When most people think of cosmetic dentistry, the first thing that usually pops into their heads is aesthetic procedures like porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and smile makeovers. Those indeed are procedures that keep cosmetic dentists booming in business but did you know that cosmetic dentists do much more than make teeth aesthetically pleasing to the eye? In fact, cosmetic dentists actually specialize in treatments that can improve a patient’s overall health.
The health of your teeth, mouth, and gums are directly linked to health conditions like sleep apnea, gum disease, and grinding or clenching your teeth. From the perspective of a dentist, your oral cavity is like a window to your body’s overall health. As odd as it may sound, dentists can do oral screenings and exams to find underlying issues that can lead to other health problems. Being able to find these oral issues will allow you to follow up with other doctors… and to think, your other health issues can be solved all with a simple trip to the dentist.
There was actually a young boy in Katy, Texas who was thought to be nonverbal but a trip to the dentist changed his entire life. For so many years of his young life, Mason Motz went to speech therapy because his parents thought he was a nonverbal child but upon going to the dentist, it was discovered that he wasn’t nonverbal at all… he was just unable to speak or “tongue-tied.”
The condition of being “tongue-tied” is medically known as a condition called Ankyloglossia. In everyone’s mouth, there is a short, thick tissue at the bottom of your tongue’s tip that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth that restricts the tongue’s ability to move. With Ankyloglossia, it’s an incomplete separation. The dentist performed a three-minute procedure to “untie” Mason’s tongue and fully recovered in seven hours, allowing him to clearly speak without any issues.
The story of Mason Motz wasn’t necessarily a cosmetic procedure but it is a true testament that finding a dentist can change your life. But in the world of cosmetic dentistry, your life can be changed in more ways than one. If you’re experiencing any of these health conditions, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist.
You’re probably wondering how sleep apnea is related to cosmetic dentistry, right? Well, sleep apnea happens when the oxygen level in your blood decreases to a point where you can stop breathing while you sleep for at least 10 seconds… that can be quite scary. There is also a condition called obstructive sleep apnea and that’s where there is a physical blockage of your airways.
This blockage of your airways will prevent you from sleeping well and it’s during sleep when your body repairs itself; your body not being able to do this can cause serious health problems. There has actually been a link between periodontal disease and airway resistance and when patients experience this, they typically turn to oral devices as first lines of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
Cosmetic dentists will advise their patients to find a cosmetic dentist who is experienced in treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and dental occlusion when receiving sleep apnea treatment by way of oral devices.
Your teeth aren’t the only factors that make a healthy smile… your gums play an important role as well. People who have receding gums, it’s usually because they have periodontal disease or tooth loss… a cosmetic dentist can help in this area. What a lot of people don’t realize is that these health conditions have been linked to gum disease:
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Respiratory Disease
People also don’t realize that the plaque you see on your teeth is the same plaque that can clog your arteries as well. For some reason, going to the dentist is always at the bottom of people’s to-do list but when the bacteria from your mouth enters your bloodstream, it can cause all kinds of health problems. Visiting a cosmetic dentist for laser gum treatment will definitely improve the health of your mouth and smile.
Bruxism is the tendency to clench or grind your teeth. This is a terrible habit for the health of your teeth; it can wear down and misalign your bite and lead to other oral problems. There’ no real cause or explanation of teeth clenching or grinding but studies have shown that stress could be a contributing factor as well as sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are devices that can be worn to fit the mouth of a patient who’s experiencing this issue. These devices protect your teeth and minimize stress on the jaw muscles. If you grind or clench your teeth, whether you’re asleep or awake, you need to visit your local cosmetic dentist to see what type of options are available to you.