Archive for November, 2011

Is Invisalign a treatment option for malocclusions?

When a patient undergoes orthodontic treatment for a straighter smile, the problems that need to be corrected may go beyond the teeth. A misaligned jaw can also have a detrimental effect on the smile’s appearance and contribute to the malocclusion or “bad bite.”

Austin Invisalign patients can take advantage of this tray aligning system to correct malocclusions in addition to straightening the teeth.

Malocclusions are categorized into three classes. Class I is excessive crowding of teeth, while Class II consists of overbites. Class III malocclusions are commonly referred to as underbites. Crossbites, in which the arches are shifted to different sides, are also considered to be malocclusions. Invisalign has demonstrated success in treating malocclusions of all three classes, along with crossbites.

When using Invisalign as an intervention, the dentist will consider the malocclusion as part of the treatment plan. Invisalign trays move the teeth and the jaws into the correct alignment. Each arch is treated separately, allowing the dentist to move the upper and lower teeth and jaws independently of each other.

Although most Invisalign patients are primarily motivated by aesthetic concerns, malocclusions inhibit the teeth and jaws from functioning properly, as well. Correcting these bad bites will also improve the patient’s ability to chew and prevent long-term damage to the teeth.

The Invisalign system is appealing to patients because of the many advantages it offers in comparison to traditional braces. Unlike the brackets and wires that detract from the smile, the clear Invisalign trays are barely noticeable to an outside observer. Because Invisalign can be removed for brushing and flossing and at mealtime, patients do not need to make any adjustments to their regular routines.

Patients with malocclusions may believe that their cases are too complex for Invisalign, but it’s always important to consult with a dentist before ruling out this approach. The Invisalign technology is constantly evolving and becoming more advanced, and it is now capable of correcting very complicated problems.

Each patient has unique bone and teeth structures, so ask Dr. Paul Lounsberry at Balcones Family Dental if Invisalign is an appropriate treatment in your case.

Posted in: Invisalign

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Sleep apnea: What are the signs and symptoms?

With the proper training, your Austin TX dentist, can treat mild and moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which the patient’s breathing is repeatedly disrupted during sleep. Often, patients will notice decreased snoring and sleep apnea when an oral appliance is used to properly position the mouth and tongue during sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea most often occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the mouth collapse while a patient is sleeping, blocking the airway.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea may include snoring, sleep disruptions or insomnia, lack of energy and confusion. Obesity is often correlated with sleep apnea, although the former is not a symptom of the latter. Patients’ spouses or partners may describe noticeable pauses in breathing. Patients with sleep apnea may also notice that their mouths or throats are particularly dry upon waking.

Patients who suspect they have sleep apnea should visit their primary care physicians for a referral to a sleep study, which can provide a definitive diagnosis. The sleep study will also help to determine the severity of your case, which will in turn shape the treatment approach.

For mild or moderate sleep apnea, a tongue retaining appliance keeps the tongue forward in the mouth so that it is not able to obstruct the airway. Other appliances promote a jaw position, with the lower jaw protruding, which keeps the tongue forward in the mouth. Although some over-the-counter appliances are available, patients are best served by appliances custom-designed by dentists. These devices offer a better fit.

For patients with severe sleep apnea, physicians may prescribe a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which requires the patient to wear a mask during the night. Some patients may find the CPAP mask to be uncomfortable and as disruptive to the sleep as the sleep apnea was. Those patients may also turn to dentists to see if oral appliances would be an effective alternative.

Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, contact our Balcones Family Dental team and ask what treatments might be available.


Posted in: dentist

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