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How Sleep Apnea Surgery Changed the Life of a Major League Baseball Player

Baseball player pitching a ballHave you ever been around a newborn baby? Parents of newborns understand all too well what it means to not get any sleep. Some nights, a baby wakes up every 30 to 45 minutes and is ready to start the day by 3 A.M., which means that mom has to get through the day on maybe a couple of hours of sleep. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you also know what that’s like. You may sleep, but you rarely reach the deep REM dream state, and even after eight hours of lying in bed, you feel like you barely slept at all.

The Problem With Sleep Apnea

Sleep is an essential part of human life and helps your body heal, fight off infections, recover, and produce growth hormones. If you’re not getting adequate sleep, you may need to undergo a sleep study to determine whether you have sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that affects millions of Americans. With sleep apnea, it’s not that you’re just a little tired during the day, you’re perpetually exhausted and ready to fall asleep at any given moment. Your mental focus may be fuzzy all the time, and the idea of doing anything that requires even a smidgen of energy seems like trying to run a marathon. Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and even premature death.

Mike Napoli’s Experience With Sleep Apnea

Major league baseball player Mike Napoli was a long-time sufferer of sleep apnea. It was so bad for Napoli that he would wake up as much as a hundred times every night. As for how it affected his career, he’d sometimes miss batting practice, or he’d sleep during practice and be dizzy after a game. Sleep deprivation is particularly detrimental to athletes because it can impede reflexes, slow reaction time, impair judgment, obstruct the ability to focus or pay attention, and prevent the body from healing fully or quickly.

Getting Sleep Apnea Surgery

In November of 2014, Napoli made headlines for undergoing major sleep apnea surgery so he could finally get the rest he needed at night. The procedure is called bimaxillary reconstruction or maxillomandibular advancement surgery, and it requires breaking the upper and lower jaw to permanently adjust their position and open the airways. Sound painful? Napoli says, “It was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done…I spent two days in the ICU after. I mean, it was 10 days of just pain.”

But for Napoli, the surgery changed his life: “Before, when I was doing stuff around the cage, I was so lazy and tired, I didn’t even want to pick up the balls. Now, I finish hitting and I drop my bat and I’m running around picking up all the balls. It’s been a tough offseason, but I think it’s worth it.”

Dr. Christopher Winter, Medical Director of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, has conducted research on major league baseball players and sleep patterns. One of the conclusions of Dr. Winter’s research was that well-rested players tend to stay in major league baseball for longer than sleepy players. In other words, sleepy players are less likely to last in the major leagues. It’s not hard to see why Mike Napoli felt the need to undergo surgery—not only did it reduce his chronic fatigue, it also may have saved his career.

Getting the Right Treatment for Your Sleep Apnea

Like Napoli, people who suffer from sleep apnea need effective treatment so that they can get the rest they need to function and live a healthy life. However, not all individuals need major jaw surgery, and a CPAP machine is not your only alternative. If you have sleep apnea, you could benefit from oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances offer a comfortable and convenient way to keep your airway open while you sleep. Dr. Jamie Sands makes custom oral appliances for people with sleep apnea to help them get the treatment they need for a better quality of life.

Oral appliance therapy with Dr. Jamie Sands can treat your obstructive sleep apnea and improve your health and the quality of your sleep. To request your free consultation with Dr. Sands, call (818) 306-5153 or contact us online today.


Why Your Child’s Oral Health Is Important

Kids smiling showing their teethAs a parent, your child’s health is always your primary concern. However, children don’t always make it easy for you. Ensuring that your child is healthy often comes down to small details. When it comes to oral health, it can be harder to determine if your child is maintaining a quality routine. A poor dental routine in children can have detrimental, long-lasting effects on their emotional, social, and physical health.

The Effects of Untreated Tooth Decay

There are varying opinions about when your child should start seeing a dentist. You can start taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth pops or by their first birthday; this ensures that healthy oral hygiene habits develop early. At the age of one year, your child should begin having a cleaning and checkup every six months. These periodic exams help diagnose any tooth or gum disease early.

According to the California Dental Association, tooth decay is the number one chronic health problem in children. By kindergarten, approximately half of children will have some form of tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can have expensive and long-term consequences. Advanced tooth decay in children can lead to:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Premature tooth loss
  • Trouble chewing
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Shifting teeth
  • The need for orthodontics in the future

Your Child’s Smile and Happiness

The California Dental Association estimates that almost 50% of children will miss some school due to oral health problems. Frequent absences from school can hurt your child’s academic performance and overall success.

However, children miss school not only because of dental pain and gum disease but also because their tooth decay may make them a target of bullying. Poor oral hygiene has a significant impact on the self-esteem of both children and adults.

Low self-esteem in children can have a significant and long-term impact on their happiness and success. It is believed that children and teens with low self-esteem are more likely to:

  • Have poor school achievement
  • Exhibit violent or criminal behavior
  • Be the victim of bullying
  • Smoke or abuse alcohol and drugs
  • Suffer from depression
  • Have thoughts of suicide

Maintaining Your Child’s Oral Health

As a parent, you can help your children maintain good oral health. Make sure your children brush their teeth morning and night. You should provide them with a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Routine flossing is also ideal for preventing cavities. Monitoring what your children eat is also an important aspect of ensuring strong, healthy teeth. Avoid allowing your child to snack on sugar-packed food. Instead, provide them with tooth-friendly alternatives such as dairy products, veggies, nuts, and whole grains. Additionally, don’t forget their six-month checkups to prevent any problems.

If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jamie Sands today. Call our office at (818) 306-5153 or contact us online.


Porcelain Veneers for a Beautiful Smile

Porcelain Veneer ResultsDo you ever stop and think about the importance of your smile? Your smile can affect what people think of you and how you think about yourself. Many psychologists agree that smiling can reduce stress and boost your mood. A beautiful smile can also impact the type of impressions you leave on potential employers and on a first date. However, if we don’t feel confident in our smile, we are likely to smile less, causing us to miss out on these benefits.

 

There can be any number of reasons you feel your teeth are unattractive. They may be a misshapen, discolored, an imperfect size, crooked, or a mix of the above. These teeth issues can be caused by genetics, improper hygiene, or trauma to one or more teeth. No matter the reason for your unhappiness with the appearance of your teeth, Dr. Sands has a permanent solution: porcelain veneers.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Veneers are customizable pieces of porcelain that can be bonded to one or more of your teeth. While each veneer may be as thin as a contact lens, it can provide the most dramatic and long-lasting results of any smile-enhancing procedure. Porcelain veneers combine the advantages of teeth whitening, Invisalign®, orthodontics, and bonding into an easy and pain-free procedure.

Benefits of Porcelain Veneers

  • Can correct the appearance of discolored, damaged, crooked, or shifted teeth
  • Application is easy, fast, and painless
  • Authentic color choices are available so your veneers blend with your surrounding teeth for natural results
  • Achieve whiter and straighter teeth with just one procedure
  • Minimize the appearance of gums and create a balanced smile

Healthier Teeth With Porcelain Veneers

While many people choose porcelain veneers because of the long-lasting cosmetic enhancement they provide, you shouldn’t overlook the health advantages of choosing veneers. Worn enamel exposes you to tooth decay, and exposed roots leave you sensitive to temperature. Porcelain veneers bond with the surface of your teeth, making them stronger and more durable than before.

Your Smile Difference With Dr. Sands

Untrained professionals placing porcelain veneers has led to horror stories that give veneers a bad reputation. The fact is, veneers can provide patients with the custom smile they desire, but they need the right dentist to place them. Since porcelain veneers are applied through a multi-step process, it is important to have a meticulous dentist paying attention to the details throughout the whole process.

 

With Dr. Sands, you are choosing both experience and someone with an eye for a beautiful smile. Dr. Sands has been properly trained to place veneers that don’t break, pop off, or crack. She undergoes continual training with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry to ensure she is using the latest methods to provide you with the longest-lasting veneers possible.

 
If you are in need of a durable, long-lasting treatment to restore your beautiful smile, schedule your porcelain veneer consultation with Dr. Sands. Call us at (818) 306-5153 or contact us online.


Dental Implants for Long-Term Health

Most tooth loss is the result of decay, gum disease, or natural wear on the teeth. However, many people also lose teeth from injury or from cancer. It is estimated that 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, while 25 million people have lost the majority of their teeth. This is an oral health epidemic that very few people talk about and many see as a cosmetic problem rather than a medical one. However, a lost tooth can cause medical issues.

Dental Implants Before and After Photos

How Tooth Loss Occurs

Tooth loss can occur for many reasons, including poor diet, bad habits, and genetics. Substandard dental hygiene can lead to advanced tooth decay, which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. For patients under the age of 30, tooth loss is likely the result of injury during sports or accidents. Some tooth loss may be the result of poorly done dental work.

Age of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss can occur at any age. However, tooth loss due to natural problems (not injury) is more common in people over 35 years of age. On average, people between the ages of 35 and 50 are missing up to 7 teeth. This number only increases as more teeth are lost as one ages.

Why Your Teeth Are Important to Your Health

The structure of your jaw is reliant on your teeth and your joint (TMJ) for support. The sockets that hold your teeth allow for minor movement of the periodontal ligament, which stimulates the bone. When a tooth is lost, this stimulation no longer exists, and the alveolar bone can lose width, height, and volume. In fact, there is almost a 25% reduction in bone width within the first year of untreated tooth loss.

Effects of Bone Loss

Bone loss will continue to occur the longer you are without teeth. Within a few years, you will begin to notice structural changes in the jaw that will change the overall shape of your face. After a few years, you can begin to develop sunken cheeks as the tissues cave in from lack of support, which makes the face look older. Bone loss can also significantly impact your ability to eat and speak. The weakening of the jaw bone and tissues can also lead to other problems such as TMJ, acute pain, and loss of sensation.

Dietary Changes

Men and women who have lost several teeth will find it much more difficult to eat many types of foods, and patients who are missing teeth often have lower intakes of fruits and vegetables. The consequences of these nutritional changes can include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

Dental Implants to Replace Missing Teeth

In the past, many people used partial or full dentures to replace their missing teeth. However, this process only corrects the aesthetic problem of missing teeth and doesn’t address the health issues that can occur. Dentures don’t provide the stimulation the jaw bone needs to continue growth, and denture patients still experience many of the negative health effects associated with bone loss. In fact, full and partial dentures can actually harm the surround teeth and tissues. Dr. Sands recommends dental implants to all of her tooth loss patients because of their durability and overall health benefits.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant has a screw-like base that is placed by one of Dr. Sands’ surgeons, which then fuses to the bone. A custom crown is then attached to the base. Dr. Sands’ implants are crafted from titanium, gold, or zirconium and then covered with porcelain to match the surrounding teeth, depending on the aesthetics, the location of the dental implant, and the patient’s bite. Titanium implants are typically placed in the back because the stronger material can withstand the stress of chewing. Zirconium is often used for the front teeth to maintain the natural aesthetics of your teeth.

Dental Implants With Dr. Sands

Many doctors don’t have the proper training or experience to provide quality dental implants. Dr. Sands has spent years perfecting her dental implant technique because implants provide the most health benefits for patients, and they are the longest-lasting treatment for tooth loss

Dr. Sands’ dental implants are medical devices that can last a lifetime and have the greatest long-term value for your money. Dr. Sands uses a retrievable implant system. This system reduce failures and gives her the ability to change components in the implant system if need be without having to do the implant over again. All dental implant procedures are tailored to the patient with correction starting at the gum line. This comprehensive look at implantation helps provide a seamless transition and allows for implants to blend with your natural teeth.

It is important to replace missing teeth within the first year of tooth loss. For your dental implant consultation with Dr. Sands, call our office at (818) 306-5153 or contact us online.


Gum Disease Has More to Do With Your Overall Health Than You Realize

Most people understand that good oral hygiene helps keep the teeth and gums healthy. However, gum disease puts a lot more at stake than some people realize. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can affect your overall health and may be associated with serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.

Understanding Gum Disease

The human mouth contains a plethora of bacteria, and proper oral hygiene helps keep bacteria levels under control. Failure to keep bacteria levels sufficiently low can lead to gum disease. Poor oral hygiene as well as tobacco use, stress, poor diet, and genetics can all cause gum disease. More advanced cases of gum disease allow toxins to penetrate the gum line and stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in the body. The body then begins to destroy the gum tissue and bone, potentially leading to permanent tooth loss.

Treatment for Gum Disease Before and After Photos

The Connection to Your Overall Health

Scientific research has discovered multiple associations between gum disease and various health conditions. Periodontitis can begin at a young age due to conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease. Other forms of gum disease are associated with HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, immunosuppression, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart), cardiovascular disease, premature birth in pregnant women, and more. Some of these conditions have a circular effect, meaning that as the medical condition contributes to gum disease, gum disease contributes to the condition, and both health issues feed into each other. An example of this connection is gum disease and diabetes, in which gum disease makes it more difficult for diabetic patients to control their blood sugar.

Keeping Your Health Under Control

It is important to note that the germs that cause gum disease can penetrate the highly vascular gum line and slip into the bloodstream, leading to adverse health conditions. While previous research indicated that bacteria was the chief cause linking periodontal disease to other diseases in the body, recent research has suggested that inflammation may be the culprit. Therefore, treating inflammation in the body may help manage both gum disease and other chronic inflammatory health conditions.

Patients can also protect their overall health by maintaining good oral hygiene with daily brushing, flossing, eating healthy meals, limiting snacks, replacing their toothbrush every three months, avoiding tobacco use, and scheduling regular dental cleanings and dental examinations. Let’s keep those mouths healthy to help keep our bodies healthy!

Preventing gum disease could protect your overall health. If you have a personal or family history of gum disease or if you believe you may have gum disease, schedule your consultation with Dr. Jamie Sands. Call our office at (818) 306-5153, or fill out our online contact form to request your appointment today.


Comfortable and Attractive Teeth Straightening

Did you know that psychologists believe that smiling triggers neural signals that can improve both your health and happiness? Your smile can stimulate the release of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin that relax your body, lowering your heart rate and your blood pressure. A 2011 study even found that people who smile more are perceived to be more attractive. So with all the proven benefits of smiling, why would you let crooked, uneven teeth keep you from feeling and looking your best?

You’re Never Too Old to Straighten Your Teeth

The horror image of awkward teens and leafy greens stuck between metal braces has many adults saying they are way past their prime for teeth straightening. Many people feel that metal braces don’t convey the authoritative and mature appearance that is necessary to navigate their social and working worlds. With Invisalign®, you no longer have to choose between having a perfect smile and pursuing the career of your dreams. Over four million people have had their lives completely transformed with Invisalign®. Isn’t it time you were one of them too?  

Pain-Free, Metal-Free Teeth Alignment

Invisalign® is one of the only teeth-aligning systems specifically designed to meet the needs of adults. Imagine dramatic teeth straightening without metal and without tooth shaving. Invisalign® aligners are designed from thermoplastic material and look similar to teeth-whitening trays. A series of Invisalign® aligners are custom-fitted to your teeth and are virtually invisible.

Saving Time

Since Invisalign® doesn’t use metal brackets or wires to shift your teeth, you can spend less time in the dentist’s chair compared to a traditional orthodontics visit for braces. Most patients only require a dental visit every four to six months. Invisalign® comfortably and seamlessly fits into even the busiest person’s lifestyle. Unlike braces, Invisalign® provides patients with the convenience of removal so they can eat and drink whatever they please and maintain good and thorough dental hygiene.

The average Invisalign® treatment takes about 12 months, but the ultimate length of your treatment will vary depending on the severity of your case. Invisalign® must be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day to be effective, and most patients feel zero discomfort throughout the day or while sleeping.

Enhance Your Invisalign® Experience

Invisalign® provides most patients with dramatic, comfortable teeth alignment. However, adding AcceleDent® Aura to your Invisalign® treatment can provide you with amazing results up to 50 percent faster. For the average patient, AcceleDent® Aura cuts treatment time in half, all the while making your Invisalign® treatments more comfortable and effective. So the only question is, how soon do you want to see your straighter smile? Call Dr. Jamie Sands for a consultation to learn more about this innovative medical device.

There are no more excuses for not having the straight, brilliant smile you desire. Schedule your consultation today to see how the pain-free, invisible Invisalign® system can benefit you. Call us at (818) 306-5153, or contact us online.  


What to Do During a Dental Emergency

dental-emergencyIf you experience a dental emergency at night or over the weekend when dental offices are usually closed, you may not know what to do. You may not even know whether your situation warrants immediate care or if you can wait to be seen by a dentist.

Typically, if you experience any of the following, you need to be treated as soon as possible:

  • A knocked out permanent tooth
  • A loose tooth caused by an injury or trauma
  • An abscessed tooth
  • Severe pain
  • Swelling

What Is a Dental Emergency?

A Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

Knocking out a permanent tooth is a major concern, especially if it’s a front tooth. Your tooth can be saved as long as the root is not damaged and as long as it is re-implanted within about 30 minutes. If you can’t reach your dentist within that timeframe, call an emergency room or a 24-hour dental service.

If possible, hold your tooth within the socket. If the tooth was completely dislodged out of your mouth, be sure to handle it carefully without touching the roots. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse it in milk if it is dirty. Do not wipe the tooth clean with any type of cloth because it may cause damage.

A Loose Tooth Caused By Injury or Trauma

injury-or-trauma-to-teethA loose tooth can easily become looser or fall out, so it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. A loose tooth caused by bruxism or periodontal disease can be prevented by routine dental care and is not necessarily a dental emergency. But, when a loose tooth is caused by an injury or trauma, it is a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. Treatment for a loose tooth caused by an injury or trauma includes splinting, which binds the loose tooth to other permanent teeth until it becomes stable within the socket.

Abscess

An abscessed tooth is an infection near the tooth root or within in the gum line that can appear as pimple-like swelling. This type of infection can damage surrounding teeth and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. The oral health and general health conditions that can result from an abscess warrant immediate contact with your dentist. Usually, a next-day appointment is fast enough to address the problem. Until you can see your dentist, rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times throughout the day.

Severe Pain

severe-tooth-painDental emergencies can involve severe pain. Dental pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. However, many people do not know that they should avoid aspirin or aspirin substitutes since they can slow clotting. You should also never apply aspirin directly to the painful area within the mouth.

Swelling

Before you are able to see your dentist, you can ease swelling by applying ice to the sore area or the cheek on and off for 20 minutes. If you notice the swelling affecting the eye or airway, go to the emergency room.

To schedule your consultation with Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands, please call (818) 306-5153 or fill out our online contact form today.


Replace Your Toothbrush Every Three Months for Better Health

shutterstock_29787466Ideally, you should maintain the habit of brushing your teeth every morning and night. Although many people may know the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth, many may not be aware of how often they should replace their toothbrush. Three months is the standard amount of time before you should switch it out, but it may need to be replaced sooner depending on a few factors.

Cleanliness

Did you know a single toothbrush head can have over one hundred million bacteria living on it? It seems like common sense to cover the head of your toothbrush with a cap after you use it to protect it from dust, accidental touches, or questionable bathroom water splashes. However, a cap will inevitably trap moisture and encourage the production of harmful microorganisms, namely Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause infection and be far worse than those other concerns. It is best practice to rinse your toothbrush after you use it and store it uncovered and in an upright position so that it can dry. Toothbrush cases may be convenient while traveling, but consider using a disposable toothbrush for travel for the cleanest experience.

Illness

Bacteria and viruses can survive many days on a toothbrush and can be passed to other people just by having the toothbrush close to other toothbrushes. The flu virus, cold sores, E. coli, Candida (yeast), hepatitis (A, B, and C), and even gum disease can be easily transferred, spreading the illness to everyone in your household. When you are sick, use a disposable toothbrush for the duration of your cold, and store it away from other toothbrushes. Replace your toothbrush once you are well.

Effectiveness

With consistent use, your toothbrush bristles will become worn and frayed, which makes them less effective. You should change your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months, but if you notice any fraying, you should replace it as soon as possible. Be sure to keep an eye on children’s toothbrushes as well, since children sometimes tend to brush their teeth more vigorously. Remember: when in doubt, switch it out; and keep extra toothbrushes on hand, so you don’t have to make a special trip to the store.

If you would like to learn more ways to keep bacteria and illness at bay, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands by calling (818) 306-5153 or by filling out our online contact form today.


Featured Patient

Porcelain Veneers Before After PhotosPatients who visit our Studio City practice are often amazed at the results they can experience in such a short amount of time. Porcelain veneers (also called dental veneers) provide the most dramatic results, as they can correct virtually any flaw. Chips, cracks, discoloration, malocclusion, misshapened teeth, a gummy smile, crooked teeth, and gaps can all be fixed at one time. No surgery or anesthesia is required to prepare the teeth and have them fitted for permanent veneers. The patient can go home the same day with a completely transformed smile before the permanent veneers are even placed. Porcelain veneers provide all the advantages of bonding, Invisalign™ and teeth whitening in just one procedure!

This particular patient came to us unhappy with her gummy smile, tooth discoloration, and narrow arch form. In only two hours, the patient left our office with newfound confidence and stunning prototypes of the final veneers. Her teeth now appear straight, symmetrical, and dazzlingly white with the help of this one procedure.

To learn more about porcelain veneers and the remarkable difference they can make for your smile, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands. Call (818) 306-5153 or fill out our online contact form for more information.

 


BPA Used in Some Dental Work May Cause Cancer and Reproductive Toxicity

Dr. Jamie Sands’ Dental Practice Is 100% BPA-Free

BPA FreeYou’ve likely heard about the potential dangers of BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical found in plastic containers and aluminum cans. It was confirmed in May of 2015 that BPA is known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. Many people are not aware that this poisonous chemical is in many dental materials such as fillings, sealants, and cements.

Dr. Jamie Sands Uses Safe, 100% BPA-Free Materials

Since Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands has made it her priority to use only materials that are completely safe for her patients, all of the materials she uses at her practice are 100% percent BPA-free. Dental practices with 10 or more employees are now required to post a visible warning to their patients if they use such BPA-laden materials. This requirement is in effect this month (June 2016) due to the passing of Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. While not every person exposed to BPA is destined to suffer from reproductive harm or get cancer, there is enough research to prove that avoiding this chemical is wise. You will not see the required “notice to patients” in Dr. Jamie Sands’ office because all her materials are BPA-free.

If you have fillings, porcelain veneers, crowns, or braces, the materials used to set them in place may contain trace amounts of BPA. The amount of BPA present will depend on the type and amount of material used, and the length of time you have had the dental work in place. Ask your dentist about the necessity of having your dental work evaluated if you are concerned with your amount of BPA exposure. All procedures can be re-done by Dr. Sands with safe, high-quality materials.

To schedule an appointment at Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands’ Studio City practice, please call (818) 306-5153 or fill out our online contact form today.