My Blog
By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
March 26, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sleep apnea   Snoring  

Find out how our dental team can help you get a better night’s rest.

Sleep apnea and snoring are two common problems that can greatly impact the quality of your sleep. Not only this, but obstructive sleep apnea actually causes people to stop breathing throughout the night, which can put them at risk for serious health complications including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Fortunately, our Glastonbury, CT, dentist, Dr. Steven Hinchey, has helped many patients manage their snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.

Read on to learn more about snoring, sleeping apnea, and how we can help.

Does snoring mean I have sleep apnea?

No, not necessarily; however, the majority of people with sleep apnea also snore. In fact, this symptom alone is usually the reason people seek medical attention. If your snoring is affecting your sleep or the sleep of those in your household it is worth it to have it checked out. After all, it’s possible that your snoring could be caused by sleep apnea.

My snoring isn’t sleep apnea related. Should I still be concerned?

Even if your sleep doctor tells you that your snoring isn’t the result of sleep apnea, you should still be concerned about this nocturnal habit. After all, chances are good that snoring is impacting the quality of your sleep. You may find yourself waking up often throughout the night, due to tossing and turning. If so, our dental team may be able to help you get your snoring under control so you can finally get better-quality sleep.

How can a dentist help me manage sleep apnea symptoms?

The goal of sleep apnea treatment is to prevent obstructions or blockages of the airways, which can cause pauses in breathing throughout the night. The way in which our South Glastonbury, CT, dentist treats sleep apnea is with oral appliance therapy.

We custom make this special dental device, which you will wear in your mouth like you would a mouthguard; however, the appliance is lightweight, comfortable, and only worn while you are asleep. When worn, the device shifts the jaws in a forward position, helping keep the airways open and preventing the tissue in the back of the throat from collapsing. Oral appliance therapy can be an ideal option for those suffering from disruptive snoring, as well as those with mild-to-moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

Concerned? Give us a call

If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, having a dentist right here in South Glastonbury, CT, that understands how to get your symptoms under control can be a relief. If you are wondering whether oral appliance therapy is right for you, then call Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine today at (860) 633-6518.


Your smile isn’t the same without healthy gums—neither are your teeth, for that matter. So, maintaining your gums by protecting them from periodontal (gum) disease is a top priority.

Gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that collects on teeth and is not removed due to poor oral hygiene practices. Infected gums become chronically inflamed and begin to weaken, ultimately losing their firm attachment to the teeth. This can result in increasing voids called periodontal pockets that fill with infection. The gums can also shrink back (recede), exposing the tooth roots to further infection.

Although gum disease treatment techniques vary, the overall goal is the same: remove the bacterial plaque fueling the infection. This most often involves a procedure called scaling with special hand instruments to manually remove plaque and calculus (tartar). If the infection has spread below the gum line we may need to use a procedure called root planing in which we scrape or “plane” plaque and calculus from the root surfaces.

As we remove plaque, the gums become less inflamed. As the inflammation subsides we often discover more plaque and calculus, requiring more treatment sessions. Hopefully, our efforts bring the disease under control and restorative healing to the gums.

But while gum tissue can regenerate on its own, it may need some assistance if the recession was severe. This assistance can be provided through surgical procedures that graft donor tissues to the recession site. There are a number of microsurgical approaches that are all quite intricate to perform, and will usually require a periodontist (a specialist in gum structures) to achieve the most functional and attractive result.

While we have the advanced techniques and equipment to treat and repair gum disease damage, the best approach is to try to prevent the disease from occurring at all. Prevention begins with daily brushing and flossing, and continues with regular dental cleanings and checkups.

And if you do notice potential signs of gum disease like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, call us promptly for an examination. The sooner we diagnose and begin treatment the less damage this progressive disease can do to your gums—and your smile.

If you would like more information on protecting your gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”


As the host of America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC TV, Alfonso Ribeiro has witnessed plenty of unintentional physical comedy…or, as he puts it in an interview with Dear Doctor–Dentistry & Oral Health magazine, "When people do stuff and you're like, 'Dude, you just hurt yourself for no reason!'" So when he had his own dental dilemma, Alfonso was determined not to let it turn onto an "epic fail."

The television personality was in his thirties when a painful tooth infection flared up. Instead of ignoring the problem, he took care of it by visiting his dentist, who recommended a root canal procedure. "It's not like you wake up and go, 'Yay, I'm going to have my root canal today!'" he joked. "But once it's done, you couldn't be happier because the pain is gone and you're just smiling because you're no longer in pain!"

Alfonso's experience echoes that of many other people. The root canal procedure is designed to save an infected tooth that otherwise would probably be lost. The infection may start when harmful bacteria from the mouth create a small hole (called a cavity) in the tooth's surface. If left untreated, the decay bacteria continue to eat away at the tooth's structure. Eventually, they can reach the soft pulp tissue, which extends through branching spaces deep inside the tooth called root canals.

Once infection gets a foothold there, it's time for root canal treatment! In this procedure, the area is first numbed; next, a small hole is made in the tooth to give access to the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The diseased tissue is then carefully removed with tiny instruments, and the canals are disinfected to prevent bacteria from spreading. Finally, the tooth is sealed up to prevent re-infection. Following treatment, a crown (cap) is usually required to restore the tooth's full function and appearance.

Root canal treatment sometimes gets a bad rap from people who are unfamiliar with it, or have come across misinformation on the internet. The truth is, a root canal doesn't cause pain: It relieves pain! The alternatives—having the tooth pulled or leaving the infection untreated—are often much worse.

Having a tooth extracted and replaced can be costly and time consuming…yet a missing tooth that isn't replaced can cause problems for your oral health, nutrition and self-esteem. And an untreated infection doesn't just go away on its own—it continues to smolder in your body, potentially causing serious problems. So if you need a root canal, don't delay!

If you would like additional information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”


“To gain something, sometimes you have to give up something else.”

No, that isn't the latest viral meme on the Internet. It's actually a practical consideration that could arise in orthodontics.

In this case, the “something” to gain is a straighter, more attractive smile; the “something” you may have to part with is a few teeth. This may be necessary if there are too many teeth on a dental arch for its capacity, a situation called crowding. A lack of space is the main reason teeth come in misaligned.

Before we can correct this, we'll need to free up space to allow for tooth movement by removing one or more of the existing teeth. The ideal candidates are those that are near to the teeth we wish to move but not highly visible. The first bicuspids are the most frequent choices for removal: they're located behind the cuspids or eyeteeth (the pointed teeth right under the eyes).

Ideally, we'll remove the target teeth some time before we apply braces to give the gums a chance to heal. At the same time we want to preserve the bone that once supported the teeth we've extracted. This is because when we chew the forces generated by the teeth stimulates bone replacement growth. When a tooth is no longer there the supporting bone doesn't receive this stimulation and may ultimately reduce in volume.

We may try to prevent this by placing a bone graft in the empty socket immediately after removing the tooth. The graft serves as a scaffold to encourage new bone to grow. Hopefully when we're ready to apply braces, the bone will be strong and healthy to handle the movement of the teeth.

As the teeth move under the influence of braces, they'll begin to fill up the space created by tooth removal. Once it's completed, the extracted teeth won't be missed — the other teeth now straightened will completely fill out the smile.

The different steps in this process must be carefully planned and executed precisely, and it will take months or even years to complete. In the end, though, this complicated bite problem can be corrected and replaced with an attractive, straight smile.

If you would like more information on correcting a poor bite, 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 “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
February 24, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: Veneers  

Unhappy with the state of your smile? One of the easiest ways to achieve a perfect set of teeth is through dental veneer treatment. After all, these ultra-thin porcelain shells are capable of covering up a multitude of imperfections to give you a smile that you can be truly proud of. Available from Dr. Steven Hinchey, your dentist here at the Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in South Glastonbury, CT, read on to learn what this treatment can do for you.

Give You a Radiant Smile

Not all people’s teeth are fit for teeth whitening. This is especially true if you have stains or discolorations due to medications. Veneers, however, are an easy solution to these types of stains because they can simply cover them up. They’re likewise more stain-resistant than your teeth’s natural enamel, allowing them to remain whiter for longer.

Conceal Cosmetic Flaws and Close Gaps

Veneers can easily mask imperfections and fill in gaps between teeth to improve your smile. They are specifically crafted to fit your teeth, match the shade of your natural teeth, and address the cosmetic requirements needed to give you that flawless smile.

Straighten Your Smile Without Orthodontic Treatment

Because veneers can hide your teeth, you can use them for concealing minor misalignment. They essentially reshape the look of your teeth, making them appear straighter. Do note though that if your tooth placement is negatively affecting your oral health or your bite, your dentist may suggest orthodontics instead.

Hide Chips and Cracks

Besides improving your smile, veneers likewise offer extra durability and strength to your teeth. If you have chips or cracks in your teeth, dental veneers can support your teeth and prevent further damage to them.

Ready to have that Hollywood Smile? Call our South Glastonbury, CT, Office Today

Contact the Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in South Glastonbury, CT, at (860) 633-6518 to book a consultation with your dentist, Dr. Steven Hinchey.

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