Sleep Apnea and Cancer

snoringIt has been proven that over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a shallow breathing condition that inhibits sleep. The non-breathing pauses one can take whilst sleeping can happen as often as 30 times in a sleep session, with each pause lasting as long as a few minutes. Various causes lead to this condition, like smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and dental issues. But now there is one more thing we have to be careful of when it comes to sleep apnea: it can also increase your cancer risks.

Recent studies have concluded that intermittent hypoxia, or oxygen reduction to the body tissues caused by sleep apnea, may be the cause of growing cancer tumors. The experiments have only been conducted on lab mice, but those with the simulated intermittent hypoxia developed more vascular progenitor cells and endothelial cells than those mice unexposed. These cells can go on to mature and create blood vessels, which feeds cancer tumors. There has also been evidence that intermittent hypoxia can also lead increase vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and it is that protein that is also known to boost blood vessel formations.

At the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Munich, Germany, lead researcher Dr. Antoni Vilaseca, of the Hospital Clinic De Barcelona in Spain, and colleagues recently presented their findings. Found to be remarkable, many believe these results definitely show that oxygen deficiency is affecting renal tumor growth. Vilaseca says, “Patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea usually suffer from intermittent hypoxia at night. This work shows that intermittent hypoxia has the potential to promote the formation of blood vessels within tumors, meaning that the tumors have access to more nutrients.

This is of course an early animal study, so we need to be cautious in applying this to humans. Nevertheless, this work indicates a plausible mechanism for just why conditions which restrict oxygen flow to tissues, like sleep apnea, may promote cancers.”

Because there are so many factors that cause sleeping disorders, and so many variations of sleep, misdiagnosis is often common when it comes to those with sleep apnea. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent further complications to your sleep, but getting yourself checked is the only real way to know for sure. You may or may not have sleep apnea, but the best way to rule it out and come up with a definite diagnosis is to have yourself checked by a sleep professional. Free yourself from sleep apnea and its many effects on your health!

If you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS to schedule a consult today. Visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com to learn more about sleep apnea.

The Many Advantages of Metal Free Fillings

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Dental fillings are an excellent treatment option to help restore the normal function and shape of damaged teeth. Dental fillings can also help prevent further damage by making sure that the damaged tooth is properly sealed, preventing bacteria from going in.

There are a number of filling materials used by dentists, but when it comes to efficiency and safety of treatment, metal free fillings are considered by many as the ideal choice.

The Problem With Metal Fillings

Introduced over a century ago, metal amalgam fillings are as controversial today as they were in the past.

Health concerns aside, the main problem with metal amalgam fillings is that they look bad. They look out of place and are very obvious when placed, especially when they’re silver or gold. Also, they’re not very resistant to staining and can turn black, which can destroy the overall esthetics of your smile.

Metal amalgam fillings also expand and contract as a reaction to heat at a different rate than that of your tooth enamel. This can tooth sensitivity. Also, when the filling expands, it can put pressure on your enamel, which can cause your enamel to crack. Metal amalgam is also just jammed into the prepared hole, as opposed to being bonded to your tooth. This leads to a scenario where the filling creates some space around it whenever it contracts, allowing for liquid to penetrate into your teeth and causing damage, as well as decay around your metal fillings.

The presence of mercury in amalgam fillings is also a cause for concern.

If you didn’t already know, mercury is a very toxic metal. It also evaporates over time, creating what’s called as mercury vapor in your mouth. This vapor can seep through your teeth and enter your blood stream. Even more concerning is that a small metal amalgam contains about 155 mg of mercury, which is about 100 times as much mercury found in a CFL bulb.

Although considered safe by authoritative bodies such as the FDA and ADA, there’s enough evidence to show that metal fillings aren’t the safest option.

Why Metal Free Fillings Are The Better Choice

Metal free fillings can come as either composite fillings, ceramic fillings or glass lonomer fillings. Of the three, composite resin fillings are considered the most popular choice because they’re white and can be made to match the color of your natural teeth. This means that with composite resin fillings, no one will be able to know that you had your decay repaired or that you even had decayed teeth in the first place.

Composite fillings are also bonded to the affected teeth. They also don’t cause problems with thermal expansion and contraction. More importantly, dentists can place composite fillings in much smaller places in your teeth. This means that they won’t have to remove as much tooth material to make way for the filling, allowing you to keep your smile as strong and as healthy as possible.

Of course, metal free fillings aren’t perfect. They simply can’t compare to the durability of metal amalgam fillings and as a result, do not typically last as long. Although, if durability is your only concern, dental inlays and onlays are a much safer and better-looking alternative to metal amalgam fillings.

If you think you’d benefit from metal free fillings, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS at 214-368-2434 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dallascosmeticdental.com for additional information regarding metal free fillings.

What is TMJ?

jaw pain-tmjHave you been experiencing unexplained headaches, popping or click of your jaw, or pain in your face neck or shoulders? If you answered yes, then you may be suffering from TMJ.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, also referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder, is a disorder where the hinge that joins the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. It’s been said that this very hinge is one of the most complex joints in the human body, considering it’s responsible for smoothly moving the lower jaw up, down, forwards, backwards and even side to side. The hinge is what allows us to chew, speak and yawn. Many times, temporomandibular joint disorder feels like your jaw popping, clicking, locking up or “getting stuck” in place. It’s been reported that patients notice symptoms appearing with no apparent cause.

TMJ Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms that come along with TMJ disorders. However, it can be difficult to be sure you have TMJ, as these signs can be present due to other medical problems. To get a proper diagnosis you should visit your dentist.

Common TMJ Signs and Symptoms Include:

  • Feeling pain or tenderness in your jaw muscles
  • Headaches (that mimic migraines) earaches and pain behind your eyes
  • Having pain in the face, neck or shoulders
  • Experience clicking and popping opening and closing your mouth
  • Jaw “gets stuck” , locks or move out of place
  • A sudden change in the way your lower and upper jaw fit

How is TMJ Treated?

Most experts strong suggest that you treat TMJ using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible, as more research is needed on the effectiveness and safety of alternative TMJ treatments.

  • To try to relieve and eliminate pain you can apply moist heat your jaw or take medication such as muscle-relaxer, aspirin or over-the-counter pain relievers, or anti-inflammatories.
  • Wear a dental appliance to reduce the harmful effects of clenching grinding such as bite plate or splint. These are customized dental appliances that slid over the upper teeth and keep them from grinding or clenching against the lower teeth.
  • Learn relaxation techniques to help control muscles spasms that occur in your jaw. Reducing the stress in your life can also ease TMJ symptoms.
  • Practice gentle jaw stretches and relaxation exercises to help increase jaw movement. Your dentist can recommend jaw exercises if it is appropriate for your induvial case.
  • Lastly, when the jaw joint become affected and the above treatments are unsuccessful, jaw joint surgery or Botox may be recommended.

Before you go ahead and receive any sort of TMJ treatment, be sure to get properly diagnosed with TMJ by a professional. If you are diagnosed your dentist will help choose the most appropriate TMJ treatment for your particular case.

If you think that you’re suffering TMJ, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS at 214-368-2434 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dallascosmeticdental.com for additional information regarding temporomandibular joint disorder.

What’s a Water Flosser? | Oral Care

flossingDespite how often dentists remind people about the importance of flossing, most of them let it go in one ear and out the other. According to statistics, only half of American’s floss daily, and 18.5% of them don’t floss at all.

While flossing can be tedious, awkward and downright messy, it’s still a very important part of your daily oral care routine. Floss is able to reach the areas in between your teeth and gums your toothbrush isn’t able to get to. But did you know there’s an alternative option to flossing?

If you’re looking for ways to reap the benefits of flossing, but don’t want to use traditional dental floss, you can use a device called a water flosser. Water flossers are highly recommended by dentists and users.

How Water Flossers Work

A water flosser, also known as a water pick, is a dental appliance designed to be used at home as at home as an alternative to traditional dental floss. This dental appliance varies in size and features, but most water flossers include a motor pump, water reservoir and special tips.

Like pressure washers, water flossers use the same concept, in that the motor and pump cause a stream of pressurized water to flow from the water reservoir through the tips. The only difference is that water flossers are not as powerful and are meant to be used orally.

The main use of water flossers is to remove built up plaque and bacteria that brushing alone cannot take care of. Water Flossers are also less award and typically easier to use. In addition, the water helps simulate your gum tissues, which in turn results in extra health benefits.

Should I Invest in a Water Flosser?

One of the many reasons people prefer to use a water flosser over traditional dental floss is that they’re just easier to use. However, that’s not all there is to this dental appliance.

Many of those who’ve made to switch to water flossers reported having a more pleasant experience, which in turn resulted in them flossing their teeth more often than they would using traditional dental floss.

Another great reason you may want invest in a water flosser is to prevent or treat gum disease. Water flossers have been clinically proven to help remove plaque, improve gum health and even reduce gingivitis.

People with braces or others types of orthodontic appliances reap the most benefits from using a water flosser. Same goes for those that have bridges, crowns, dental implants, as well as people with medical conditions that prevent them from flossing properly, such as arthritis.

How to Use a Water Flosser

As mentioned earlier, water flossing is much more convenient compared to using traditional dental floss. Also, when using a water flosser, you won’t have to look in the mirror or keep your mouth opened wide throughout the whole process.

To begin, simply put the water flosser’s tip into your mouth, close your lips most of the way, lean over a sink and switch the power on. Then floss along your gum line and in between your teeth, while allowing the water to empty into your bathroom or kitchen sink.

When water flossers are user properly, they can be a great addition to your daily oral care routine. Remember, not only is proper oral care important to your oral health, but to your overall health as well.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your oral health, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS at 214-368-2434 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.dallascosmeticdental.com for additional information regarding oral health.

Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

187957730Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered how your teeth got so yellow or stained? Well if you have, you’re not alone, many of us have wonder the same exact thing. Since your teeth can yellow over time, it can be easily overlooked. Fortunately, yellowing and stained teeth aren’t a sign of any serious medical conditions. As disheartening as it may seem to lose your once bright, pearly whites, you’ll be glad to know you can get it back. Before you can do that though, you must find out what’s causing the yellowing, and how you can best avoid or limit your exposer to those things.

  • Aging- As you age, the white protective coating on your teeth called enamel slowly fades away. This and the daily use of your teeth can slowly lead to revealing the natural color of dentine, which is yellow.
  • Genetics- It’s very much possible that you inherited enamel that has more of a yellowish tint rather than white.
  • Tobacco use- Tobacco products, such as chew tobacco and cigarettes are known to stain teeth, along with causing a long list of other health complications.
  • Medication- Certain types of medication, such as doxycycline and tetracycline, can darken the teeth of children that under the age eight. Other types of medications such as antihistamines, antipsychotics and drugs used for high blood pressure may also cause discoloration of your teeth.
  • Illness- A less common cause of tooth discoloration can be caused from a disease that effects enamel, or a treatment for a disease, like chemotherapy and/or radiation used to treat cancer. In this case, instead of yellow, the discoloration would be more of a brownish color.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene- When you don’t routinely brush, floss and use mouthwash to remove plaque buildup and tartar you teeth, you teeth can be come yellow or discolored.
  • Certain Drinks and Food- Coffee, tea, soda and wine are all beverages that can darken teeth. As for food, apples and potatoes, as well as a few other types of fruits and vegetables can also stain teeth.

Take Action Against Yellow Teeth

Unfortunately, unless you’ve found the fountain of youth, there’s not much you can do to reverse the effects of aging, and what you inherited genetically is also something that can’t be changed. Same goes for certain illnesses and treatments, there really isn’t much you can personally do to reverse the effects. When it comes to stains caused by food, drinks or tobacco use, it’s up to you to avoid them as much as possible.

In addition to your daily oral hygiene routine, you can try and use over the counter products, such as whitening strips, to help brighten your teeth a few shades. If you would like to learn more about them, you can ask you family dentist.

Speaking of your dentist, they can provide you with a custom teeth bleaching kit that you’re able to take home. Take home teeth bleaching kits can whiten you teeth a few shades after a few weeks or months. Most dentists also offering in-office teeth whitening procedures that can whiten your teeth up to ten shades, within one office visit.

There are many options to treat yellow teeth, ranging from whitening strips to dentists trips, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be smiling!

If you’re sick of having yellow teeth and would like to know which treatment options you would be a good candidate for, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef DDS at 214-368-2434 to schedule a consultation today! Or visit www.dallascosmeticdental.com for information regarding teeth whitening.

Sleep Apnea: Signs and Symptoms

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common and potentially serious sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It occurs when there are repeated episodes of complete or partial blockage in your upper airway during sleep. While this is occurring, your diaphragm and chest muscles are working hard to open your obstructed airway and pull air into your lungs. This can decrease the flow of oxygen to your vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms.

It can be difficult to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most noticeable symptoms occur while you’re sleeping. A family member or partner may notice signs or symptoms of your sleeping disorder first. The signs and symptoms they may notice are the pauses while snoring, following by a gasping or chocking noise. Some signs of sleep apnea you may notice may be trouble concentrating and fighting sleepiness during the day, at work or while operating a vehicle. Sometimes you may even catch yourself rapidly falling asleep during the quiets times of your day when you’re not being active.

More Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Include:

  • Headaches upon waking up
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory or learning problems
  • Feeling depressed, irritable or having mood swings/ personality changes
  • Waking up frequently to use bathroom
  • Dry mouth or sore through upon waking up

Sleep Apnea is more common in men than women. In order to diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor will have to perform a physical exam and take your medical and sleep history. Your doctor may ask your family members or the individuals that live with you about your sleeping habits.

If you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS to schedule a consult today. Visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com to learn more about sleep apnea.

Dentures: Three Main Types

cerec same day crowns dallas tx

 

People can lose their natural teeth for several different reasons. It may be from trauma, tooth decay or a number of different oral health issues. Fortunately, dentures are an ideal solution for those who’ve lost some or all of their natural teeth. Dentures are artificial replacements for missing teeth that you are able to remove and put back into your mouth. They take some getting used to and may never feel exactly like your natural teeth, but dentures have become much more natural looking and comfortable than ever before.

There are three main types of dentures: full dentures, partial dentures and implant supported dentures. All types of dentures will help improve your oral health as well as your appearance. Your dentist will help determine what type of dentures best suit your individual needs based off whether some or all of your teeth need to be replaced.

Three Main Types of Dentures:

  • Partial Dentures- Partial dentures are used in cases where a patient is missing multiple teeth but not all of them in a single arch. Partial dentures rest on metal framework that attach to the patients natural teeth.
  • Full Dentures- Full dentures are used when a patient is missing a full set of teeth, either the top arch, bottom arch or both. A set of artificial teeth are permanently secured into a gum colored base. Full dentures can either be held in place by suction or by denture adhesive.
  • Implanted Dentures- Implant supported dentures are secured in place by dental implants rather than just resting on a patients gums as traditional denture do. Dental implants are surgically inserted into the jaw bone and the dentures snap onto them. This offers the dentures more support, preventing them from slipping or shifting around while you eat or talk.

If you have missing teeth that you’ve been considering replacing with dentures, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS to schedule a consult today or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com to learn more about the different types of dentures.

Maintaining Oral Health

girl eating appleMaintaining oral health is both easy and important – failing to properly care for your mouth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, eventually missing teeth and potentially even systemic health issues. Much of maintaining oral health comes down to managing the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth through four basic procedures: brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and having regular professional cleanings.

Bacteria in your mouth naturally form sticky, yellow film known as plaque. Over time, if that plaque is not removed, it will form a calcified deposit known as tartar, which is very difficult to remove. Brushing twice a day with toothpaste is the first step towards removing plaque and preventing tartar buildup – by brushing twice a day, you remove food the bacteria needs to survive, and physically remove plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. Failing to brush allows the bacteria within plaque to produce acids that damage tooth enamel, creating cavities and weakening teeth. Brushing at least twice a day (and ideally after each meal) can not only remove the bacteria from the teeth, but also remove the bacteria’s food source.

Flossing, like brushing, is designed to minimize plaque and tartar by physically removing both the bacteria/plaque and it’s food. Flossing between teeth helps keep the surfaces between teeth free of plaque, and protects your teeth and gums from plaque that can’t be reached by brushing alone. While you don’t need to floss as often as you brush, you should floss at least once a day.

While brushing and flossing remove plaque from your teeth, and should help prevent plaque from turning into tartar, rinsing your mouth with antibacterial/antimicrobial mouthwash can help kill any bacteria remaining in the mouth. In addition to killing bacteria on the tissue of your cheek, gums, and tongue, rinsing with mouthwash can also help dislodge any stuck food particles, again minimizing nutrients that bacteria needs to survive.

Finally, routine professional checkups and cleanings are the last step in maintaining proper oral health.  In the event that plaque does survive and mineralizes to form tartar, routine professional cleaning can help remove calcified tartar from teeth, and your dentist or hygienist can use specialized, high-speed tools to properly clean areas of your mouth that are difficult for you to clean on your own. At this time, your dentist can also check your mouth for signs of decay, gum disease, or other oral health problems, and can hopefully treat them before they cause permanent damage.

Overall, maintaining oral health comes down to building a routine of brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and regular dental visits. By following that routine, you can protect your natural teeth, avoid cavities caused by decay, and prevent the onset of periodontal disease.

For more information on oral health contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website atwww.dallascosmeticdental.com.

What is Tartar & How to Fight It

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669If you’ve purchased a toothbrush or mouthwash lately, you’ve probably seen the phase “tartar control”. It’s seemingly mentioned on most toothbrushes, toothpastes, and mouthwashes, but many patients don’t realize what tartar actually is, or why simple brushing, flossing, and mouthwash may not eliminate tartar entirely. To help keep your mouth healthy, it’s important to know what the goal is: what is tartar, and why is controlling tartar so important?

As you eat, bacteria and food particles combine to form a sticky yellow film known as plaque. Plaque coats your teeth – it’s difficult to clean, and it accumulates in cracks, crevices, and beneath the gum line even as you brush it off of the exposed surfaces of your teeth. The bacteria contained in plaque will damage your teeth – it creates acids that damage your tooth enamel and creates cavities. Worse still, if plaque is allowed to stay on your teeth for as little as a day, it hardens into a calcified substance known as tartar.

Just as the bacteria in plaque can cause cavities, the bacteria in tartar will damage teeth – unfortunately, as it hardens it becomes nearly impossible to remove with brushing or flossing alone. Not only can it not always be brushed off, it creates a rough surface for additional plaque to build up, and protects bacteria against your teeth, allowing them free reign to attack your tooth enamel. Typically, tartar will need to be removed with professional cleaning, which is one of the reasons dentists recommend professional cleaning every 6 months.

Because tartar is so difficult to remove, it’s often best to avoid allowing plaque to harden into tartar – by brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and using antibacterial mouthwash, you can help remove plaque before it becomes tartar. Because tartar takes 12-24 hours to harden, brushing twice a day – or after each meal – gives you multiple opportunities to catch all of the plaque before it becomes tartar. For any tartar you miss, you’ll need to rely on your routine professional cleaning to remove.

For more information on oral care contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website atwww.dallascosmeticdental.com.

Dental Injuries and Emergencies

cerec same day crowns dallas txDentists will encourage you to visit their office every 6 months for routine cleaning and checkups, and if everything goes well, that may be the only time you need to see your dentist. Unfortunately, sometimes life will have other ideas, and you’ll encounter dental issues that may require visits in between your routine checkups. Some dental issues are emergencies and require immediate treatment – others can wait for a scheduled appointment.

Here’s some guidelines to help you know the difference:

- If a tooth is knocked out completely, immediate care is required to save it. It’s possible that the tooth can be re-implanted if you get to the dentist within an hour or so. Rinse the tooth with water, being careful not to touch the root. Keep the tooth moist by placing it in your mouth, against your cheek, and go to the dentist immediately.
- A chipped or fractured tooth may need prompt care. If you chip or break a tooth, call your dentist – they’ll likely ask you to visit the office in the coming days for inspection. It’s difficult to know the extent of the damage without x-rays and proper checkup, so even if you feel it’s minor, be sure to call your dentist for advice.
- If you experience physical trauma that loosens a tooth, but does not fully remove it from its socket, try to remain calm. If the tooth is pushed inward or outward, GENTLY try to straighten it but do not try to force it into its socket, and call your dentist. If possible, stabilize the tooth with gauze or tissue on your way to the dentist.
- If you’re experiencing a severe toothache, brush your teeth, and then rinse with warm salt water. If you’re experiencing swelling, you may have relief with a cold compress, and for many patients, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help relieve the pain. Call your dentist for an appointment – it’s likely not an emergency, but you should have the tooth checked as soon as possible.

We can’t always avoid physical injury, but your dentist can help treat injuries as they happen. In many cases, teeth can be saved, but even in serious cases where the tooth can not be saved, your dentist can help restore your smile. Try to stay calm, call the dentist, and your dentist will provide the best possible care.

For more information on oral care contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website atwww.dallascosmeticdental.com.