Signs of Tongue Thrust and what to do about it

signs of tongue thrust

signs of tongue thrustRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

As an essential organ of the human body, the tongue helps you taste, chew, and swallow. Unfortunately, improper tongue function could interfere with your oral health. Tongue thrust is a condition that could cause your teeth to become crooked or misaligned, resulting in a narrow airway and requiring additional dental care. But, you may not be aware that you have it. Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, is sharing the signs of tongue thrust and what to do about it.

Symptoms of Tongue Thrust

One of the most obvious signs of tongue thrust is your tongue pushing against your teeth when you swallow. Although this symptom is typically obvious, other, less noticeable signs could indicate you have the condition.

  • Tongue thrust affects how you speak, eat, and swallow.
  • Since tongue thrust causes the tongue to push against the back of your front teeth, it could cause misalignment or gaps to appear over time. The gradual movement could require orthodontic treatment to realign your smile. However, orthodontic relapse may occur if this orofacial myofunctional disorder is not addressed.
  • Tongue thrust often results in open mouth posture and mouth breathing, which causes a narrow face and unfavorable profile.

These symptoms are not all-inclusive of tongue thrust. To get an accurate diagnosis, you would need to visit our dental office in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry.

Causes of Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is an orofacial myofunctional disorder that typically is caused by thumb-sucking or extended pacifier usage. It also may be due to an untreated tongue-tie. Early diagnosis and treatment through myofunctional therapy corrects the improper tongue movements. However, if the condition is left untreated, it could cause skeletal development problems as the child ages, resulting in the need for orthodontic care.

It is best to identify and treat tongue thrust early in life. However, even adults benefit from treatment. If you notice your tongue pushes against your teeth when speaking, eating, or swallowing, it is time to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Treatment Options for Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust will not go away on its own. It requires treatment by a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, such as Dr. Nancy Hartrick. If you believe that you or your child may have tongue thrust, schedule an appointment with our dentist in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry for an assessment.

Some of the most common treatments for tongue thrust are outlined below

  • Myofunctional Therapy – Much like physical therapy for your body, myofunctional therapy uses a specific series of exercises that train the tongue and mouth to function properly when swallowing and breathing. In addition, it helps the tongue rest with closed lips, teeth together, and your tongue pressing gently against the roof of your mouth in a natural position.
  • Oral Appliances – Some oral appliances, like custom-fitted mouthguards, can be worn all or part of the day to help prevent your tongue from pressing against your teeth.
  • Behavioral Changes – Tongue thrust could be caused by a repeated pattern. Once diagnosed, your family dentist in Birmingham can help you or your child recognize the behavior and attempt to overcome the condition through self-awareness.
  • Orthodontics – Depending on the severity of your tongue thrust and the damage caused to your teeth, you may need orthodontic treatment. Dr. Hartrick offers Invisalign, which is a discreet way to straighten teeth.

Family Dentist in Royal Oak and Birmingham

Tongue thrust, if left untreated, could cause problems into adulthood. However, there are several options available to correct this disorder. If you think you or your child suffer from tongue thrust, feel free to contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 or request an appointment today.

Posted in General Dentistry

Why Dental Implants are Worth the Cost

dental implants are worth it

dental implants are worth itRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Have you ever felt self-conscious about your smile? If you are living with missing teeth, or having trouble with ill-fitting dentures, you should know that there is a solution to your problems—dental implants. When installed by an experienced dentist, a dental implant could last the rest of your life and revolutionize the way you feel about your smile. Hartrick Dentistry knows that dental implants are the best tooth replacement treatment on the market for a variety of reasons, but maybe you’re unsure about pursuing implants because of the cost. While it’s true that implants are expensive, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, an implant dentist in Royal Oak, wants to explain why receiving a dental implant to replace your lost teeth is worth every penny.

Dental Implants and Insurance

If you’ve been living with lost teeth, you probably already know about dental implants. Maybe you looked into getting an implant, but your dental insurance provider refused to cover the procedure. What reason did your insurer give? Your dental insurance carrier probably said that implants are experimental, or maybe that they only served a cosmetic purpose. The reality is that neither is true.

Dental implants are not experimental. Dentists have been using implants for more than 50 years. In that time, multiple comprehensive studies have been done proving that implants are safe, effective, long lasting, and the only way to fully replace a missing tooth.

Dental implants are not just for cosmetics. It’s true that a completed implant look and feels natural, but they provide functional benefits, too. Implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing your supporting bone structure from deteriorating and helping to keep your remaining natural teeth stable and in their place. This stimulation also encourages healthier gums and jaws.

Don’t Let Insurance Dictate Your Health Decisions

Dr. Nancy Hartrick doesn’t want you to give up on getting dental implants just because your insurance won’t cover them. However, some dental insurance plans offer coverage for dental implants. Check with your provider to find out. At our office in Royal Oak, we can develop an individualized treatment plan that outlines the estimated cost of your dental implant procedure.

We also offer three convenient payment options:

  1. Pre-pay prior to your appointment and get a 5 percent discount.
  2. Divide your payments by paying part of the balance the day you receive treatment, and the remaining balance within 30 days after your visit. If your balance is more than $1000, then you also can make a partial payment when scheduling your appointment.
  3. We also offer special financing packages through partnerships with CareCredit and Lending Club. These options allow you to charge the amount of your treatment and then make interest-free monthly payments for a specified time.

Dental Implants in Royal Oak

Are you tired of struggling with eating difficulties, problems speaking, or general frustration over living with lost teeth? You don’t have to live that way any longer. Committing to dental implants can seem costly, but in the long run, receiving implants to replace your lost teeth is worth it. To find out if dental implants are right for you, contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 and schedule a consultation. We welcome patients from the areas of Birmingham and Royal Oak in Michigan.

Posted in Dental Implants

3 Causes of Gapped Teeth and how to Fix It

causes of gap teeth

causes of gap teethRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Gapped teeth are common, but that doesn’t mean it makes you feel good about your smile if you have unevenly spaced teeth. Several factors impact how teeth align. Maybe your teeth have been gapped since you were or kid or you are an adult that now is dealing with orthodontic relapse as your teeth drift apart. Today on the blog, cosmetic dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, is sharing three causes of gapped teeth and how it can be fixed.

Missing Teeth

Teeth like their neighbors. If you have a tooth extracted, even a back tooth that no one would notice, eventually, your other teeth begin drifting, resulting in gaps. It can take years for teeth to shift in this manner, although it is best to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. Dr. Hartrick offers tooth replacement options such as partial dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants to restore your smile and replace missing teeth. To find out the best tooth replacement option for you, contact Hartrick Dentistry today.

Untreated Tongue- or Lip-Tie

Also referred to as restricted frenum, this thin string of tissue attaches the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, as well as the upper lip to the gums along the boney ridge of the upper dental arch. You’re either born with a tongue- or lip-tie or you’re not. It isn’t something that develops over time or later in life. Restricted frenums often are discovered during infancy, especially when a nursing mother struggles to nurse or get her baby to latch properly. Unfortunately, tongue- and lip-ties go undiagnosed for years, which may result in negative oral habits or orofacial myofunctional disorders that impact how teeth emerge and align. Often, a lip-tie may cause gapped teeth because the frenum prevents the two front teeth from aligning. A simple remedy to this problem is a frenectomy, which can be done by a dentist in Royal Oak that offers laser dentistry. For children and adults who undergo this procedure, a course of myofunctional therapy usually is recommended to retrain the tongue, mouth, and lips to function properly and to correct oral posture. Myofunctional therapy can help adults reverse years of poor oral resting posture, reverse swallowing habits, and mouth breathing.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

This likely is something you have not heard of, but orofacial myofunctional disorders include prolonged thumb or digit sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrust, and improper swallowing patterns. Many times, these disorders develop at a young age. Unfortunately, if they aren’t corrected, lead to dental health problems, temporomandibular joint disorder, sleep apnea, and an unattractive facial profile. Gaps between teeth also may form as a result of improper rest oral posture or swallowing patterns. Even if a child grows up and undergoes orthodontic treatment, they likely experience a relapse, which means that after getting their braces off, their teeth shift out of alignment again, or gaps reappear.

Get Gapped Teeth Fixed in Royal Oak

If you are an adult with gapped teeth or your child has gapped teeth, we recommend a consultation with Dr. Nancy Hartrick. During this evaluation, Dr. Hartrick determines the cause behind unwanted gaps between your teeth and will present solutions to help you feel more confident about your smile. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please call (248) 549-0950. Hartrick Dentistry provides oral care to Birmingham and Royal Oak.

Posted in General Dentistry

The Real Reasons behind your Child’s Tantrums

real reason behind childs tantrums

real reason behind childs tantrumsRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Parenting is hard, especially if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control estimates nearly 6.1 million children have a behavioral disorder referred to as ADHD? Children with attention issues that have the inability to focus, are hyperactive, and disinterested in school or sports may be flagged as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Still, there could be another reason behind your child’s tantrums, bed-wetting, and poor grades. Find out on today’s blog as Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a pediatric sleep apnea dentist in Royal Oak explores this topic.

What’s really going on with my child?

Simply put, a child with low oxygenation in his or her blood, meaning not getting enough air, exhibits ADHD-like symptoms. Could this mean that thousands of children are being medicated for a disorder they don’t really have? Absolutely!

How your child’s breathing patterns relate to their behavior

Everyone breathes, we couldn’t survive without air. But some people do not breathe correctly. You probably never thought there was a right and a wrong way to breathe. Nasal breathing is the most efficient and healthiest way to inhale and exhale air. Mouth breathing, however, results in lower oxygen levels in the blood, and basically starves the body of the air it needs to thrive.

For a child that chronically mouth breathes, their body isn’t receiving enough air, which means they experience lower levels of oxygen in their blood. As a result, their body suffers. Mouth breathers are more likely to have sleep apnea, which results in breathing through the mouth while asleep, snoring, and gasping for air. These breathing interruptions that occur wakes the brain just enough to disrupt sleep, leaving the person sleep deprived. When children do not get enough sleep, they are more likely to throw temper tantrums and become hyperactive. These factors alone are why so many children are diagnosed with ADHD when in actuality, they can’t breathe!

What causes my child to mouth breathe?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders or OMDs occur when the mouth and tongue do not function as they should. Tongue thrust, prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier usage, or even an untreated tongue- or lip-tie may cause a child to develop an OMD. This means the child is likely to mouth breathe and snore while sleeping. When a child has an OMD, their dental arch does not fully develop, it is quite narrow, which restricts the airway and oxygen flow. Thankfully, certified myofunctional therapists in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry can help.

How myofunctional therapy corrects mouth breathing

Myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy for your mouth and tongue. Specific exercises retrain the orofacial structures of the tongue, lips, and mouth to function properly when eating, chewing, and swallowing. It also corrects open mouth posture and encourages nasal breathing. Only a certified myofunctional therapist can oversee this treatment. It can benefit young children, as well as adults.

How long until I see results?

Each case is different, but results may be achieved in only a few months, or it may take longer. Factors include the age of the patient, how long they have compensated for their OMD, and their willingness to follow through with treatment. For severe cases, treatment may last between six months to a year. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker you will see results. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our myofunctional therapist, contact Hartrick Dentistry.

It may seem difficult to understand the relationship between how your child breathes and their behavior, but studies support this association. If your child exhibits ADHD or ADD-like symptoms, ask Dr. Hartrick for an airway evaluation. Myofunctional therapy is medication-free and could help your child live a healthier life.

Myofunctional Therapy in Royal Oak

Contact the office of Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation and learn more about myofunctional therapy and mouth breathing.

Hartrick Dentistry provides comprehensive, compassionate, quality oral health care for patients in the areas of Birmingham and Royal Oak, Michigan.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy

Stress-related jaw pain during the Coronavirus Pandemic

stress related jaw pain

stress related jaw painRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Our entire society has been upended as part of the global fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Attempts to contain COVID-19 have canceled major events and affected the way many people shop, travel, and work. Whether you’re living with the immediate threat of coronavirus or consequences of the containment, this is a stressful time for everyone. Stress is also a common cause of jaw pain. Your neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, wants you to know how she can help treat your stress-related jaw pain, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

How does stress threaten your oral health?

Stress is considered the most common culprit of bruxism—the clinical term for teeth grinding. Many people who grind their teeth do it when they’re sleeping, and may never realize that they’re doing it. Meanwhile, their teeth and mouths can be devastated by the habit. Bruxism can wear your teeth down to the nubs. It also can throw off the alignment of your jaws, leading to a case of temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ disorder or TMD).

The Causes of Jaw Pain

  • TMJ disorder: You may not even know where your temporomandibular joint is (it’s a small, round joint connecting your jaw to your skull), but if it malfunctions, it can have major consequences on your oral health and overall quality of life. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that about 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder at any one time. This number is merely an estimate, however, because many people who have this ailment never realize it, they do not receive a proper diagnosis or treatment. TMJ disorder also is one of the most significant diagnostic challenges in medicine. It can be misidentified as another ailment—such as migraine headaches, for example, because TMD sufferers also experience frequently occurring headaches that cause intense pain like migraines.  
  • Tooth pain: Nothing can ruin your day quite like a toothache. Tooth pain also can lead to jaw trauma if whatever is affecting the tooth is not identified, diagnosed, and treated. Common culprits for tooth pain include cavities, tooth decay, damage due to an injury, or an infected tooth. However, dental pain is a sign that something is going on in your mouth, and the dentist should assess it.

How to Relieve Jaw Pain  

Right now, as we continue to take measures to battle against the spread of COVID-19, the American Dental Association is recommending a pause on all non-essential dental care—such as cleanings and cosmetic procedures. Dr. Hartrick is still seeing patients as she, and her team, exercise extreme precautions to keep patients safe while receiving care. If, however, if you do not wish to leave your home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may try applying moist heat or ice packs to your face on 10-minute intervals and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve your discomfort.

In the meantime, Dr. Nancy Hartrick and her team of oral health professionals at Hartrick Dentistry are available to help treat the cause of your jaw pain and provide relief. She is experienced and trained in dealing with both TMJ disorder and bruxism. She also has the expertise and resources to provide comprehensive oral care in nearly any area of essential service where you may have a need.

Providing Dental Care During COVID-19 in Royal Oak

If you do need dental care during this stressful and uncertain time, you can trust your provider at Hartrick Dentistry. We maintain OSHA standards for cleanliness and sanitization. We’ve taken additional steps, like removing magazines from our lobby and asking patients to wait in their vehicles until their appointment is ready to begin. We ask that you please call our office before you enter. Also, each patient will have their temperature taken as they arrive for their appointment. Moreover, members of our clinical team who have direct contact with patients must wear protective gear such as gloves, surgical-grade masks, and goggles. If you have any additional questions about our policies during the coronavirus pandemic, or if you live in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan, and you need dental care during COVID-19, please call us at (248) 549-0950 to schedule your appointment today.

Posted in TMJ

Dental Visits During the Coronavirus Outbreak

dental visits during coronavirus

dental visits during coronavirusRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Update: Effective immediately, Hartrick Dentistry has decided to reschedule elective dental procedures, such as preventive care and dental cleanings until after April 6th. Our office will contact you to reschedule. If you experience a dental emergency during the next few weeks, please contact Dr. Hartrick’s office directly by calling (248) 549-0950 or contact us online. You will be asked prescreening questions to ensure the healthy and safety of our employees, and other patients that may visit our practice for necessary care. Thank you, for your continued cooperation during this time.

The pandemic of the coronavirus or COVID-19 has been the focus of media coverage and has raised concerns about the outbreak across the United States. Your dental provider in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, understands your concerns. Therefore, Hartrick Dentistry is sharing information about the virus and how your health and safety is a top priority when attending your dental visits during the coronavirus outbreak.

What precautions should I take during the coronavirus outbreak?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that everyone practice social distancing, avoid group gatherings of more than 10, and stay home as much as possible. To help protect yourself, the CDC recommends washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and remain in your home if you are sick. If you are an elderly patient or suffer from chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, or hypertension, your risk of experiencing complications from the virus increases, according to the CDC. Therefore, your Birmingham dentist at Hartrick Dentistry recommends speaking with your primary care physician to determine your level of risk in contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Should I cancel my dental appointment during the coronavirus outbreak?

The American Dental Association currently encourages all elective dental appointments, including preventive care and cleanings, be postponed for a few weeks. Hartrick Dentistry will be calling our patients to reschedule their upcoming appointments. We understand this is a challenging time for everybody, and we appreciate your patience as we navigate through this pandemic together.

If I have a dental emergency, should I still go to the dentist?

Dental emergencies seem to happen at the least convenient times. Even in the wake of a pandemic, a dental emergency still needs to be addressed, especially if you are in pain. Dental pain is typically a sign of a more serious condition that could indicate an infection is present. If treatment is not sought, the infection could spread to your brain or your heart and could be life-threatening. When you have dental pain, our emergency dental office in Birmingham at Hartrick Dental should be called to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. For other dental emergencies such as a loose crown or a minor chipped tooth, it is still recommended that you call to schedule an appointment right away.

How is Hartrick Dentistry protecting patients against the coronavirus?

Rest assured that Hartrick Dentistry is a clean dental practice in Royal Oak. The doctors and staff on the Hartrick Dentistry team are trained in OSHA standards for the cleanliness and sanitization of patient rooms and equipment that is used for patient care. As a general dentist in Royal Oak, Hartrick Dentistry uses EPA-approved disinfectants that are specifically formulated for use in the healthcare industry to kill bacteria, viruses, and blood-borne pathogens. Also, our clinical team that has direct contact with patients must wear protective gear such as gloves, surgical-grade masks, and goggles. To further protect the health of our patients, the CDC’s recommendation for hand hygiene is used between appointments and after handling used dental tools and equipment, even though gloves are worn. Stringent sanitizing and sterilization methods are practiced within our Royal Oak dental practice, regardless of an outbreak, to maintain a safe and healthy environment to protect our patients.

When should I cancel my appointment and not go to the dentist?

For the safety of our patients and team, we request that you contact our office before your appointment if you are running a fever, have a cough, have recently traveled, or have been around someone who has traveled outside of the U.S. In addition, if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, we recommend contacting your health care provider or seek medical assistance for testing.

Additional measures that you can take to prevent spreading the virus, should you become sick, is to change out your toothbrush once you are symptom-free, and regularly clean your oral appliances, such as dentures or mouthguards. Also, be sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after brushing or flossing your teeth, as well as when you need to remove your oral appliance.

Dental Care During the Coronavirus Outbreak in Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan

Even though the coronavirus is spreading across the U.S., there is no need to panic, and you can continue to attend your regularly scheduled dental appointments if you are healthy and not showing any signs of COVID-19. If you have questions or concerns about Hartrick Dentistry’s sanitation process or need to schedule an appointment, feel free to call (248) 549-0950 or contact us online. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to receive updates regarding the effects of COVID-19 and your dental care.

Posted in News and Updates

Look Younger just by Changing how you Breathe

change the way you breathe

change the way you breatheRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Anti-aging is a topic on every beauty website and promoted on the packaging of cosmetic products. Did you know that your dentist also could help you turn back the clock on your appearance? Your Royal Oak dentist Dr. Nancy Hartrick wants to educate you on how you could reverse signs of aging just by breathing through your nose.

Lists of potential anti-aging tips never mention nose breathing, but it helps. You can, in fact, minimize the prominence of fine lines and wrinkles by not breathing through your mouth. Night creams, moisturizers, and even changing up your diet or exercise routine improves your appearance and helps you look younger. But, what about nasal breathing? Let’s further explore this issue.

How You Breathe Matters

Over time, how you breathe affects not only your dental health but also your body. Nasal breathing creates more oxygenation in the bloodstream and encourages the production of nitric oxide. In addition to its anti-bacterial qualities, nitric oxide relaxes the body and every major system from cardiovascular to immune. Nitric oxide helps with other medical issues as well. Scientific research shows that nitric oxide improves conditions relating to digestive troubles, immune health, memory loss, and behavioral disorders.

The benefits of nitric oxide include:

  • Increases memory and learning abilities
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Invokes healthy response to inflammation
  • Improves your quality of sleep
  • Increases both endurance and strength
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Encourages both healthy immune system and gut function
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease
  • Manages symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Slows signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines

There is no way to stop aging in its tracks. However, there is a difference between graceful healthy aging and the signs of aging appearing too quickly. Having healthy blood circulation, a strong heart, and a well-functioning cardiovascular system lowers your body’s stress levels. Between the anti-inflammatory abilities and its effects on blood flow, nitric oxide also encourages vibrant, natural, healthy-looking skin.

Am I Breathing Through My Nose?

You probably never think about how you breathe—whether you do so through your nose or mouth. After all, breathing is an unconscious bodily function unless you suffer from a condition that makes breathing more difficult. We’ve all seen or heard someone referred to as a “mouth breather.” That’s usually an insult related to intelligence, but also a negative association that doesn’t apply in this discussion.

At Hartrick Dentistry, we can help you decipher if you’re breathing through your mouth or not. We recommend looking out for these common symptoms:

Signs of mouth breathing while asleep:

  • Snoring
  • Drooling
  • Dry mouth
  • Waking up throughout the night (sometimes paired with the need to urinate frequently)
  • Teeth grinding (clinically known as bruxism)

Signs of mouth breathing while awake:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Regularly occurring headaches that may feel like migraines

The Causes of Mouth Breathing

There are different reasons why you may not be able to breathe through your nose. Many of them relate to some obstruction in your airway. Mouth breathing, however, is a bad habit that may develop after chronic nasal congestion. Or it could be temporary if it’s related to an issue like allergies. It may need some form of medical treatment. Mouth breathing has been linked to enlarged adenoids, tonsils, and nasal polyps. It may be due to the shape of your nasal passage or having a constricted airway, which can lead to obstructive sleep apnea. You may be suffering from a deviated septum or TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).

Treating Mouth Breathing in Royal Oak

Mouth breathing is not healthy, but an airway-centric dentist like Dr. Hartrick provides treatment for airway disorders. Dr. Hartrick may recommend a course of myofunctional therapy, which uses specific exercises to correct oral posture and promote nasal breathing. Ideal oral posture is with lips closed, teeth closed, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth.

If you or someone you love is breathing through their mouth, then call Hartrick Dentistry at (248) 549-0950. Our educated and experienced staff wants to help you stay as healthy, vibrant, and youthful as possible. Schedule a consultation today to treat your mouth breathing if you live in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy

How a Royal Oak Dentist can Help you Sleep Better

dentist helps you sleep better

dentist helps you sleep betterRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Dentists play a vital role in identifying cases of sleep-related disorders. After all, your dentist sees the inside of your mouth more than any other physician. Dr. Nancy Hartrick offers airway screenings at her Royal Oak dental office. These screenings are available for patients of any age, including infants. Since sleep-related disorders often involve the airway, find out how Dr. Hartrick can help you sleep better.

What are sleep-related disorders?

One of the most common sleep-related disorders is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and it affects 18 million Americans. Unfortunately, many of these sufferers are unaware that they have this condition, which means they aren’t doing anything to manage it. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing or low breathing while asleep. It also results in snoring, although you could have OSA and not snore.

What are the signs of sleep apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea leads to chronic daytime fatigue, frequent headaches, irritability, and dry mouth or throat upon waking up. Managing sleep apnea reduces these symptoms and helps you rest better. Because sleep apnea sufferers may have pauses in their breathing hundreds or more times a night, it is crucial to manage this disorder.

What does my dentist have to do with my snoring?

Sleep apnea screenings or airway assessments can easily be conducted during a routine dental exam or checkup. Dentists are most familiar with structures inside the mouth, including soft tissues of the throat and airway. While a dentist cannot diagnose sleep apnea, a screening proves useful in identifying the disorder. Dr. Hartrick can then collaborate with a sleep specialist to ensure you get the care that you need.

Dental Signs of Sleep Apnea

A sleep apnea assessment may include looking for these changes in a patient’s oral health. Here is what Dr. Hartrick assesses when conducting a sleep apnea screening.


Bruxism is clenching and grinding your teeth while asleep. Lots of people do this, even children, and aren’t aware of it. But, if your teeth look flat on the chewing surface, you suffer from jaw pain or unexplained dental pain and have frequent headaches, you could have bruxism. It not only damages your teeth, but you are more likely to have a sleep-breathing disorder. A customized oral appliance protects your teeth from the damage caused by bruxism.

Enlarged Throat Tissue

Tonsils and adenoids sometimes are enlarged, which formed this way naturally as a person developed. However, the enlarged soft tissue of the throat may easily block or restrict airflow while sleeping. Dr. Hartrick assesses throat tissue for any obstruction.

Breathing Habits

The best way to breathe to maximize oxygenation in the blood is through the nose. Many people mouth breathe, although this is detrimental to your overall health. Mouth breathing also indicates that you may have sleep apnea. Dr. Hartrick will observe how you breathe to determine if you are a mouth breather and could benefit from myofunctional therapy to correct this orofacial myofunctional disorder. Simple exercises can help train your mouth and tongue to function properly and rest in the correct position to facilitate breathing through the nose.

Addressing these dental concerns is part of managing sleep apnea. While a CPAP machine can be worn at night to force air into the airway, it is merely a band-aid and doesn’t address the underlying cause of a sleep-breathing disorder. Once your sleep apnea is well controlled, you will sleep better and feel rejuvenated. To find out more or schedule a sleep apnea screening in Royal Oak, call Hartrick Dentistry at (248) 549-0950. We provide airway screenings to the Royal Oak and Birmingham areas of Michigan.

Posted in Sleep Apnea

What your Child’s ADHD Symptoms have to do with the Dentist

adhd symptoms and dentist

adhd symptoms and dentistRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

A good night’s rest typically helps us wake refreshed and energized for the day. However, breathing problems or sleep disorders in children can keep them from getting the necessary rest the body needs. One of the most common sleep disorders is known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your child’s throat blocks their airway while sleeping, causing a temporary disruption in airflow and disrupts their sleep causing “microarousals” that often go unnoticed by your child. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep can cause drowsiness, irritability, and behavior conerns that often are diagnosed as ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Find out what your child’s ADHD symptos have to do with your Royal Oak dentist, Dr. Nancy Hartrick.

Multiple studies have been conducted to further understand the relationship between sleep apnea and behavioral problems in children. In the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a major study was written and published by Dr. Karen Bonuck, who said, “We found that children with sleep-disordered breathing were from 40 to 100 percent more likely to develop neurobehavioral problems by age 7, compared with children without breathing problems. The biggest increase was in hyperactivity, but we saw significant increases across [other] behavioral measures.” Therefore, the correct diagnosis of the child’s behavioral problems is critical for the appropriate treatment to be provided to the child. Although sleep apnea requires the official diagnosis of the child’s physician or sleep specialist, a dentist that treats sleep apnea often collaborates with the child’s physician for treatment.

What treatments are available through Hartrick Dentistry to help children suffering from sleep apnea?

Treatment for your child’s sleep apnea will vary, depending on the severity of their condition, and their response to invasive treatments. If your child is older and their jaw growth is complete, there are other treatments available. For example, an oral appliance can be custom-made to fit your child’s teeth that they will wear while sleeping at night. The appliance fits your child’s teeth much like a retainer or a sports mouthguard. Oral appliance therapy can aid in maintaining an open, unobstructed airway through the night.

However, in some cases, the dentist may refer your child to a surgeon for a tonsillectomy, or the removal of the adenoids. Another procedure to help open the airway is to expand the child’s palate or the roof of their mouth through nonsurgical means. This may be accomplished through orthodontic therapy.

Sleep Apnea Screening for Children, Royal Oak

Behavioral problems in children are not caused simply because the child desires to be defiant. Often, there are underlying causes of bad behavior, and it is necessary to accurately diagnose the cause of their behavior. Although ADHD is often diagnosed in children, it could be that an undetected sleep disorder is present and is causing behavioral issues in your child. Therefore, it is important that you express your concern to your child’s physician and request a sleep study be conducted. If the child is officially diagnosed with sleep apnea by their physician or sleep specialist, Hartrick Dentistry can help you find the right treatment that will suit your child’s specific needs. Contact us today at (248) 549-0950 if you are seeking sleep apnea solutions for your child in the Royal Oak or Birmingham area.

Posted in Pediatric

4 Reasons Professional Teeth Whitening is Better

professional teeth whitening

professional teeth whiteningRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Your dentist has likely told you about the importance of good oral care. However, even if you are diligent about your dental hygiene, the appearance of your teeth can change. Age, lifestyle choices, and the consumption of certain foods and beverages can lead to stains developing on the surfaces of your teeth. You can remove those stains and brighten your entire smile by getting a professional teeth whitening treatment.

There are many products out there that promise a whiter smile: toothpaste, mouth rinses, or store-bought kits. However, for the best results and the utmost protection for your oral health, Dr. Nancy Hartrick can perform a professional dental whitening treatment at her Royal Oak dental office. Here are four reasons why a whitening procedure administered by your Birmingham cosmetic dentist is the best option for maintaining a sparkling white smile.

Reason 1) Ingredients are more powerful and provide consistent results

Teeth whitening products contain an active bleaching agent that removes surface stains. Any over-the-counter product is going to have a less potent active agent than the professional treatments used by your dentist. Whitening products that you purchase in stores are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach, and therefore, the bleaching solution is much weaker than what a dentist has to offer. Store-bought whitening products also will not last as long, meaning you will have to repeat treatments more often. At Hartrick Dentistry, all of our whitening treatments use powerful active agents that generate dazzling results that last.

Reason 2) Professional whitening treatments are safer

You may think that because our whitening treatments use stronger active ingredients, they can do more harm to your teeth. The opposite is true. First off, each of our treatments is administered by an oral health professional who is trained and experienced working with these products, minimizing risks of damaging your teeth. Our treatments also are safer because the results last longer. Any time you have your teeth whitened, your teeth need time to recover and remineralize. This occurs naturally, but if you repeat a whitening treatment too soon, your teeth don’t get a chance to remineralize as quickly. Your enamel serves as the durable protective outer layer of your tooth structure, so if it becomes compromised, your teeth are more vulnerable to decay and injury.

Reason 3) Professional whitening treatments are customized

No two people are the same. Your teeth and mouth are unique, too. That’s why, when you choose to receive professional teeth whitening treatment in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry, we use trays that are customized for your mouth, ensuring that the bleaching agent touches as much of your teeth as possible, and not your gums. With an over-the-counter whitening kit, the trays and strips you use are constructed as a one-size-fits-all delivery method, which means the bleaching solution will likely smear on your gums and could be ingested.

Reason 4) Professional whitening treatments yield instant results

Our professional whitening treatments at Hartrick Dentistry provide profound results. Usually administered in less than an hour, our whitening treatments in Birmingham dramatically change the brightness of your teeth. By contrast, store-bought products take longer to work. The results will be less noticeable, or maybe even minimal. This means repeat applications, further risking the strength of your tooth enamel. Ultimately, store-bought teeth whitening kits aren’t worth the time and money.

Get Whiter Teeth in Royal Oak

At Hartrick Dentistry, we use three different whitening systems:
  • ZOOM!®, which uses a gel shined under a special light to produce dazzling results
  • Sinsational Smile®, a bleaching system that works in as little as 20 minutes
  • At-home whitening kits suitable for use at your leisure

To learn more about these treatments, contact Hartrick Dentistry today at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation. We’re proud to provide state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry to our patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Teeth Whitening

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

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