BY SYDNI ELLIS
Dentistry is more than making sure patients have a pretty smile. Erica Cummings, DDS, MAGD, D-ABDSM at Sterling Ridge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry wants to help patients achieve overall health — something that often starts with the way they sleep.
“We are passionate about helping treat sleep-disordered breathing in adults and kids,” said Dr. Cummings. “This includes everything from snoring to upper airway resistance to sleep apnea. We screen all our patients during regular dental cleanings by looking at risk factors, neck size, back of throat, tongue, and mouth arches. We might recommend an Eccovision screening to measure your airway or an at-home sleep study to measure sleep-disordered breathing. These results are evaluated by a board-certified sleep doctor before discussing treatment options.”
Sterling Ridge works with sleep doctors to either refer patients to get a CPAP or get approval for an oral appliance to help treat sleeping problems.
“We also look at kids, as thumb sucking, pacifiers, tongue thrusts, mouth breathing, and other factors can influence the way their mouth and jaw develops,” explained Dr. Cummings. “Then, we can see what we can do to influence the growth trajectory of their arches so there is more room for the tongue and tonsils. This can help them breathe and sleep and grow better.”
Some ways to tell if you may have sleep-disordered breathing include snoring, being on medication for diabetes, blood pressure, or acid reflux, breathing through your mouth, having congestion, or waking up with a sore jaw or a dull headache.
“Our goal is to help our patients get healthy,” said Dr. Cummings. “Most people don’t go to their health professionals twice a year like they do the dentist, so we want to help look for these sleep issues. There are so many things we pop a pill for, but if you just take a better look at how you’re sleeping, it could fix so many issues. Your body has the capacity to do so much repairing and regenerating during sleep, without medication. We are passionate about finding the best, safest, most effective method of treatment to help our patients feel better.”
Dr. Cummings has her Mastership Award in the Academy of General Dentistry, is a qualified dentist with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, and is board certified with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. She is also a general and cosmetic dentist who has been treating patients with state-of-the-art technology and personalized care for 15 years.
Sterling Ridge is a Living Magazine 2021 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Family Dentist in The Woodlands. They offer general dentistry, fillings, crowns, dental implant restoration, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, full-mouth reconstruction, and sleep-disordered breathing diagnosis and treatment. The practice also offers heat and massage chairs, noise-reduction sets, Xbox consoles, and sedation dentistry for nervous patients. If there’s something they can do to make your dental visit more relaxing, then they will. Make an appointment today to get on the right track to overall health.
9955 Woodlands Parkway, Suite B
The Woodlands, Texas 77382