How Dentists Help Treat Sleep Apnea

How Dentists Help Treat Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea and snoring are serious medical issues often left undiagnosed and untreated. If you feel like you are suffering from sleep apnea, an easy way to get a diagnosis is to make an appointment with your dentist. 90% of people are unaware that they have sleep apnea, but dentists can identify early signs of sleep disorders in patients and help treat the problem.

What is Sleep Apnea?

There are two categories of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and Central sleep apnea (CSA). 

Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by the narrowing or closing of the airway. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that OSA occurs when your breathing is restricted for more than 10 seconds at least five times an hour. The lack of oxygen sends a signal to the brain, and jolts you awake, often with a snort or choke. 

Not everyone with OSA snores, however, so it is good to stay alert for any other common symptoms, which, according to the National Sleep Foundation, are: 

  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Night sweats
  • An inability to focus
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • The need to urinate frequently
  • Sexual dysfunction

Your breathing is also affected when suffering from CSA. In this form of the condition, your brain stops sending signals to breathe, so your breathing stops for short bursts. This means sufferers may struggle to fall and stay asleep. A common symptom of CSA is waking up short of breath.

Health Complications Caused by Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can cause serious health issues, as sufferers often cannot achieve the REM cycles needed for muscle repair and memory health. Leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to health problems such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Mood-related issues, such as depression
  • Unstable blood oxygen levels 

Who is at Risk of Sleep Apnea?

Several factors affect your risk of acquiring sleep apnea, but a stand-out statistic is that men are two to three times more likely to develop the condition than women. Other factors that can increase the risk of sleep apnea are: 

  • Obesity
  • A large neck circumference
  • Mandibular Retrognathia or Micrognathia (conditions contributing to a receded lower jaw and undersized jaw, respectively)
  • Age (sleep apnea is more common in older patients)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol
  • A family history of the condition

How Can a Dentist Help My Sleep Apnea?

Your dentist can work alongside your doctor or sleep specialist to develop a treatment plan that will help alleviate your OSA or CSA symptoms in the long term. A dentist can diagnose initial sleep apnea through dental and physiological examinations. If your physician determines that the course of treatment includes an oral appliance, then your dentist will collaborate to ensure a thorough oral examination in preparation for your fitting.

Oral appliances are the standard treatment for OSA patients. Many oral appliances on the market, ranging from mouth guards to tongue-retaining devices, usually move the tongue, jaw, and soft palette out of the way to encourage an open airway. Your dentist can custom-fit the chosen device for you and will work with your doctor to find a comfortable solution that best suits your needs. 

We’re Here to Help

If you’re worried that you might have sleep apnea, or are unsure and want to be sure, then make an appointment with us at Cakmes Dental Studio in Knoxville, TN. Your oral health is our priority.

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Celiac Disease and Your Oral Health

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Over 2 million Americans have Celiac Disease. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it is estimated that 1 in 133 Americans could have the disease without being aware of it. Celiac Disease doesn’t just affect your digestive tract; it can cause health problems everywhere, from your heart to your mouth.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by a reaction to gluten, a protein found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person living with Celiac Disease ingests gluten, it causes a painful immune response in the small intestine. This response damages the villi (small finger-like projections on the lining of the small intestine), designed to absorb nutrients. Over time, the lack of nutrient absorption causes damage to the intestine and leads to serious health complications. 

If left untreated, possible health complications include (but are not limited to):

  • Early onset osteoporosis
  • Anemia
  • Heart disease
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Malnutrition

According to research, the disease tends to be prevalent in Caucasian people and those whose ancestors came from Europe. Patients with type 1 diabetes, Down syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other autoimmune diseases are also more at risk.

Celiac Disease is genetic (it tends to run in families) and can present at any age, so if you display symptoms, it is vital to seek medical advice.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Celiac Disease vary significantly amongst patients. Common symptoms can include: 

  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Gas
  • Repeated stomach pain or bloating
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Missed menstrual cycles
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain

Children who have Celiac Disease tend to present symptoms more centered around the digestive process.

How Does Celiac Disease Affect My Teeth?

Celiac Disease can affect your oral health from a young age. Children aged seven years and younger may develop enamel defects as their teeth and enamel are still developing. Celiac disease can also cause a delay in the development of the teeth and mouth. The frequent development of canker sores is a common indication of Celiac Disease in adults and children. Patients can suffer from Dry mouth syndrome, which can result in tooth decay and atrophic glossitis, a condition noted for a smooth, shiny, red tongue. 

If left untreated, Celiac Disease can also lead to the development of pharyngeal, mouth, and esophageal cancers.

How can this be fixed?

Celiac Disease does not have a cure, but lifestyle changes allow most people to live symptom-free. Adopting a gluten-free diet is the only way to treat the disease, and it must be followed rigorously.

Where else is gluten found?

Patients adopting a gluten-free diet must know that gluten is found in many different foods, including soy sauce, salad dressings, condiments, french fries, grain-based alcohol, bouillon or soup mixes, imitation meat, and seafood. Additionally, gluten is also in certain medications. Because of the extensive list of non-gluten-free foods, your medical practitioner will likely advise you to consult a celiac disease specialist for assistance with a dietary plan. 

A thorough oral examination allows dentists to diagnose Celiac Disease and refer you to a physician. If you think that you or your child has  Celiac Disease, then make an appointment to come and see us at Cakmes Dental Studio in Knoxville, TN.

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Dental Hygiene & Heart Disease: What You Need To Know

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It’s long been proposed that the condition of your teeth can impact the health of your heart. While it may seem strange that the cleanliness of your mouth can affect your heart, various gum diseases invariably seem present with coronary conditions

As October is National Dental Hygiene Month, we thought it would be a good time to relook at the possible link between poor oral hygiene and heart disease to see if they are connected.

Does Bad Oral Hygiene Cause Heart Disease?

While the American Heart Association asserts that good oral care cannot treat heart disease, there are some widely accepted theories regarding the connections between good dental hygiene and the heart:  

While more recent studies note an association between poor oral care and increased risks for cardiovascular disease, many researchers still find the evidence inconsistent and unreliableThe great debate will continue until further research provides more conclusive evidence. 

Why Is Good Oral Hygiene Still Important?

While the jury is still out on whether poor oral care contributes to heart disease, proper dental hygiene is essential for your general well-being. 

Even if you aren’t worried about coronary issues, cleaning and protecting your teeth is in your best interest. For one, periodontal disease can hurt the soft tissue of your teeth, leading to tooth decay. Other gum diseases cause pits that can get infected or lead to other health problems. 

Oral health is total body health, so taking steps to clean your teeth is all part of your daily healthcare routine. 

Prevention Is Better Than Relying on a Cure

There are several ways you protect your teeth—and by extension, possibly even your heart.  

  • Brushing and flossing are everyday practices, and you can rinse with mouthwash. 
  • Regular visits to the dentist are also beneficial, as the experts can detect potential diseases early and take steps to preserve the health of your teeth. 
  • Quitting smoking is a significant lifestyle change that can also help. 

Prevention is far better than dealing with extended and costly dental issues. 

Want to improve your overall dental hygiene? Contact Cakmes Dental Studio for all your general dentistry and oral care needs.  Our dental health services include preventative dental care and periodontal therapy to ensure healthy gums and bones.

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Oral Health and Pregnancy

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Pregnancy brings about numerous changes to the body. Each day can bring new surprises from swelling and sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations! Monthly or even weekly doctor visits to monitor the growing baby and mother are the norm, but what about dental care? How does this play into a healthy pregnancy?

According to the National Library of Medicine, “pregnant women are susceptible to a wide range of oral health conditions that could be harmful to their health and the future of their baby.” Various studies have been done to combat the old myth that women cannot visit the dentist while pregnant as it may cause complications to the baby’s development in utero. However, this myth could not be farther from the truth! 

Proper oral care can prevent and treat harmful diseases affecting the baby’s long-term health. For example, women and babies can experience “premature birth, low birth weight, pre-eclampsia, vaginal tissue ulcerations, gingivitis, pregnancy tumors, loose teeth, and more” if proper dental hygiene and oral care are not prioritized during the gestational period. 

For example, mothers with periodontitis, also known as gum disease, by comparison to mothers with healthy gums, have a higher risk of giving premature birth as well as delivering a baby with low birth weight. Roughly 40% of pregnant mothers have gingivitis, a more mild form of periodontitis, which shows a real risk of these birth complications.

Proper nutrition also affects pregnant women at a higher rate. For example, a study from the AAFP shows that one-fourth of women of reproductive age have dental caries, a disease caused by carbohydrate fermentation that decomposes tooth enamel. Sugary and carb-rich foods can cause caries in pregnant women due to their higher susceptibility to oral cavities and cravings. Similarly,  if the mother does not consume the right amount of nutrients, the child could experience tooth problems due to low calcium intake. 

Pregnant women are also more likely to develop oral lesions, loose teeth, and oral tumors, so inform your dentist or dental hygienist of your pregnancy! Discuss any concerns or fears about routine oral care during pregnancy to ease your mind, and be sure to practice regular oral care. This preventative care goes a long way with keeping yourself healthy and your growing baby as well!

Stop by Cakmes Dental Studio for excellent prenatal oral care. Our team will be sure to look out for any anomalies to be concerned about and provide you with tips for keeping your dental hygiene routine perfect!

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What are Cavities and How to Prevent Them

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We’ve all experienced the anxiety that accompanies a trip to the dentist’s office, often caused by one word: cavities. So what exactly are they? 


As defined by the Mayo Clinic, cavities are permanently damaged areas on the hard surfaces of teeth that appear as tiny holes. Also referred to as tooth decay, cavities are among the world’s most common health issues caused by poor oral hygiene and excessive sugar in the diet, which causes plaque and bacteria. While you may think tooth decay is more prevalent in children, all age groups can get them- 80% of Americans develop a cavity by their 30s.


You may already know that teeth are exposed bones covered in enamel, the hard coating that protects the tooth mentioned above. Unfortunately, tooth enamel cannot be replaced: once it has been eroded, only dental work can help repair it. So when cavities form, breaking down enamel, minor procedures called fillings must be done to prevent further damage. If not attended to, these holes can develop infections and abscesses. Be sure to learn more about fillings from a recent blog!


There are three types of cavities: smooth surface, pit and fissure, and root decay.


Smooth Surface: These are slow forming only within the enamel and are very treatable with fluoride solutions and very attentive dental cleaning.


Pit and Fissure: Occurring in the molars, pit and fissure cavities usually develop from plaque and food buildup due to infrequent toothbrushing. These can be treated with sealants.


Root Decay: As the name suggests, these only occur at the root of teeth, near the gum. This type is common in patients with receding gums, aging, and/or poor oral health and is treated with root canals and fillings.


Cavities of all kinds are preventable by consistent and thorough oral hygiene such as toothbrushing, flossing, mouth washing, and biannual checkups for monitoring. Reducing excess sugar from your diet will also help prevent cavities from forming.


If you are experiencing symptoms such as toothaches, bad breath, bleeding gums, and sensitivity to cold or hot foods, you should schedule an appointment with Cakmes Dental Studio for a proper exam and treatment plan.

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How Botox Can Fix TMJ Pain

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Stress can manifest in many different ways, including in your mouth. The most common showing is through TMJ (the temporomandibular joint). You have two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of your mouth, which connects your jawbone to your skull. These joints produce a hinge-like motion that allows you to open and close your mouth, chew food, yawn, and control other jaw movements. 

When someone is under a great deal of stress, they may clench their jaw or grind their teeth, often subconsciously. This causes their TMJ to lock up, and they find it difficult to open their mouth or eat food. Because these movements are done without the person knowing, it can be a hard habit to break. 

Luckily, there are many fixes to TMJ pain. Many dentists recommend custom mouth guards to wear at night, reducing the chance of grinding teeth while asleep. However, if the issue is from grinding your teeth during the day or clenching your jaw, a mouth guard probably won’t work for you. If that’s the case, Botox may be the answer for you. 

Botox is no longer used for purely cosmetic reasons; it can now be used to treat migraines, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), and TMJ pain. Another bonus is that Botox keeps you off of hard prescription pills. At Cakmes Dental Studio, we will never choose to prescribe prescription pills unless that’s our last resort. With TMJ pain, Botox is safer and more effective, so it’s our preferred route. 

The primary use of Botox is to relax facial muscles, whether in a cosmetic way to reduce forehead wrinkles or in a pain-management way to prevent jaw pain or lockjaw. Botox blocks nerve signals to the brain, which allows the specific area targeted to relax. When we inject Botox into your strained muscle, it will have a relaxing effect, and you will no longer feel the need to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. In addition, the Botox will work to decrease spasms which will limit lockjaw and create a wider range of motion. 

Botox can be performed in our office in just one treatment, and many people start to feel relief within five to ten days. If you or someone you know is suffering from TMJ pain due to stress, it may be time to consider Botox as a solution. Call us to set up a consultation to determine if Botox is the best option. It’s important to know your options during Stress Awareness Month and beyond.

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Caffeine Awareness Month

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Around 150 million Americans have at least one cup of coffee each morning; that’s about half of our country’s entire population. Many people can’t start their day without a fresh cup of joe, and often, that’s ok. One cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine, and anywhere under 200 mg is considered safe, even for pregnant women. So, if you have one or two cups of coffee each day, you’re probably in the clear, but if you have more than that, use this month to consider reevaluating your caffeine intake. 

There are many benefits to drinking coffee; it can help wake you up, focus, and stay alert, as well as potentially help you lose weight and decrease the chances of certain cancers or diseases. However, there are also many negatives to relying on coffee and caffeine. For example, coffee can cause restlessness or insomnia, especially if you consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. It can also increase your heart rate and blood pressure, cause nausea or vomiting, and cause bad breath and yellowing of the teeth. 

Effects of Coffee on Your Teeth

It’s no secret that drinking coffee can turn your teeth yellow. The reason for this is due to the tannins in the beverage. Tannins cause colored compounds to stick to your teeth, leaving an unwanted yellow stain behind. Tannins are in other beverages such as red wine and tea. 

Many people brush their teeth immediately after finishing their coffee to get rid of that awful coffee breath, but we are here to tell you to stop doing that. Coffee contains acid, and brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something acidic weakens your enamel and can cause further staining. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes before your brush your teeth. During this time, you should rinse your mouth out with water and drink a full glass of water to help prevent bacteria buildup. In addition, professional whitening can help reverse signs of staining.

If you want to switch to energy drinks or tea to reduce the effects of coffee on your teeth, please do so in moderation. Many energy drinks contain at least 200 mg of caffeine and can increase your blood pressure and anxiety and impact your sleeping patterns. Keep these factors in mind as you choose between whiter teeth and adverse health issues. 

At Cakmes Dental Studio, we can unlock a smile up to eight shades whiter in less than an hour. If coffee keeps you going every morning, we can help reverse the adverse aesthetic effects. This month, take time to evaluate your caffeine intake and make adjustments when necessary; if the only negative you see with your morning cup of coffee is yellow teeth, we can help. Call us today to schedule a whitening consultation or a bi-yearly cleaning.

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Cancer Prevention Month

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National Cancer Prevention Month happens every February, and it’s a time to acknowledge various types of cancer, work on prevention methods, and focus on living the healthiest life possible. As dentists, we have specialized knowledge on all things oral, including oral cancer, so that’s where our focus will lie. 


Oral cancer is not as widespread as many other types, including breast, lung, and skin cancer, but it still accounts for about three percent of cancer cases per year, over 50,000 new cases. 


Oral cancer is caused by squamous cells (flat, thin cells that line the mouth and throat) growing uncontrollably in the oral cavity and oropharynx. The leading causes of the expedited growth are tobacco and heavy alcohol use, HPV, sun exposure, and age. 


The symptoms of early-stage oral cancer are quite common. If they linger for more than two weeks, you should see your dentist or doctor. The most common symptoms include:

  • Sores or lumps in your mouth, throat, or lips
  • Red or white patch(es) in your mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Trouble moving your tongue or jaw
  • Numbness in any area of your mouth
  • Constant sore throat feeling


As mentioned, many of these symptoms are pretty standard. For example, a sore throat happens for various reasons, and TMJ can result in difficulty moving your jaw. Still, if these symptoms continue or worsen, it’s crucial to get them checked by a professional. 


The best ways to avoid oral cancer are to take care of your mouth the same way you take care of your body. Proper dental hygiene goes a long way and limits alcohol use and never uses tobacco products. Oral cancers are most common in men and women over 40, so it’s essential to take extra precautions once you’ve reached that age. Talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have at every checkup. 

The dentists at Cakmes Dental Studio are the best in the business and will work with you to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. If you have any questions or have experienced any symptoms mentioned above, reach out to us. We can help determine if oral cancer is in play or something else causing your issues and come up with a solution to keep you on the right path.

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Use Your Dental Benefits Before the End of the Year!

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It’s hard to believe, but there are just a few weeks of the year left! With that comes last-minute gift shopping, spending time with family, and making sure that you’ve used your medical, dental, and vision benefits.


Most people know, but many forget that you pay for your dental insurance whether you use it or not – so you might as well use it! Dental health is a big factor in overall health, and it can even play a role in your mental health and social life. 


Depending on your insurance, you’ll see varying levels of coverage, but most plans will allow for at least two cleanings and one x-ray exam each year. If you need or want work beyond that, many dental insurance benefits cover a large majority of the cost of preventative dental care treatments, if not the entire cost. 


Preventative care treatments typically include:

  • Routine cleanings
  • Examinations
  • Sealants
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Periodontal care
  • X-rays
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Mouthguards
  • Patient education


When it comes to general dental care, insurance typically covers around 50 to 80% of the cost of treatment. 


General dental care treatments typically include: 

  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Porcelain inlays onlays
  • Porcelain crowns and bridges 
  • Dental implants 
  • Removable partials
  • Dentures
  • Root canals 
  • Minor tooth extractions
  • Cerec restoration 


Regardless of the type of treatment you need, it is important to remember that although you pay for dental insurance that does not mean that your insurance benefits roll over from year to year. If you don’t use your benefits before the year ends, you will likely miss out on the services your insurance can help cover. 


At Cakmes Dental Studio we provide all of the services listed above and more, and would love nothing more than to help you take care of your dental needs and help you end every year feeling confident in your smile! 


The end of one year and the beginning of a new one are always the perfect time to evaluate your progress; whether that be your progress at work, your physical health, your mental health, or even the relationships you’ve built, evaluating what you have done in the past year and what you hope to achieve in the future are healthy ways to establish goals and keep yourself accountable. 


Take care of yourself, focus on your goals, and take advantage of your dental benefits before the year ends! Book an appointment at Cakmes Dental Studio by calling us at (865) 584-6163 or by filling out this form! There’s still time to end the year on the right note, with a healthy and beautiful smile at the center of it all. 

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The Best Ways to Fix Bad Breath

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Do you find yourself constantly reaching for mints or gum throughout the day? As a dental studio, we are well versed in how embarrassing, uncomfortable, and difficult bad breath can be. Luckily, at Cakmes Dental Studio, we also know the cures for it. 

Good Oral Hygiene

Pretty much everything comes back to having good oral hygiene, so much so that we’ve detailed it in previous blogs! As a refresher, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day (don’t forget your tongue!) and floss at least once for the healthiest mouth. If you’re finding that this isn’t enough to fight off that halitosis, try brushing your teeth after every meal or strong drink, such as coffee; try to limit the amount of coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks you consume.

Also, ensure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this can help prevent bacteria build-up. Water is the number one stimulator of saliva, which also helps to fight off bacteria. You may notice that your breath smells and tastes worse when your mouth is dry, and these are the reasons why! 

Home Remedies

If these daily routines still aren’t cutting it, there are more things that you can do at home to help reduce your halitosis. The first is to get a new (and possibly better) toothbrush. In 2021, we recommend using an electric toothbrush and tossing the manual brush to the side. The electric toothbrush helps reach more places than a manual toothbrush; it can remove more plaque buildup from your teeth and gums and ensures that you brush for a full two minutes each time. 

Ensure that you replace your toothbrush head every three to four months; new brushes remove more plaque than a heavily used one and firm bristles are more effective against preventing bacterial growth. Using an older toothbrush or toothbrush head could easily contribute to your bad breath, as you are essentially brushing your teeth with extra bacteria and fungal particles. 

Visit Your Dentist

You should schedule routine cleanings twice a year to ensure that your teeth and gums are in the best health possible. If all of the above remedies don’t work, let your dentist know! Our tools can provide a deeper cleaning and more plaque and bacterial removal. In addition, we know other tricks of the trade for fighting bad breath, such as discontinuing the use of specific medicines (as mentioned in a recent Ted Lasso episode!).

No one wants bad breath, and luckily, there are many ways to fight against it. If you or someone you know is suffering from halitosis, give these at-home remedies a shot! If you’re still not happy, head to our Knoxville, TN studio for a deeper look and a more personalized diagnosis. We’re here to help your oral hygiene be the best it can be, and minty fresh breath goes right along with that. Give us a call to schedule your next appointment or ask any questions you may have about fighting halitosis or any other ailments your mouth may present to you.

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  • 6230 Highland Place Way
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    Knoxville, TN 37919

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