Yakima, WA Dentist
Reep Family Dental
3804 Kern Road Suite A
Yakima, WA 98902
(509) 388-0331

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Posts for category: Oral Health

By Reep Family Dental
December 16, 2016
Category: Oral Health

If CPAP therapy isn’t helping your sleep apnea symptoms find out how a unique dental treatment could.

Sleep apnea is a frustrating sleep disorder because it not only wreaks havoc on the quality of your sleep and causes you to feel cpapexhausted throughout the day but it also can cause serious health issues. If CPAP treatment isn’t working for you or you want to find out if there is another simpler want to treat your symptoms, it’s time to visit our Yakima, WA dentist, Dr. Nic Reep, to find out how we can help.

You might be surprised to hear that a dentist can help treat your sleep apnea symptoms but it’s true. While you will, of course, need to see a sleep specialist to get a proper diagnosis, we can work with your sleep doctors to determine whether oral appliance therapy is right for you.

What is oral appliance therapy?

An oral appliance is a custom-made removable appliance that is designed to reposition the jaw forward to prevent the airways from collapsing while you sleep. In order to get this special oral appliance you will need to be properly fitted by our Yakima general dentist. While CPAP therapy remains the most effective way to tackle sleep apnea, there are some patients who will find the relief that they need with oral appliance therapy. Plus, it’s small and easily portable, making it less of an inconvenience than CPAP therapy.

There are two different kinds of oral appliances to consider for treating your obstructive sleep apnea: Mandibular repositioning and tongue retaining devices. The mandibular repositioning device shifts the lower jaw forward and down to keep the airways open. This is the most popular oral appliance used to treat sleep apnea. Of course, you can also choose to get a tongue-retaining device, which the oral device holds the tongue in place to keep airways open.

If you are interested in finding out more about oral appliance therapy and whether it’s the right way to tackle your sleep apnea then call Reep Family Dental & Dental Sleep Solutions in Yakima, WA today.

By Reep Family Dental
October 26, 2016
Category: Oral Health
LifeIsSometimesaGrindforBrookeShields

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”

By Reep Family Dental
October 24, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition  

Most of us are aware of the food and drinks we need to avoid in order to prevent common dental issues like tooth stains and nutritiondiscoloration, cavities, and gum disease. And while preventing problems that can cause serious damage is one of the most important aspects of an oral hygiene and dental care routine, our teeth and gums (like the rest of the body) also need essential nutrients in order to stay strong and look their best.

Dental Care and Gum Disease Prevention in Yakima, WA

Dr. Nic Reep, a dentist at Yakima, WA based Reep Family Dental & Dental Sleep Solutions, advises patients to think of their diet as an extension of an overall health and wellness plan that includes the teeth and gums. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, dental check ups, and professional cleanings, the food we eat is one of the most effective tools in either boosting or harming our oral health.

Dentist Approved Foods for Healthy Teeth and Gums

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), our teeth and gums are usually the first to suffer the effects of a poor diet lacking in essential nutrients and vitamins. Along with avoiding over-consumption of processed foods with excessive added sugar, dentists advise eating foods that contribute to dental health, such as:

  • Milk, cheese, yogurt (calcium)
  • Nuts (almonds are high in calcium, protein, and good fats - without the added sugar)
  • Greens - although leafy greens like spinach and kale may not be the first to come to mind when thinking about dental health, they are rich in a number of essential nutrients such as calcium (which helps to protect tooth enamel), folic acid, and vitamin B, all of which also promote general health for the whole body.
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables - like apples, celery, and carrots - help to scrape excess food particles from the surface of the teeth, and promote saliva production, which helps to flush out cavity and gum disease causing bacteria after every meal.

Find a Dentist in Yakima, WA

A healthy diet and good oral hygiene practices, including regular dental checkups and professional cleanings, are the best way to maintain healthy teeth and gums, and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. For more information on the diet and dental care routine that is best for you, contact Reep Family Dental & Dental Sleep Solutions by calling (509)-248-0986 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reep today.

DietandLifestyleChoicesKeytoDentalHealthDuringCollegeYears

“The Freshman 15” is a popular way of referring to the phenomenon of new college students gaining weight during their freshman year (although the average is less than fifteen pounds). According to research, college students gain weight mainly due to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

If you're experiencing this as a college student, you should also know poor diet and lifestyle choices harm your teeth and gums as well. If you don't want to encounter major dental problems, then you need to make some changes beginning with the same cause for your weight gain: what you eat and drink.

Like the rest of your body, your teeth and gums have the best chance for being healthy when you're eating a balanced, nutritional diet low in added sugar. And it's not just mealtime: constant snacking on sweets not only loads on the calories, it also feeds disease-causing oral bacteria. Sipping on acidic beverages like sodas, sports or energy drinks also increases the levels of acid that can erode tooth enamel.

Some lifestyle habits can also affect oral health. Using tobacco (smoked or smokeless) inhibits your mouth's natural healing properties and makes you more susceptible to dental disease. While it may be cool to get piercings in your lips, cheeks or tongue, the hardware can cause gum recession, chipped teeth and soft tissue cuts susceptible to infection. And unsafe sexual practices increase your risk for contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV16) that's been linked with oral cancer, among other serious health problems.

Last but not least, how you regularly care for your teeth and gums can make the biggest difference of all. You should brush and floss your teeth ideally twice a day to clean away plaque, a thin film of disease-causing bacteria and food particles. And twice-a-year dental cleanings and checkups will round out your prevention efforts against tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.

Making your own choices is a rite of passage into adulthood. Making good choices for your teeth and gums will help ensure they remain healthy for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on maintaining dental health during the college years, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Health Tips for College Students.”

By Reep Family Dental
June 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   dentures  
DoYourDenturesandMouthaFavorTakeThemOutatNight

People who’ve lost all their teeth have benefitted from a solution that’s been around for generations: removable dentures. These appliances have helped millions of people chew and eat food, speak, and smile confidently.

But for all their benefits (including affordability) there’s still some things you need to do to get the most out of them like cleaning them daily or having us check them regularly for damage and wear. And, there’s one thing you shouldn’t do: wear them around the clock. Not removing them when you sleep at night can harm your oral health and reduce your dentures’ longevity.

Dentures are fitted to rest on the gums and the bony ridges that once held your natural teeth. This exerts pressure on the underlying bone that can cause it to gradually dissolve (resorb). This loss in bone volume eventually loosens your denture’s fit. If you’re wearing them all the time, the process progresses faster than if you took them out each night.

The under surfaces of dentures are also a prime breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Besides unpleasant odors and irritation, these microorganisms are also the primary cause for dental disease. Research has found that people who sleep in their dentures have higher occurrences of plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food remnants that cause periodontal (gum) disease. They’re also more prone to higher levels of yeast and the protein interleukin-6 in the blood, which can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body.

To avoid these and other unpleasant outcomes, you should develop a few important habits: remove and rinse your dentures after eating; brush them at least once a day with dish or anti-bacterial soap or a denture cleanser (not toothpaste, which can be too abrasive); and take them out when you sleep and place them in water or an alkaline peroxide-based solution.

Be sure you also brush your gums and tongue with an extra soft toothbrush (not your denture brush) or wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth. This will help reduce the level of bacteria in the mouth.

Taking these steps, especially removing dentures while you sleep, will greatly enhance your well-being. Your dentures will last longer and your mouth will be healthier.

If you would like more information on denture care and maintenance, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.