Posts for: October, 2016

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
October 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: snoring   sleep apnea  

For millions of Americans, sleep apnea is a serious health condition. Not only can it impair your day-to-day living, you might be more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke.

Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for short periods while asleep. When blood oxygen drops too low, your body automatically wakes you to take a breath. This can disrupt your sleep several times a night. Chronic symptoms like drowsiness, irritability or headaches during the day, or indications you're a loud snorer, are all possible signs of sleep apnea.

Fortunately, we can treat sleep apnea. One way is continuous airway pressure therapy (CPAP), a pump device that supplies pressurized air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. Although CPAP is effective, some people find it uncomfortable to use.

There's a more comfortable option for sleep apnea caused by mouth structures like the tongue or tonsils obstructing the airway. It involves a custom-fitted oral appliance worn while you sleep that moves these structures out of the way.

Such appliances come in two basic types. One type fits over the upper and lower teeth and uses tiny metal hinges to move the lower jaw and tongue forward away from the airway. The other fits around and presses the tongue down like a tongue depressor to move it forward.

Before starting treatment, we need to first find out if you actually have sleep apnea and what's causing it (some cases may be more acute and require advanced treatments like jaw surgery). We'll need to perform medical and oral exams and take a history, and we'll likely refer you to a sleep medicine specialist for further testing.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, a custom-fitted appliance could be a good solution. We'll create and adjust it according to your particular mouth and jaw contours for maximum comfort. Besides the appliance, you might also lose excess weight, adjust your sleep position, seek treatment for allergies, and quit smoking. All these could help reduce sleep apnea.

In any event, your first step is to find out if you have sleep apnea. From there we'll help you find the right treatment to improve your overall health and well being.

If you would like more information on treatments for sleep apnea, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
October 21, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Have you been considering getting dental implants, but aren't sure if they're the right option for you? Dr. Kenneth Woo, Dr. Edmond Woo dental implantsand Dr. Ho Kai Wang, your Gaithersburg, MD dentists, answer a few commonly asked questions about dental implants.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant offers an innovative way to replace your entire tooth, not just the portion visible above the gum line. The titanium implant is placed in your jaw and gradually fuses to the bone, replacing tooth roots. The bonding process generally takes about three to six months. Once it's complete, your Gaithersburg dentist connects a dental crown to the top of the implant.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

Dental implants are a good choice if you've lost one or more teeth and are looking for a long-lasting replacement option. Because implants become part of your jaw, you'll probably never need to replace them if you care for them properly. You can take advantage of dental implants if you're in good health and have healthy gum tissue and good jawbone depth. If your jawbone isn't deep enough to support implants, your dentist may recommend a bone graft to strengthen it. Smokers tend to experience less success with the dental implant process because smoking can cause infections and lengthen healing time.

What are the benefits of implants?

Losing a tooth affects your jawbone as much as it impacts your appearance. Your teeth roots constantly place pressure on your jawbone and help keep it strong. When you lose a tooth, the jawbone underneath may become shallower and weaker. If jawbone weakening is significant, you may even eventually lose other teeth as a result.

Implants feel more natural than dentures or bridges. Since your crown is connected directly to the implant, you won't have to worry about gum irritation caused by rubbing and will be able to continue to eat your favorite foods.

Dental implants offer an excellent way to replace missing teeth! Call Dr. Kenneth Woo, Dr. Edmond Woo and Dr. Ho Kai Wang, your Gaithersburg, MD dentists, at (240) 683-3833 to make an appointment. Restore your smile with implants.

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
October 08, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.

He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”

Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.

There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.

The Science Behind the Magic

There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.

The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.

How’s that for a disappearing act?!

If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”