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By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
April 12, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Untagged

When was the last time you saw your dentist for a checkup?


Life gets busy. We get it! But it should never get so busy that you forget to see your dentist. It is time for you to turn to Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL, for your routine teeth cleaning. After all, these six-month checkups are truly the best way to keep your smile healthy.


What happens during a dental cleaning?


When you come into the office for your six-month checkup here’s what to expect:

  • A thorough professional cleaning using specialized tools that will fully remove plaque and tartar buildup, while also removing surface stains
  • A comprehensive oral examination to make sure that your teeth look healthy and that there aren’t any issues
  • An oral cancer screening to evaluate the soft tissue of the mouth to look for lesions, patches, and other warning signs of oral cancer
  • Once a year we will perform X-rays to get a more in-depth look at the health of your entire mouth including the face and jaw (it can also detect decay between teeth)
  • We will provide recommendations as necessary. If you grind your teeth at night we may recommend creating a custom nightguard that you’ll wear to protect your teeth while you sleep

How often do I need a dental cleaning?


Most people need to see the dentist twice a year. Smokers, those with active oral health diseases, and pregnant or menopausal women may be more at risk for developing dental issues and may want to come in every 3-4 months for cleanings and checkups. 

If it’s been more than six months since your last routine cleaning, then it’s time to turn to Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL. To schedule your next visit, call (217) 422-7448.


Dr. Carol Cunningham, an established Decatur dentist, is one of thousands of AADSM dentists practicing in the growing field of dental sleep medicine to help treat snoring and sleep apnea. Once a patient is diagnosed with primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep physician, Dr. Cunningham can provide an effective, custom-fitted oral appliance to help maintain an open, unobstructed airway during sleep. 

Oral appliance therapy is a comfortable alternative to the traditionally-prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which includes a face mask, tubing and a constantly running motor. CPAP has maximum benefit for patients only when they are willing and able to use it continuously. However, up to half of sleep apnea patients don’t comply with or can’t tolerate CPAP. Patients often prefer oral appliance therapy because it is more comfortable than CPAP, easy to wear, quiet, portable and easy to care for.

“For the millions of people suffering from sleep apnea, the consequences of a poor night's sleep – higher stress, increased mistakes, difficulty concentrating – are everyday occurrences. But it doesn't have to be this way,” said Dr. Cunningham. “Many of my patients have found more restful sleep and an improved quality of life since starting oral appliance therapy.”

To learn more about oral appliance therapy and schedule a consultation, visit the Gentle Art of Dentistry, or call 217.422.7448.

More about Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, blocking the upper airway. Loud, frequent snoring and daytime sleepiness are common symptoms of this sleep disorder. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening condition that can increase the risk for serious health problems from congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.

About Dr. Carol A. Cunningham
Dr. Cunningham is a diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She received her dental degree from Loyola University Dental School.  She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Illinois State Dental Society, the Chicago Dental Society and the Decatur District Dental Society.  She is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry and has her fellowship degree. 

She is also a member of the American Equilibration Society, the American Society of Osseointegration, the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and the American College of Oral Implantology.  She has received further advanced education at the Pankey Institute, where she has studied myofascial pain, the temporomandibular joint, and occlusion.  

Gentle Art of Dentistry is located at 2 N Country Club Road, Suite 2 in Decatur, IL. Patients with loud snoring and diagnosed sleep apnea sufferers with difficulty tolerating CPAP should contact Dr. Cunningham at 217-422-7448 to schedule a consultation appointment. Dr. Cunningham works closely with sleep physicians to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. 

About The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is 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. There are approximately 800 dentists who are diplomates with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in the United States.  Visit www.aadsm.org or call the national office at (630) 737-9705 for more information.