Park Avenue Oral & Facial Surgery, P.C.

Is it Snoring or is it Sleep Apnea?

We all know that a little bit of snoring here and there is perfectly normal.  So how do you know when it’s snoring that you’re dealing with and when it’s sleep apnea?

snoringRest assured, we get this question all the time.   And the answer is that while a formal diagnosis has to be done by us here in the office, you may be able to get a better idea of which scenario you are dealing with simply by answering a few questions at home.

Here are some of the most commonly reported symptoms of sleep apnea.  Do you experience any (or several) of these?  If so, give us a quick call and we can schedule a consultation to diagnose (or rule out) and treat your condition.

  • Snoring with pauses, after which choking or gasping follow.  Ask a bed partner to observe your sleep habits or set up a recorder overnight.
  • Excessive sleepiness (falling asleep) during the day.   This happens because the breathing pauses during the night cause your brain to repeatedly disturb your sleep just enough to make you start breathing again.  Consequently, you never spend enough time in the restful part of sleep to be fully rested the next day.
  • Memory problems, concentration problems
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Moodiness, irritability and depression

While sleep apnea is a fairly common sleep disorder, it is an important one to tackle because it can cause damage to the organs over time.  Treatment options range from CPAP machines that give pressurized oxygen while you sleep to surgery.

If you think that you may have sleep apnea, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. 

Calming Your Nerves Before Dental Procedures

Almost everyone has some feelings of nervousness when thinking about visiting the dentist.  We hear it all the time from our patients.  But don’t worry (I know, easier said than done).  It is totally normal to have a bit of anxiety (or even a lot of anxiety) before you come to our office.

CalmingIn our office, we have many years of experience in dealing with nervous patients.  So to help you out, we’ve compiled this quick yet effective set of tips for dealing with those inevitable nerves before your dental procedure.

  1. Let us know!  Sometimes just saying the words, “I’m a little bit nervous” can help by normalizing the nervousness itself a little bit, which instantly releases some of that stress that has the tendency to build up in your system. It also alerts us, which is great!  In fact, we might just be able to help by doing procedures a little bit differently than we normally would or even just by offering some words of encouragement and reassurance.
  2. Music – Ask us to turn up (or down) the music in your exam room if that helps.  Or, depending on the procedure, you may even be able to listen to your own MP3 player while we work away.  Ask us ahead of time to be sure the procedure will allow for this.
  3. Breathe – Did you know that consciously taking a breath instantly calls to action your parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of the brain responsible for calming you down?  The good news is that you always have your breath with you, so don’t forget to use it!  Just by paying attention to your breath, for example, how it feels coming in and going out and the other sensations it creates, you can access the calming center of your brain.  An easy breathing exercise that can be used anytime, anywhere, including in the dental chair is to breathe in for 4 counts, then out for 4 counts.   You will instantly feel better.

We hope you find these tips helpful in dealing with your dental fears.  Just remember, you are not alone.

Considering an Upgrade to Dental Implants?

Have you been thinking of upgrading your current tooth replacement strategy but aren’t sure where to start?  This is a great time of growth in modern dentistry, especially when it comes to replacing missing teeth!  With the evolution of dental implants, patients don’t have to suffer some of the pains of the past when older, traditional tooth replacement methods were used.

Considering upgradeTraditionally, missing teeth were always “fixed” with bridges or dentures.  And while both of those procedures are still in use by dentists and do still serve an important purpose, they often cause unintended problems in the mouth that modern dental implants may be able to alleviate, or avoid completely.

What is a dental implant, you may be asking?  At the most basic level, a dental implant is simply a prosthetic tooth that is mounted to a metal post which is screwed into the jaw bone.  The procedure is typically done in two visits.  During the first procedure, a titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone, where it is allowed to “settle in” and bond, a process that takes about six to eight months.  After that, the dentist creates a prosthetic tooth and attaches it to the titanium post for a fully functional (yet fake) tooth!

The benefit of dental implants is that, unlike dentures, they are almost unnoticeable by the patient.  Anyone who has had dentures knows that they tend to slip and wear down and sometimes even cause mild pain or discomfort.  With dental implants, you will not even know they are there.  They function just like a natural tooth in your mouth, no slipping, movement or separate cleaning required.  Similarly, patients who are used to receiving bridges may benefit by an upgrade to an implant as bridges have a tendency to invite bacteria and infection, requiring additional replacements.

Whatever your concerns about dental implants are, we are here to help.  Give us a call today to see if dental implants might be right for you!

Wisdom Teeth – What’s the Big Deal?

Especially with the younger crowd, this is a question we get time and time again in our office!  And understandably so!  To some, removing the wisdom teeth seems like it should be an elective procedure, not a necessary one.

Wisdom teeth whats theYou have probably heard the statistic that 85% of people have to have their wisdom teeth (also called “third molars”) extracted at some point during their life.  But you may be wondering “Why?”  (As in “Why fix it if it isn’t broken?”)

Well, as it turns out, naming these teeth “wise” demonstrates a very questionable use of vocabulary.  “Wisdom” teeth actually turn out to be more like “trouble makers” for most people, and the common removal of them during the young adult years is done as a necessary preventative measure to avoid much bigger problems down the road.

What kind of problems are we preventing? 

One of the problems wisdom teeth present is that often there is no place for them to grow.  The average mouth is designed to accommodate 28 permanent teeth, not 32.  What ends up happening is that the third molars start to grow horizontally, inward or outward or even into the jaw bone, eventually crowding the nerves and causing pain.

In the case of impacted teeth, they may be “stuck” in the jawbone, only able to partially erupt through the gums.  This can create an inlet for bacteria with the potential to cause serious infection inside the mouth and jaw area.  Furthermore, brushing and flossing becomes a problem, which leads to more problems with decay and infection.

Still not convinced as to why we would perform the procedure now instead of just waiting to see if you develop problems later in life?   Great question!  As it turns out, we have a very good reason for that as well:  In a teen or young adult, the removal of wisdom teeth is much easier to perform with less pain and complications simply because the roots have not fully formed yet.  Once those roots set in the surgery becomes more complicated.

We understand your hesitations about wisdom teeth removal, and we’d be happy to answer any other questions you have about your wisdom teeth, give us a call today!

Soft & Healthy Foods After Dental Implant Surgery

Foods After SurgeryOn our website and social media channels, we have thoroughly explained why and how oral surgery is beneficial. Here’s a reason that has gone unmentioned: it will make you appreciate the solid foods and acidic drinks that you aren’t able to eat or drink immediately after your procedure.  Sandwiches, chips, and orange juice should all be avoided after your wisdom tooth removal, dental implant surgery, orthagnathic surgery etc. Too much chewing can possibly re-open the sensitive areas of your mouth, and can cause bleeding or even infection. But don’t worry – we have a few healthy food and beverage recommendations when your mouth is delicate.

First 24 Hours

For the first 24 hours after your surgery, your teeth/jaw will need some time off. Therefore, smoothies, low-fat jello/puddings, and cold soups will be the most beneficial for your healing process. It is extremely important to refrain from using a straw, as the sucking causes excess strain, which ultimately can delay the healing process. Here are a few recommendations:

Banana Mango Shake- A healthy, filling way to start the day after your surgery. Also, bananas help replace electrolytes and maintain fluid balance within your body.

Applesauce- You can’t eat apples, but this is the next best thing!

Tomato Soup- A great snack even when your mouth isn’t sensitive.

Cold Pasta- Ever tried a Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo? Might be the perfect time to expand your taste buds!

Next Few Weeks

Over the next few weeks, you will start easing into enjoying solid foods again. Here are some tasty transitional foods (some can even help the healing process!)

Broccoli Omelet: Who would’ve thought thathealing from oral surgery could be so healthy? Broccoli contains enough calcium to speed up the healing process, and the eggs provide enough protein to make this a fully substantial meal while taking it easy on your teeth/jaw.

Chicken Salad: Finally some real meat! Chicken that is chopped up into small pieces can be eaten with a salad, or even a cold pasta. The chicken provides the protein, while the salad (with soft vegetables) provides the healthy goodness.

Chicken Pesto Pasta: Believe it or not, this dish can prevent oral infection. The basil in pesto contains volatile oils, which can protect the mouth from oral bacteria. The last thing your mouth needs after oral surgery is oral bacteria.

We hope that these recommendations help! We genuinely want you to heal as quickly as possibly while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Feel free to call Dr. Cohen with any questions about the post oral surgery process.

5 Points for Wearing a Mouth Guard During Sports

It’s easy for people to not realize what they have until it’s gone. Imagine what it would be like if you were missing one of your front teeth? You’d probably be a bit embarrassed smiling and talking, and not to mention eating would feel pretty abnormal as well. The good news is that taking preventative measures to protect your smile can diminish the chances of you having a toothless smile.

Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports decreases the risk of injuries to the mouth or jaw. Some sports players don’t like to wear mouth guards because of the inconvenience of their appearance while wearing one, but more injuries can happen when not wearing a mouth guard that can affect your appearance in a much more inconvenient way. Here are five reasons why you should always protect your pearly whites when participating in any contact sports or collision sports where unexpected contact can happen:

1. Protection Against Tooth Fractures

Mouth guards protect your teeth from chipping and breaking. Even though tooth fractures can usually be saved, why go through the risk when wearing a mouth guard can save you all the trouble.

2. Protection Against Tooth Replacement

Wearing a mouth guard is a cushion for your teeth, so if a ball hits your face your teeth don’t receive a crushing force. However, if a ball hits your mouth without a mouth guard, it can result in completely breaking or ruining your tooth, leaving you with a toothless smile and an emergency call to Dr. Cohen’s office. Having a gap in your smile due to an accident that could have been prevented isn’t worth it.

3. Protection Against Soft Tissue Injuries

Some contact sports involve quick impacts that could leave you biting through your tongue or lips! A mouth guard can prevent soft tissue injuries by creating a soft resistance from teeth contacting your lips and tongue.

4. Protection Against Concussions

According to the American Dental Association, mouth guards could help reduce the severity and incidence of concussions. A properly fitted mouth guard decreases the likelihood of sustaining concussive injury because the padding between the mandible and the maxilla can lessen the force of the mandible pushing up on the skull near the brain, which causes a concussion.

5. Protection Against Jaw Fractures

Wearing a protective mouth guard protects you from jaw fractures. Impact to the neck or jaw could result in serious injury, but with the protection of a mouth guard during an impact, it reduces the likelihood of jaw dislodgment or neck trauma.

The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year! Using a mouth guard won’t only help prevent you from dental and jaw injuries but can also prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work. If you’re ready to take the step to save your smile when playing sports, contact Dr. Cohen for more information about mouth guard protection.

FAQs Regarding Dry Socket

Many of us have gotten a tooth pulled before by our dentist or oral surgeon; whether it was a tooth that couldn’t be saved or your wisdom teeth. While getting a tooth pulled isn’t the most enjoyable experience, it’s important to understand the risks that could evolve during the recovery. When pain becomes intense and isn’t relieved a few days after surgery, there’s the possibility that it could be a symptom of dry socket.

Dry Socket, also known as Alveolar Osteitis, is the inflammation of the alveolar bone and usually occurs where the blood clot fails to form or gets lost in the socket. While the percentage of those who develop dry socket is rare—about 2%-5% of people—it’s rather important to know why it happens and to determine if you may be more prone to it.

Someone who doesn’t have dry socket would see a dark blood clot near the area where the tooth was pulled. An area that might have dry socket wouldn’t be dark, but rather just whitish bone.

Some of the most common symptoms for Dry Socket are:

-Aching and throbbing pain in the area of the socket

-Pain near the ear, eye, temple and neck

-Bad Breath

-Bad Taste in the mouth

 

You’re more likely to get dry socket if the one of the following applies to you:

-Smokers

-Have a preexisting infection in the mouth

-Practicing poor oral hygiene

-Those who have gotten Wisdom Teeth pulled

-If you have a greater-than-usual trauma during the extraction surgery

-If you use Birth Control pills

-Have a history of dry socket after having teeth pulled

 

After learning the harmful symptoms of dry socket, it is no surprise that you may want to take any precautions to avoid it. [REPOST-DR-NAME] suggests the following post-operative instructions:

-Take recommended medications

-Avoid hot fluids for 1-2 days after oral surgery

-Drink cold fluids, as they facilitate with formation and prevent disintegration of the socket

-Avoid smoking!

-Do not drink though a straw, the pressure leads to increased chance of clot instability.

 

While dry socket can be painfully unpleasant, it is easily treatable. Treatment usually includes a combination of cleaning and packing the infected area. Some patients may also need antibiotics for the socket as a preventative measure. The pain should then decrease about 4-5 days after and is typically healed in less than two weeks. If you believe you have developed dry socket from your tooth extraction, contact our office for specific treatment details.

 

Implant Supported Dentures

implantdenturesMost patients see dental implants as a procedure that is perfect for replacing one or two teeth. They don’t, however, conclude that a dental implant surgery is the solution for missing an entire row of teeth. In this instance, most people are still reverting to the outdated methods of receiving dentures. But there is actually an efficient way to obtain a mouth full of secure teeth through the dental implant process. This new technique is called “implant supported dentures,” which gives patients new reasons to smile.

A Team of 4 is Stronger Than 15 Individuals

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Wouldn’t it be a long, grueling process to take in 15 or so dental implants in the same surgery?” That is hard to argue with. A mouth with 20 dental implants drilled into it seems like too many metal rods for one person to own. They probably wouldn’t be allowed on airplanes. This is why oral surgeons now have a procedure where they use 4 titanium implants to connect an entire row of teeth. Picture it as 4 pillars with metal bridges connecting them. On the metal bridges is were the fully customized row of teeth will be placed.

Too Real to be Called Artificial

The word “artificial” is misleading when describing the new set of teeth. These teeth are now permanent, and will be treated the same as natural teeth. They need to be well maintained as regular teeth do, and cannot be taken out. It is impossible to distinguish implant-supported dentures from natural teeth. Even oral surgeons would have trouble picking apart the differences. Most patients are concerned with not being able to enjoy food like they used to. These new rows of teeth know when they encounter hot and cold food, and can still bite through the roughest of surfaces. Ultimately, “new and improved” is an acceptable replacement for “artificial” when describing implant supported dentures.

The Time is Now

The oral surgeons who are trained at this process are able to have the patient’s teeth completed in roughly 2.5 hours. This surgery leads to lifelong fulfillment of having a lively smile, so this may be the most productive 2.5 hours ever spent. When the entirety of one’s mouth looks like it’s ready for a makeover, implant supported dentures are the key to rebuilding.

3 Reasons to Have Corrective Jaw Surgery

jawpainJaw Surgery might sound intimidating, frightening, or both. It isn’t easy to process the fact that your jaw needs to be realigned. Ultimately, overcoming the surgical aspects of orthognathic surgery is well worth the years of having a symmetric, visually appealing jawline. Here are the top reasons why more and more patients are considering jaw surgery:

1: Improvement in Chewing and Biting Foods: Have you ever been unable to enjoy food due to a physical complication? Those who have had their wisdom teeth out can admit to this, as well as those who have once had severe cuts on the insides of their mouths. However, there are food lovers out there who regularly cannot enjoy the full satisfaction of eating food due to their jaw’s misalignment. A world where one has to proceed with caution before chowing down lunch is a world that needs to be fixed – with jaw surgery.

2: Reduce of Chronic Headaches:  Oral Surgeons notice that when patients have TMJ disorder, they have tendencies to grind their teeth at night. Most of these teeth-grinders do so unconsciously, which results in morning headaches. Most people with chronic headaches simply take their pain relievers and move on without receiving any significant treatment. Corrective jaw surgery will cease the teeth-grinding, which will ultimately reduce daily headaches.

3: Improving Overall Facial Appearance: Having and underbite or an overbite is certainly unfortunate, but fixable. Even if one’s bite needs to be fixed by a millimeter; this millimeter can go a long way. If one’s mandible projects outward, he/she has an underbite. This gives the appearance of an oversized jaw, which can harm the beauty of his/her smile. By contrast, an overbite makes one look as if their jaw isn’t fully developed. The jaw bone is surgically moved forward or backwards accordingly.

The process of getting Jaw Surgery is seemingly a long one, but well worth it in the end. Patients who have had jaw surgery are thrilled about their new and improved smile and overall confidence. Improving appearance, preventing headaches, and being able to thoroughly enjoy food are three worthy reasons to consider an orthognathic treatment.

Three Superstar Teeth Corrections

When we see celebrities walking on the red carpet with their dazzling smiles, it’s hard to believe that their teeth were ever imperfect. Unfavorable teeth, however, were common for many of today’s hottest stars. They realized the magnanimous impact a beautiful smile could make, and took action. Lets look at a few celebrities who transformed their smiles into superstars.

                                                                                    50 Cent

In the hip hop industry, rappers are continuously searching for ways to ridicule the competition. When rapper 50 cent realized that his teeth were becoming the laughing stock of the rap business, he decided to straighten things out- literally. He fixed his disproportionate teeth by receiving an entirely new set. Now, 50 cent can officially say he is shining from head to toe.

50 Cent Celebrity Teeth

                                                                                                     Matthew Lewis:

We all remember the chubby, crooked teethed “Neville Longbottom” in the Harry Potter movies. Matthew Lewis, who played Longbottom, was told on his contract that he must not fix his teeth or lose weight. Sadly, the teenager who was on set with numerous attractive women, was forced to maintain his unattractive appearance for the greater good of the legendary Harry Potter saga. Once his role in Harry Potter was ceased, he immediately fixed his teeth, which made him unrecognizable in comparison to his teenage days. Changing your teeth can change the overall nature of your look, as shown below:

Matthew Lewis Celebrity Teeth

                                                                             Miley Cyrus

Lets pretend that we aren’t familiar with Miley’s recent media meltdown, and simply focus on her improvements over the years. When she started as a Disney channel actress, most viewed her as the perfect child. Unfortunately, her teeth were miles from perfection. While her current persona may be a bit crooked, her teeth are perfectly straightened, which she credits her dentist for.

Miley Cyrus Celebrity Teeth

 

For many celebrities, the first task at hand after being nationally endorsed is fixing their teeth. Their publicists and stylists all admit that superstardom does not align with uneven teeth. But celebrities aren’t the only ones who promptly need beautiful teeth.

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