Volume 1 Issue 1 Fall 2017

A Letter from Dr. Couzens

Fall is in full swing now, with Thanksgiving not that far ahead on our calendars. It is a delight to enter the holidays with a new opportunity to be in touch with the patients who have helped us build our practice. This newsletter is the first in a series of quarterly newsletters designed to do just that---stay in touch with the most important people in our lives---our patients. If you have comments or questions about our practice, please contact us on line at www.susancouzensdmd.com or all our office at 859.236-4304. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Meet Out Team:

Racheal Coburn

Seven years ago, Racheal Coburn began work at Susan Couzens, DMD as an EDDA (Expanded Duty Dental Assistant). That followed a three-year tenure at a Nicholasville dental practice and a collegiate program at the University of Kentucky. Racheal’s training and experience qualifies her to place fillings, make crowns using the Cerec computer-driven manufacturing system, create temporaries, take x-rays, and assist in dental hygiene.
Racheal is married to husband Chase and the couple have a two-year-old daughter. Camping, fishing and outdoor recreation are at the center of family activity, which often includes Golden Retriever Sadie and their adopted cat. The Coburn family lives in Moreland, from which Chase commutes to his position in industrial maintenance in Harrodsburg.
“I love what I do,” says Racheal, “Whether it is assisting Dr. Couzens or training other team members on the Cerec. It is even more exciting to work with Dr. Couzens as she was my dentist growing up and now I have an opportunity to grow with her and with the practice. Our patients are like family. Many of them have been a part of this practice for years and I feel like I know them on a close, personal basis.”

Beyond Teeth:

Four Steps from Dr. Susan Couzens DMD for a Better Night’s Rest

When it comes to caring for teeth and gums, Danville residents turn to dentists for guidance, but many don’t know that a trip to the right dental office can also help improve their sleep. 

“For people losing shut-eye to snoring and sleep apnea, studies show an oral appliance that is custom fit by a dentist may be all they need,” said Dr. Susan Couzens, DMD, a Danville, Kentucky dentist and member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). “Oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to the traditionally prescribed CPAP machine and mask with a much higher compliance rate among patients.” 

Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing from a few seconds to more than a minute at a time. These breathing pauses are repeated throughout the night, commonly causing loud, frequent snoring. To prevent these pauses, mouth-guard-like oral appliance devices keep the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. If left untreated, sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening condition that can increase the risk for a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. 

Of the 12-18 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea, 80 to 90 percent remain undiagnosed and untreated, according to the AADSM. Dr. Couzens encourages snorers and sleep apnea sufferers to take these steps to start sleeping more soundly:

Consult a sleep physician 
Wondering if sleep apnea is causing daytime sleepiness? Now is the time to schedule an appointment with a board-certified sleep physician to receive a sleep test. Once diagnosed, work with your doctor to research available treatments and determine the best options. 

Find a local dentist 
Dr. Couzens works in conjunction with sleep physicians to treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Patients often prefer oral appliance therapy because it is more comfortable than CPAP, easy to wear, quiet, portable and easy to care for. Call to schedule an oral appliance therapy consultation. 

Stick to the treatment plan 
Only by using their oral appliance will patients reap the health benefits. Remember - wear the oral appliance every night in order to wake up feeling refreshed. Compared to CPAP, an oral appliance is easier to travel with, so don’t leave it at home when on the road. 

Schedule check-ups 
Effective oral appliances are always custom fit by a dentist and may need adjustments over time to ensure maximum effectiveness. Be sure to visit the dentist on a regular basis to have an oral appliance checked and refitted as necessary.

More about Oral Appliance Therapy 
AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or those who can’t comply with CPAP. There are more than 80 different styles of oral appliance devices that have received FDA clearance, and oral appliance therapy is often covered by medical insurance. 

About The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine 
Dr. Couzens is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the only non-profit national professional society dedicated exclusively to the practice of dental sleep medicine. The AADSM provides educational resources for dentists and promotes the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing. Established in 1991, the AADSM has nearly 3,000 member dentists worldwide. Visit www.aadsm. org or call the national office at 630.737.9705 for more information.


Retainers After Braces

The use of retainers after braces is an important part of the continuing maintenance.

Once orthodontic treatment has been completed, the use of retainers after braces is an important part of the continuing maintenance of teeth and will go a long way toward keeping the same bite and smile that the braces formed over the previous few years. Retainers are usually fabricated by the orthodontist or general dentist who performed the orthodontic treatment. This is customarily done by taking a mold, or impression, of the newly straightened teeth and fabricating the retainer out of wire and/or acrylic material before inserting it during a separate appointment once the dentist or dental lab has created it. In most cases, retainers must be worn for several years, if not indefinitely.

There are two types of retainers after braces: Fixed and removable. Choosing the type usually involves the clinical needs of the individual case, the desires of the patient and the overall compliance that the dentist and patient can expect from retainer maintenance.

Fixed Retainers
The fixed type of retainer is usually a thin wire worn across the back of the lower or upper front teeth, which is bonded in place with a cement similar to that applied on the brackets of braces. Because this type of wire stretches across several teeth, a floss threader or similar cleaning device must be used to access the interproximal spaces between the teeth, which is similar to how people with braces have to floss. Despite the fact that this type of retainer takes a little more work to keep clean, it has the best outcome because the bonded wire will hold the newly straightened teeth in perfect formation 24/7.

Removable Retainers
The removable type of retainer is usually a combination of a wire going across the front of the lower or upper front teeth held in place with a combination of acrylic material and hooks (or clasps) that insert in and around the back teeth to hold the retainer in place. Since it is removable, this type of retainer makes it easier to clean your teeth, but the patient has to remember to wear it daily. Initially, your orthodontist or dentist will want you to wear it all day and all night for at least three months; if no movement is detected, you may be instructed to wear the retainer only at night or for a few hours in the daytime.

The obvious disadvantage of a removable retainer after braces is the fact that it can be lost or damaged and can even melt or change shape if it is exposed to high heat. It is also very important not to leave the retainer lying around the house since pets love to chew them! When wrapping retainers in tissues or paper towels, they tend to get thrown out. Most orthodontists and general dentists charge a few hundred dollars to replace retainers, so people with removable retainers should find a safe way to store them in a plastic retainer case.

Throughout (and after) the use of both types of retainers, periodic maintenance in the form of routine dental visits is required to check for cavities and to clean the straightened teeth. Your dentist or dental hygienist can inspect in and around a fixed retainer after braces to ensure that it is properly secured in place and that the teeth supporting it are free of plaque and tartar.
For removable retainers, regular toothpaste should never be used for cleaning because it can dull the acrylic surface and cause bacteria to stick to it. Common denture cleaning tablets with antibacterial ingredients or a product such as Colgate® Peroxyl® Mouth Sore Rinse, in addition to vinegar and water, can help clean the bacteria from a retainer.

Most patients have invested a lot of money in orthodontic care. Using retainers after braces is an important part of the treatment and is meant to ensure a lifetime of happy and straight smiles.

About the author: Dr. Huot is the founder and CEO of Beachside Dental Consultants Inc. He has lectured at many meetings, and his past articles have been featured in Dental Products Report, Dental Economics, Dental Practice Report, ADA News and state dental journals. Dr. Huot recently retired from the USAF Reserve Dental Corps after 30 years of military duty, and his most recent assignment was as the Commander of the 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Patrick AFB, Florida. A Past President of the Maine Dental Association in 1994 and the 2006 President of the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association in Florida, Dr. Huot is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. 

Dr. Susan Couzens, DMD, a Danville, Kentucky dentist and member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) specialist in helping patients with sleep disorders. To establish a consultation with Dr. Couzens, contact Couzens Dentistry at (859) 236-4304.