At we realize that many have had bad experiences in their past at the dental office.  Typically 5-10 years go by and the high fear patient finally gets to the point of where they can’t stand their oral pain any longer.  This is when they do research on the internet with a desire to find a dentist who specializes in treating the high fear patient who has not been into the dentist for  years.  With a search on Google for “dentists for chickens”, “dentist for the fearful patient” or “dentistry for the dental phobic” we usually come up high on the search engines especially when looking for the Shelby Twp., Macomb Township, Sterling Heights or Washington Township Michigan areas.  After reading through our web site they find it comfortable enough to get the will power to at least email us. 

After they talk to Jessica our scheduling coordinator and make their appointment they will receive electronic health history questionaires to fill our in the convenience of their own home.  The day before their appointment I will call them up to introduce myself.  Because dentistry requires a high level of trust I like to introduce myself to them and see if they have any questions or concerns.  Many times they will give me a history of their horrific experiences at the previous dentist.  These are usually experienced as a child so we try to work through the issues slowly to eventually proceed with the exam.  We will only proceed when they are willing to do so.   

The mouth is an extremely personal space.  Most people don’t want others (including the dentist) to see their embarassing smile because of darkened teeth, missing teeth, cavities or bad gums.  Up to this point it has been their little “secret” and to go beyond that “secret” it is very difficult.  Most often they will say “I’m so embarassed of my teeth” or “I should have been in here years ago”.  The good news is that there is only room for improvement and what has happened in the past has been in the past.  Our goal is to move them beyond the past and to look forward to their future healthy and good looking smile. 

Another issue that has kept them from regular dental check ups is that they fear that they will get scolded or lectured to.  I always reassure them that it is my responsibility to inform them of their situation and we will work together as a team to move.  Lecturing will never work and has never been something that I have done and will never do. 

These are some of the personal things we do at to make the visit for our high fear patient one that can be tolerated and even appreciated.  If you have questions please call our Shelby Township office at (586)247-3500.

At The Gentle Dentist located in Shelby Twp., Michigan we see a lot of our new dental clients who  have a history of  tension headaches and migraine headaches which hit them when they wake up from sleep.  Many people like Dawn in this interview have given up hope and just think they will have to just live with headaches for their entire lives.  Their physicians will put them on medications and tell them that this “pill” will take care of your problem.  The problem is that relieving the pain does not get to the source of the pain. Many times headache pain is brought on by a combination of a poor bite, stress and how the patient handles the stress.

I see many patients in our dental practice who have had previous dental treatment including crowns, fillings and orthodontics who have symptoms and regular headaches.  When the teeth don’t fit together and mesh properly it can create disharmony in the jaw joint and the musclesStress and clenching will often bring on tension headaches especially if their bite is off.

Treatment with the NTI prevents the back teeth from touching and therefore the patient can’t clench down hard.  Try this on yourself- Place your finger tips on your temples.  This will be an indicator of how hard you can bite down.  Now put a pencil between your front teeth and bite down and compare this with the amount of force you can generate when biting down on the back teeth.  When only the front teeth touch this prevents the patient’s ability to bite down hardHeadaches usually will diminsh over time when the ability to bite down hard is reduced.

If one of the major influences of the headaches are a bad bite then the maximum affect isn’t obtained until the bite can be adjusted.  This equilibration is necessary to eliminate the triggers that bring on the pain.  When the NTI device is removed after using it during the night the teeth should bite uniformly.  If this isn’t taken care of then only limited resolution of the headache can be accomplished.  The teeth adjustment (equilibration) is a separate process that does’t require numbing and is very effective for long term headache resolution.   For more information visit our website at  The Gentle Dentist or go to

At we are concerned about the overall health of our patients and one of the treatments we can team up with the physican is treating Obstructive Sleep apnea (OSA).  OSA is a chronic disorder where patients usually start off snoring and then during the deepest part of the snore will evolve to gasping for air after a period of time when no breathing is present.  This closure and obstruction of the air passage can create a number of problems with the patient:

  • Chronic sleepiness has been shown to increase traffic accident incidence.
  • High blood pressure.  Because the body senses a drop in oxygen in the blood stream it is critical for the adrenal glands to send a surge of adrenaline into the blood stream which increases the heart rate and increase blood pressure.  Over time this creates a lot of stress on the body and can lead to a heart attack.
  • Diabetes.  This high blood pressure can affect the way that blood sugars are metabolized in the body.
  • Impotence.  For men their sexual drive can be affected
  • Relations.  Because snoring keeps the family up at night the use of such a device can provide peace for all concerned.

Treatment:  The cPAP is a pressure filled mask that is plugged into the wall which runs a humidified air compressor which forces air down the trachea and into the lungs.  This has a quiet buzz and is like a Darth Vator mask.  Patients sometimes find it difficult to wear and decided to not wear it and end up being non complient. 

The oral sleep appliance is different in that it is much smaller and convenient to use.  Rather that forcing air into the lungs by pressure this oral appliance shifts the jaw forward and the soft tissues attached to the jaw open the air space.  By eliminating the cPAP things are more comfortable and much more compatible.  Keep in mind that the cPAP is the gold standard and is usually preferred by the sleep doctors but the problem is that the patients have a difficult time tolerating it.  It is important for the patient using the oral appliance go through a series of exercises during the morning after waking up.  This 10 minutes is important because it reseats the jaw back into where it needs to go and when doing so the bite is not affected. 

It is important for your dentist to have a good understanding of the occlusion (bite) and the TMJ (Jaw Joint).  If you have a cPAP and just can’t use it let us know about it.  If you have some of these symptoms mentioned above let us know so we can refer you to a sleep physician and order a sleep study.  Even though you may not think this is a problem you would be surprised to find out just how good you would feel with a good night sleep. 

If you have comments or questions and are in the Shelby Twp. MI area please call us up at (586)247-3500 or email me at

At we are always interested in providing the most up to date care for our patients.  One of the most beneficial services we provide is the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea for our patients who stop breathing at night. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where one will encounter periodic episodes of losing their breath during sleep.  The airway can be restricted when there is too much soft tissue in the space and the patient will struggle at times to breathe, eventually taking a gasp of air after laboring to get in a breath for over 10 seconds.  Common risk factors are:

  • high BMI (body mass index).  Obesity is rampant in Americans due to a lack of exercise, fast foods and other factors
  • small size of the lower jaw- if the lower jaw is too small then the soft tissue is packed into a small space which can prevent adequate air from moving down the trachae.  In a larger lower jaw the tissue moves with the jaw and therefore space isn’t such a problem.
  • The chronic use of alcohol can relax muscles of the neck to the point where they collapse into closing the air space.

The gold standard in obstructive sleep apnea is the cpap machine.  This machine provides positive pressure forcing air down the trachea and into the lungs during the night .  The problem is that this is not very comfortable and is not well tolerated by the patient or the spouse.  The machine makes a rumbling noise which is from the compressor.  It is important to remain sleeping on the back with such a device because the mask needs space and if one rolled onto the stomach the mask would press against the face.

The oral appliance moves the jaw forward to open up the space.  Because the soft tissue is attached to the lower jaw, when it is positioned forward all of the tissue comes with it. 

The oral appliance can be adjusted to move the jaw forward but there are limitations on how far.  As the jaw moves forward it displaces the TMJ (tempro mandibular joint), the joint in which the jaw hinges on.  As the joint is moved there are some clicking and potential joint problems that can be be experienced and this is why your dentist needs to be aware of the workings of the bite and jaw joint. 

On Frank, this treatment has been very successful and compared with a cheap over the counter device it is a worth while investment (financially and health wise).

For more information please call Dr. Antolak, The Gentle Dentist at (586)247-3500 or email at

Mouth Breathing and its effect on your body

I was sleeping the day after Thanksgiving and at 3:00 am our 5 year old son Matthew woke me up and said he couldn’t sleep because he couldn’t breathe through his nose. I dragged myself out of bed and used my mother’s old remedy which was to put Vick’s vapor rub on his chest and some under his nose. This seemed to work for him quite well except now I was awake. At 3:10 am I started to think about the oral effects I have observed from chronic allergies and “stuffed noses”. This seemed to be a relevant topic that I haven’t addressed in the past. When researching this topic, I became aware of all the benefits of normal breathing through the nose. Of course mouth breathing can lead to the snoring and sleep apnea. If interested, you can visit our website information blog at www.TheGentleDentist/blog/ and type in snoring. This will lead you to past articles on this topic.

Mouth breathing:

  1. Can increase asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical problems
  2. Reduces the levels of oxygen exchange in the blood/lung interface. The lungs extract oxygen from the air we breathe primarily on the exhale. Because the nostrils are smaller then the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back pressure when one exhales. It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them.
  3. During sleep, it predisposes one to loud snoring and irregular breathing and can lead to a serious condition called Sleep Apnea and heart conditions.


Nose Breathing:

  1. Proper nose breathing reduces high blood pressure or hypertension and stress for most people. Kind of like a speed control (governor) on a car engine.
  2. The nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs. The mouth breather bypasses this.
  3. Maintaining a keen sense of smell is very important for enjoying life and for safety and social acceptance.  There are receptors in the nose, known as olfactory bulbs, are direct extensions of a part of the brain known as  the hypothalamus. This extension regulates the heartbeat, blood pressure, thirst, appetite, and of course, the cycles of sleeping a waking. The hypothalamus is also responsible for generating chemicals that influence memory and emotion.
  4. Lessening of the common cold is another good reason for nose breathing. The mucous (white blood cells that kill germs) membrane lining the nose extends all the way from the inner linings of the nostrils down the trachea to the bronchi the directly enters the lungs. Germs get caught and die in the mucous.

Long term mouth breathers experience difficulty in swallowing pills, increased gagging response, increased mucous production and other difficulties.

Mouth breathers do not adjust the way they swallow as an infant.  Typically infants project their tongues out to swallow and transition at around 8 months old so that their tongue is positioned along the top of their palate when swallowing.  Pacifiers and thumb sucking also affects the tongue position during the developmental years. If they aren’t removed early enough the tongue continues to push out beyond the front teeth preventing normal jaw and teeth development.  The relationship of the upper and lower teeth is also affected since they have to accommodate the tongue.  I have seen in adult patients the affects of this and it is almost impossible to change the jaws without surgery.  They usually have an open bite on their front teeth so that when they bite together the front top teeth don’t overlap the lower front teeth.  This is not cosmetically appealing and it has negative effects on the health of the jaw joint.

Allergies also are responsible for the mouth breathing tendencies.  The pharynx (back of throat) swells blocking off the nasal passage preventing smooth airflow through the nose.  It is important to determine what children are allergic to as soon as possible so that the destructive forces of mouth breathing are minimized.

As an adult it is best to retrain yourself to nose breathe during the day.  There are devices you can put in your mouth at night to retrain your tongue and help with nose breathing.  In fact, I had a patient the other day who was having a very difficult time breathing.  His CPAP breathing machine wasn’t functioning properly and I had him a Breathe Rite Strip to enlarge his nasal passage.  He was shocked at the difference he felt and the ease in which he could breathe.

Our human bodies have been designed so intricately that the smallest change in our function can effect so many other facets of how we function and our overall health.  If you have any questions please call me at (586)247-3500 or email me at

Dr. Antolak treats his dental patients in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where you are treated like a guest in the home.  He specializes in cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and general dentistry using sedation dentistry if necessary for his high fear patients. He has been treating patients for the past 21 years.

As a reminder: The thermostats are being turned up and it is a good idea to have a humidifier in you room where  you sleep since this significantly helps with dry mouth, sore throats, and adds to the efficiency of heating your home.  I was reminded of this at a recent visit to a nursing home and recommended that a humidifier would help increase the comfort of sleeping for the patient.

Mouth Breathing and its effect on your body


I have recently seen with friends of mine or patients who have become smoke free after  years of smoking and I see the positive effects this process has had on their lives.  I want to pass on some information for the Shelby Twp, Macomb county area people who read this blog and who are tired of the control that smoking has on your life.  To quit it usually takes a plan and commitment to stick to the plan for the changes to take place with any consistency. For those who smoke or live with a smoker I would like to expand on living a smoke free life in this month’s article. 
According to the American Heart Association, about 46 million American adults smoke cigarettes.  This breaks down to 23 percent of adult men and 19 percent of adult women. Most smokers are either actively trying to quit or want to quit. Since 1965, more than 49 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit. Leading a smoke free life: Smoking and using spit tobacco are  habits that significantly affect one’s health and well being. 
Why Quit?:
Cigarette smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Smoking is also responsible for most cancers of the larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, and bladder.
Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemical agents, including over 60 substances that are known to cause cancer.
According to the Surgeon General:  Cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes are the six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease that you can modify or control.

There are many oral conditions that are negatively affected by tobacco use which include:  periodontal disease, healing with dental implants, oral surgery and high risk for oral cancer.
The Good News:

  • After one year off cigarettes, the excess risk of coronary heart disease caused by smoking is reduced by half. After 15 years of abstinence, the risk is similar to that for people who’ve never smoked. 
  • In 5 to 15 years, the risk of stroke for ex-smokers returns to the level of those who’ve never smoked.
  • Male smokers who quit between ages 35 to 39 add an average of 5 years to their lives. Female quitters in this age group add 3 years. Men and women who quit at ages 65 to 69 increase their life expectancy by 1 year.

The Plan:
In any method used to be smoke free the person really needs to want to quit.  The motivation needs to come from within  rather than from an outside source such as a  spouse.  It needs to be done for yourself and as a result of your effort others will benefit. 

Both acupuncture and hypnotism can effective non-drug methods used to be tobacco free.  There is little scientific evidence that shows these methods are more effective than the use of pharmaceuticals.  For those patients who desire a more holistic approach these methods may be for you.

There are a number of pharmaceutical approaches used for a smoking cessation program.  These include nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum or the patch, the use of zyban, an antidepressant, and a  smoking cessation aide called Chantix. I have current patients who have used Chantix with remarkable results.  According to Jonathan Foulds, the director of the Tobacco Independence Program, Chantix appears to target the nicotine receptors in the brain that are involved in producing the rewarding effects from smoking. Chantix is believed to work via two mechanisms:

1. Chantix binds to nicotine receptors and blocks them so that nicotine can no longer activate those receptors (an effect that pharmacologists sometimes call an antagonist effect). This means that when someone is trying to quit and they lapse and smoke a cigarette, they probably won,t get much satisfaction from smoking it, and will be less likely to smoke another. The take-home message for patients is that it still makes sense to select a target quit-date (day eight) and to try to quit smoking completely on that day. However, if you don’t immediately quit don’t give up on yourself or on the medicines. The evidence suggests that if you keep trying you will likely achieve abstinence, and that Chantix improves your chance s, so long as you keep trying and keep taking the medicine. On the other hand, it is important to be clear that the aim of the game is to quit completely, and it is better in the long run to throw away the cigarettes and get on with it.

 It is exciting for us to team up with those who want to get control of their lives and finally be smoke free.  Give us a call at (586) 247-3500 or email me at for more information on this or previous articles. Please submit questions you may have about dental related topics to the same address on the internet. If you would like to write us, out address is 15055 22 Mile #2,  Shelby Twp.  MI 48315.

Dr. Robert Antolak practices implant, cosmetic and general dentistry in a relaxed “homey” environment where you are  made to feel like family. 

If you are looking for a Shelby Township Dental Implant Dentist who places dental implants, restores dental implants and has a broad knowledge of dental implant design then you need to look no longer.  Dr. Antolak, has the experience that you need when it comes to helping restore your mouth with crowns, bridges, dental implants and cosmetic dentistry. “It is important for us in the profession to respect the time that patients must spend in getting treatment done and that is why it is better to go to a dental professional who can design, place and restore dental implants all in the same office.”   Antolak said.   This way a patient can have many different dental procedures including extractions, surgery , cosmetic and implant dentistry done at one setting under sedation.  This way it maximizes on the patient’s time.  At the Shelby Twp. general dental office located in Macomb County it is amazing what  your smile can look and feel like.

Dr. Antolak is a member of the ICOI, International Congress of Oral Implantology, the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association.  He can be reached at (586)247-3500 or emailed at

I asked Helen, a patient of mine in her late 70’s who regularly reads my “Ask The Gentle Dentist” column what she would like to see in my June Ask the Dentist column.  She thought it would be a good idea for me to write an article on the Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease.  This was inspired because a friend of hers was recently diagnosed with adult onset diabetes and Periodontal and Gum Disease.  I posted an article some time ago on the co-relationship between Periodontal and Gum Disease and other systemic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.  Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease all create inflammation in the body and are potential agents that can cause heart disease.

There is accumulating evidence and data that shows that the bacteria that causes Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease gets into the blood system creating chronic inflammation.  This chronic inflammation activates a protein called C-Reactive Protein into the blood eventually creating a higher risk of stroke, heart attacks by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in coronary (heart) and carotid arteries.

Diabetes is a growing problem that now affects over 7% of Americans and is still on the rise.  In fact, in the 1980s there were 5 million people diagnosed and now there are over 23 million. About 30% of diabetics are not even diagnosed. The most common reason why there is such a rapid rise in the incidence is because of the sedentary lifestyle that Americans are living.  Fast foods, high sugar drinks, lack of exercise has created an obese population. In fact the CDC states that over 26% of Americans are obese (120% of normal body weight)!!   Obviously watching diet and exercise can go a long way to a better, healthier body.

What is diabetes?  Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone made naturally in the body.  When carbohydrates are eaten the body rapidly breaks it down to simple sugars which are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream.  Insulin is then released in response to the high levels of blood sugar.  Insulin allows the sugars to penetrate into the cells of the body when it is needed.  Diabetes is therefore the inability of the cells to absorb the blood sugar due to a lack of this insulin

There are three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 is where the body’s immune system actually destroys the cells that make insulin.  This is genetic in nature and is usually diagnosed at an early age. It is also the most severe form of diabetes.
  • Type 2 is also known as adult onset diabetes.  In this situation the body doesn’t create enough insulin.  90-95% of diabetics are type 2, but this number is rising at an alarming rate.
  • Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, but after birth the body rebounds back to health.

Diabetics are at risk for blindness, Stroke, amputation of toes and legs, Heart attack, numbness, kidney failure, early death, and Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease. A well controlled diabetic who exercises and eats properly has the same risk of these problems as a healthy individual.  It is therefore important to take medicines along with diet and exercise to live a somewhat normal life.

Periodontal (gum) disease is described as a bacterial infection and inflammation of the bone and soft tissues that hold the teeth into the jaw.  This infection usually is not painful or sometimes not easily seen without a proper diagnosis by your dentist.  The bone around you teeth that is dissolved from the disease will never come back but with proper treatments the bone level can stabilize.

You know you have Periodontal Disease / Gum Diseaseif you have bad breath, your gums bleed when brushing or flossing and/or your teeth are loose and shift around.    Since it is usually not painful (like most chronic diseases) you may have Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease and not even know about it.

Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease is considered to have a bidirectional relationship with diabetes.  In other words diabetes affects the severity and complications of Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease and the periodontal disease affects diabetes and the ability to control blood sugar levels.  The National Diabetic Association states this and research supports this claim.

The bottom line is that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes you are at risk for Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease.  If you have a difficult time in regulating your blood sugar then a periodontal evaluation is critical so that you not only can save your teeth, but potentially save your life.

Do me a favor and mention this article to your physician so that they can also be informed and team up with dentist’s to combat this serious problem.

For more information on this please visit the American Heart Association website.

If you have questions or comments you can email me at or phone us at (586)247-3500

If you have diabetes and desire a free dental consultation please give us a call.  Our dental office is located in Shelby Township, Michigan (Macomb County) at 22 Mile and Hayes.

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

Snoring: Causes and Treatment options to help with this Social Problem

During a recent Boy Scout outing my son Matthew and I went to Muskegon to sleep on the World War II submarine USS Silversides.  This is quite an experience spending the night on such a vessel.   I have such an appreciation for what the men who served in the war did for our country some 65 years ago and the sacrifices they gave.  If you are in the area take some time to explore this great piece of history.

During the night sleeping in a confined setting with others I experienced what many have to deal with every night—SNORING!!!  I had quite a sleepless night sleeping next to a man who snored after every breath.   I gave him my business card and told him that I can help him with a snoring appliance that I will later describe.  It became apparent to me what I needed to write my monthly article on.  There are a few observations I made here that I think snorers need to hear and appreciate.

Those who snore without a stoppage of breathing are usually not affected by their actions.   Even though there is nothing they can consciously do about their actions it remains an obtrusive act to others.   Even with the use of ear plugs the sound can penetrate and keep others awake.

This act of snoring can lead to embarrassment and feeling of hopelessness to those who snore.

Being married to one who snores can have a effect on the marriage because it keeps the other spouse up at night creating resentment and exhaustion for them.  Many partners of snorers decide to sleep in separate rooms, and the resulting lack of bedtime chatting and physical intimacy can lead to a strained relationship. The person who snores often becomes isolated and frustrated about a problem they seemingly have no control over.

Negative Physical Consequences of heavy snoring and sleep apnea:

Deep snoring can lead to a more physically serious problem called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when one stops breathing during one of the snoring cycles.  As one goes into a deeper level of sleep the muscles in the back of the throat get more relaxed and eventually close off the airway.  They will eventually gasp for air after a 10-15 second episode of not breathing because the brain senses a decrease in blood oxygen.  During this oxygen deprivation the body produces a surge of adrenaline deposited into the blood stream which raises blood pressure and gets the heart to pump harder.  The person can develop systemic problems like diabetes, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure and a whole host of other problems from this potentially serious problem.

Causes of snoring out of our control:

  • Heredity – A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids and other physical attributes which contribute to snoring can be hereditary.
  • Being middle-aged or beyond – As you age, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
  • Being male – Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore.
  • Allergies, asthma, a cold, or sinus infections – Blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.


  • Lose weight – Losing weight is often a very effective cure for mild to moderate snoring. Even a little bit of weight loss can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease snoring.
  • Sleep on your side – If you sleep on your back and snore mildly, sleeping on your side might cure your snoring altogether.
  • Elevate your head – Try elevating the head of your bed four inches, which may make breathing easier and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward. Sleep without a pillow (or with a specially designed pillow) to make sure your neck muscles are not crimped.
  • Avoid certain foods, alcohol and medications before bed – Alcohol and certain medications increase relaxation of throat and tongue muscles, which makes snoring more likely. Sleeping pills or tranquilizers may help you sleep, but they will also relax your muscles and increase the chance of snoring. High-fat milk products or soy milk products cause mucus to build up in the throat which can lead to snoring as well.
  • Clear your nasal passages – Having a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring. Nasal decongestants or nasal strips may help you breathe more easily while sleeping. Antihistamines can help with allergies, but will relax throat muscles and cause snoring.

If these remedies don’t  help then you could be a candidate for an acrylic oral appliance that we make which keeps the lower jaw pushed forward and thereby opening the soft palate and keeping the tongue in a more forward position.  This is an effective approach to snoring cessation and will also help with those relationships that have been effected by this condition.

Dr. Antolak practices comprehensive, implant and cosmetic dentistry in Shelby Township, Michigan.  To contact the office call (586)247-3500 or email at

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

The effects of cancer treatment on the mouth can be quite severe!

Most people realize the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy which are hair loss and nausea, but 1 out of 3 people develop problems with the mouth during and even after treatment.  These complications such as dry mouth or life threatening infections may interfere with cancer treatment or diminish the quality of living and eating. It is therefore important to have a qualified dentist as part of the oncology team who can manage and prep the patient’s mouth in anticipation of these complications.  This preoperative care for the cancer treatment is a vital part in a comprehensive approach to overall patient comfort and satisfaction.

Cancer treatment kills fast growing cells and saliva producing cells are one of the fast growing types.  As a result, cancer patients can have extremely dry mouths eliminating the lubrication, re-mineralization, and healing enzyme properties of saliva.

Dental cavities, infection of the soft tissues, periodontal disease and other dental diseases are exacerbated and made worse when saliva is either reduced or eliminated.  Therefore it is critical to involve your qualified dentist to treat decay with fillings, treat periodontal disease, extract hopeless teeth and either remake or reline poorly fitting dentures.

If at all possible your first dental visit should be at least 1 month before cancer treatment begins to give the treating dentist enough time to complete treatment.  Once the cancer treatment begins it is too late to have the dental work done because the bodies healing capacity and ability to fight off infections is greatly reduced if not stopped.

Since the mouth is full of disease causing bacteria any potential dental problem that can be foreseen should be treated immediately with enough time to heal completely (around 14 days) before cancer treatment is started.  Open wounds, infected teeth and the like can be seeds to serious problems.  Any elective oral surgery such as implant placement should be postponed until after cancer treatment is completed.  Soft plastic trays can be used to hold fluoride to prevent tooth decay.  These are to be used during the night to re-mineralize the teeth.

The diagnosis of cancer is devastating for everyone involved and there are both emotional and physical aspects that must be dealt with right away.  Involving the dentist as part of your care isn’t usually considered, but is critical.  Since time is of the essence, being told to wait a week for a dental appointment isn’t acceptable to me.  If your dentist isn’t willing to either alter his/her schedule or come in on their day off you may want to contact our office for an immediate appointment.  For more information on what a patient should do before, during and after cancer treatment you can call our office at (586) 247-3500 for a free reprinted brochure from the National Institute of Health.  You can also visit their website at Http://

Even if you have questions about this topic or if you or a loved one is to be starting cancer therapy you can call me or visit the office to discuss your questions.

If you are involved with a cancer support group and would like to have me speak to them about oral care before, during and after cancer therapy you can email me at

I am also available to talk with support groups or even patients who are about to begin cancer treatment.

Robert Antolak DDS, Shelby Twp. Dentist is able to take of a bite problem by adjusting fixed bridges, caps, crowns and previously placed dental work. Many jaw problems, headaches, TMJ and other issues take place when the bite is not adjusted after their insertion. The muscles usually get tight and things just don’t feel right. This simple solution can help with going back to a dentist who just says that “everything is fine”. We listen to your problems and take care of them. 

Second opinions are sometimes important when you know that there is a probem that isn’t getting satisfactory results.  Give us a call at (586)247-3500 or email us at

Sleep apnea is a diagnosis that have a direct affect on one’s total health. Between 50-70 million Americans have some form of chronic sleep disorders, including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) but only 15% know about it. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness alone costs $150 billion annually in lost productivity and mishaps from a lack of nightly sleep. Another $48 billion in medical costs related to motor vehicle accidents that involve drowsy drivers. Almost 20% of all serious car crash injuries are associated with driver Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.

Things to look out for in regards to sleep apnea are:

Obesity, neck larger than 17″ for males and 15″ for females, small lower jaw in relation to the upper jaw, and the older you are the higher the risk. The tissues in the pharynx area of the throat get loose and excessive so it leads to airway closure during sleep.

This problem with the stoppage of breathing occurs when the throat area closes down when excessive tissues encroaches upon the airway space. If the breathing is stopped for more than 10 seconds period of time it is called an episode. Sleep apnea is quantified:

  • Mild-5-15 episodes per hour
  • Moderate:16-30
  • Severe: greater than 30 per hour.

The more episodes one has correlates to more severe problems. You can often hear one who is snoring heavily and then will gasp and find it is silent. They will then make a big gasp to try to catch their breath.

Every time they gasp this wakes them up from a deeper level of sleep. Without the deep levels of sleep the body can’t get refreshed therefore sleep deprivation takes place. It is as if someone wakes you up every other minute!

The body has to arouse itself by using epinephrine which then speeds up the heart, places pressure on the lungs and completely stresses the body. These stresses affect the systemic organs of the body leading to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The gold standard is to use a cPAP positive pressure mask which blows air down the trachea to force air into the lungs. Many people are not compliant with this device and desire something more comfortable. This is where we come in. It is possible to us an oral appliance called an orthotic to move the lower jaw forward. This opens up the airway to allow more passive non restricted air flow into the lungs. Many people can’t get used to a mask on their face and choose to be more comfortable with this type of device.

If you do wear a cPaP and aren’t happy with it give us a call to discuss the options. Our phone number is (586)247-3500.

Dr. Antolak Performs dentistry in a very comfortable atmosphere where you are treated like family. The Gentle Dentist is located in Shelby Township, Michigan and provides dental services to patients in Macomb County and Oakland County, Michigan

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