What does your dentist really do?

The primary goal of dentists is to ensure and maintain the health and function of your teeth. They accomplish this goal by providing preventative care, restorative dentistry, and other treatments. Of course, dentists also want their patients to love the appearance of their teeth. To this end, they offer cosmetic treatments to help give patients confidence when they smile. As exhaustive as this list already is, we haven’t even begun to cover all that dentists do.

We’re all familiar with dental procedures, such as sealants, extractions, and so on, so let’s talk about some lesser-known services that dentists offer. While not exactly a secret, some of the items on the list below may surprise you and inspire you to schedule an appointment at Millennium Dental.

Help with Bad Breath

Unpleasant breath, or halitosis, is often caused by a problem with oral hygiene. Of course, such an issue would fall under a dentist’s purview. However, there are times when a patient is doing an excellent job with their oral care yet still suffers from foul breath. When this happens, Millennium Dental is ready to help.

Our team offers a number of ways to correct bad breath. For example, a tongue scraper can remove odor-causing bacteria from the surface of your tongue, and these efforts often correct a bad breath problem. We can also provide special mouthwashes and rinses not available to the general public that will eliminate bacteria and their unpleasant smell.

Other times, a patient may have an infection or other problem unrelated to their mouth that is causing their bad breath. Rest assured, if this situation happens to you, we will work with your primary care doctor to find the root of the problem and take corrective action.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common problem among adult patients. The condition is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway, and the main symptom is usually snoring. If you have OSA, you may also choke or gasp frequently during the night and find yourself tired and unrested in the morning. 

Many people turn to uncomfortable masks attached to a special machine or even surgery to address their OSA. However, many OSA cases can be treated with less costly and less invasive methods. A special, removable appliance can hold your soft palate in the proper position, preventing it from obstructing your airway during sleep. Come see Dr. Harrison at Millennium Dental, and she’ll get you fitted for a comfortable sleep appliance made especially for you. Afterward, you will likely experience more restful sleep and a significant reduction in snoring.

Night Guards

Do you often awaken with a throbbing headache or jaw pain? Do you ever jerk awake during the night from biting your tongue? Are your teeth chipping and cracking all the time? If so, you may very well be experiencing bruxism. This condition is teeth grinding during sleep, and it can have serious consequences for both your mouth and your jaw.

When you unconsciously grind your teeth, you’re not only wearing your teeth down and increasing the risk of them cracking, but you’re also putting enormous pressure on your jaw. Over time, this excess pressure can lead to jaw dysfunction in the form of severe soreness, pain, and stiffness. This temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction can even prevent you from fully opening or closing your mouth.

A night guard is the answer for bruxism. This simple appliance absorbs the pressure caused by bruxism, protecting your teeth and jaw. You just pop your night guard in before bed and remove it in the morning. 

However, a night guard needs to fit precisely to be effective. Schedule an appointment at Millennium Dental, and Dr. Harrison will create a night guard to fit your unique oral anatomy and safeguard your mouth and jaw from nighttime teeth grinding.

Athletic Mouth Guards

Every athlete needs proper protection for their sport. You wouldn’t let your child play football without a helmet, and you shouldn’t allow them on the field without a mouth guard. This is true of contact sports, such as football and hockey, as well as other games like tennis. A mouth guard protects you or your child from the possibility of painful oral trauma, not to mention high dental bills.

An “off-the-rack” mouth guard from a sporting goods store is not sufficient, though. In fact, these one-size-fits-all guards can end up damaging teeth since they are not properly fitted. Instead, see Dr. Harrison for a custom mouth guard that is tailored to your or your child’s mouth for optimum oral protection.