Archive for November, 2019

Why Your Dentist Wants to Know About Your Nightly Sleep

You’re likely accustomed to updating your health history each time you visit the dentist for an exam or treatment. It’s important to fully disclose your medical information to your dentist because many medications and health conditions can affect your oral health. However, your dentist may also question you about lifestyle issues, such as your sleep habits. Here’s why.

An Overview of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which the breathing temporarily stops during sleep. After a few seconds of disrupted oxygen intake, the brain sends a signal to wake the sleeper up, which restarts breathing. It’s possible for a sleep apnea patient to cease breathing dozens or even hundreds of times during a night. This is problematic because the lower oxygen levels places patients at a higher risk of serious health problems. If left untreated, sleep apnea increases the risk of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver problems
  • Surgery complications

In addition, sleep apnea patients typically suffer from severe daytime fatigue.

A Look at Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Many patients don’t realize they have sleep apnea. Their partners may observe the cessation of breathing, and the snorting and gasping that may accompany it. Sleep apnea can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Dry throat and mouth upon awakening
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration

The Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Your dentist wants to know if you have any symptoms of sleep apnea because there are treatments available that can improve your quality of sleep and lower your risk of severe complications. Dr. Carson, working with your M.D. can create a custom mouthguard that gently repositions the oral structures. This clears the airway, allowing you to breathe freely during the night.

John R. Carson, DDS has extensive training in sleep apnea treatments for his patients in the Tucson area. With our radiology services, we can easily visualize your jaws, sinuses, and airway, allowing us to accurately screen you for possible sleep apnea and aid your M.D. in diagnosing the problem. Give us a call at (520) 514-7203 to request a consult with Dr. Carson to discuss your sleep apnea symptoms.

Signs that You May Be Grinding Your Teeth at Night

To “grit one’s teeth” is generally defined as showing determination in the face of adverse or challenging situations. While determination can be a positive attribute, the actual gnashing or grinding of teeth is definitely not a good thing. Teeth grinding can lead to oral health complications. Unfortunately, many people grind their teeth without realizing it because it often happens at night. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you notice any of the following signs of bruxism, or teeth grinding.


Perhaps the most noticeable symptom of teeth grinding is the pain it can cause. The teeth can become sensitive to hot or cold temperatures as the enamel wears away. In addition to tooth pain, jaw pain is quite common among patients with bruxism. The jaw joints and muscles can become sore to the point that it’s difficult to fully open the jaws, speak properly, and chew food. Bruxism can also result in headaches and ear pain.

Disrupted Sleep

Believe it or not, nightly teeth grinding can be very loud. It’s not unheard of for patients’ sleep partners to wake up because of the noise. Patients with bruxism can also wake themselves up. Sleep disruption is harmful to your overall health and your quality of life.

Physical Changes

If left untreated, bruxism can lead to serious problems for your oral health. It can damage the soft tissues of your mouth, such as the insides of the cheeks and your tongue. When dentists examine the mouths of patients with bruxism, they often notice that the tongue takes on a scalloped appearance around the edges and the insides of the cheeks show signs of trauma. Bruxism can also cause damage to the teeth. As hard as enamel is, it doesn’t always last forever. Grinding your teeth can cause the teeth to become chipped, flattened, cracked, loose, and even fractured.

At the office of John R. Carson, DDS, we are experienced in helping patients with issues like teeth grinding and sleep apnea. If you suffer from bruxism, talk to our dentist in Tucson about getting a custom-made night guard to protect your teeth from grinding. New and current patients can reach our dental office at (520) 514-7203.

Common Oral Injuries Seen in Athletes (and How to Avoid Them)

Sports are a fun way to incorporate physical fitness into your lifestyle. Even if you aren’t a professional athlete, however, you’ll need to make sure you’re wearing the right protective gear for your chosen sport. Most athletes can benefit from wearing a sports mouthguard, which protects the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth from sports-related injuries. Without a mouthguard, the risk of the following oral injuries can be heightened.

Cracked Tooth

During sports activities, teeth can be cracked when the player receives a blow to the face. Cracked teeth can range in severity from minor to severe. If the crack is superficial, the dentist may only need to apply bonding material. For more severe injuries, it may be necessary to cap the tooth with a crown. Athletes may recognize any of the following signs of a cracked tooth:

  • Sharp pain upon biting down
  • Intermittent tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity when drinking hot or cold beverages

Although a cracked tooth can be quite serious, it’s possible to avoid this injury by wearing a sports mouthguard while playing.

Avulsed Tooth

An avulsed tooth is one that has been completely knocked out of its socket. It’s possible to save an avulsed tooth, but you must get to the dentist’s office as soon as possible, or at least within an hour of the injury. A sports mouthguard can reduce the risk of losing a tooth during a game or practice.

Intruded Tooth

It’s possible for a tooth intrusion to occur during sports activities. This type of injury involves the tooth being forcefully driven backward into the jawbone. Tooth intrusion can result in the destruction of the tooth pulp and the shortening of the tooth roots. Tooth intrusion may require surgery, repositioning, or splinting. Like other oral injuries, the risk of tooth intrusion may be lowered by wearing a sports mouthguard.

Protect yourself or your child from sports injuries by having a custom sports mouthguard made at the dental office of John R. Carson, DDS. We are committed to providing high-quality dentistry services to families throughout the Tucson area. New and current patients can reach our office at (520) 514-7203 to request an appointment.

Are Dental Sealants Appropriate for Adults?

Dental sealants are a treatment that is typically associated with pediatric dentistry. It’s customary for dentists to apply sealants to the molars of children because this treatment can reduce the risk of tooth decay. However, dental sealants can also be a good treatment option for adult patients. Talk to your dentist to find out if you may be a good candidate for sealants.

Why You Might Get Dental Sealants

While children are at a higher risk of tooth decay, cavities can strike at any age. In fact, dental cavities are quite common among adults and seniors. Because of this, dental sealants can be an appropriate preventive treatment for adults. This is especially true for adults at a high risk of cavities. If you have a history of frequent tooth decay, are a frequent snacker, or have a diet high in refined carbohydrates, then dental sealants can give you some extra protection against tooth decay.

How Dental Sealants Work

Dental sealants are comprised of a thin layer of resin material. The resin is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. It then forms a protective layer that prevents food particles and bacteria from invading the nooks and crannies of the molars.

When to Get Dental Sealants

Dental sealants won’t last forever. Periodically, your dentist will need to reapply them to the chewing surfaces of your molars. In general, sealants last about 10 years.

What to Consider

Although dental sealants can be an effective way to reduce your risk of tooth decay, it’s important to realize that cavities can still develop. Sealants are not intended to be a replacement for proper oral hygiene. You’ll still need to brush at least twice daily, floss at least once daily, and schedule a comprehensive exam and cleaning every six months.

The Tucson dental office of John R. Carson, DDS offers comprehensive dental care for both children and adults, including dental sealants and other preventive services. To schedule an oral exam and cleaning, give us a call at (520) 514-7203. Dr. Carson also provides cosmetic dentistry services.