and floss, just remove the aligners and follow your standard at-home oral hygiene regimen.
If you feel your teeth need a little extra brightness, you can even whiten your teeth with ADA-approved whitening products or get a professional KöR whitening session at Farless Dental.
4. Your diet and social life won’t be affected since you’ll be able to remove your aligners before meals or drinks.
Not only will you remove your clear aligner for brushing, but you’ll also pop them out before any meals or drinks (except for water). Traditional braces affect your diet by limiting the types of foods you can eat due to the wires and brackets. Clear aligners don’t affect your diet at all since you’ll simply take them out.
If you’re a foodie at heart or your social life revolves around delicious meals with friends, you’ll be relieved to know that clear aligners won’t affect the things you love. Simply remove them prior to your meals or drinks and brush your teeth before replacing them. Just remember to not leave your aligners off for more than a couple of hours.
5. Straightening your smile with clear aligners is an affordable investment that gives back to your self-confidence and success.
Straightening your teeth is more affordable than many patients realize, particularly if you opt for clear aligners. Clear aligners often wind up being less than or equal to traditional braces in cost but considering their numerous advantages, the overall price of the investment is even less.
By choosing clear aligners you’re not only going to gain the previous four advantages, but you’re also going to gain a huge boost in self-confidence. After treatment, you’ll be able to share your smile proudly and without feeling self-conscious. In return, you’ll also experience more success in all facets of life. Studies show a strong connection between a great smile and success in careers, relationships, and personal happiness.
Get started on the road to your best smile yet by scheduling a consultation with Farless Dental Group.
The first step towards a straight smile is by booking a consultation at the Farless Dental Group. During your appointment, you’ll learn more about straightening your teeth as an adult, how clear aligners work, and discover which clear aligner system is best suited for your smile.
To schedule your consultation with one of our dentists, just give our office a call or fill out our online appointment request form. If this is your first time visiting Farless Dental Group, take a moment to read our New Patient Experience page to learn what to expect.
Do you have a trivia lover in your life? Surprise them with a day trip to one of these educational spots in Greensboro.
Trivia nights are always a blast, but many trivia buffs find learning something new just as much fun as the satisfaction of getting the right answer during a game.
If your child, partner, or friend loves trivia, planning out a day to visit a local historical site, museum, or park will definitely bring a smile to their face. You can even add to the fun by saving some relatable trivia questions on your phone to ask them during your day out!
Here are 6 different places to visit right here in Greensboro that are perfect for every trivia buff.
1. Every trivia-loving child will love the hands-on approach to learning at the Greensboro Children’s Museum.
If the trivia buff in your life is your child, then a visit to the Greensboro Children’s Museum is definitely in order once it has reopened.
The Greensboro Children’s Museum combines education, exploration, and play all in one place. There are over 20 different indoor and outdoor exhibits that are all hands-on in nature. Kids who love to climb and practice problem-solving will enjoy playing on the Outdoor Play Plaza. If your child is really into cars and trucks, stopping at the Transportation exhibit is a must. You might even ask them some trivia questions about firefighters while they sit in a real fire truck.
You can learn more about the exhibits at the Children’s Museum on its website. While you can’t visit at the time this article was written, you can go online and check out the ways to explore from home, including summer explorer kits.
2. Young and young-at-heart trivia buffs will find a day at the Greensboro Science Center to be an absolute delight.
While the Children’s Museum is aimed mostly at younger kids, the Greensboro Science Center is fun for trivia buffs of all ages.
Here kids and adults alike will enjoy a zoo, an aquarium, and a number of different classic science exhibits. You’ll also find awesome Adventure Theater Shows that are equally funny as they are interactive. In fact, they even tie in trivia games in the presentations! Other fun things to do include SkyWild, a treetop rope course, and OmniSphere shows.
3. Take a step back in time to the civil and human rights movement of the ’60s at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is a place for everyone to visit, especially trivia buffs who are interested in civil rights. While the museum is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, you can still browse the website. There you will find videos, articles, and more topics to start important conversations with your children, spouse, and friends.
The museum celebrates the civil and human rights “sit-in” protests of the ’60s via 14 different exhibits, an archival center, a children’s activity, and regular events hosted in its auditorium. You’ll also find the very same lunch counter and stools where the Greensboro Four started their peaceful sit-in protest in February of 1960.
You can learn more about the museum by visiting its website.
4. Practice identifying flora and fauna at the Greensboro Arboretum and other local parks.
Combine a relaxing stroll in a park with some trivia fun with a visit to the Greensboro Arboretum.
The Greensboro Arboretum is a 17-acre park featuring 14 different collections. It also features themed display gardens and beautiful outdoor structures. The Arboretum is free to visit and is the perfect setting for identifying native and non-native plants, insects, birds, and wildlife. You can use your phone for IDing or take along a field guide for North Carolina.
After you’ve visited the Arboretum, check out the Greensboro Beautiful website to find more stunning parks and gardens to visit.
5. There’s always something new to discover at the Greensboro History Museum.
The Greensboro History Museum is a great place to visit, especially if your trivia buff loves history.
You can easily make a day out of your visit since there are actually three sites to see on this property. They are the Greensboro History Museum itself, as well as the historic First Presbyterian Cemetery and the Mary Lynn Richardson Park. Inside the museum, you’ll find a number of permanent exhibits, as well as changing exhibits. That means even if you’ve been to the museum before and explored the exhibits, you’ll still learn something new.
If you’ve never been to the Greensboro History Museum before, its Plan A Visit webpage is a helpful resource. Explore the website further to take a virtual look at the museum since it’s currently closed to the public due to COVID-19.
6. Explore our local Greensboro military history by visiting the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.
Your trivia buff may already know about the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, but if they haven’t visited the Guilford National Military Park yet, it’s time to check it out.
The Military Park is a large property with plenty going on. You can grab a map of the property at the Battlefield Visitor’s Center and start your journey there. Some fun things to do include spotting the 28 national monuments in the park, visiting the Hoskin Farm, walking the real battlefield trail, or catching a showing of “Another Such Victory”.
You can find more information about the Military Park on its website.
Have an appointment at Farless Dental Group? Bring along your trivia buff and learn some new facts about dentistry.
One place we bet you haven’t thought of is your dentist’s office! The team at Farless Dental Group loves getting a chance to speak with our patients, and sometimes our trivia-loving patients may even teach us a new fact or two about the history of dentistry.
One of our favorite bits of dental history is how dental veneers were invented. Did you know veneers weren’t originally created as a type of cosmetic dentistry? Rather they were designed by Dr. Charles Pincus as a prop for actors in films. Little did he know that changing the appearance of an actor’s teeth for a role would wind up becoming the classic smile makeover we know of today as veneers!
If you have an upcoming examination or cleaning, ask your trivia buff to tag along. Or if they are due for their own appointment, have them book a visit by calling our office directly or by filling out our online appointment request form located at the bottom of the home page.