Waiting For Dental Implants? Consider Transitional Appliances

Dental implants are one of the most effective, durable, and aesthetically pleasing methods for replacing missing teeth. Secured into the jawbone for lifelong stability, dental implants provide a naturalistic look that can withstand regular eating, talking, and oral care.

Because dental implants are installed into the jaw bone through oral surgery, implants take longer to acquire than other tooth replacement options. For many patients waiting for the gums and jaw bone to heal after surgery feels endless, especially while still contending with missing teeth. Luckily, using a transitional appliance is a cost-effective way to improve your smile and gain back confidence while you wait for your implant.

How Long Does It Take Waiting For Dental Implants?

Regarded as the most durable alternative for missing teeth, dental implants look and act like natural teeth. However, it may take time before you are able to get dental implants in your mouth.

Surgery

The implant process begins with an assessment from a dental professional, determining whether or not your jaw bone is suitable for implant installation. Once you’ve been cleared to get an implant, you’ll have your initial implant surgery, where a metal post is secured into the jaw bone. This post acts as a base for the crown, and mimics the function of dental roots.

Recovery

The healing process for a dental implant can take up to six months. Since the jaw bone is altered to secure the post, it’s necessary to wait for the bone to heal sufficiently before installing the crown. This allows the underlying bone to gain back strength, so frequent disturbance from chewing or talking doesn’t displace the implant.

Crown Placement

Once the bone and gums are healed, the abutment and crown are placed on the implant. The abutment attaches the post to the crown, serving as an anchor for the crown. The crown is made to look highly realistic, mimicking the color and texture of neighboring teeth. The goal is for the dental implant to blend into the mouth seamlessly.

What are the Benefits of a Dental Implant?

With all the hassle of oral surgery, you may be wondering why implants are such a popular choice for tooth replacement. The answer boils down to longevity, convenience, and aesthetic.

Long-Lasting Results

Dental implants are made to last. A successful implant should last indefinitely, giving you a hassle-free result for years to come. Implants are a big commitment, and there’s no going back once you’ve started the implant process. The advantage of this is that dental implants never need to be replaced, and are an investment for the rest of your life.

A High Success Rate

In general, dental implants are regarded as a highly successful option for tooth replacement. Unlike temporary solutions, which need to be replaced more frequently, implants don’t need much maintenance. They are designed to look and act like natural teeth, making them easier to adapt to in the long-term.

Protects the Jaw Bone

Many people don’t realize that missing teeth may actually lead to damage in the jaw bone. Bone resorption is a condition where the jaw bone shrinks due to lack of use in areas with missing teeth. This leads to structural complications and effects the integrity of the facial structure. People who suffer jaw bone loss may appear sunken or hollow-cheeked.

Highly Realistic

Dental implants aren’t just low-maintenance, they provide realistic results by looking and acting like natural teeth. With implants, you never have to worry about what you eat, take out an appliance for cleaning, or worry that an appliance will become displaced during a conversation. The goal is to provide you with a more confident smile, knowing your teeth will look healthy and feel good.

Why Invest in a Temporary Appliance?

Investing in a temporary appliance gives you the confidence you need to live your life to the fullest while you wait for the implant process to be complete. Since the healing period from your initial oral surgery may take up to six months, it’s helpful and practical to adopt a temporary solution. Temporary appliances fill the gaps in your smile, providing stability for neighboring teeth, and making eating and talking more comfortable. Custom-made temporary appliances fit seamlessly into your mouth, providing an inconspicuous solution to missing teeth.

Essix Retainers

Essix retainers are made from a clear plastic material, and are built to fit over the teeth like a bite guard. Clear plastic fits around remaining teeth and an artificial tooth fills in the gap where your missing tooth should be. Since they fit into the mouth like a bite guard, Essix retainers may feel more intrusive than other temporary appliances. The benefit of their design is that Essix retainers keep teeth in place and provide more consistent support and protection for remaining teeth.

Dental Bridge

A dental bridge fits into the mouth at the site of the missing tooth and uses the neighboring teeth as anchor points. The bridge literally “bridges” the gap between teeth, filling in the empty space with an artificial tooth. Dental bridges are typically made from acrylic or porcelain, and are bonded to the neighboring teeth to provide stability. Bridges are an effective solution for patients who are missing one or two teeth with neighboring teeth still intact. Bridges provide a semi-permanent solution that’s more stable than retainers, but not as stable as dental implants.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are a popular solution for temporary tooth replacement. Made out of a soft and flexible acrylic, partial dentures fit into the mouth around healthy teeth, filling in gaps where missing teeth should be. The base of partial dentures is made to mimic the color of the gums and attaches to healthy teeth with metal clasps or natural looking acrylic components. The tooth replacements are made to realistically match your natural teeth.

Partial dentures are typically comfortable to wear, and are relatively durable. It may take some time to get used to wearing a partial denture, but these devices provide quick improvements when eating and talking.

Caring for Your Temporary Appliance

While you wait for your implant to arrive, it’s important to take proper care of your temporary appliance.

  • Use a denture cleaner: many toothpastes are too harsh for partial dentures or Essix retainers. Invest in a denture cleaner to keep your appliances clean.
  • Clean regularly: prevent bacterial buildup by cleaning your devices regularly.
  • Store in a safe place: keep temporary appliances safe from pets and children and store in a safe, dry place.

Ordering a Temporary Appliance from Dental Lab Direct

Finding a temporary solution to missing teeth has never been easier. When you order your partial denture or retainer from Dental Lab Direct, you can enjoy quick results and a hassle-free process. Skip the trip to the dentist’s office and enjoy the convenience of a dental appliance delivered directly to your home. Once you receive your impression kit in the mail, all you need to do is complete the impressions of your teeth, send it back to us, and voila! Your partial denture will arrive in 2-3 weeks.

At Dental Lab Direct we’re committed to providing you with high-quality, comfortable appliances. All our products are made using the FDA approved materials and manufactured with your comfort in mind. Not the right fit? Dental Lab Direct has a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, because we’re committed to helping you feel confident about your smile. Get started today by ordering your impression kit in the mail.

Trouble Sleeping? Why You Should Care About Sleep Apnea

If you find yourself waking up feeling groggy, achy, and tired you may be experiencing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that effects sleep quality, resulting in health problems ranging from daytime fatigue to heart failure.

If you suspect you might be suffering from apnea episodes, talk to your doctor about getting a diagnosis. Although potentially harmful when left untreated, sleep apnea is a condition that’s highly treatable with proper care.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction to the airway during sleep. This leads to a sudden disruption in oxygen flow and causes the individual to jolt awake. In general, apnea is the result of the soft tissues in the throat relaxing and blocking a normal airflow. Apnea may also be caused by the tongue falling back into the throat and creating a blockage.

Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms vary widely between individuals, and may be difficult to identify if you’re struggling with other health complications. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to consult with your physician.

Symptoms include:

  • Daytime fatigue and drowsiness.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Snoring.
  • Gasping for air while asleep.
  • Headaches. 
  • Irritability.
  • Dry mouth upon waking.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Although there’s not one universal cause for sleep apnea, there are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing sleep apnea.

Weight Gain

Individuals who are overweight are more likely to develop sleep apnea. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is because fat deposits around the upper airway may obstruct your ability to breathe comfortably. 

Alcohol Use

Excessive alcohol use has been proven to contribute to sleep apnea. Since alcohol is a sedative, excessive drinking causes the muscles and tissues in the neck to relax more while sleeping. This leads to a greater likelihood of obstructed breathing.

Smoking

Since sleep apnea is related to the entire respiratory system, it’s no surprise that activities like smoking increase the risk of apnea. Smoking causes inflammation in the throat and nose which can restrict airflow and intensify apnea symptoms.

Allergies and Congestion

Generally, individuals who suffer from allergies or persistent nasal congestion are more likely to experience sleep apnea. Congestion inhibits regular respiration and contributes to overall inflammation in the upper respiratory tract.

What are the Potential Complications of Sleep Apnea?

High Blood Pressure and Heart Issues

Severe side-effects of sleep apnea include heart complications and high blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic “sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system.” This strain on the cardiovascular system can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks and stroke.

Type 2 Diabetes

Sleep apnea may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance.

Fatigue

Experiencing chronic fatigue is one of the most common side effects in individuals with sleep apnea. This includes symptoms like falling asleep when trying to complete tasks, feeling drowsy throughout the day, lacking focus and energy, and feeling irritable or depressed.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Depending on your routine and lifestyle, there are many different treatment-plans available to help address sleep apnea. These range from simple at-home remedies to respiratory surgery, so you should consult with your doctor to decide on the best treatment plan for your condition.

CPAP Machines

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are a great solution for individuals with more severe sleep apnea. These devices fit over the mouth and nose and pump pressurized air into the airway, preventing soft tissues from collapsing while asleep.

Lifestyle Changes

Sleep apnea caused by weight gain, alcohol use, and smoking can be improved by engaging in simple lifestyle changes. Embarking on a regular exercise routine, decreasing alcohol use before bed, and quitting smoking are all effective ways to improve your sleep quality and overall health.

Oral Appliances

Devices like MADs (mandibular advancement devices) and TRDs (tongue retention devices) are affordable and effective aids when it comes to treating your sleep apnea at home. MADs fit in the mouth and over the teeth similar to a retainer or bite guard, and change the position of the jaw to prevent soft tissues from collapsing in the throat. TRDs hold the tongue in place at the front of the mouth by attaching to the tip of the tongue, and prevent the tongue from blocking the airway.

Finding Quality Solutions at Dental Lab Direct

At Dental Lab Direct we provide high-quality FDA approved oral appliances designed to treat sleep apnea. Dental Lab Direct offers easy at-home ordering, so you can have your custom oral appliance delivered straight to your doorstep. With our 60-day satisfaction guarantee, it’s easy to find a comfortable, affordable, solution and improve the quality of your sleep.

How Sleep Apnea Appliances Help You Sleep Better

Taking care of your health starts with getting a good night’s sleep. If you wake up with headaches, struggle with fatigue throughout the day, or have issues with persistent disruption during sleep, then you may be struggling with sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition where the soft tissues in the throat relax and obstruct your airway, inhibiting regular airflow to the lungs. This results in frequent sleep disruptions such as waking up gasping, or snoring.

Treating sleep apnea generally focuses on limiting obstructions in the throat through using oral appliances. With a few easy adjustments, you can transform the way you sleep for good.

How Does Sleep Apnea Effect Your Health?

Although sleep apnea is generally a manageable condition, it may result in serious side effects if left untreated.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Frequent sleep disruption.
  • Fatigue during the day. 
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating.
  • Dry mouth upon waking.
  • Irritability.
  • Headaches.

Many people suffer from sleep apnea without even realizing it’s causing their symptoms. While these side-effects are certainly unpleasant in the short-term, according to the Cleveland Clinic untreated sleep apnea can lead to “hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the muscle tissue of the heart), congestive heart failure, diabetes, and heart attacks.” Finding a solution for sleep apnea will not only improve your day-to-day wellbeing, but will prevent more serious conditions from developing in the future. 

Devices to Treat Sleep Apnea

The first step to improving your sleep quality is to decide which oral device works best for your needs and lifestyle. Remember, it’s important to consult with your doctor about potential treatments to ensure you receive the most effective care.

CPAP Machines

Widely regarded as the “gold standard” for sleep apnea treatment, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines are portable devices designed to push pressurized air into your airway. CPAP machines fit over the nose and mouth and consistently pump pressurized air into the airways, preventing soft tissues from collapsing. CPAP machines are a great option for treating more severe forms of sleep apnea.

Although CPAP machines are highly effective, some individuals find them uncomfortable, bulky or noisy. Due to the continuous airflow, CPAP machines often lead to side-effects like dry mouth, sore throat, and even nosebleeds. Additionally, CPAP machines may inhibit comfortable breathing for individuals with weakened respiratory systems.

MADs

Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are small oral appliances designed to shift the position of the lower jaw. By shifting the jaw forward, MADs change the structure of the throat, preventing soft tissues from obstructing the airway. MADs are retainer-like devices that fit over the teeth, with adjustable hinges to customize the angle of the jaw. While pre-fabricated MADs are available, custom-made MADs are more effective when it comes to comfort and long-term wearability.

Since MADs fit over the teeth and directly alter the position of the jaw, they may cause teeth to shift or result in jaw pain over time. These devices may not be suitable for individuals who struggle with TMJ-related symptoms, or who have extensive dental alterations.

TRDs

Tongue retention devices (TRDs) are designed to relieve symptoms of sleep apnea by holding the tongue in place at the front of the mouth. TRDs attach to the tip of the tongue and secure it in position so it doesn’t flop back into the throat and obstruct airflow. TRDs may be a more comfortable solution for individuals with jaw complications. 

Due to their design, TRDs inhibit certain sleeping positions. Individuals who prefer to sleep on their stomach may prefer to use MADs instead.

Benefits of Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Improving the quality of your sleep improves your overall health. Oral appliances for sleep apnea prevent airway obstruction, lessen nighttime disruptions, minimize snoring, and ensure a healthy flow of oxygen to your lungs.

Benefits of treating sleep apnea include:

  • Lower risk of heart problems.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Lower risk of diabetes.
  • Improved energy.
  • Improved mood.

Improving Your Sleep with Dental Lab Direct

Ordering a custom-made appliance to treat your sleep apnea has never been easier. At Dental Lab Direct, or custom sleep appliances are designed with comfort in mind. Plus, our three-step ordering process allows you to order your custom device from the comfort of your home. Made from high-quality FDA-approved materials, our devices are built to improve your sleep both now and for years to come.

CPAP Alternatives: What Are My Options?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, then you’re probably no stranger to using a CPAP machine. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are designed to help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms, and improve your overall sleep quality. While they are highly effective, CPAP devices may not be a good solution for everyone for a variety of reasons.

The good news? There are plenty of alternative methods to alleviating sleep apnea symptoms without needing to use a CPAP machine. We’ve compiled a guide to help you find the best sleep apnea solutions for your lifestyle.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the throat relax during sleep, blocking your airway and leading to disrupted rest. During an apnea episode the oxygen flow to the brain is inhibited, and your body jolts awake to ensure you draw another breath. Because apnea disrupts your sleep cycle, common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Snoring
  • Disrupted sleep

If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to more serious complications like heart problems and type 2 diabetes. Treating sleep apnea will improve your health, increase your energy levels, and boost your mood.

How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

CPAP machines fit over the mouth and nose to provide a steady flow of oxygen during sleep. The pressure of the CPAP device pushes air through the nose and mouth, ensuring that the back of the throat stays open and unobstructed. These machines ensure that breathing remains regular and uninhibited, and improve sleep quality and overall health.

What are the Drawbacks of Using a CPAP Machine?

Although there’s no doubt that CPAP machines are effective, for some patients CPAP machines are not a feasible treatment plan.

  • CPAP machines may be uncomfortable to wear since they cover your entire nose and mouth.
  • Since they are pressurized, CPAP machines may be loud and disturb light sleepers or bother sleeping partners.
  • Constant airflow in your nose and mouth may result in unpleasant side-effects like dryness.
  • Additionally, the constant pressurized airflow may make it difficult for patients with underlying respiratory problems to breath comfortably while using the device.
  • Since CPAP machines are specialized medical equipment, they may be more expensive than other apnea treatment methods. 
  • CPAP machines are not designed to travel easily, and may prove to a bulky and unrealistic treatment method while traveling.

For these reasons, among others, some patients prefer to manage their sleep apnea through alternative methods.

What Are CPAP Alternatives?

CPAP alternatives generally either provide structural adjustments to prevent airway blockage, or treat apnea at its root by encouraging lifestyle changes. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, you may find that some of these techniques are more effective than others at ensuring you get a good night’s rest.

BiPAP Machines

If you want to stick with a pressurized breathing system, but struggle to exhale with a CPAP, consider switching to a BiPAP device. Similar to CPAP machines in many ways, BiPAP machines also fit over the nose and mouth and push pressurized air into the airway to prevent soft tissues from collapsing. Unlike CPAP machines, which only have one pressure setting, BiPAP devices operate with two pressure settings. BiPAP devices decrease pressure during the exhale, making breathing-out easier for individuals with weakened respiratory systems or lung issues. BiPAP machines are a great alternative for individuals who can’t tolerate a CPAP, but are required to provide proof of apnea treatment.

Oral Appliances

There are several varieties of oral appliances designed to specifically treat sleep apnea and improve the quality of your rest. These generally work either by adjusting the position of the jaw, or securing the tongue to prevent it from obstructing the throat.

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) are similar to retainers, and fit in the mouth over the teeth. MADs work by adjusting the position of the lower jaw to open up the airway. Most MADs are adjustable, and generally work best when they are custom-made to fit your mouth.
  • Tongue Retention Devices (TRDs) keep your tongue in place and prevent it from falling into your throat during sleep. TRDs attach to the tip of the tongue, and hold it in place at the front of the mouth.  

Finding an oral appliance that works for you may depend on your individual anatomy and needs. In general, patients who struggle with symptoms of TMJ or have extensive dental modifications may prefer to use a TRD over a MAD, since MADs can increase jaw pain and shift teeth.

Surgery

In more extreme cases, patients suffering from sleep apnea may wish to consider surgery to correct the structural elements of their airway or throat. Potential correctional procedures include: tonsillectomies, soft palate modification surgeries, or jaw advancement surgery. Although surgery may be a more drastic measure in the short-term, it can alter the airway enough so the patient doesn’t need to continue other apnea treatments once they have healed from the procedure.

Lifestyle Changes

Depending on the individual and the severity of the sleep apnea, symptoms can be significantly improved through lifestyle changes.

  • Weight Loss
    Weight loss and exercise are a great place to start when treating sleep apnea. According to the American Sleep Association, weight loss significantly reduces sleep apnea severity, and can lead to better overall sleep long-term. Weight loss is a process that takes time, so individuals seeking immediate relief should incorporate other treatments into their routine in addition to weight loss.

  • Sleep Position

Another easy at-home remedy to treat sleep apnea is changing your sleeping position. Apnea is more likely to occur when sleeping on your back, so shifting to sleeping on your side may significantly improve symptoms.

  • Reduce Substance Use

If you’re smoker, you may experience increased apnea symptoms due to a swollen airway. Among many other benefits, quitting smoking improves the health of your respiratory system and leads to more restful sleep.

Alcohol use also leads to increased sleep apnea since alcohol acts as a sedative and relaxes the muscles and tissues in your throat. This causes increased airway blockage and negatively impacts sleep quality. Consider cutting back on alcohol use in general, or limit alcohol close to bedtime.

  • Treat Congestion
    Although apnea is most often linked to structural issues in the throat, improving overall respiratory health will help minimize symptoms. Congested or blocked noses due to allergies or illness make breathing more difficult, and often result in increased mouth-breathing. Using an over-the-counter antihistamine for allergies or a gentle nasal rinse are both great methods for opening up congested airways.

Finding Your Solution at Dental Lab Direct

Still looking for a CPAP alternative that’s lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use? At Dental Lab Direct, we provide customized apnea-prevention devices guaranteed to improve the quality of your rest.

Dental Lab Direct offers high-quality appliances conveniently delivered to your front door. Our three-step ordering process makes getting your new device a breeze. Once you’ve received our impression kit in the mail, it only takes 15 minutes to make an impression of your teeth in the comfort of your home. Mail the kit back to us and your custom device will be delivered to your home in 2-3 weeks. Improving your sleep is essential for a happy and healthy life. Get started by contacting Dental Lab Direct today to receive your impression kit.