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    Finding a Dentist to Treat Sleep Problems

    If you suffer from teeth grinding or sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, teeth grinding or snoring, your doctor may suggest the use of an oral device to counter or ease the symptoms. It’s important to find a dentist who understands the use of oral appliance therapy because the key to their effectiveness is how they are used.

    In most states, you must first get a diagnosis and a prescription for a sleep device from your doctor before you can be treated by a dentist for the disorder. Ask your current dentist if they make these devices or ask the physician who is diagnosis the sleep problem for recommendations.

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    Repairing a Chipped or Broken Tooth

    You're crunching ice or a piece of hard candy when you notice something hard in your mouth that doesn't melt or dissolve. You get a sick feeling as you realize what it is -- a piece of broken tooth. Although the enamel that covers your teeth is the hardest, most mineralized tissue in the body, its strength has limits. Falling, receiving a blow to the face, or biting down on something hard -- particularly if a tooth already has some decay -- can cause a tooth to chip or break. If you discover you...

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    Dental appliances used in treating snoring or teeth grinding include mouth guards. For sleep apnea, you may need a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Insurance often covers the cost of the treatment because such disorders can lead to other lasting health problems.

    The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) each provide a list of local and state dental societies on their web sites. Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under "dentists" or "associations."

    If you have to change dentists to get treatment, it’s a good idea to call or visit more than one dentist before selecting one with whom you feel you can build a good, long-term relationship.

    What Should I Look for When Choosing a Dentist?

    You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners. To find a dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:

    • What are the office hours? Are they convenient for you?
    • Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
    • Where was the dentist educated and trained?
    • What's the dentist's approach to preventive dentistry?
    • How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
    • What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to give to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
    • What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
    • Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, oral exams and cleanings, and filling cavities.
    • Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
    • What is the dentist's office policy on missed appointments?

    If visiting in person:

    • Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly?
    • Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
    • Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    or
    Answer:
    Never
    (0)
    Good
    (1-3)
    Better
    (4-6)
    Best
    (7)

    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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