Excel Dental Blog

Sleep Apnea Treatment from a Dentist?

Springfield, MO – Do you wake up in the morning, still feeling tired? Or, does your partner complain about your loud snoring in the night and their lack of sleep? You may suffer from a condition called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is characterized by sudden cessation of breathing during the night, and is often accompanied by loud snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the condition, and occurs when the throat muscles relax too much.

sleep apnea treatment“Sleep apnea can have a serious impact on a person’s life, besides just leaving them tired. People with sleep apnea are more likely to also suffer from high blood pressure, are at a higher risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and have a higher likelihood of being in a car accident.” says Springfield dentist Dr. Nick Matthews.

But there is good news – sleep apnea treatment is available at Excel Dental. That’s right – you can see your dentist for help with your sleep disorder.

To understand how the dentists at Excel Dental can help you, it’s important to understand what is happening in a patient who suffers from sleep apnea.

In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, soft tissue narrows the back of a patient’s throat, blocking their airway. Because of this, air can’t properly flow through the nose or mouth. Additionally, the tongue can fall into the back of the throat while the patient is sleep, which further restricts the flow of air and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.

“Apnea literally means ‘cessation of breath,’” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “In an OSA episode, the diaphragm and chest muscles work hard to open the obstruction to pull air into the lungs. Because of this, breathing typically resumes after a loud gasp, snort, or even a body jerk. Patients who have OSA may suffer from stoppages in breathing hundreds of times a night.”

Sleep apnea is dangerous because it prevents patients from getting restful sleep, and it also reduces the flow of oxygen to the body’s organs.

OSA is very common; in fact, as many as 12 million Americans are believed to suffer from it. It is more common in men than women, and the likelihood of developing it increases as a person ages.

The good news, though, is that Drs. Matthews and Davis can treat patients with sleep apnea and help them, and their partners, get a better night’s sleep.

If you think you suffer from a sleep disorder or if you have struggled to consistently wear your CPAP, schedule a consultation with Excel Dental. At your appointment, if you are deemed to be at risk for OSA, the doctors will send you home with a convenient sleep test. The results of this test will help Drs. Matthews and Davis determine the best course of action to treat your condition.

Traditional sleep apnea treatment has typically meant the use of a CPAP machine. Continuous positive airway pressure masks have long been the standard in sleep apnea treatment. Patients wear a mask over their face and mouth while they sleep. This mask blows continuous air into the nose and mouth. The air pressure adjusts to prevent the upper airway tissues from collapsing during sleep, allowing for a restful night’s sleep.

“CPAP machines are great, and very effective if worn regularly,” says Dr. Davis. “However, they are cumbersome and can be difficult to get used to. Patients who are already sleep deprived may not like the idea of having to get used to having a mask over their face while they try to drift to sleep.”

Dental appliances have also been proven to be extremely effective in treating OSA. Treating your sleep apnea can be as simple as putting in a small, comfortable appliance each night before you go to bed.

Drs. Davis and Matthews will custom fit a specially designed dental appliance for you that will allow you to have an unobstructed airway and a good night’s sleep. The appliance will work comfortably to reposition the lower jaw, tongue and soft tissues to ensure they don’t obstruct your breathing. It will also stabilize the lower jaw and tongue, while increasing the muscle tone of the tongue.

There are several advantages to using an oral appliance over a CPAP machine. The appliance is comfortable and easy to wear. Because it is small, it makes it easy to bring with you when traveling, and it’s non-invasive.

In patients with very mild to moderate OSA, there may be more conservative treatments that can be tried first. In addition to age, patients who are overweight may be more likely to suffer from OSA. Losing weight, even just a 10 percent weight loss, can reduce the instances of apnea events for some patients. Smoking, alcohol and the use of sleeping pills can also contribute to sleep apnea episodes. Additionally, people who have high blood pressure are also likely to suffer from OSA.

If you think you suffer from a sleep disorder, and are ready for a good night’s sleep again, schedule a consultation with Excel Dental today.


© 2015 Millionairium and Excel Dental. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Excel Dental are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.


Invisalign is the Clear Solution for Straighter Teeth

Springfield, MO – Are you embarrassed by your less than perfect smile, so you hide it at all costs? Now, you can get a straighter smile by visiting your Springfield dentist. That’s right, the dentists at Excel Dental are certified Invisalign providers.

“Our goal is to provide exceptional care to our patients,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “Part of being cosmetic dentistry specialists is providing all of the options our patients need for beautiful smiles. And Invisalign is a great piece of the puzzle.”

Ozark Invisalign providersSince it was introduced in the late 90s, Invisalign has revolutionized the way teeth are straightened. Using a series of clear plastic aligners, Invisalign gently guides teeth into their ideal locations. It’s a great solution for people with minor issues, and for adults or teens who’d like to straighten their teeth discreetly.

“What makes Invisalign so wonderful is the customized treatment plans,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “We use digital imagery to precisely map out the proper tooth movement to achieve your perfect smile, and we can even show you what your smile will look like at the end of treatment.”

So how does it work?

At your appointment, you dentist will use X-rays, photos and impressions of your teeth to create a virtual, 3-D image. From there, a customized treatment plan will be created just for you. You’ll be able to see how your teeth will move at each stage of treatment.

Once your consultation is finished, a series of custom aligners will be created for you. These aligners will be worn 20 to 22 hours a day, and will be changed out every two weeks. Each set of aligners is calibrated for precise tooth movement. At each stage of treatment, you’ll be able to see and feel your progress.

But what makes Invisalign such a great choice?

There are so many benefits to Invisalign treatment that our patients enjoy. The aligners are clear, which means you can straighten your teeth without anyone even realizing it.

They are also removable, so you can take them out to eat, drink, brush and floss. That means you can still eat popcorn, chips and all of your favorite foods, even while in treatment.

The aligners are made from a smooth plastic, so there are no brackets or wires that can cause irritation in your mouth.
Invisalign also fits into your busy lifestyle, as you only need to visit the office every six weeks or so.

To know if you are a good candidate for Invisalign, schedule a consultation with Excel Dental today.

© 2015 Millionairium and Excel Dental. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Excel Dental are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.


Everything You Need To Know, But Were Afraid To Ask, About Root Canals

Springfield, MO – Have you recently been told you need root canal treatment to repair a tooth? Millions of these are performed every year, so it’s a procedure you’ve probably heard about. But do you actually know what happens during one?

Tooth anatomy“We hear about root canals all the time,” says Dr. Tracy Davis of Excel Dental. “But while the term is common, we realize you may not know everything that goes into one. And we think it’s very important that all of our patients are well-informed and understand procedures before they’re done. That gives us the best opportunity to discuss proper care, and to relieve any concerns or fears they may have.”

Root canals are procedures that are done to repair and save teeth that are badly decayed, injured or infected. During the procedure, your Ozark dentists will remove the nerve and infected parts of the tooth. Then they will disinfect the inside of the tooth. The tooth will then be sealed, and repaired with a crown or filling to ensure it functions properly following the procedure.

“This cleaning out and sealing of the tooth is very important,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “If the infection is left untreated, that infection can spread to other tissues and abscesses can even form.”

Inside your tooth is a space called the pulp cavity. In that area lies both the pulp and the root of your tooth. This is the living tissue that keeps the tooth alive and healthy. The pulp includes the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues, and when this pulp becomes inflamed or infected, you’ll need a root canal.

But what causes this infection? If your tooth becomes severely decayed or you’ve had repeat dental procedures on it, infection could occur. Additionally, if you’ve damaged or injured your tooth in anyway by chipping it, cracking it or breaking it, you can damage the root or leave it susceptible to infection.

When your tooth’s nerve or pulp become damaged, they begin to break down. Then, bacteria begins to build up, leading to infection or an abscessed tooth. When a tooth abscesses, a pocket forms and fills with pus, typically at the root of the tooth. Infection can cause swelling in your face, head and neck, bone loss, and drainage problems.

The pulp of the tooth can become inflamed, which can then cause swelling and pressure inside the tooth. This can then lead to tooth pain, and if not taken care of right away, the pain can intensify as the infection spreads to other tissues.

How do you know if you may need a root canal? It’s best to seek the professional advice of a dentist, but if you experience any of the following, you should schedule a visit:

  • Severe tooth pain, especially when chewing or applying pressure.
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold.
  • Tooth becomes discolored.
  • Gums become tender or swollen
  • A boil continues to recur on the gums.

“It typically takes one or two visits to complete a root canal procedure, depending on the severity of the infection,” says Dr. Davis. “First, we’ll take an X-ray to determine what the root canal looks like and to see if the infection has spread to any surrounding tissues. Then, we’ll numb the area to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.”

During the procedure, our dentist will take measures to keep the tooth isolated and dry. The entire root canal is done through a small access hole in the chewing surface of your tooth. Afterwards, your dentist will seal this hole prior to make a final restoration.

“Once your root canal procedure is finished, we’ll need to restore the tooth,” says Dr. Matthews. “Depending on the severity, we’ll use a crown or other restoration to ensure you have a tooth that looks and functions properly.”

Once the root canal is finished, you may have a bit of tenderness or sensitivity due. This will be especially true if you had an infection or experienced any pain prior to the procedure. Typically all it takes to help the pain is an over-the-counter pain medication, but your dentist may prescribe pain medication just in case. You’ll be able to return to normal activities right away, but should refrain from chewing or putting much pressure on the area until the sensitivity has subsided.

After your root canal and restoration, follow all oral care instructions from your dentist to ensure your tooth remains healthy and strong.

With the expert care of the dentists at Excel Dental, you’ll be in good hands, and in no time, you’re toothache will be gone, your tooth will be repaired, and you’ll be able to enjoy life with a healthy, properly functioning tooth.
© 2015 Millionairium and Excel Dental. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Excel Dental are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.


Tooth Sealants Explained

Springfield, MO – Has your dentist recommended tooth sealants, but you aren’t sure what they are? The Springfield dentists at Excel Dental have all of the information you need.

“Sealants are essentially a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “These back molars are where we most often find decay because they can be harder to reach when brushing and flossing.”

Ozark dental careGood brushing and flossing techniques are great at removing food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth. However, your molars have deep grooves where food particles can get stuck. This can lead to decay and cavities. Sealants help seal those areas, keeping food and plaque from causing damage.

“Sealants should only be applied professionally at a dentist office.” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “At your appointment, we will clean out the grooves on the chewing surface of your molars and place the sealant directly onto your tooth enamel. It bonds to your tooth and hardens, protecting the enamel from the plaque and bacteria that lead to decay.”


How Healthy Are Your Children’s Teeth?

 kid brushing teethSpringfield, MO – Do you make sure your children brush and floss their teeth every day? Childhood tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease, and can have lasting effects on your children.

“Beginning a proper oral care routine during childhood is critical to fight off tooth decay,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, an Ozark family dentist. “Many people don’t often pay close attention to baby teeth, because they eventually fall out on their own. But pediatric dental disease can have very serious repercussions for your child and his or her overall health.”

Early childhood caries is five times more common than asthma, four times more common that childhood obesity and 20 times more common that juvenile diabetes. It can begin as soon as a child’s teeth begin to erupt, typically around age 6 months.


Easing Tooth Pain At Home

Springfield, MO – At Excel Dental, we know that tooth pain can sometimes strike at inconvenient times. The good news is, there are some things you can do to ease the pain yourself before you can make it into our office.

“Tooth pain can happen anytime, but can worsen quickly if you’ve got a problem you’ve been ignoring,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, one of the Ozark cosmetic dentists. “The most common sources of dental pain come from tooth sensitivity, cavities or a loose filling, an infection, cracked or chipped teeth, an exposed root or gum disease. It’s best to visit us as soon as a problem arises, even if you think it’s still small. A small issue can worsen and become a much bigger issue in no time.”

OZ cosmetic dentistryBut, until you can make it to your dentist’s office to have repair work, such as a dental crown, done, there are some things you can do to be more comfortable.

An ice pack on the outside of your mouth can ease pain and swelling. Never use heat, and avoid very hot or cold foods until your tooth has been repaired. An over the counter pain reliever will also help relieve pain. Orajel or another benzocaine gel can be placed directly on the sore tooth. Tylenol or


One Third of Americans Don’t Visit the Dentist

Springfield, MO – According to a Gallup poll, in 2013, one third of Americans didn’t visit the dentist. Were you in that group?

Healthy teethWhile it is recommended that you see a dentist twice a year for check-ups, nearly one in three American adults still admitted they didn’t see the dentist even once in 2013. The poll found that women were more likely than men to visit the dentist regularly. African Americans and Hispanics are less likely than Caucasians and Asian Americans to see a dentist.

“This is troubling to us,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, one of the Ozark dentists at Excel Dental. “Study after study shows the intricate link between oral health and whole body health, and failing to maintain regular visits with your dentist can impact not


Common Gum Disease Myths

Springfield, MO – It is estimated that nearly three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. But while 75 percent of us may suffer from the disease, roughly three percent actually seek out treatment for the disease. And with more research indicated gum disease has significant connections to other serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, it’s important that Americans know the facts.

Teeth“Periodontal disease is a serious issue for a majority of patients, and there can be potentially dangerous ramifications from failing to treat the disease properly,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, one of the Nixa dentists at Excel Dental. “There are a lot of myths associated with gum disease, and dental clinics across the country need to do more to educate patients about the seriousness of the disease and the importance of treating it.”

So what are some of those myths?


What Does the ADA Seal of Approval Mean?

OZ dentistrySpringfield, MO – When you buy dental products, do you pay attention to whether that product has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval? Do you know why that might be important to you?

“As far back as 1866, the ADA was helping consumers protect themselves against extravagant claims,” says Ozark dentist Dr. Tracy Davis. “The ADA Seal of Approval has been around since 1931 to protect consumers against claims that aren’t true or haven’t been proven. The program is voluntary, but brands understand the power the seal holds, and more than 300 products currently hold the seal of approval.”


Rethink That Sugary Drink

OZ DentistrySpringfield, MO – When you feel yourself dragging in the middle of the day, do you reach for a soda or other sugary beverage for a pick me up? A steady consumption of soft drinks is the leading cause of tooth decay.

“We’ve seen a large increase in the number of sugary drinks Americans consume on a daily basis,” says Ozark dentist Dr. Tracy Davis. “We saw a huge peak in 1998 where the average American