Compass Dental Group Blog

Mouth breathing can be quite a nuisance. People that suffer from this condition tend to breath through their mouth more than their nose due to habit, or, as is more often the case, because of some cause that makes breathing through the nose difficult or nearly impossible.

Many who suffer from this condition often don’t think it’s a very big deal. However, mouth breathing can have many negative effects on your oral health. We’ll touch on those, but first let’s take a look at the causes and symptoms of mouth breathing.


Abnormally Large Tonsils: large or swollen tonsils can cause nasal obstruction.

Allergies: Food or environmental surrounding that cause allergies can enlarge air-filtering organs, causing airflow obstruction.

Nasal Obstruction: Anything that blocks air passage in or out of the nose.

Sinusitis: Sinuses become inflamed, making it difficult to breath through the nose.

Sleep Apnea: A sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing to stop and start repeatedly during rest.


If a person breathes through their mouth regularly, there is a high likelihood that they will exhibit some of the following symptoms: airway infections; bad breath; crowded teeth; dry lips; fatigue; headaches; itchy and dry throat; snoring.


Mouth breathing can have a much bigger effect on a person than they might think. Without any treatment, health issues can develop and cause harm.

Dry Mouth: Besides being uncomfortable, dry mouth can lead to a handful of health problems. It can dry out the throat and gums, making them irritated or inflamed. Dry gums can lead to gum disease, which is linked to other serious health issues such as heart attacks and heart disease.

Hypoxemia: Continuous mouth breathing can affect the oxygen that enters the bloodstream. Hypoxemia is a condition in which there is an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in the blood. This can lead to high blood pressure, fatigue and headaches.

Low pH Levels: A dry mouth can lead to lower pH levels, which means a more acidic pH level in your body. Acidic pH can activate harmful bacteria that causes corrosion of your teeth. 

Poor Sleep: Mouth breathing is most often related to sleep apnea. This can affect the quality of rest because you’re not getting enough oxygen.


The type of treatment for mouth breathing varies depending on the specific condition since there are so many causes. If mouth breathing isn’t a serious condition in your case, simple steps to fix the problem can be taken and may include: regular exercise; removing allergens from your home; using a humidifier; standing and sitting with correct posture; using saline nasal spray.

If your case is more serious, we encourage your to schedule a visit for your free consultation. Our team will be able to better assess the root cause of your issue and will inform you about best solutions for your particular case.

While cigarette smoking has declined in recent years, according to the CDC, the effects can be felt long after quitting. Good news though! We’re here to help you put the sparkle back in your smile. 

Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration is a condition that can be caused by smoking. The types, causes and diagnosis depend on the individual though. The three main types of discoloration are:

Extrinsic: This type of tooth discoloration takes place when the enamel – the outermost layer of your tooth – is stained. Causes include:

  • Smoking or Chewing Tobacco/Nicotine Products (Nicotine has been known to damage your teeth – causing cavities and leaving yellow or brown stains.)
  • Food or Drink (wine, coffee, tea, cola, etc.)
  • Inadequate Brushing 

Intrinsic: Intrinsic discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth becomes stained or darkened. Causes include:

  • Excess Exposure to Fluoride (In early childhood, too much fluoride can damage teeth.)
  • Traumas in Permanent Teeth (Traumas can produce internal bleeding.)
  • Dentinogenesis Imperfecta (This is a rare condition that few people are born with, causing gray or purple discolorations in the teeth.) 

Age-Related: The majority of age-related discoloration is a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic elements. As people age, the enamel on their teeth naturally thins, and the dentin (bone underneath the enamel) can become yellow –increasing the likelihood of the appearance of stained teeth.

How to Fix Stained Teeth 

It’s no secret that in today’s world having healthy, clean and white teeth is a valuable trait, and there are numerous ways to achieve just that.

Quit Smoking: The biggest and most helpful step toward improving your smile will start with quitting bad habits. If you continue to smoke and double down on the teeth whitening, you’ll be in a constant battle for whiter teeth that won’t provide the desired results and will end up costing you a small fortune.

Generate Good Dental Habits: For a healthy smile, keep up the habits of:

  • Brushing Twice Daily (Use an electric toothbrush for more efficient cleaning)
  • Floss Once Daily
  • Rinse with Mouthwash Twice Daily

Whitening: Whether you use a DIY kit at home or ask a professional for help, teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures. Different techniques to try include:

Homemade Paste: Mix together one part baking soda and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Once mixed into a paste, use it to brush your teeth for 3-5 minutes. Do this once daily for 5 days. (Be cautious and do this only occasionally, not routinely. The paste could start to wear at the enamel.)

Whitening Gel: If you buy a whitening gel package, it will come with some trays for your teeth and a syringe full of gel. Once you’ve brushed your teeth, place 8-10 drops of gel into the trays. When you are not using the gel, keep the syringe refrigerated. Bite gently on the tray and fit it to your teeth (remember to wipe away any excess gel). Wear the trays for 30 minutes and hand-wash after each whitening session.

Whitening Strips: Peel off each strip and apply to teeth (top and bottom) – remember to fold over any extra hanging off. Leave the strips on for the correct amount of time designated on the product packaging.

Dental Help: If you are weary about whitening your teeth by yourself, you can always ask the dentists. Having a routine cleaning will help maintain a bright smile, but for further effectiveness you can ask to have your teeth bleached.

A common misconception about visiting the dentist is that you don’t need to unless your teeth or gums are irritated and bothering you.

However, there are many oral conditions that don’t show symptoms in their early stages.

In order to detect these conditions in time and perform the necessary treatment, it is vital that you see your dentist every six months. This is true even if your teeth aren’t hurting and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary.

Here are a couple very important reasons to schedule and keep regular checkups with your dentist. 

  • If you haven’t gone in for a checkup and cleaning in some time you could have tooth decay and not realize it. As a tooth first begins to decay, you may not experience the pain or sensitivity typically associated with a cavity. Even if you don’t experience discomfort or pain that doesn’t mean the issue isn’t compounding. Any decay should be treated immediately to avoid the need for a root canal or losing the tooth; by catching it early, treatment is much easier and causes significantly less hassle for the patient.
  • A large number of people have gingivitis unknowingly, which is the earliest stage of gum disease. The condition is very treatable. However, if the condition advances to become periodontitis it can only be managed, not cured. Gum disease effects the health of your entire body, so it is a very wise decision to schedule regular visits in order to detect and treat the condition as early as possible.

Just like anything else that you may put off or ignore in hopes that is “just goes away”, tooth and oral conditions can and will compound and become a much larger problem the longer you wait.

Make it a priority to schedule your dental checkup every six months to prevent serious conditions and enjoy consistently GREAT dental health!

We see and hear from a lot of patients and parents who ask us, “When is the right time to start orthodontic treatment for my kids?” 

Often, there is a perception that ortho treatment only applies to older children and teens that have spacing and/or alignment issues. However, this isn’t the case. There can be substantial benefits to early treatment. 

When parents choose to consider ortho treatment for their children that are younger, Dr. Vierthaler and the entire Compass Dental team are better able to identify potential alignment issues early on. This can make the treatment process substantially more efficient as Dr. V is able to provide treatment as the teeth begin to fully develop, as opposed to treating teeth that are fully formed and more rigid in their position.

The Benefits of Straighter Teeth

Cosmetic appearances aside, there are multiple advantages to starting ortho treatment at a young age. Here are just a few benefits:       

  • Potential reduction of the extent of orthodontic treatment needed later in life.                       
  • Early treatment allows Dr. V to help guide the teeth into their correct positions to prevent the removal of teeth and improve an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. 
  • Straighter teeth are easier to clean and better for preventing tooth decay. 

Stages of Orthodontic Treatment

There are three main stages of early orthodontic treatment:

Stage One: Early treatment starts around age two or three, and continues until the child is around six years old. This stage is focused on preventive measures, such as avoiding bad habits that lead to crooked teeth. This stage will also include creating a plan for the future, which will be dependant on how the teeth are growing in. 

Stage Two: When the child is between 6-12 years old, the first permanent teeth erupt. During this stage we look at possible early treatment for misalignment or bite issues.

Stage Three: This stage occurs during adolescence to correct any further problems with permanent teeth. Dr. V and our team are finally able to see how the teeth first erupt and will know right away whether or not your child will need to have braces later on. 

By Teal Twaddle, DDS
January 22, 2016
Category: Misc.
Tags: Untagged

Being back in The Ville has been refreshing. I spent the vast majority of my educational career always looking forward to the “the next step.” Now, don’t get me wrong, dental school was an extremely productive and eye-opening experience. Hands on learning in the lab, mission trips to help children with dental needs in Africa, attending conferences to learn and see what new technologies might be able to provide specific benefits for future patients….all of it was a tremendous experience.

However, I couldn’t wait to finally start practicing. Now that I’ve joined the Compass Dental team, that anxious feeling has gone by the wayside. Everyday brings new smiles and new challenges. It’s exciting.

What I’ve enjoyed most about being back, practicing in the same town I grew up in, is the team I get to work with. Not only do we have some of the best team members a dental practice could ask for, we also have some of the world’s foremost dental technology on hand to provide our patients with elite level service.

Few individuals are lucky enough to step into such a high-level practice right out of dental school. The opportunity to perform procedures and care for patients knowing I have everything I could possibly need to perform at the highest level is…well it’s pretty cool. 

Now that I’m in the groove of things I’ve realized a couple things in particular.

First, the way Compass educates and communicates with patients couldn’t be better. This is one area they seem to brush over in dental school, but is SO important. I’ve learned in short-time that communication is essential and without it patients are not going to feel cared for, regardless of the outcome of their visit.

Second, having a team that is dedicated to having an “all eyes on every patient” approach is paramount. So many times during clinicals or other training exercises in dental school you felt like you were on an island. Now, this is probably a good thing in order to build your own self-sufficient dental skills. However, knowing that you have a number of people…a team…looking at every detail of every patient’s needs is a comforting feeling. Because you know that no detail will go overlooked and not a single patient need with be passed over. 

As I continue to grow with the Compass team I can’t help but feel excited. Excited about the opportunity to practice with a truly elite dental and orthodontic services team. One that has built a foundation and their mission around the patient. And that is something I can definitely hang my hat on.

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