As a New Year begins; many people find themselves with one or several goals to accomplish in the New Year. These goals are traditionally known as New Year’s resolutions and are often used as a means for personal reflection and self-improvement. Two of the most common resolutions that people have involve the improvement of one’s overall health and making better decisions financially. However, if you are a smoker, then quitting smoking is one resolution that would significantly improve both of these aspects in your life. Quitting smoking remains one of the primary New Year’s resolutions on the list of many people nationwide. And when it comes to teeth whitening and smoking, we can help you achieve a healthier smile.
What smoking does:
For many years, some of the serious long term health effects of tobacco smoke on the lungs and throat have been well known to the general public. However another serious, but often overlooked health concern is smoking’s effect on oral health. Due primarily to the excessive amount of tar in cigarettes, many smokers will notice their teeth developing a yellowish hue, as opposed to a healthy white smile. Unfortunately, this yellow staining will become predominantly worse over time. And in the case of heavy smokers, continue to stain the teeth until they begin taking on a sickly brown appearance. Obviously this can cause a great deal of unwanted attention and embarrassment for the smoker suffering from this condition; often leading the smoker to experience a certain amount of anxiety in social situations.
Another concerning and potentially embarrassing problem that occurs as a result of cigarette smoking is gum disease. As you probably know, all people have a certain amount of bacteria in their mouth at any given time. While this is normal, having too much bacteria in one’s mouth (especially if it happens frequently) can cause an imbalance. It’s this frequent imbalance of bacteria that causes the gums to develop infections, which if serious can permanently damage the smoker’s gums; ultimately resulting in the development of gum disease. Although in early stages, gum disease may present as simply foul and unpleasant breath, as the disease progresses it can lead to much more serious scenarios such as tooth decay, tooth loss, oral nerve damage, or permanent jawbone damage.
Related Article: Show Your Teeth Some Love: Gum Disease & Your Heart
A third and final condition to result from tobacco smoking is that of oral cancer. As you can probably guess, out of all of these health concerns, oral cancer is by far the most severe as approximately 7,500 deaths will occur in the United States annually either due to or related to complications from oral cancer. These staggering numbers typically stem from the rapid progression of the disease, and often the failure of the individual to seek the proper diagnosis and treatment within the early stages of the disease.
Related Article: Why We Perform Oral Cancer Screenings during Dental Checkups
How dentists combat smoking:
While a smoker’s fight to preserve their oral health may seem like a daunting task, there are but few greater allies in this battle than that of your dentist. How do teeth whitening and smoking relate to each other? Although you might not realize it, but when you visit your dentist for a teeth whitening or to just simply have a routine cleaning, your dentist will also simultaneously preform an oral screening as well. This is a crucial step in treating or preventing oral cancer and other afflictions caused by smoking as they often go undetected until it’s too late.
Teeth whitening and smoking: Another effective but often overlooked service that your dentist can provide you with is the actual process of teeth whitening. In whitening a patient’s teeth, a dental practitioner will apply fluoride as a varnish or gel to the teeth, thus whitening and ultimately eradicating signs of damage caused by either smoking or even just a sweet tooth. While this might sound superficial in nature, some dentists find that once a patient who smokes is able to see what their smile would look like without the damaging effects of smoking, only then do they find the motivation and drive to reduce their tobacco smoke intake, and eventually quit altogether. See, teeth whitening and smoking are definitely related!
What to remember:
Although New Year’s resolutions such as exercising more often or getting a promotion at work are certainly admirable goals to have; if you’re a smoker then quitting smoking should certainly be on that list as well. Remember a New Year brings new opportunity to improve your quality of living, and what better way to do that than to improve your health and finances by ridding yourself of this worrisome habit.
If you’re a smoker and want to achieve a whiter, brighter, healthier smile this year, talk to Dr. Skrobanek and his expert team about teeth whitening and smoking. Contact GPS Dental at (210) 633-3477.
Don’t think about your dentist when it comes to sleep problems? That’s no surprise. But it’s very likely that he or she may be able to help, especially if your problem is related to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common causes of sleep disturbance and it affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to every facet of our lives. If we don’t get the amount we need, we can suffer not only physically, but mentally as well. Here’s how the experts at GPS Dental can help:
How Oral Appliances Help Sleep Apnea Patients
At GPS Dental, Dr. Skrobanek is specially trained to custom fit oral appliances, more commonly called mouth guards, that help control snoring and sleep apnea problems. If you suffer from sleep apnea, the soft tissues and muscles in the back of your mouth and throat relax to the point of collapse, thus blocking the airways and reducing oxygen intake. The body then awakens just long enough to resume normal breathing and then drifts back to sleep. Most of the time, the person doesn’t even realize they are having problems, other than how badly they feel during the day. It may feel as if they haven’t slept at all.
Symptoms That Suggest Sleep Apnea
It’s important to ask yourself if you suffer from any of these symptoms. If so, come talk to Dr. Skrobanek and get fitted for an oral appliance you can wear at night.
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Alarming fatigue levels
- Memory loss
These are bad enough on their own, but if sleep apnea is not addressed, other long-term health issues can occur such as:
- High blood pressure and heart disease
- Acid reflux and indigestion
- Erectile Dysfunction
Oral appliance therapy is a research-backed treatment option that’s available should you find that you suffer from sleep apnea. The appliance fits like a retainer. Many have already been approved by the FDA as an appropriate treatment for this disorder. These custom fitted mouth guards work to keep your airway unobstructed during the night, which allows you to breathe normally and sleep much more deeply than before.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, come talk to Dr. Skrobanek about a custom mouth guard. Contact GPS Dental at (210) 633-3477.
While most dental issues probably won’t kill you, oral cancer is a condition that could be life-threatening if it isn’t spotted early. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or have a family history of cancer, you are at most risk for developing oral cancer. It usually presents itself as a persistent sore or growth in the mouth. Early detection and timely treatment are key to catching cancer early and treating it effectively. The team at GPS Dental wants you to know what to look for, so we put together this list.
Look for These Possible Oral Cancer Indicators
Have you experienced any of the following symptoms of oral cancer?
- Sores, lumps or thick patches in or around your mouth or throat
- Red or white lesions on your lips, or in your mouth
- The feeling of a lump in your throat
- Swellings that make dentures uncomfortable
- Numbness, pain or tenderness in your mouth or tongue
- Pain in one ear without loss of hearing
- Trouble moving your jaw or tongue, problems chewing, talking, or swallowing
- Loose teeth with no apparent cause
- Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Dramatic weight loss
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
Some of the symptoms that can signal oral cancer can look like other conditions, so it’s important to get a skilled professional’s opinion. Recent research has also determined that the HPV virus is a leading new cause of oral cancer in non-drinking non-smoking young adults who are sexually active.
Our Oral ID™ Technology Helps Us Catch Oral Cancer Earlier
At GPS Dental, we include an oral cancer screening with every examination. We use Oral ID™during the oral exam. This “fluorescence technology” allows the doctor to identify any suspicious areas at an earlier stage, thus saving lives. Plus, it’s absolutely painless for our patients.
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t wait, contact us. Come see us at GPS Dental and let Dr. Skrobanek take a look at it. He will tell you if it requires further examination by a specialist. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment or ask questions.
He’s the perfect guy; thoughtful, loving, and caring. There’s just one problem — he’s a snorer! He snores so loud that you can barely sleep at night, and you don’t know how much longer you can go without sleep. Well, in actuality, both of you are probably not getting much sleep despite his loud testament to sleeping. Snoring can lead to restless sleep, daytime dysfunction and more. Luckily, the team at GPS Dental can help!
What Causes Snoring?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, snoring is a problem that affects approximately 90 million Americans. Needless to say, many couples are going through the issue of one person being a very loud snorer.
Snoring is caused by the muscles in your throat and your tongue relaxing too much while sleeping, which causes the throat to become more narrow. The air going in and out of the throat then causes the characteristic sound of snoring. Snoring becomes more serious with age and is more common in overweight individuals and males.
What Are the Side Effects of Snoring?
While we may joke about our partner’s snoring, the side effects are no laughing matter. Sometimes, the walls of the throat can collapse completely, which can cause a cessation of air. When that happens, the person’s breathing stops and that’s never a good thing! This is known as sleep apnea and is a serious medical condition.
Oral Appliance Therapy
A really great solution for sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy, also known in simpler terms as a mouth guard. The GPS Dental team can custom fit a mouth guard to your jaw in a way that maintains an open upper airway even as the throat muscles relax. This allows you to breathe safely and comfortably throughout the night while also allowing your partner to get a restful night of sleep.
Oral Appliances Are a Great Alternative to CPAP Machines
Although CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines prove to be the most effective way to treat advanced sleep apnea, studies have shown that half of all CPAP wearers cannot tolerate using their CPAP mask on a regular basis. Oral appliance therapy can be as or more effective than the CPAP mask for many of these individuals and is far more comfortable and acceptable for nightly use. Also, many medical insurance companies are now covering these appliances when a CPAP is not tolerable. Call and ask GPS Dental how they can help to determine eligibility for oral appliance coverage when a CPAP is just not working out.
How to End Snoring the Easy Way
Since over 100 oral appliances have received FDA clearance, it can be difficult to select the right one. Dr. Skrobanek has had special training and can recommend the device that is best for you. Also, note that oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans so this may come at little to no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Read more about oral appliance therapy here. To see if you’re a candidate for a mouth guard contact us online or call us at (210) 633-3477.
After the results of your sleep study, the sentence was in: CPAP, every night, life sentence.
At first, you might’ve felt relieved. Grateful, even. At some point, some geniuses invented a machine that helps you sleep better, and could even save your life! What a great time to be alive, you might have thought at the time…
And then you brought the thing home, hooked yourself up, and revved it up. Maybe it wasn’t instant for you, but a day, a week, a month later, it dawned on you: You’re going to pour distilled water into this thing’s gaping maw, and listen to that rumbling, sucking sound, for years to come.
Do you absolutely hate your CPAP machine? Try this simple fix for sleep apnea!
Mouth Guards Can Prevent Sleep Apnea
The CPAP is, of course, a safe, tried-and-true solution to sleep apnea. But frankly, it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Another less intrusive solution is a mouth guard. Your dentist can fit you for a custom mouth guard that provides the correct adjustments to jaw and tongue position that many sleep apnea patients need to sleep safely and healthily.
Related Read: How Can My Dentist Help My Sleep Apnea?
See, dentists know a thing or two about this particular part of the human body. They’re not just waiting around to clean your teeth or pop in a filling!
Are you tired of your noisy, uncomfortable CPAP machine? Are you looking for an alternative to ever getting one at all? Our experienced dental professionals can diagnose your issue, and fit you with a custom mouth guard to alleviate your sleep apnea. Give GPS Dental a call at (210) 633-3477.
Permanent adult teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, sometimes even with good oral hygiene, regular dental visits, and preventative care, a tooth might need to be extracted. No one likes to have a tooth pulled, but often it is an unavoidable fact of life. All too often here at GPS Dental, we get calls from desperate patients who have put off having a tooth pulled and then need an emergency extraction because the tooth has broken, become infected, or otherwise put them in severe pain. We don’t like to see our patients suffer!
3 Main Reasons for Tooth Extractions
- Overcrowding — Frequently teeth shift over time and become overcrowded. Often during early adulthood there is simply not enough room for all the adult teeth, such as wisdom teeth, to naturally erupt. Overcrowding is usually painful and can affect the appearance of your teeth as they shift. Tooth extraction frequently alleviates the discomfort and makes room for all the teeth in your mouth. In some cases, it also helps your bite align correctly. Frequently a dentist will extract teeth prior to affixing braces to a patient’s teeth to create room.
- Damage — Tooth damage occurs for a variety of reasons such as a sudden impact, excessive decay, or from a crack that may be caused from biting on something hard. If a tooth sustains excessive damage, sometimes the only option is to have the tooth extracted.
Related Read: Are Dental Implants Right for You?
- Infection — A decayed, cracked, or broken tooth often becomes infected as the pulp of the tooth dies and an abscess forms. In some situations, root canal therapy can be utilized to save the tooth. Unfortunately, if the tooth has been abscessed for a long period of time, or if the tooth is too badly damaged, a root canal will often fail and the only alternative is to extract the tooth.
Unless You Like Pain, Get That Tooth Removed Quickly
Tooth extractions should never be taken lightly. All aspects of saving the tooth should first be evaluated. However, if a tooth cannot be saved, a timely extraction is highly recommended before the tooth becomes painful and causes an emergency situation.
If you have a problem tooth, please call GPS Dental at (210) 633-3477 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Skrobanek.
No one likes missing teeth. When it comes to tooth replacement, you have options. Whether you are considering dental implants for cosmetic reasons or functional reasons, there are several factors you’ll want to keep in mind before making your decision. Let the experts at GPS Dental walk you through some circumstances that might mean an implant isn’t the best replacement option for you.
Simply put, you’re not a good candidate for dental implants if your gums aren’t healthy. Dental implants are connected through your gum tissue to the bones in your mouth. Unhealthy gums can result in your implants not properly fusing to the existing tissue in your mouth.
Related Read: The Best & Worst Parts of Getting Dental Implants
Just as you need healthy gums for the implants to be placed, you need healthy bones under your gums in order for the implants to fuse properly. Significant bone loss in your body, regardless of the reason, negatively impacts the chances of dental implants working for you.
Studies have shown that smokers have a higher failure rate with dental implants than non-smokers. Due to a higher rate of illness and infections in smokers, implants are less likely to be successful. A smoker wishing to receive dental implants should discuss their smoking habits with their dentist and look into their options regarding smoking cessation.
Implants candidates having diabetes need to engage in an honest conversation with their dental provider when considering dental implants. Patients that have issues with controlling their diabetes have demonstrated a higher failure rate with dental implants. Uncontrolled diabetes can greatly impact the implant’s successful osseointegration, meaning the implant may not properly fuse with the gum tissue and bone.
Keep these factors in mind, but talk with your dentist before making any final decisions about tooth replacement. Your doctor can give you further information about the process, which can increase the likelihood of success with an implant, and help you come to the best decision for your unique situation.
Remember, there are many factors to consider when deciding if dental implants are right for you. Give GPS Dental a call today at (210) 633-3477 to schedule a consultation and determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
Warm sun, a comfy chair and a cool drink. That is the best feeling of summer. Nostalgia hits a high note when you have to race the drips from your ice cream cone so you don’t end up with sticky hands. Cold treats on hot days means summer has arrived.
When things really heat up, even dentists want a cold treat. However, ice cream should have its limits, so we at GPS Dental took the time to sit in the sun and think up some cool recommendations that will be great for your teeth, refreshing for your mouth, and fun for your family!
Need a summery snack that travels well? Check out our guide to On-The-Go Snacks for Healthier Smiles & Happier Parents.
Healthy Homemade Yogurt Pops: These creamy treats are high in bone-building calcium, and the natural sugars from the fruit will sweeten it up without harming your teeth.
- Blend plain Greek yogurt with berries and add a sprinkling of cinnamon or splash of vanilla.
- Pour into containers. (Popsicle makers are available at grocery and home stores, or you can use paper cups and popsicle sticks or plastic spoons.)
- Freeze until solid. To remove, dip plastic containers in warm water, or peel away the paper cup. Enjoy!
Fantastic Frozen Fruit: Freeze grapes, melon or berries. For the melon, we recommend layering the melon balls or melon chunks on waxed paper so you can easily portion it after freezing. Besides being a naturally healthy and low-sugar cold treat, frozen fruit is easy on sensitive teeth. After just a few minutes defrosting, it is easy to chew and not as cold as popsicles or ice cream.
Related Read: Sensitive Teeth? 4 Steps for Reducing Pain
Satisfying Smoothies: Milk, fruit and ice can be blended to make a cold treat that pleases the palette without loading it with sugar. To get you started, check out this Food Network article for great smoothie recipes. When you know what you love in your smoothies, you can freeze fruit in advance and use that – rather than ice – to blend your cool summer treat.
Cubes of Fun: Ice cubes don’t have to be boring, and even a little fun can add a zip to your summer! Ice cube trays are available in many different designs – from tiny flamingos to Darth Vader helmets. You can also put a berry or two in each cube before freezing to add a little color in your cup.
The school year will be here before you know it! Don’t let those back-to-school check ups slip by – call GPS Dental today at (210) 633-3477 to set your appointment.
Tooth replacement is a very personal process with a lot of variables. Healthy teeth and gums can change more than just the way you eat; your quality of life and overall happiness depend upon them. When replacing teeth, it’s important to know the differences between the methods and the pros and cons of each.
Luckily, the experts at GPS Dental have broken down the details of the most common teeth replacement options. The more you know, the easier your decision will be.
3 Ways to Replace a Tooth
The three types of tooth replacement are implants, bridges, and dentures. Each type is vastly different, and your specific needs must be taken into consideration for each. Take a look to determine which is your best tooth replacement option.
- Dentures replace the entirety of the upper or lower arch, including the teeth. They are completely and easily removable, and require regular cleaning. Though dentures have a bit of a reputation, the latest techniques and technology have made dentures feel more natural and comfortable.
Related Read: What I Wish I Knew Before I Got My Dentures
- Bridges also span the width of either the upper or lower arch. They are connected to one or two replacements on either side. The bridge connecting the two is bonded to the arch, itself. This replacement option isn’t removable, and the patient will need to be on the lookout for tooth deterioration around the bridge. On the other hand, dental bridges are less expensive than a full implant.
- Implants are the replacement of one or more teeth, completely and with no additional supports. They look, feel, and behave the same way natural teeth do, without the use of a bridge. An implant will allow you to eat any foods of your choosing, no problem. They are, however, the most expensive type of tooth replacement, requiring surgery and time to create a specialized crown to fit your mouth. Learn more about whether or not implants are right for you.
The type of tooth replacement that’s best for you depends upon a number of factors, including price and the overall health of your teeth and gums. It’s imperative that you consult with your dentist in all aspects of the replacement, as there are many aspects of your care that can make you a good or bad candidate for any of these options.
For more information about tooth replacement, why not schedule an appointment with GPS Dental? Just give us a call at (210) 633-3477, and our friendly staff will be happy to help you!
Summertime is full of fun things to do and fun places to go – which also means spending time in the car and away from home. Trips to the zoo, the beach, and the park usually involve travel and hungry kids.
Snacks during these adventures can be pitfalls both for your dental visits and your patience as a parent. Popsicles and s’mores have their place in summer fun, but can make a mess both inside your mouth and out of it. GPS Dental is sharing how a little careful planning and shopping can stock you up with summer snacks that will keep teeth healthy and on-the-go snack serving and cleanup a breeze.
Related Read: 4 Tips for a Great Back-to-School Checkup
Set The Stage
Identify the equipment you’ll need and make a place for it. A small cooler or insulated tote will carry most summer snacks while keeping them cool. Select a particular “home” for it in the car and in the house, so it is always where you want it.
Add some reusable water bottles and small resealable containers to your collection and you are ready to go. This is a great opportunity to involve your children. Have them pick out their water bottles and snack containers, and find a good place for the cooler.
Choose crunchy and fresh over sticky and processed. Sugary and sticky snacks are more likely to stay on teeth after snacking and attract the bacteria that cause tooth decay. They also stay on hands and mouths and stick to seats and car doors. Ick. Crunchy foods like fresh fruit, veggies and whole-grain crackers will not coat your smile or muck up your cup holders.
Related Read: Is Chewing Gum Bad for My Teeth?
Bite Size Is Better
Bite-size snacks are easier for kids to eat and prevent messes. Celery sticks, baby carrots, grapes, berries, cheese chunks or sticks, and crackers are all travel-friendly snacks. They also portion out quickly into smaller containers for your snack cooler.
Wash It Down With Water
Nothing is more refreshing than ice-cold water on a hot summer day. Water also washes our mouths and keeps gums and teeth healthy, instead of introducing more sugar in juices and soda. Reusable water bottles are also a great spill-free alternative to juice boxes.