296 Lowell St., Andover, MA 01810, (978) 475-2431

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Posts for: December, 2014

By Advanced Dental Concepts
December 30, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sleep apnea   snoring  
FiveFAQsAboutSnoringandSleepApnea

Getting enough sleep is necessary for good health. We all know how energetic we feel when we are sleeping well at night. Yet, many of us do not feel rested, even after seven or eight hours of sleep. Let's answer some common questions about snoring and sleep apnea, problems that are often called sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD).

What is the purpose of sleep?
Scientists know we need sleep, at a particularly deep level, to be rested, but they are not sure why we need sleep. Sleep may have evolved as a way to conserve energy in the body, to conserve food supplies, or to reduce our risk during darkness. Sleep appears to give the brain a chance to store and organize its information and the body a chance to recuperate. Sleep studies have shown that in order to get the full benefits of sleep we need to sleep long and deeply enough to enter into a series of sleep cycles including Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep.

What kinds of problems get in the way of the type of sleep we need?
There are eight main categories of sleep disorders, but the ones affecting the largest numbers of people are insomnia, SRBD, and Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders. SRBDs include snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which is a serious health problem.

How do I know if I have OSA or another SRBD?
Often, your bed-partner will tell you that you snore. Chronic loud snoring is an indicator of OSA. To make a diagnosis your physician must take a thorough sleep and medical history. The diagnosis may then be confirmed by a study in a sleep lab.

What causes sleep apnea or OSA?
Snoring and OSA happen when your tongue and other soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse backwards and block airflow through your upper airway or windpipe. You may briefly awaken as many as 50 times per night because of these breathing lapses. These brief awakenings, called micro-arousals, keep you from reaching the deep stage of sleep your body needs.

What are the treatments for sleep apnea?
Treatments include CPAP therapy, in which patients wear a mask while sleeping. The mask pushes air through the airway, keeping it open. In Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) patients wear a device that moves the lower jaw forward, allowing more room for air to move down the airway. Oral surgical procedures and orthodontic approaches also have the goal of moving the tongue away from the throat. These are all treatments that can be carried out by a dentist who has training and experience in treatment of sleep disorders.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about sleep disorders and their treatments. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Sleep Disorders and Dentistry” and “Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions.”


By Advanced Dental Concepts
December 22, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Veneers  

Find out what dental problems could signal that it’s time to consider getting veneers in Andover.

No one has the perfect smile; however, we put a lot of stock in a nice set of teeth. In fact, this is often the first feature we notice upon meeting someone and it can affect our professional, personal and dating life. Therefore, it might seem important for you to maintain a healthy smile. But what if you have dental flaws that are keeping you from the smile you want? No problem! Your Andover dentist offers a variety of cosmetic procedures including dental veneers to give you the smile you want.

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored porcelain shells that permanently adhere to the front of teeth to cover up aesthetic dental flaws. To begin the process, we first remove a small part of your tooth’s healthy enamel. Then we match the veneer color to the rest of your smile to give you a natural-looking new smile. Lastly, we will apply a special cement between your tooth and the veneer and then use a light beam to adhere the veneers to your teeth.

What problems do dental veneers in Andover fix?

Dental veneers can be used to treat a variety of different problems:

  • To cover severe stains
  • To hide visible chips or cracks
  • To hide crooked, overcrowded or misshapen teeth
  • To close gaps between teeth

If you have any of these problems, then dental veneers could help!

When should I consider getting dental veneers in Andover?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel self-conscious about my smile?
  • Do flaws in my teeth cause me to smile less or spend less time in public?
  • Do I feel less confident talking to people because of my smile?
  • Do I want to improve my smile?
  • Do I suffer from one of the aforementioned dental problems?
  • Will my dental insurance cover the cost of my veneers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it might be the perfect time to consider getting dental veneers.

Who shouldn’t get dental veneers?

Since we have to shave down some of your natural tooth’s enamel this procedure is not reversible, so you may not want to opt for dental veneers if you think you may not want your new smile later on. Also, those who have a habit of using their teeth as tools (e.g. opening bags with teeth; biting nails) are more likely to damage their veneers.

If you are interested in dental veneers in Andover, then give our office a call. We will first schedule a consultation to make sure veneers are right for you. Once we deem you an ideal candidate for treatment we can finally give you the new smile you’ve been wanting.


Tooth-ColoredFillingsAretheRestorationofChoiceforBallroomDanceStarCherylBurke

If you've ever watched Dancing with the Stars on television, you've no doubt noticed the vivacious and talented Cheryl Burke, whose ballroom dance moves are as captivating as her bright smile. In fact, Cheryl considers her smile to be one of her most important assets as a professional dancer.

“As a performer, you're basically smiling the whole time,” Cheryl told Dear Doctor magazine recently in an exclusive interview. “It's just really important to take care of your teeth and have a great smile.”

Cheryl is very conscientious about caring for her smile, but that wasn't always the case. In the Dear Doctor interview, Cheryl revealed that her teeth suffered from ineffective oral hygiene when she was younger. “I definitely had my share of cavities,” Cheryl recalled, adding that she believed this was her own fault. “I didn't use floss,” She explained. “I think when you do floss frequently, it helps to reduce the chances of getting cavities. It took me a while to figure it out.”

Once Cheryl did figure it out, she was able to make cavities a thing of the past. But in order to make sure the effects of her prior tooth decay did not mar her lovely smile, she made sure her dentist — who is also her stepdad! — gave her tooth-colored fillings that could not be distinguished from the surface of a natural tooth. “It's important for me,” Cheryl said.

Lots of dental patients feel the same way, even if they don't spend time in front of television cameras. That's why the dental profession has developed tooth-like materials such as composite resins and porcelains that mimic natural tooth material exactly. These materials are also suitable for children's teeth and can incorporate fluoride to reduce tooth decay. It's even possible to replace old silver-colored fillings with these newer dental materials.

If you would like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. To read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Cheryl Burke, please see “Cheryl Burke.” Dear Doctor also has more on “The Natural Beauty of Tooth-Colored Fillings.”


By Advanced Dental Concepts
December 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: bacteria   oral health  
FiveFactsaboutBacteria

Bacteria are bad… right? They can cause diseases like pneumonia, strep throat, and tooth decay. They are the reason we wash our hands with soap (or antibacterial gels) and cook (or refrigerate) our food. Yet it turns out that bacteria are also necessary to keep our bodies healthy — and new research is showing just how important these tiny microorganisms are to our well-being. Here are five facts you should know about bacteria.

The bacteria in our bodies outnumber our cells by a factor of 10 to 1. An estimated 100 trillion bacteria live inside the average human — but because they’re so small, they make up only 1-3 percent of our body mass.

The collection of bacteria we harbor is called our “microbiome.” Like the groundbreaking study of human DNA called the Human Genome Project, recent research is leading to a “map” of our bacterial makeup. This revolutionary study is called — you guessed it — the Human Microbiome Project.

No two people have exactly the same microbiome. But in general, the bacteria that live in a particular spot on the body (the mouth, for example) play the same roles in different individuals. Research has also shown that a healthy microbiome looks very different from a diseased microbiome.

In terms of bacteria, the mouth is one of the best-understood areas of the body. It has long been known that tooth decay can result when “bad” oral bacteria begin to outnumber their “good” counterparts. Now we are gaining a better understanding of how certain lifestyle factors — like cigarette smoking — may influence the bacterial balance in the mouth.

Understanding the microbiome may lead to new treatments for disease. Researchers hope that one day, certain serious diseases could be controlled by bacterial “transplants” that re-balance an individual’s microbiome. Maintaining a healthy microbiome could also help prevent many diseases.

So by all means, don’t stop brushing your teeth or washing your hands — this helps control bacteria that could harm you — but do remember that not all bacteria are harmful. One day, an infusion of bacteria might just cure your illness.