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Xerostomia: What does that mean anyway?

July 15th, 2019

Does your mouth always feel like it’s dry? If it does you may be suffering from xerostomia. Xerostomia is defined as dry mouth resulting from reduced or absent saliva flow. There are various medical conditions that can cause this type of dry mouth, which you can ask more questions next time you visit us at Oral Surgery of Tidewater.

Xerostomia can factor into both minor and more serious health problems. It can affect the ability to eat and enjoy food and it can jeopardize one’s dental health. Some of the more common symptoms can include sore throat, burning sensation in the oral cavity or tongue, and difficulty swallowing.

One of the more serious problems associated with dry mouth is an increased risk of tooth decay. Decrease in saliva causes more plaque to form and there is less saliva to act as a buffer to the things we eat and drink. Less saliva also means more food debris is retained in the mouth. These things can lead to an increase in tooth decay.

So, what causes xerostomia?

There are several things that may cause xerostomia. Among the biggest culprits are prescription medications. Some examples are antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-hypertensives, anti-anxiety agents, anti-diarrheals, bronchodilators, and muscle relaxers.

Certain diseases can also cause dry mouth. The more common ones include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disease. Xerostomia is also common in patients being treated for cancer. Head and neck radiation as well as certain chemotherapy drugs can cause severe dry mouth.

What should you do if you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms? First make sure to hydrate with plenty of water. If you are taking medications that cause xerostomia, make sure to drink water before taking the medication as well as a full glass of water with the medication. Be diligent with brushing and flossing and discuss your condition at your next appointment with Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray. We can recommend specific products to help moisten the oral cavity and reduce your symptoms such as saliva substitutes, xylitol products, and certain toothpastes. Another option may be a prescription home fluoride treatment to help prevent new cavities. You may want to try gum or candies to stimulate saliva flow but make sure they are sugar free! Avoid food and beverages that dehydrate such as caffeine and alcohol.

Xerostomia is a common problem that is currently on the rise. Our team can help you to reduce any symptoms and improve your comfort while living with a dry mouth. Contact our Virginia Beach, VA office today!

Sleep Apnea and Oral Surgery

July 8th, 2019

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you already know the short-term consequences. Your nights are marked by snoring, gasping for breath, and waking up dozens of times each sleep cycle. Your days are no more enjoyable. You might be plagued by drowsiness, morning headaches, sore throats, dry mouth, memory problems, depression, and decreased libido.

And the long-term consequences can be even more serious. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, dangerous responses to medication or anesthesia, and falling asleep while working or driving.

In other words, OSA can have devastating consequences for your health and your quality of life.

You may have already tried out various non-surgical options. Perhaps your doctor has suggested behavior modification, oral sleep appliances or splints, Positive Airway Pressure machines—these and other methods have proven very helpful for some sufferers. But if these options don’t work for you, it could be time to talk to Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray about OSA surgery.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an obstructed airway. The throat muscles may relax as you sleep and make it impossible to inhale fully with each breath. Or you may have a physical condition such as a large tongue, enlarged tonsils or excess throat tissue that blocks the free passage of air into your lungs. The size and position of your jaw can affect breathing as well, or your nasal passages may be involved.

In other words, Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be caused by a complex set of variables as air attempts to travel from nose to lungs, so your individual OSA diagnosis and treatment will vary depending on your individual anatomy. For this reason, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray is the specialist you need.

Oral surgeons pursue advanced studies for a minimum of four years in a hospital-based residency program. There, they train with medical residents in the fields of general surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, and other specialties with a specific focus on the bones, muscles, nerves, and skin of the face, mouth, and jaw.

Because your anatomy is unique, Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray will first carefully assess the causes of your breathing obstruction and, if surgery is indicated, will recommend a procedure or procedures tailored to treat your specific needs.

Among the specialized surgical procedures used to treat OSA are:

  • Nasal Surgery—treats a variety of nasal passage obstructions such those caused by a deviated septum or a nasal valve collapse
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)—removes or remodels excess tissue in the area of the soft palate and throat
  • Pillar Procedure—a minimally invasive procedure which uses small implants to reinforce the soft palate and reduce vibration in the tissue
  • Tongue Base Reduction—excess tissue can be removed surgically, or shrunk through the application of radiofrequency waves
  • Genioglossus Advancement (GGA)—the tongue muscle is moved forward and tightened to prevent the tongue from collapsing backward during sleep
  • Hyoid Advancement/Suspension—the small bone above the Adam’s apple is repositioned to expand the airway and prevent upper airway collapse
  • Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)—the upper and lower jaws are moved forward surgically to open the upper airway, after which the jawbone is stabilized in its new position.

These and other surgical procedures may be performed in a hospital or in our Virginia Beach, VA office, with traditional surgical techniques or using technologies such as radiofrequency waves, and can be minimally invasive or require a hospital stay.

It’s important to note that surgery is not always the solution to OSA, but we are uniquely qualified to diagnose the cause of your OSA and to recommend the most promising treatments, surgical or non-surgical.

If you—or a partner, family member, or friend—have noticed that you suffer from thunderous snoring, or episodes of gasping for breath, or that you wake up dozens of times each night, it’s a good time to make an appointment at our Virginia Beach, VA oral surgery office. It could be the solution of your dreams!

Happy Fourth of July

July 1st, 2019

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray and our team at Oral Surgery of Tidewater wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

What’s an intraoral camera?

June 24th, 2019

One of the greatest features our team at Oral Surgery of Tidewater offers is the ability to see first-hand how we can help our patients. While X-rays help us detect any problems in your mouth and give us valuable information on what is bothering you, they often don’t give Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray a complete view of everything that is going on inside your mouth. With the use of an intraoral camera, we can see every aspect of your teeth and mouth with incredible detail, uncovering cracked or fractured teeth, excessive wear, carious lesions, cavities, or other issues that may be hidden. When we can discover oral problems early on, your treatment is much less invasive and often saves you money down the road.

An intraoral camera allows Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray to view clear, precise images of your mouth, teeth, and gums and allows us to make an accurate diagnosis.  With clear, defined, enlarged images, Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray and our team see details that standard mirror examinations may miss. It’s much easier to understand what is happening in your mouth if you can see the problem on a computer monitor, and it means faster diagnosis and less chair-time for our patients!

Intraoral cameras are small, about the size of a dental mirror, and emit a light onto the tooth. The tooth will emit a color that lets Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray determine if the tooth is healthy or diseased. Intraoral cameras also allow us to save your images on our office computer to provide a permanent record of treatments. These treatments can be printed for you, other specialists, and your lab or insurance companies.

For any questions about the intraoral camera, we encourage you to ask Dr. Ford, Dr. Guter, and Dr. Gray or our team during your or your child’s next visit or by giving us a call at our convenient Virginia Beach, VA office.

2875 Sabre St #260
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(757) 499-6886

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