Sleep apnea is a disorder in which one experiences one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Sleep apnea is an ongoing condition that disrupts sleep. When breathing is paused or becomes shallow, one will often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep, making the quality of sleep poor.
- Sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and/or surgery.
- For mild sleep apnea, a custom fitted mouthpiece or some lifestyle changes (weight loss, smoking cessation, clearing nasal passages) may be helpful.
- For moderate to severe sleep apnea, a breathing device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or surgery to widen the breathing passages by shrinking, stiffening, or removing excess tissue in the mouth and throat or resetting the lower jaw may be helpful. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over your mouth and/or nose and gently blows air into your throat. This air pressure helps keep your airway open while you sleep. Surgery to shrink the tissue involves a small shot into the breathing passages. Surgery to stiffen excess tissue requires a small incision in the tissue and the insertion of a piece of stiff plastic.
Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate
Cleft lip is an opening/split in the upper lip, and cleft palate is an opening/split in the roof of the mouth (palate). Cleft lip and cleft palate result when these developing facial structures in an unborn baby do not close completely. A series of surgeries can restore normal function and achieve a more normal appearance with minimal scarring.
- A cleft lip is usually repaired between the ages of 3 to 6 months. Some children require a lip adhesion or a device such as a molding plate to bring the parts closer together before the full lip repair. A child with a repaired cleft lip will have a scar on the lip under the nose.
- A cleft palate is usually repaired between 9 and 12 months of age. To repair the palate, the soft palate muscles from each side are connected to each other and the normal barrier between the mouth and nose is created.
Additional surgeries are needed to improve the appearance of the lip and nose, close the opening between the mouth and nose, help breathing, and stabilize and realign the jaw. Once the permanent teeth grow in, braces are often needed to straighten the teeth.
Adequate bone volume of the jawbone is necessary for the secure placement, stability, function, aesthetics and longevity of implants. Because tooth loss can result in diminished bone volume in the jawbone, a bone expansion procedure may be necessary prior to implant placement. This procedure can increase the height and/or width of the jaw ridge through the use of mechanical manipulation combined with a bone graft. The Ridge Expansion takes several months to mature and be sufficiently strong for the placement of implants. Ridge Expansion not only improves the function of implants, but is also a key contributor to the enhanced aesthetics, filling in the face around the gums and jaw and thus minimizing the appearance of aging.
Gum reshaping or contouring is a procedure performed to reshape the gums if they rest too low or too high on your teeth. In order to reshape the gum tissue, a line is drawn to mark the new gum line. Once approved, anesthesia is applied to the area and the contouring begins. A dental instrument (typically a scalpel or laser) is used to reshape the gum tissue and trim away any extra tissue overhanging the tooth.
Platelet Rich Growth Factors (PRGF) & Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF)
Platelet Rich Growth Factors and Platelet Rich Fibrin are new techniques used to assist with tissue regeneration using the patient’s own tissues and centrifugation to minimize healing time and maximize healing potential following procedures.
These growth factors are in the form of a mixed gel that can be applied directly into tooth sockets and other sites. Placing this material in tooth sockets after tooth extractions can improve soft tissue healing and positively influence bone regeneration.
These techniques offer a new approach to tissue regeneration. PRP derives from the centrifugation of a patient’s own blood and contains growth factors that influence wound healing. This is important in tissue repairing mechanisms. The use of PRP in surgical practice could have beneficial outcomes, reducing bleeding and enhancing soft tissue healing and bone regeneration.