Did You Know Your Dentist Can Treat Sleep Apnea?

by Robert C. Rawdin, DDS

The importance of sleep cannot be over-emphasized. Sleep replenishes your body and mind. Sleep allows your body to stay healthy and recharges your battery every day so you can be active and productive in your daily life.

If you don’t sleep well, you know it. Poor sleep or deprivation of sleep will take its toll on the way you feel and have negative health consequences. The reasons for poor sleep can be numerous, but there are many things you can do to help improve your sleep. The key is to identify what is causing your sleep issues.

Do you have a sleep disorder?

Sleep Apnea is a condition that greatly impacts the quality of your sleep. Many people who have Sleep Apnea are not aware that they have it. Estimates run, from 30-80 million people in the US are affected with sleep apnea, and are undiagnosed. With Sleep Apnea you actually stop breathing while you sleep. Each episode of non-breathing lasts at least 10 seconds and can happen hundreds of times per night! Without breathing, your body is deprived of oxygen and this can lead to serious health issues if left untreated; high blood pressure, diabetes, higher risk of stroke and heart attack, cardiovascular disease and weight gain. You also can’t get into deep sleep if your brain is constantly arousing you to start breathing.

What are the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea are fairly obvious, but many people ignore them and feel they just don’t sleep well. Others have no idea they have Sleep Apnea – think of the high profile, recent headlines of train operators and the catastrophic results of working while sleep deprived. If you are feeling tired all the time, have morning headaches, snore a lot, feel irritable and/or depressed, have high blood pressure, or can’t lose weight, chances are that you have Sleep Apnea.

Not everyone with Sleep Apnea needs a CPAP

Most people, who know anything about Sleep Apnea, associate it with the CPAP machine. This is a mask that provides Continuous Positive Air Pressure. Many people reject the idea of having to use this and would rather do nothing. The CPAP is a very effective device to prevent sleep apnea. However, it is best employed in patients with severe Sleep Apnea. Contemporary wisdom these days agree that the use of oral devices are very effective treating Sleep Apnea in those with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. Dentists who are trained in dental sleep medicine make these devices. Sleep appliances are also indicated in cases where patients cannot tolerate the CPAP or just refuse to use it.

Sleep tests are simple – and might save your life!

Testing for Sleep Apnea is quite simple. In most cases, a simple home sleep test is available. In the past testing meant a trip to a sleep lab where, ironically, no one really gets a good night’s sleep!

If you sleep poorly, you need to talk with your doctor or dentist. If a sleep test is indicated (based on answering a few questions), you can easily be set up to have a home sleep test. The treatment can be much simpler than you may have thought; an oral device is a non-invasive approach that is effective in about 85% of patients. The oral device is portable and easily used anywhere.

Treat your Sleep Apnea. It can be life changing and in some cases, life saving. To learn more, visit sleep.gallery57dental.com




Are All Sugar-Free Gums Created Equal?

Which sugar-free gum is the healthiest?

As part of our healthy lifestyle, we try to eat responsibly ie organic, non GMO, natural… and of course we only chew sugar- free gum.

We dentists recommend chewing gum because it increases the salivary flow in the mouth. Especially if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth. But are all sugar free gums created equal? Not really.


Most conventional sugar-free gum uses an artificial sweetener called Aspartame, which does make food taste awesome, no doubt. Though counter intuitively, studies are linking these chemicals to weight gain!


Here’s the deal. The healthier options taste great, but that taste doesn’t last long. This is because they use alternative sweeteners like xylitol, which can have healthy benefits such as decreasing your cavities. But unfortunately it tends to lose flavor after a short time.

The consistency also tends to fall apart after a short while … the reason for that is that the brands we’re more familiar with use plastic! Most gum brands you’re familiar with contain synthetic rubbers, emulsifiers, the controversial preservative BHT and plastic called polyvinyl acetate.

There is no great substitute for the proprietary ‘gum base’ and that is why the healthiest brands simply don’t taste good for very long.

Be a savvy label reader

Also, if you’re going clean, beware! Many gum brands market themselves as “healthy” and use xylitol instead of Aspartame or sugar, but use fool coloring and other chemicals you may not want to chew on.

Becoming a savvy label reader, able to weed through confusing ingredient lists is always a great tool! The real answer boils down to your comfort level and tolerance to sacrifice taste and flavor for a clear conscience health-wise.

I hope this answered your questions! Please feel free to reach out with more!






5-Ways The Flu Compromises Oral Health

It’s official, 2018 flu is the worst with hospitalizations higher than ever seen since tracking has begun in 2005 and it’s far from over. The CDC predicts that although it has probably peaked, there at least 11-13 more weeks of influenza to go.

Most people who get the flu see improvement in several days to less than 2 weeks. But some people can develop serious complications caused by viral infections of the nasal passage, throat and lungs that can compromise oral health.

Your mouth is the villain of the flu story

Our mouth is the primary villain in the story of how flu bacteria spreads, originating from saliva and mucus in our nasal passages. Some of the most common ways we contaminate everyone around us:

-Sharing drinks

-Sneezing without covering the mouth and nose in the crook of our arm.

-Not disposing of loose tissues that have been sneezed in.

A pain in the gums

Along with sneezing and sniffling, you might notice a dull pain in your gums, but this might not be a dental problem. Toothaches during flu season can be due to sinus chambers getting blocked with excess mucus. You can alleviate this discomfort by taking a mild decongestant, rinsing your sinuses with a Neti Pot or gargling with mouthwash or salt water.

Sinus pain that persists for more than a week might be due to a sinus infection and needs to be treated by a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics. If once the flu has resolved and you’re still experiencing gum pain, make an appointment with your dentist.

The link between oral health and pneumonia

One of the dangerous complications of the flu is developing pneumonia. Maintaining oral health throughout the year prevents periodontal disease, which studies have found create a predisposition to pneumonia. Research has found that people who don’t maintain their dental health had a greater risk of developing pneumonia than those who visit the dentist twice a year. 

Disinfect Disinfect Disinfect…

Aside from vaccination, the most important thing to do is prevent the spread of germs. Everything you touch while you’re sick is loaded with bacteria. Seriously EVERYTHING! Wash your hands frequently for about 20 seconds and wipe down doorknobs and anything else you touch with a Lysol wipes. Don’t neglect decontaminating your dental gear. Mouth guards, retainers and removable braces should be carefully cleaned. To be on the safe side, dispose of your toothbrush once you’ve recovered. You should be replacing it every 3-4 months anyway.

 Maintaining oral health while recovering

It’s difficult to do much of anything while recovering from the flu. But try not to neglect your oral health, especially since recovery can take weeks if not more. It’s a long time to go without brushing your teeth and maintaining your dental health.

We all have our go-to cures, but unfortunately not all of them are tooth friendly. Orange juice, Vitamin C boosts, ginger ale, tea and throat lozenges can cause havoc to our dental health. Brush frequently and try to use sugar free options whenever possible.



Dental Trends To Leave Behind In 2018

New year, new you… right? No? Whew, me neither.

Even though we may not have become entirely new people over the course of the last few weeks, wellness is still at the forefront of everyone’s minds. And since dental health is an integral part of our overall health, there are a few key trends you can leave behind to help keep your teeth in their best shape for the year ahead!

Oil Pulling

This is an Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. In theory, the oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can whiten teeth and treat periodontal disease. However, there is no scientific evidence that supports these claims. Oil pulling won’t cause any harm but won’t solve any of your problems either.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal is a known detoxifying agent in medicine. Due to its porous composition, the idea is that it will absorb any stains on the teeth and make them appear whiter. But, no charcoal-containing toothpaste has been proven to do this. The abrasive particles will help scrub teeth clean but can also do some serious damage by wearing away the outer white enamel layer of the teeth and can actually cause the teeth to look darker!

Apple Cider Vinegar

The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar seem to be a never ending list—weight loss, helps with digestion, bad breath, even cavities! The dental claims are totally unfounded, plus drinking ACV can cause erosion of the teeth due to it’s acidic pH. (ACV is 3.075 and tooth enamel starts to dissolve at 5.5!)

The keys to keeping your oral health in shape all year round? Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and regular visits to your dentist—no fancy tricks required. If you have questions about any wellness trends, please let us know!

5-Ways Exercise Helps You Sleep Better

Working up a sweat at the gym can lead to more restful Zzz’s at night. Just 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week enhances the quality of your sleep by 65 percent and leaves you feeling more energetic all day.

Developing a regular fitness regimen can transform the way you sleep at night in many ways:

Helps Restore Your Sleep Cycle

Working out helps regulate our internal clocks and circadian rhythms, so you can sleep at night instead of dozing off during the day.

When is the best time to exercise? Early morning and afternoon may raise the body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and bring on sleepiness at night when you need it most. It also helps to exercise outdoors, letting your body absorb the natural sunlight during the daytime hours.

Alleviate Stress

Are you tossing and turning nightly with all the problems of the world circling your head? How can you relax? Science has found that even five minutes of aerobic exercise reduces anxiety. Choose any of your cardio favorites, running, kickboxing or Zumba to decrease your tension and get into a better headset. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

Improves Quantity And Quality Of Sleep

Exercise can help to improve not only the quantity of sleep but also the quality. Studies have shown that daytime physical activity stimulates longer periods of slow-wave sleep, the deepest and most restorative stages of sleep.

Combats Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is the most common sleep disorder among adults. Unfortunately exercising once in awhile doesn’t do much to alleviate this problem and in fact might make it worse. A regular fitness regimen that’s maintained over a course of time could begin shifting your internal clock. But you have to be patient. It might take several weeks or months to significantly change the sleep pattern. 

Decreases The Severity Of Sleep Apnea

Exercise alone is not a substitute for medical therapy in treating a serious disorder such as Sleep Apnea. With this condition, airways collapse during sleep, which causes breathing to stop briefly and restart as many as 30 times an hour, all night long.

An estimated 30-40 million Americans have this sleep disorder, which can cause severe daytime drowsiness, difficulty in concentrating and irritability. Along with medical treatment, developing exercise regimens such as walking, running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike can help improve symptoms.

Start counting your steps to a better night’s sleep. *ENTER OUR “30 SECONDS TO WIN A FITBIT” CONTEST! Just complete our questionnaire online or in-office to enter! https://goo.gl/sJMqbh * Winner to be announced January 29th.


Why My Patients Love Solea Laser

I work in a midtown Manhattan dental office and have a lot of busy patients. Solea Laser allows me do in one visit, what could take many visits with a conventional drill. My patients truly appreciate being able to be treated quickly and painlessly in one visit. 

Dental phobic patients are not uncommon, their anxieties run deep and can date back to their early childhood. For these patients being able to avoid a drill puts them at ease, helping eliminate their fear of going to the dentist. 

Advanced dental technology

Lasers have been used in dentistry for decades, mostly for controlling bleeding and removing gum tissue when needed. Solea Laser stands out from the rest. It is the first laser that can painlessly cut through tooth and bone.  

One of its amazing side effects is that is numbs the tooth as you use it. What this all means is that it replaces a drill and virtually eliminates the need for anesthetics.

Less invasive and more precise procedures

The Solea Laser seals your blood vessels and nerve endings as it works. This results in a recovery that is basically instantaneous. This also means that your healing time is significantly reduced and you are less susceptible to infection. 

Whirring scary-sounding drills are a thing of the past. The laser is silent and vibration-free, which helps patients feel calmer and more at ease throughout the procedure.

The majority of patients who I’ve treated with Solea Laser have not undergone anesthesia and have reported no pain resulting from their dental procedures. This is huge! It means that as a dentist you could work on multiple parts of the patient’s mouth in one visit eliminating multiple visits and forcing the patient to endure needle injections and hours with a numb face.

A Game Changer

I feel fortunate to be practicing dentistry in 2018. When I look back 15 years almost everything has changed, including the materials that are now available and the technology we use. Thanks to companies like Convergent Dental, there are now endless options to help treat our patients quickly and painlessly.



Raising The Barre For New Year’s 2018

Every New Year we all resolve to start a new fitness regimen. In fact last year, despite being the most popular resolution, only 8 percent of people actually followed through. It’s extremely hard to keep it going regularly and once we’ve fallen off the wagon it gets harder and harder to get back into fitness mode. Let’s raise the bar, not only for your oral health but also your overall health for 2018.

Making fitness part of our regular routine is no easy feat. One way to get the momentum going is remembering what’s at stake. The health benefits of working out  go way beyond looking good, they also include cholesterol control, improved muscle and bone health (osteoporosis prevention), heart health as well as improved sleep and weight control.

For best results, how often do you really need to exercise?

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. For city dwellers this can be easier to incorporate by choosing to walk or bike to work. For commuters in the suburbs this can be tough.

Here are some tips I personally use and find helpful:

  • Take the steps no matter what! This is great way to sneak in cardio.
  • Split your dessert in half and save some for the next day (or share with a friend).
  • I get on an exercise machine for half hour 4 days a week (minimum) and stream my favorite show to pass the time.
  • Wear a heart rate monitor when working out, it really motivates to push yourself further.
  • Reward yourself! I always indulge myself to a great post-workout treat. My favorite is bananas, SunButter and Justin’s Hazelnut Spread.
  • Find a workout that will keep you motivated. Me and Dr. Sam Rawdin love doing a barre class at Physique 57. It’s a fun cardio workout that tones and shapes your body!

We care about your dental health and overall health. That’s why we’re giving away 2 barre classes to help jumpstart your workouts. Join our Instagram contest and raise the barre for 2018!


Can Stress Really Cause Tooth Loss

Dr. Samantha Rawdin discusses the link between stress and tooth loss.

This past week, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon hosted actress Demi Moore. As an avid Tonight Show watcher, I (not-so-shamefully) pride myself on having deciphered the interview sequence they take with their guests:

Guest sits down. Jimmy welcomes guest. Jimmy brings up interesting, obscure detail about guest. Guest tells funny story having to do with interesting, obscure detail.

But this time, the story particularly caught my attention since they started talking about how said guest lost her two front teeth! Due to stress!

If you happened to watch the interview, and saw the part where Jimmy and Demi start praising modern dentistry, I know what you’re thinking. I should be thanking Jimmy for calling me a genius.THANKS JIMMY! Really appreciate the shout out. (Yea, yea. I know. He called all dentists geniuses. But a girl can dream, no?)

So yes. Modern dentistry is awesome. We can do really amazing things to replace teeth and make them look natural and beautiful. (Hence why I love my job.) BUT they didn’t really get to the core issue here. Demi Moore’s teeth fell out due to STRESS. As New Yorkers, it seems we’re always stressed. Should you be worried that one day you’ll just be walking down the street, all of a sudden you feel something fall out of your mouth, and when you look down you’re surprised to see it’s your tooth? In short, no. That’s really not how it happens.

Stress can manifest itself in the oral cavity in a few ways. The most common is bruxing, clenching or grinding your teeth. (Collectively, we call these parafunctions.) This habit can happen either at night while you sleep or during the day– especially while working out or dealing with an aggravating situation. If you continue with this habit for long enough, it will start to wear down your teeth. This does kind of sound like what Demi was saying in that she “sheared off” her teeth… but if you’re guilty of any of these habits, you typically see wear distributed on most, of not all of your teeth.

Interesting that the rest of Demi’s smile appears to be intact, no? Well I have another theory. My guess is that Demi suffers from a super common condition called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria that is not removed by regular dental cleanings travels down the root surface of the tooth, causing the gums and bone to be resorbed and thus reducing the stability of the teeth. Periodontal health is intimately linked to overall health. Stress, and all of the other systemic conditions that it is associated with, such as cardiovascular issues, nervous system issues and GI problems, can all exacerbate periodontal disease. This loss of support of the teeth in combination with stress and parafunctional habits can, in fact, cause your teeth to literally fall out of your head.

But, this isn’t something to freak out about. These changes occur over a long period of time. Bottom line? Make sure you see your dentist for regular check ups. Tracking these changes over time is the best way to diagnose early and treat any issues you might have before you start dropping teeth like coconuts falling from a tree.

I give Demi a ton of credit. In an industry where you’re supposed to be flawless all of the time, it must not be easy to plaster a photo of yourself all over the internet, sans one front tooth. It would be a very vulnerable state for anyone, let alone a movie star. Kudos to Demi for bringing the dental consequences of stress to the forefront of pop culture at her own expense.

Broken tooth on vacation?

What happens when you break a tooth on vacation? Dr. Samantha Rawdin is on-the-job providing tips on how to manage this dental emergency:

You’ve been planning for months. Flights are booked. Bags are packed. You finally

arrive at your destination… and then your tooth breaks.

What’s a vacationer to do?! Well, it’ll depend on a few things…

If you’re in pain…

…you should seek help right away. If you’re in a hotel, ask the concierge. Usually

they can direct you to a dentist near by. If you’re not in a hotel, but still in the U.S.,

you can go to the American Dental Association website (www.ada.org) and utilize

their “Find-a- Dentist” tool. It has some advanced search options to help you narrow

down your results. If you’re out of the country, things can be a bit trickier.

Depending on where you are in the world, dental care can be very good or not so


If you can get to a pharmacy…

…try to find a product that helps with toothaches—they’re usually found in the

dental aisle. They come in gums, gels and pastes and can be applied to the sensitive

area. Be sure to follow the instructions, as they can vary slightly among brands.

Can’t get to a pharmacy?

A piece of (sugarless!) chewing gum can help protect a sensitive area from irritants.

You can also try putting desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, directly on the

area and then covering it with gum. If you can find it, a drop of clove oil on a cotton

swab can have a palliative effect.

If you have a cap/crown/temporary/veneer that came off…

…you have a few options. Pharmacies typically have some sort of temporary cement

for at-home use. Again, be sure to follow the instructions. Before using, try to clean

the inside of the restoration as best as you can to remove excess cement or debris.

Then, try it in a few times so you know which way it goes. Mix up the cement, place

only enough inside the restoration to coat the surface in a thin layer and seat the

restoration. Bite down gently, but be sure to bite down all the way. Clean up any

excess with a cotton swab or toothpick before it hardens. If you can’t find temporary

cement, denture adhesive will work as well. Just be aware that you’ll need to replace

it a few times per day. If you’re not in pain and the temporary isn’t staying in well,

take it out before you go to sleep so you don’t swallow it.

And whatever you do, don’t use Krazy Glue! Still confused? Call or e-mail us. Even if

we’re not close by, we can probably at least help point you in the right direction.

And, of course, be sure to come see us as soon as you get home!

Getting Personal About HPV and Oral Cancer

Dr. Samantha Rawdin gets personal about HPV and Oral Cancer:

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and as a member of the medical community dealing directly with the oropharynx (including the mouth and throat), this is something that we feel our patients and readers should be aware of. Although it doesn’t always get the attention that other types of cancer receive, oral cancer is still a prevalent issue in the U.S. Almost 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and one person every hour of every day will die from it.

Tobacco use and alcohol consumption still remain the greatest risk factors for developing oropharyngeal cancer, but the fastest growing population of people being diagnosed are young, healthy, non-smoking individuals with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Now, this is where things get a little weird. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can occasionally manifest in the oral cavity. Since your dentist is usually the only one examining your mouth on a regular basis, finding one of these lesions can lead to conversations you wouldn’t otherwise expect to have with your oral health care specialist.

According to an article this week in the New York Times, more than forty-two percent of Americans bewteen the ages of 18-59 are infected with HPV. In adults aged 18-69, 7% have an oral HPV infection and 4% have the high-risk strains that can cause cancer in the mouth and throat.

The good news? Over 90% of HPV infections are gone from the body within 2 years.  But, just to be on the safe side, make sure your dental professional is doing a thorough oral cancer screening. And don’t feel bad about asking– it’s something that should be a routine part of their examination anyway. If you see or feel something that’s not quite right in your mouth or throat that sticks around for longer than two weeks, such as discoloration, swelling or irritation, make an appointment to see your dentist or doctor. If you are visiting them on a regular basis, changes will be easier to spot and may be easier to manage.

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