My Blog

Posts for: January, 2018

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
January 24, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sleep apnea  

Could your sleep disturbances be the result of this common sleep disorder?

sleep apneaWhile a lot of Americans deal with sleep problems at some point during their lifetime, when we talk about sleep apnea we aren’t talking about the normal tossing and turning that can often occur. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious and chronic sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for several seconds throughout the course of a night. From the office of our South Glastonbury, CT, dentist Dr. Steve Hinchey, find out the common symptoms associated with sleep apnea and why this condition needs to be treated.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during the night
  • Pauses in breath (a symptom your partner may notice while you are sleeping)
  • Frequent headaches in the morning
  • Waking up exhausted
  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Memory loss

A lot of people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it; however, if you find yourself nodding off throughout the day and you never wake up feeling refreshed then you could very well be dealing with sleep apnea. This is a good time to see a sleep specialist.

Why does sleep apnea need to be treated?

Anything that negatively impacts your sleep is a serious problem. You need proper sleep for your health and well-being, and if there is a way to get more restorative sleep why wouldn’t you do it?

Plus, untreated sleep apnea has been linked to a variety of serious and chronic health problems. Those with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. By getting sleep apnea under control we can also reduce these health risks.

How can my dentist help me?

When you think about sleep disorders you probably don’t think about seeing a dentist for treatment; however, our South Glastonbury, CT, general dentist could also provide you with the relief you need to get a better night’s rest. Instead of wearing a CPAP facemask every night, which can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, a custom oral appliance that will fit over your upper and lower teeth (similar to a mouthguard) can be made and will prevent the tissue in the back of the throat from collapsing or the tongue from obstructing the airways while you sleep. This device alone could help many people that are suffering from mild-to-moderate forms of sleep apnea.

If you or a loved one is dealing with sleep apnea then it’s a great time to schedule a consultation with our South Glastonbury, CT, family dentist to find out if oral appliance therapy is a simple solution for managing your symptoms and helping you sleep better at night.

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
January 18, 2018
Category: Oral Health

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Dental implants are today’s preferred choice for replacing missing teeth. They’re the closest restoration to natural teeth—but at a price, especially for multiple teeth. If implants are beyond your current financial ability, there’s an older, more affordable option: a removable partial denture (RPD).

Similar in concept to a full denture, a RPD replaces one or more missing teeth on a jaw. It usually consists of a lightweight but sturdy metal frame supporting a resin or plastic base (colored pink to mimic gum tissue). Prosthetic (false) teeth are attached to the base at the locations of the missing teeth. Unlike transitional dentures, RPDs are designed to last for many years.

Although simple in concept, RPDs certainly aren’t a “one-size-fits-all” option. To achieve long-term success with an RPD we must first consider the number of missing teeth and where they’re located in the jaw. This will dictate the type of layout and construction needed to create a custom RPD.

In addition, we’ll need to consider the health and condition of your remaining teeth. This can be important to an RPD’s design, especially if we intend to use them to support the RPD during wear. Support is a fundamental concern because we want to prevent the RPD from excessively moving in place.

Besides dental support we’ll also need to take into account how the jaws function when they bite. The RPD’s design should evenly distribute the forces generated when you eat and chew so as not to create undue pressure on the bony ridges of the jaw upon which the RPD rests. Too much pressure could accelerate bone loss in the jaw, a common issue with dentures.

It takes a lot of planning to create a comfortably-fitting RPD with minimal impact on your dental health. But you’ll also have to maintain it to ensure lasting durability. You should clean your RPD daily, as well as brush and floss the rest of your teeth to minimize the chances of developing tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. You can further discourage disease-causing bacterial growth by removing them at night while you sleep.

A RPD can be a viable alternative to more expensive restorations. And with the right design and proper care it could serve you and your smile for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on removable partial dentures, 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 “Removable Partial Dentures.”