My Heart Doctor Wants Me to Get Checked for Sleep Apnea

I was sent to a heart doctor because my heart rate has jumped significantly. I’ve had tachycardia on a regular basis. After a consultation, he said the first thing he want’s me to do is get a sleep study. He feels certain I have sleep apnea. What does that have to do with heart problems?

Mila Y

Dear Mila,

Boston Sleep Apnea

Believe it or not, a great many heart problems are caused by untreated sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, the tissue in the back of your throat relaxes while you sleep. In the process, it blocks your breathing passage, depriving you of oxygen. Your body realizes you’re no longer breathing and wakes you up. You wake up with a start (just enough to get a breath) and generally fall back asleep without even realizing you’d stopped breathing and woken up. This cycle can repeat many times throughout the night, sometimes hundreds of times.

You can imagine the type of stress this puts on your heart. It has to pump significantly more in order to make up for the lost oxygenation to your body. If you deal with the sleep apnea, you give your heart the needed rest, which should bring your heart rate back to normal.

A sleep study can tell you a lot. If sleep apnea isn’t the problem, there are other reasons for tachycardia, so there are other things for your cardiologist to look out. But, you always want to eliminate the least invasive solutions first, if they seem like a possibility. One symptom of sleep apnea is snoring.

Why do a heart ablation if a simple orthotic device, while you’re sleeping, will solve the problem?

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Does it Damage Veneers to Use Whitening Strips?

I have four porcelain veneers. I really love them. They’re as beautiful today as they were when I first got them. The problem I currently have is the adjacent teeth. My visible smile is wider than those four teeth. While the veneers have held their white color, my natural teeth haven’t. I really need to whiten them but I’m afraid of damaging my porcelain veneers. Would it be safe to whiten the nearby teeth?

Amanda S.

Dear Amanda,

Newton Porcelain Veneers

I’m glad you’re so happy with your smile makeover. Don’t feel too bad about your natural teeth not keeping up. Porcelain veneers are more stain resistant than your natural tooth structure. Because of that and the fact that most smiles are wider than four teeth, most expert cosmetic dentists place six veneers at a minimum, but usually eight or ten. That way you don’t have to battle your adjacent teeth having a color difference from your veneered teeth.

Teeth whitening won’t harm your porcelain veneers. Whitening only affects natural tooth structure. You’re going to bump up against two problems, though.

1. It’s very hard to match teeth whitening to other dental work. Usually, you’d do the whitening procedure first until you achieved the level of whiteness you wanted. Then, you would add the porcelain crowns or veneers, depending on your procedure. Whitening after your veneers are placed means you’ll just have to get it as close as you can. It’s kind of a guessing game.

2. The second problem you’re going to face is your teeth will become discolored again. Then, you’ll be faced doing this whole procedure again with another guessing game.

It might be simpler to have veneers placed on the exposed teeth that match your current veneers. That way your color will stay consistent within your smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.