How to get a Smile Makeover before Christmas

merry christmas

merry christmasRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

This time of year everyone is thinking about gifts to give to their friends or loved ones. Often times, we think of everyone but ourselves! This Christmas, your cosmetic dentist in the Royal Oak area at Hartrick Dentistry wants you to know how you can get a smile makeover before Christmas. It could be the perfect gift for yourself.

There’s still time! Most cosmetic dental procedures can be done within a couple of weeks or less. Take a look at some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures to see which one may be the best fit for you. As with any treatment, be sure to schedule a consultation with Birmingham, Michigan’s cosmetic dentist Dr. Nancy Hartrick to see which treatments will be best for your case.

Teeth Whitening

Make your teeth dazzle this Christmas with a professional teeth whitening treatment using ZOOM! in Royal Oak. By using professional grade whitening gel, only available at the dentist’s office, your smile can be made shades whiter and brighter in as little as your lunch break. For those times when you need a little touching up, custom made tray and professional grade whitening gel can be provided to you for added convenience.

Veneers

For those patients looking to really revamp their smile, taking care of multiple smile imperfections at once, veneers may be the answer you have been looking for. By using ultrathin layers of porcelain, we handcraft veneers to fit over the front surface of your teeth. The veneers can hide imperfections such as teeth that are slightly crooked, misshapen, or discolored. The best part about veneers is that they never stain! A white shade can be chosen to give your smile an overall whiter appearance, just in time for the holidays. Act fast, however, because it takes a couple of weeks for our dental lab to fabricate the restorations.

Dental Crowns

Need a dental crown or have an old one that needs repair? Our CEREC crowns are made of high-quality dental porcelain that mimics the look of natural teeth. Also, our custom-made crowns are made in our office while you wait, which means you can have your new crown ready by Christmas.

Are you looking to replace a missing tooth? We also offer dental implants for those patients living with missing teeth. Known as the premier tooth replacement, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. While it takes several months or more to achieve the final results of a dental implant, we can certainly begin the implant process to have you well on your way to smiling confidently again in no time!

Smile Makeover

Not sure which cosmetic dental treatment is for you? Our smile makeover includes only the finest cosmetic dental treatments that are specific to your needs. A thorough assessment of your oral health and a strong consideration of your desires for a new smile will be combined, along with Dr. Hartrick’s knowledge and expertise in cosmetic dentistry, to fabricate the most confident smile for you – just in time for Christmas.

Cosmetic Dentistry for Christmas in Royal Oak

If you would like to learn more about our cosmetic dentistry treatments or to schedule a consultation before the holidays, please contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950.

Hartrick Dentistry welcomes patients of Royal Oak and Birmingham areas.

Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

Show Thanks for your Smile this Thanksgiving

show thanks for your smile

show thanks for your smileRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

As Thanksgiving approaches, what are you thankful for this year? Family, friends, your home, your job, and even your pets likely will make the list. Have you ever thought about giving thanks for your smile, though? After all, your teeth work hard for you for 365 days a year. Your Birmingham family dentist at Hartrick Dentistry suggests you show appreciation to your smile this Thanksgiving by making sure it is protected for the holiday season.

That Thanksgiving feast can threaten your oral health

Foods and drinks that are high in sugar, or high in acid, can cause the biggest problems for your teeth. Unfortunately, these high-sugar and highly acidic options are in abundance during the holiday season. When you eat or drink something with a high sugar content, any lingering sugar particles in your mouth become a food source for cavity-causing bacteria. Acid is arguably even more harmful. Unlike sugars, which are converted into acids by those bacteria, any acid you eat directly goes to work deteriorating your tooth enamel—the protective outer layer of your tooth structure. How you eat is important as well. When you eat a lengthy meal, or snack sporadically all day long, your teeth experience more exposure from these potentially harmful sugars, starches, and acids. Try to limit meal times and curtail snacking. How? We recommend planning some activities at holiday get-togethers that are not food-related.

Limit the sweets

Cake, cookies, candy, fudge, sweets… they’re all seemingly everywhere during the holiday season. We believe it is too harsh to try and bar yourself and your family from eating sweets during the holidays, but remember that balance is crucial. Limit your consumption of these sweets—not only to help your teeth but also in the name of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One small purchase that can help manage a sweet tooth is a pack of sugar-free gum. Chewing gum can fulfill that craving without the potential oral health risks from sugar, while also promoting the production of saliva, a natural lubricant that scrubs away food particles before they can accumulate on or between tour teeth. While we know that you will want to enjoy some pie this Thanksgiving, pop some sugar-free gum in your mouth afterward to help remove food particles and sugars that may accumulate.

H2O is the way to go

At any time of the year, water is the healthiest beverage choice available. Pure drinking water has zero calories, contains no sugars, and is not acidic. It will not increase your risk of cavities and is also the best source of hydration you can have. When you drink water during a meal, or even just rinse with it after a meal, it helps keep your mouth clean. This can be especially handy when eating that Thanksgiving meal loaded with sweets and carbs—as is the case on many holidays. Looking to bolster your dental health? Put aside the water bottle and drink tap water, assuming it comes from a fluoridated water supply.

Dental cleanings in Royal Oak

Maintaining optimal oral health means finding the right dental practice to care for your family. At Hartrick Dentistry, Dr. Nancy Hartrick and her team of dental professionals pride themselves on treating each individual with care and respect, while also using state-of-the-art tools and techniques to meet all of their oral health needs. We welcome patients of any age to our comfortable facility. To learn more about our services or schedule a tour of our facility, call (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the dental needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham in Michigan.

Posted in General Dentistry

When Snoring becomes Scary

snoring becomes scary

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

We all experience a bit of snoring from time to time, especially when sick or congested. However, snoring also can be a sign of a more serious disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. Your Royal Oak sleep apnea dentist at Hartrick Dentistry wants you to know when snoring becomes scary, and what you should do about it.

What causes snoring?

Snoring usually occurs when the airway is restricted or blocked either by excess fat around the neck, natural anatomy or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. However, sometimes the airway becomes blocked as a result of a collapsed airway, which occurs when the lower jaw falls backward during sleep.

How do I know if I snore?

If you live alone, you likely will find it difficult to learn whether you snore or not. However, snoring results in cutting off airflow to the body, which causes the brain to wake out of deep sleep. When this happens several or more times a night, it results in chronic daytime fatigue, difficulty focusing, memory problems and more. If you have a partner, however, ask them if you snore. Since snoring is the number one indicator of a sleep breathing disorder, it’s best to get it checked out to protect your long-term health.

Why is snoring dangerous?

Snoring can be dangerous because it means that your body and brain aren’t receiving enough oxygen. When this happens, it increases your risk of diseases and ailments including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It even can lead to certain types of cancer and death, especially when left untreated.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

At Hartrick Dentistry, Dr. Hartrick can perform an airway evaluation or a sleep study to determine how well you’re breathing when you sleep. If sleep apnea is discovered, we can discuss treatment options that are non-invasive, and that does not involve the use of a CPAP machine.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Dr. Hartrick prefers to treat sleep apnea with a custom-made oral appliance that can be worn while you sleep. The purpose of the appliance is to reposition the lower jaw during sleep, which facilitates an open airway. The oral appliance is comfortable to wear, and convenient since it does not require any cords or electricity to work, unlike the CPAP. Plus, an oral appliance for sleep apnea will not make any noise, therefore, does not interfere with your partner’s sleep either.

What should I do if I think I have sleep apnea?

If you experience symptoms associated with this sleep breathing disorder, do not ignore it. Get help by seeking an evaluation with us at Hartrick Dentistry. Sleep apnea dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Hartrick, can provide a simple evaluation to determine if you have sleep apnea, and then provide treatment that not only helps you rest better but improves your health by decreasing your risk of certain diseases and ailments.

Sleep Apnea Screening in Royal Oak

To learn more about sleep apnea or to receive a screening, please call Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950. We welcome patients of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Sleep Apnea

CPAP is not the Only Option

cpap not the only option

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

If your physician has diagnosed you with sleep apnea, most likely the only method of treatment you were given was the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy.

Why the CPAP?

For decades, the CPAP has been the go-to treatment for sleep apnea sufferers and has been proven to be an effective treatment. Physicians tend to stick with treatments that work, hence why they recommend the CPAP time and time again. Also, until recently, insurance companies would not cover any other type of sleep apnea treatment, leaving patients with little to no options for treatment.

How the CPAP works

CPAP therapy works by efficiently forcing air into the patient’s airway by way of a mask that the patient wears while sleeping, which facilitates proper airflow and relieves sleep apnea symptoms. So, what’s the problem?

The problem with CPAP is that many patients do not adhere to treatment for reasons such as it is cumbersome, the mask causes irritations, the noise from the machine keeps their partner awake, the machine is bulky and difficult to take along when traveling. The list goes on. The bottom line is that many CPAP users discontinue treatment after only a few months. This is not good because sleep apnea should not be ignored due to its negative impact on one’s health. Here’s the good news; you have options.

Alternative treatment for sleep apnea

Oral appliance therapy is a breakthrough in sleep apnea treatment. Every patient is different, and so are these custom-made oral appliances. Dentists today are relying more and more on effective treatment by use of these oral appliances such as ResMed, SomnoMed, and Micro 2 appliances. Oral appliances are custom made, offering comfort and convenience.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

It is important not to ignore your symptoms of sleep apnea. If you have symptoms such as daytime fatigue, changes in mood, or snore while sleeping, you may have sleep apnea. The good news is that you do not have to be bothered by using an inconvenient CPAP machine. Come and see us at Hartrick Dentistry for a simple solution to your sleep apnea.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and seek an alternative treatment, contact Hartrick Dentistry today by calling (248) 549-0950. Dr. Hartrick can assess the severity of your sleep apnea, and work with you to customize an oral appliance that fits your changing needs for sleep apnea treatment.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI.

Posted in Sleep Apnea

What you need to know about Myofunctional Therapy

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Have you heard of orofacial myofunctional therapy? It may be a mouthful to say, but a course of orofacial myofunctional therapy (also known as OMT) can treat a wide variety of issues affecting the mouth and face including obstructive sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint disorder, mouth breathing, tongue thrust, and more.

Here is what you need to know about myofunctional therapy:

What is orofacial myofunctional therapy?

It consists of a series of exercises that work the tongue, along with the muscles of the face and mouth. These simple, pain-free exercises re-train the orofacial system, allowing the muscles of the mouth and face to now perform at optimum levels. While the needs of each patient vary, a typical course of OMT lasts at least six months. 

One of the primary goals of myofunctional therapy is to achieve or restore the ideal oral resting posture—which consists of having teeth closed with lips together, while the tongue rests gently against the palate and shallow breathing occurs through the nose.

Who needs myofunctional therapy?

Anyone suffering from an orofacial myofunctional disorder (which also is referred to as an OMD for short) can benefit from a course of this therapy, which corrects this negative habit over time.

Behaviors that can be evidence of an OMD include a speech impediment such as a lisp, teeth clenching or grinding (also known as bruxism), loud snoring, a sleep breathing disorder, tethered oral tissue such as a tongue-tie, habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrust, frequently biting the nails or inanimate objects, frequently breathing through the mouth, or a slouching head posture. In babies, an OMD can cause difficulties breastfeeding, which could manifest as anything from difficulty latching to failure to thrive.

If you or a member of your family has an orofacial myofunctional disorder, this problem will not just go away on its own. In fact, it will only get worse over time. The long-term consequences of an untreated OMD may include bite alignment issues, as well as gum disease, sleep apnea, the abnormal or substandard growth of the face and jaw, or relapse following orthodontic treatment. Having an OMD diagnosed and treated as early in life as possible makes it easier to treat the disorder. The recommendations of the International Association of Orofacial Myology indicate that children be evaluated for the potential causes of an OMD, such as an airway restriction, as early as the age of 4 years old.

Myofunctional therapy also can be used to treat chronic conditions such as sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorder.

Myofunctional Therapy in Royal Oak and Birmingham

The staff at Hartrick Dentistry has special training to identify an OMD, and we can provide myofunctional therapy in the Royal Oak area. To learn more about the benefits of myofunctional therapy or to schedule an evaluation to see if you or someone you love has an OMD, call our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to provide comprehensive oral health care for patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy

Is Stress Ruining your Teeth-Here’s what we can do About it

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Sensitive teeth are more common than you might think. According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association that looked at dental practices in the northwest region of the United States, more than 12 percent of patients—or one in eight—suffered from sensitive teeth. The causes of tooth sensitivity can include cavities, gum disease, and using over-the-counter teeth whitening products but some of the greatest risks to your mouth come from the “hidden” cause of tooth sensitivity… stress.

How stress can damage your teeth

Bruxism is a behavior that occurs when you grind and clench your teeth. This action usually happens when a person is asleep, so patients who suffer from this issue often never realize they are doing it. However, the damage from bruxism can be devastating to your teeth. A patient with a severe case of bruxism may be placing as much as 250 pounds of additional pressure on their teeth. This pressure can cause enhanced sensitivity in teeth, along with a host of other potential problems, including tooth damage. In fact, patients with an advanced, untreated case of bruxism may have all their teeth worn down to the nubs as a result of bruxism.

How your local Bloomsburg family dentists can help

Hamilton Dental Care can prescribe a custom-made mouth guard to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism. Our custom-made mouth guards are constructed of the finest materials available and are fabricated using unique impressions of your teeth and mouth to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit. 

Oral hygiene often can be affected during times of high stress. When you are worried or stressed about something going on in your life, it can be easy to neglect daily tasks like brushing and flossing. This can increase tooth sensitivity as plaque and tartar build up on your teeth and gums. No matter what is going on in your life, you need to be sure to take care of your teeth. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily.

How your local Danville family dentist can help

Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings is a critical step in maintaining optimal levels of oral hygiene. These check-ups help your dentist remain aware of any changes in your oral health, and one of our hygienists can perform a cleaning that removes tartar buildup from your teeth and gum line.

Diet also can be affected during stressful times. Ever heard of “stress eating?” This is when people increase their consumption of junk food, binging on their favorite unhealthy treats when they get stressed out. Eating too many sugary foods or drinking carbonated beverages makes your teeth more sensitive because they can deteriorate the enamel—the harder outer layer of your tooth surface, and increase your risk of tooth decay.

How your local Lewisburg family dentist can help

We can suggest better food choices that promote good oral health and advise you on which foods could be a detriment to your oral health. You also may consider exercising in times of stress rather than reaching for unhealthy junk food or treats.

Family Dentist in Bloomsburg

Hamilton Dental Care can help protect your teeth against the devastating effects of stress. Contact our office at (570) 387-0533 to schedule a consultation and learn more about the services we offer.

Hamilton Dental Care is here to serve patients in the communities of Bloomsburg, Danville, and Lewisburg, PA.

Posted in Oral Health

Sedation Dentistry for Dental Anxiety

anxiety free dentistry

anxiety free dentistryRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Gum disease affects nearly half of Americans who are over the age of 30. Meanwhile, it is estimated that one out of every three Americans is dissatisfied with the appearance of their smile. However, millions of individuals avoid going to the dentist out of fear.

What is a dental phobia?

This is a condition known as dental phobia, and it affects 30 to 40 million people in this country. This refers to patients who experience strong feelings of fear and anxiety. As a result of this behavior, many people with dental anxiety actually have the greatest need to receive professional oral care because they have neglected regular check-ups and cleanings, allowing significant problems to develop. A patient who suffers from dental anxiety may go several years—or even decades—without seeking the care of a dentist because of this phobia.

If you or a member of your family suffers from dental anxiety, these feelings of fear no longer have to stand in the way of top-quality professional oral care thanks to sedation dentistry. This refers to the practice of using sedation to make a patient calm and comfortable, allowing dental care to take place.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation, which is administered as a small pill, is the most common type of sedation. This sedation will make you relaxed and perhaps a bit drowsy, but will not put you to sleep. You still can respond to those speaking to you, but you will have less awareness of your surroundings.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide is another popular type of sedation used in dentistry. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide has been used for decades in dentistry and makes a person very relaxed in a short period of time. Proven safe and effective, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and administered in a mask that fits over the nose. Once a procedure is complete, the flow of the gas is cut off and replaced with pure oxygen, allowing a quick recovery from the effects of nitrous oxide.

Who should not undergo sedation dentistry?

Certain pre-existing conditions may preclude you from sedation dentistry. These conditions include pregnancy, glaucoma, and central nervous system depression. A qualified dentist should evaluate your medical history before beginning any procedure that involves sedation.

Visit the dentist without fear or anxiety

Sedation dentistry makes it possible to undergo even extremely lengthy or uncomfortable procedures. You can sit in comfort without feeling any pain. Sedation also can be a good option for patients who have difficulty sitting still or holding their jaws open for a prolonged period of time, as well as those who deal with an extremely sensitive gag reflex.

Sedation Dentistry in Royal Oak

Whatever the reason, if phobia or some other condition has kept you away from the dentist, then sedation dentistry could be right for you. At Hartrick Dentistry, we offer sedation in the form of both a pill and nitrous oxide. Which form of sedation is right for you will depend on your oral health, overall health, and the degree of your fear regarding seeing your Royal Oak sedation dentist. To learn more, contact our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Anxietry-free Dentistry

Get the 411 on Porcelain Veneers

get the 411 on veneers

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

How would you like to improve the way your teeth look, but also how they function? Porcelain veneers can accomplish this double feat. The veneers used at Hartrick Dentistry represent the pinnacle of strength, flexibility, and aesthetics that currently is available in the world of cosmetic dentistry. In many cases, having porcelain veneers installed can resolve several cosmetic issues at the same time.

Here is some more information on porcelain veneers, and their potential benefits:

  • A dream smile: Advances in cosmetic dentistry have made it more attainable than ever to have a beautiful smile worthy of Hollywood. This means having brilliant white teeth that are all perfectly straight and long is achievable. Improving your smile will make you more likely to want to show it off, thus boosting your self-confidence. Studies even show that people with a gorgeous smile are more likely to get promotions at work, and get more dates!
  • Versatility: A porcelain veneer can resolve aesthetic concerns if your teeth are discolored, stained, chipped, misshapen, crooked or too small. Even a person who has multiple complaints with the look of their smile can have those aesthetic issues treated at the same time by receiving a veneer.
  • How they work: A veneer is an ultra-thin layer of ceramic that is custom-crafted to fit on the front of your natural teeth, covering the visible surface. Each of the veneers used by your Royal Oak cosmetic dentist at Hartrick Dentistry is constructed of beautiful, high-quality dental porcelain. This porcelain has the same light-reflecting quality as natural tooth enamel. Plus, the porcelain can be color-matched and shaped to look like your other teeth if only receiving a one or two veneers on your front teeth. However, if you desire a complete smile makeover, costmetic dentist Dr. Nancy Hartrick can help you choose a much lighter shade to give your smile a permenantly white look.
  • Durability: The word porcelain may conjure images of fragility, but the ceramic used to construct our high-quality dental porcelain represents the cutting edge of cosmetic dental technology. In addition to looking beautiful, this porcelain is powerful; it can withstand as much as 58,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.
  • Choose wisely: Make sure to seek out a dentist with the knowledge and the aesthetics to perform a porcelain veneer installation. Many dentists may claim to offer porcelain veneers, but that does not mean they can perform the procedure at a high level. It takes a unique blend of technical expertise and artistry to install a beautiful, fully functioning porcelain veneer. Common mistakes include errors when preparing your teeth to receive the veneers, which can affect their durability; or installing them without paying due diligence to your bite, causing a misalignment that can damage both your veneers and your healthy teeth.

Veneers in Royal Oak

At Hartrick Dentistry, we make sure to tailor each porcelain veneer installation to the needs and goals of every individual patient. We never take a “by the numbers” approach to a veneer or any dental procedure for that matter, making sure that each veneer patient leaves with a unique and flawless-looking smile.

To learn more about porcelain veneers, or any of the other cosmetic techniques and treatments at our disposal at Hartrick Dentistry, call our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation today.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry for Dental Anxiety

calming dental fears

calming dental fearsRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Gum disease affects nearly half of Americans who are over the age of 30. Meanwhile, it is estimated that one out of every three Americans is dissatisfied with the appearance of their smile. However, millions of individuals avoid going to the dentist out of fear.

What is a dental phobia?

This is a condition known as dental phobia, and it affects 30 to 40 million people in this country. This refers to patients who experience strong feelings of fear and anxiety. As a result of this behavior, many people with dental anxiety actually have the greatest need to receive professional oral care because they have neglected regular check-ups and cleanings, allowing significant problems to develop. A patient who suffers from dental anxiety may go several years—or even decades—without seeking the care of a dentist because of this phobia.

If you or a member of your family suffers from dental anxiety, these feelings of fear no longer have to stand in the way of top-quality professional oral care thanks to sedation dentistry. This refers to the practice of using sedation to make a patient calm and comfortable, allowing dental care to take place.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation, which is administered as a small pill, is the most common type of sedation. This sedation will make you relaxed and perhaps a bit drowsy, but will not put you to sleep. You still can respond to those speaking to you, but you will have less awareness of your surroundings.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide is another popular type of sedation used in dentistry. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide has been used for decades in dentistry and makes a person very relaxed in a short period of time. Proven safe and effective, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and administered in a mask that fits over the nose. Once a procedure is complete, the flow of the gas is cut off and replaced with pure oxygen, allowing a quick recovery from the effects of nitrous oxide.

Who should not undergo sedation dentistry?

Certain pre-existing conditions may preclude you from sedation dentistry. These conditions include pregnancy, glaucoma, and central nervous system depression. A qualified dentist should evaluate your medical history before beginning any procedure that involves sedation.

Visit the dentist without fear or anxiety

Sedation dentistry makes it possible to undergo even extremely lengthy or uncomfortable procedures. You can sit in comfort without feeling any pain. Sedation also can be a good option for patients who have difficulty sitting still or holding their jaws open for a prolonged period of time, as well as those who deal with an extremely sensitive gag reflex.

Sedation Dentistry in Royal Oak

Whatever the reason, if phobia or some other condition has kept you away from the dentist, then sedation dentistry could be right for you. At Hartrick Dentistry, we offer sedation in the form of both a pill and nitrous oxide. Which form of sedation is right for you will depend on your oral health, overall health, and the degree of your fear regarding seeing your Royal Oak sedation dentist. To learn more, contact our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Anxietry-free Dentistry

Dangers of Mouth Breathing

dangers of mouth breathing

dangers of mouth breathingRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Parents spend time and money to make sure their children are safe, but did you know that how your child breathes can have a major effect—good or bad—on his or her health? Children who engage in regular mouth breathing early in life can be more vulnerable to a variety of issues, ranging from skin diseases and GI issues to a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea.

How you breathe matters. The ideal manner of breathing is by taking shallow breaths through the nose. Breathing in this way means you receive a higher quantity of oxygen. Nasal breathing also produces nitric oxide, which encourages vaso-dilation in the airway, arteries, and capillaries, and allowing more oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through your bloodstream.

Mouth breathing, however, dries and constricts the airway. Less oxygen is filtered into the bloodstream. Regularly breathing through the mouth also encourages the growth of bacteria, which increases the vulnerability of sinusitis, and it can inflame the GI tract.

Sleep apnea is one of the greatest health risks associated with mouth breathing. After all, many mouth breathers also snore, and snoring is considered the biggest warning sign of a sleep breathing disorder like sleep apnea. A patient with sleep apnea experiences a collapse of the airway during sleep. These collapses can be partial or complete, disrupting your ability to breathe and jolting you out of the sleep cycle as your body gasps for air. A person with an advanced case of sleep apnea may experience these airway issues hundreds of times per night. It is no wonder you may wake up feeling tired even though you were in bed for eight hours or more.

What causes mouth breathing? The culprit could be allergies or having enlarged tonsils. In most cases, however, improper oral resting posture is the reason behind regular mouth breathing. This posture problem actually is quite common with today’s westernized diet, as it encourages narrow dental arches and can affect the proportions of the face.

By using a custom-made oral appliance, your Royal Oak sleep apnea dentist can guide your child back into the preferred oral resting posture: with lips together, teeth together, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth. Over time, using such an appliance widens the arches, allowing the permanent teeth to erupt in their optimum positions as well. This optimum oral resting posture also encourages a wide, well-functioning airway that is far less susceptible to the type of blockages that occur in sleep apnea.

A professional dental practice such as Hartrick Dentistry can prescribe an oral appliance that is far superior to the anti-snoring mouthpieces and other mouth guards available in stores. Each of these oral appliances from your Royal Oak dentist is one of a kind, made from impressions of the mouth of a patient to provide a snug, effective, comfortable fit.

Many times, children benefit from a course of myofunctional therapy, which trains muscles of the tongue and mouth to rest and function properly. This in turn will help facilitate nasal breathing and an open airway. Myofunctional therapy is offered at your Royal Oak dental office.

Parents can do their part to diminish the likelihood of mouth breathing in their children by providing a diet that includes a healthy assortment of raw and crunchy foods. Consuming these foods encourages jaw development, which is crucial as strong jaws make it easier to maintain the ideal oral resting posture.

Myofunctional therapy and sleep apnea treatment in Royal Oak

Have you noticed your child breathing regularly through the mouth or snoring loudly at night? If so, Hartrick Dentistry can help. Contact (248) 549-0950 to schedule an appointment today.

Hartrick Dentistry provides the finest level of dental care to people in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Pediatric

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Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
32609 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
Call: 248-549-0950
Fax: 248-549-1180