Snoring is loud, obnoxious and can be enough to cause partners to flee from your bed and onto the couch. 

Did you know that snoring could also be a symptom of a serious medical disorder? 

If someone has told you that you snore, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. This disorder can be evidence of other medical issues, leading to heart problems or other complications. If you have concerns, a qualified dentist can help.

But what does a dentist have to do with snoring? Dentists specialize in the gateway to your body’s airflow: your mouth. The best dentist will be an expert in identifying and even treating these symptoms before they become more serious. 

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. Those suffering from sleep apnea will experience problems breathing during the night. Their breathing will often start and stop as they sleep.

There are three common types of sleep apnea. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of relaxing throat muscles. This form is the most common.

Central sleep apnea has to do with the brain. If the brain does not send the signal that tells you to breathe during sleep, you can experience sleep apnea symptoms. Some of these symptoms include loud snoring and drowsiness even after a full night’s sleep.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome involves a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. 

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sufferers of sleep apnea may or may not be aware of their symptoms. In many cases, a partner informs the sufferer about snoring and breathing difficulties during the night. 

If you sleep alone, it can be more challenging to tell what is happening during the night. Other symptoms are more apparent. If you find yourself waking up with a choking feeling, there’s a good chance you have sleep apnea.

Many individuals with sleep apnea will feel tired upon waking and carry that fatigue with them throughout the day. They may also wake up with a sore throat as a result of the snoring, or experience headaches. 

The lack of sleep can also lead to changes in mood. If you find that you are grumpy or irritable, even after a full night of sleep, there may be a problem. In addition to mood swings, sleep apnea-related exhaustion can also cause some individuals to experience weight gain. 

Who Gets Sleep Apnea?

Several risk factors may make it more likely for an individual to get sleep apnea. 

Patients with obesity have a heightened risk of sleep apnea. This is also true of individuals with a large neck circumference. Hypertension, related or unrelated to obesity, can also cause obstructive sleep problems. 

Sleep apnea is more common in male patients than female patients. When sleep apnea does present in women, they are often post-menopausal. In all cases, a family history of sleep apnea makes it more likely that you are also experiencing this medical problem. 

Cases of sleep apnea are also common in individuals with small lower jaws. A dentist can tell you whether or not you may be at risk for this reason. 

Which Dentists Can Treat Sleep Apnea?

While many dentists can recognize indicators of sleep apnea, not every dentist has specialized training in treatment for sleep apnea. That’s why Dr. Sarah Wilmer, DDS, has received an extensive education in how to provide top-of-the-line care for patients with sleep disorders

Dr. Wilmer recognizes that comprehensive healthcare is often a team effort. That’s why she will likely work directly with your physician or another sleep doctor to diagnose your disorder correctly and come up with a treatment plan customized for you. 

How Does Dr. Wilmer Treat Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Study

Treatment for sleep apnea begins with a diagnosis. For most patients, this means undergoing a sleep study

Some individuals decide to go to a sleep disorder center to have the study performed. There, a doctor will monitor your breathing and behavior during the night. They’ll use a test called a nocturnal polysomnograph to monitor your heart, lungs, body movements, and brain activity during the night. 

In some cases, you may be able to do an at-home sleep test. 

If initial testing is enough to diagnose sleep apnea, you will begin to work with Dr. Wilmer on a treatment plan. 

Treatment Options

In some cases, lifestyle changes may be enough to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. This is more common in cases caused by obesity. 

A common therapy is the use of continuous positive airway pressure, or a CPAP, machine. This machine delivers oxygen through a mask while you sleep. This will keep airways open and will prevent snoring.

In cases where it’s appropriate, Dr. Wilmer will create a custom-fabricated sleep device. This is similar to a nightguard and is designed to help you get the oxygen you need while you sleep. 

Other sleep apnea patients may benefit from NightLase, a non-surgical procedure that Dr. Wilmer performs in her office to open up your airway and help you be a happy, healthy sleeper. 

A Dentist Can Help You Get Back to Sleep

If you suspect that you have a problem with sleep apnea, your dentist may be the best advocate there is. There are plenty of non-invasive treatment options that will have you sleeping through the night! 

If you are in the state of Virginia, Dr. Wilmer is ready to help you find some relief. Schedule a consultation with her today at the Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond. You will be breathing easy in no time! 

 

There’s more to our smiles than simply our teeth. Without the foundation of strong bone structure to protect and serve, our oral health can easily slip away.

The most positive way forward is to identify the causes and take steps to prevent the role bone loss can play in your life.

Dental bone loss is a sneaky ailment that can stay hidden for a long while and will rob you without hesitation.

What will it take from me?

Dental bone loss will take a smile with one hand and your confidence with the other.

Better to address it now.

Let’s look at 4 ways

Become a Defender

What is the optimum front-line defense? You are.

Your mouth is the doorway to oral and gut health, so it makes sense to start where it all begins.

Complete oral hygiene begins with the correct methods for brushing your teeth and removing any bacteria. Beginning a routine is easy when you know you’re doing something good for your health!

Brush for two minutes twice a day. Don’t forget to floss.

Flossing is an important step, as brushing alone may not get into all the spaces between your teeth that hide bacteria and food particles left behind.

Meticulous care will help defend against infection and more serious conditions that may lead to dental bone loss.

Keep Healthy with the Right Diet

We know that certain foods we eat will help keep us healthier in the long run, but did you know there is a direct link between the foods we consume and the prevention of future dental issues? Retaining bone strength means supporting all bone health including the foundations of our teeth.

A good diet can assist in the prevention of dental bone loss.

When bone is not receiving all the things it needs to be strong, enemy cells can activate and effectively begin to eat the existing bone.

Scary stuff? Yes, but we can help to inhibit this damage.

Be mindful to include, and increase the following.

  • High Calcium foods
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, collard greens
  • Calcium-rich foods like bone-in salmon, sardines, almonds, and dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt
  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to restoring and keeping good bone health. This king of vitamins helps us absorb the calcium in our food. In terms of non-food related activity, the sun is an excellent supplier of vitamin D. Moderation, of course.

Focus On Lifestyle

Limiting vices will be more beneficial to your oral health. The things we crave can be affecting more than we know.

If we are what we eat, then we must also be a combination of what we do.

A few lifestyle changes may be in order.

  • Quit smoking

Aside from the best-known health reason to quit the two-pack-a-day merry-go-round, many people are not aware of the role smoking can play in reduced bone health. The body of a smoker may be less inclined to beneficial absorption of calcium, thus rendering them at the mercy of bone weakness and susceptibility to our friend, the thief of smiles.

  • Moderate alcohol consumption

Put down that glass of wine, at least for a minute while you read this.

Seriously though, the regular consumption of alcohol can result in loss of bone mass. In addition, the sugar contained in most alcoholic beverages can cause damage to your teeth and bones.

  •  Regulate your sugar intake

Without regular and thorough oral hygiene practices, extra sugar in our diet leads to decay, bad breath, and systemic health issues.

Keep Regular Dental Appointments

One of the best ways to prevent dental bone loss is to schedule regular and consistent maintenance and stick to it.

Check-ups are exactly that: a way to check on the current state of play and to pre-empt any nasties, all with an eye on your future health.

Dr. Wilmer and her team are here to help keep your teeth looking beautiful, but it starts with regular preservation techniques, coupled with specific and specialist advice.

As life continues to keep us all busy and preoccupied, it’s imperative we make and keep dental appointments our priority.

This is a team effort.

Remember dental bone loss is a stealthy enemy.

The truth is we spend more time worrying about our car’s health than we do our own dental health.

What if we each had our own flashing warning indicators to tell us something is wrong? Would we pay more attention?

Be your own “check engine” light.

Keep your dental health for life with good oral hygiene maintenance, regular dental check-ups and genuine regard for your whole-body health.

Sure, it’s a commitment, but a worthy one.

Contact us today and schedule an appointment and to talk about oral health and how it affects your whole body.

There are many things in life we postpone for another day.

Life gets busy, and before we know it, other matters are prioritized for a variety of different reasons.

Not enough hours in the day, right?

And so, the internal dialog begins.

“I just don’t have time for a dental appointment right now. Maybe tomorrow.”

“I’ll have time next week.”

Guess what?

Next week will be busy too.

Work, social, and family commitments are just some excuses we use for not calling the dentist when we should.

There’s never a perfect time, but today is the perfect day to prioritize your well-being. Your health is the most valuable part of your life — it is your life!

And while a trip to the dentist might not seem as high on the to-do list as that annual check-up with your general practitioner, it’s quite the contrary. As one of your body’s primary passages, your mouth is the gateway to your health.

It is crucial your dental health not be delayed any further.

This Is Where It All Begins

We’ve all heard about the importance of gut health. A happy belly makes a happy body. So, what lies at the beginning of the entrance to the gut?

You guessed it. Your mouth.

This is where oral hygiene and overall gut health intertwine.

Anything that passes through your mouth has the potential to affect the health of your gut.

If mouth health is lacking, chances are so will be its close neighbor, the gut. And like some of the more intrusive types of neighbors, your gut likes to reveal all of your secrets.

Improving gut health all starts with removing harmful bacteria in the mouth. So, what do bacteria have to do with it?

Everything.

There are good and bad bacteria in all of us, and when it comes to fighting away the bad guys, your mouth is your best advocate.

Harmful bacteria are the epitome of opportunism.

If bacteria were a person, it would be one who hides your keys when you’re in a hurry, never passes on phone messages, and will abscond with one of your socks and blame it on the dryer. Every time.

In reality, these unsympathetic bacteria can lead to bad breath, decay, and infection, which can all have a domino effect on overall health. Bad germs in the mouth can cause serious illness and disease, like severe heart conditions, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and digestive problems.

Your mission is to eliminate bad bacteria in the mouth before it can cause further problems.

So what’s the best way to prevent bacteria from leading to health complications?

Stop it in its tracks.

Every day our bodies work tirelessly to protect us from the nasties that can affect our health.

The least we can do is help it along.

Why We Shouldn’t Delay a Visit to the Dentist

There are many reasons why we put it off, but the key is to focus on the more positive outcomes of making and keeping that appointment.

Prioritize Your Mouth Health

Taking charge of your own oral health is very satisfying. Look at it this way.

You’re solving a problem, not creating new ones.

One More To-Do Ticked off Your List

This speaks for itself.

Set and achieve your overall health goals.

Feel Better

Physical pain and ill-health can directly affect mental strength and our capacity for resilience.

Commit yourself to feel better.

If You Do Nothing Else, Do this

Your dentist is one of your best advocates when it comes to whole-body health, but it’s a team effort.

Recognition of what it means to treat your entire being, as opposed to just one part of you at a time, is the very thing that will lead to full and complete well-being.

No matter what stage of life you’re in, approaching your health care with a mindset of prevention-over-cure is essential for your longevity. With this perspective, you can achieve great things.

Start with scheduling that delayed dentist consultation and enjoy a holistic approach to health.

What Now

There’s more to oral health than you realize.

Supporting whole body health begins with the mouth.

Eliminate harmful bacteria, enjoy a perfect smile and restore your overall health.

It’s easier than you think. You’ll wonder why you ever waited.

Make that choice today.

Let us teach you the fundamentals of whole-body care through the first point of call, oral hygiene.

Call us on (804) 784-2386 or contact us online.

Do you ever wonder if you’re getting a “good night’s sleep?” Medical professionals harp on the importance of sleep, but how do you know if you’re getting a sufficient quality of rest each night? If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed and dragging through your days with constant fatigue, it’s possible you have sleep apnea, and you just haven’t realized it yet.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects 22 million Americans, and 80 percent of those suffering from sleep apnea go undiagnosed.

Other telling signs of OSA are loud snoring during sleep or waking up gasping for air.

What should you do if you think you might suffer from sleep apnea? Talk to your dentist.

If that sounds like unexpected advice, consider this: who knows more about mouths than a dentist?

Dentists are uniquely positioned to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. They have intimate knowledge of how the structures of the mouth and face work together to promote or hinder breathing.

Find out whether you’re suffering from a sleep disorder and why dentists like Dr. Sarah Wilmer are the best resource for sleep apnea screening and treatment. 

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is what happens when a person experiences pauses in breathing during sleep. Sometimes the pauses cause people to wake up gasping for air. Others experience very loud snoring, among other symptoms like XYZ. 

With sleep apnea, the airway becomes almost or completely blocked for brief periods during sleep. As a result, airflow to the rest of the body gets restricted. Some stop breathing for at least ten seconds at a time, hundreds of times per night.

Often this causes poor quality of sleep and reduced oxygen supply to the brain, which makes it difficult to function during the day. That lack of oxygen means your body doesn’t get the restorative benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women, though the risk increases for postmenopausal women. It is closely linked to severe health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and stroke.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is divided into three types: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and complex sleep apnea syndrome (CSAS).

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when throat muscles relax or when the weight on the upper chest or neck blocks airflow. OSA is typically associated with obesity.

Central sleep apnea occurs because the brain doesn’t send the necessary signal to the diaphragm that tells it to contract and expand. The diaphragm is the muscle that controls your breathing.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of OSA and CSA. This is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It occurs when a person suffers from both OSA and CSA.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The most obvious symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring and gasping for air during sleep. There are many other symptoms that can clue you in as to whether you might benefit from sleep apnea screening.

These additional symptoms include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or hypersomnia
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Experiencing a headache upon waking in the morning
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention while awake
  • Increased irritability

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to consider getting screened for sleep apnea as soon as possible.

Why It’s Important to Treat Sleep Apnea

It may not seem like a big deal, but sleep apnea has become a growing health concern among medical professionals. Sleep apnea has been linked to several other potentially fatal health conditions.

Most commonly, obstructive sleep apnea is associated with obesity and excess weight. But the link between sleep apnea and severe health conditions doesn’t end there.

Research shows that about half of sleep apnea patients have high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Left untreated, OSA, the most common type of sleep apnea, can lead to chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, and stroke. It is associated with type 2 diabetes and depression.

Sleep apnea makes you so drowsy it is unsafe to operate a vehicle. The lack of oxygen sufferers of sleep apnea experience during sleep inhibits their ability to focus and function during the day. For this reason, sleep apnea is a factor in many traffic and heavy machinery accidents. 

Why Consult With Your Dentist About Sleep Apnea?

Dental health professionals are uniquely suited to screen and treat sufferers of sleep apnea because of their intimate understanding of how the muscles, bones, tissues, and ligaments of the mouth and face work together to promote or hinder breathing.

Dentists also know their patients’ health histories and the physical markers associated with sleep apnea. A highly-trained dentist can identify the underlying problems associated with sleep apnea and recommend the best course of treatment.

It is important for a dentist to diagnose you with sleep apnea sooner than later, as this diagnosis can save you from serious health conditions in the future.

Testing for Sleep Apnea

There are two different options for getting tested for sleep apnea. One involves staying overnight for observation at a clinic. The other is an at-home sleep test.

The clinic version of the sleep apnea screening is called Nocturnal Polysomnography. For this test, you’ll visit a sleep clinic and spend the night there. The medical staff will hook you up to equipment that monitors your heart, lungs, and brain, as well as your breathing, movement, and oxygen levels while you sleep.

The idea of sleeping in a clinic during these tests can be daunting or uncomfortable for some. There is also the option of doing an at-home sleep test. In this scenario, you’ll use simplified versions of the sleep tests. These tests typically measure heart rate, airflow, breathing patterns, and blood oxygen levels.

Although it can be more comfortable to do a sleep test at home, it is most effective to have your sleep monitored by a health professional.

Sleep Apnea Treatments & Therapies

Once diagnosed with sleep apnea, you’ll want to seek treatment or therapy for your condition in order to prevent serious health risks down the road.

For a mild case of sleep apnea, you may need to make changes to your lifestyle. Losing weight, quitting smoking, and addressing allergies are some of the lifestyle changes commonly recommended to sufferers of mild OSA.

Dentists can also fit you for nightguards and nightlase to help open your airway while you sleep. These noninvasive options often help sleep apnea patients quickly and simply. 

If your sleep apnea is moderate to severe, it’s likely you would most benefit from Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a machine that delivers air pressure via a mask you wear while you sleep.

CPAP is the most common and reliable treatment for sleep apnea. The air pressure from the machine is greater than that of the air surrounding you. It keeps your airway passages open and prevents sleep apnea and snoring. You can also get fit for a CPAP machine by your dentist.

Sleep Apnea Screening

If you think you could benefit from a sleep apnea screening, contact Dr. Sarah Wilmer today to schedule a free consultation.

You won’t regret finding out if you’re one of the millions of Americans at risk of serious health consequences related to sleep apnea.

Schedule a screening today and get the peace of mind you deserve.

Are you considering Invisalign to create the smile you’ve always dreamed of? Are you searching for a comparison between braces and Invisalign? 

In this article, we’ll explore why many are choosing Invisalign for a discreet and easy method. Read on to discover how you can have straight teeth, and still eat all of the foods you love with Invisalign!

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is where you wear removable and clear aligners that straighten your teeth over time. You won’t have wires or brackets on your teeth. 

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

You might be asking yourself, how long does Invisalign take to straighten your teeth? Good news! Results can start to show after just a few weeks.

From start to finish, the entire Invisalign treatment normally takes about a year, depending on the treatment that you require.

Factors That Determine the Length of Time

While most people see initial results in the first couple of months, each person’s length of treatment varies based on the complexity of their needs. Different factors, such as the alignment of your teeth and gaps, will play a factor in the length of time you wear them. 

How Does Invisalign Work?

Your Invisalign specialist will create a digital plan that will show how each aligner will move your teeth into place over the course of your treatment. While every person (and mouth) is different, most patients wear between 16-22-XX different Invisalign aligners, with each setting your teeth that much closer to straight! Aligners are designed to gently and gradually place pressure on your teeth to ensure they become straight overtime. In your Invisalign consultation, you and Dr. Wilmer will go over each step of your personalized process.

Why Invisalign Over Traditional Braces?

Invisalign offers the same outcome as traditional braces without the inconvenient growing pains so, if you’re a candidate for Invisalign, they’re a much more attractive way to beautify your smile.

Eat What You Want

With traditional braces, foods like popcorn, gum, and steak can be downright unbearable. Anything too hard, too chewy, or too sticky is on the do-not-eat list. This is due to the risk of these foods bending or breaking wires or brackets. And even if you take a chance, you’re almost sure to get some kind of chunk or kernel lodged between a wire and your tooth.  But thanks to removable aligners, you don’t have to worry about this with Invisalign. Just take them out, eat, brush your teeth and pop the aligner back in and you’re good to go!

No Poking

With traditional braces, you might experience wires or brackets poking or /rubbing against your mouth. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least, and it can lead to painful cuts, sores, or irritation.

Easier To Clean

It’s easier to brush your teeth when you don’t have brackets and wires to go around. Brushing and flossing with traditional braces takes much longer, and is harder to obtain proper oral hygiene. The good news is that with Invisalign you remove the aligners when you eat, drink, and brush your teeth, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on a thorough brushing.

Discreet

If you don’t want others to notice metal on your teeth, you don’t have to worry about that with Invisalign. The aligners are clear so most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them!

Removable

Unlike traditional braces, where brackets are glued to your teeth until the very end, Invisalign trays are removable. That comes in handy when you’re eating, playing sports, or brushing your teeth! 

Quicker

Invisalign tends to work faster than traditional braces when it comes to straightening teeth. You’ll receive new trays every few weeks as your teeth move into their proper place. 

Play the Sports You Like

Those who are serious about their sports avoid traditional braces since they’re more afraid they’ll break. The blow to your mouth can cause damage to your brackets or wiring. With Invisalign, all you have to do is pop them out at game time and pop them back in when you’re done.

Keeping Your Aligners Clean

Whenever you take your aligners out make sure you clean them before putting them back on in order to prevent bacteria or other buildup. First, rinse your aligners, then clean them with anti-bacterial soap with a soft toothbrush. Rinsing your aligners whenever you take them out can also help you to remove any plaque or saliva that can build up. 

Maintain proper oral hygiene for your teeth as well. Before putting on your aligners, you’ll want to ensure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. 

Wear Them

If you want your teeth to be straight as fast as possible, you’ll need to wear your aligners as often as Dr. Wilmer says. Failure to do so can mean you’ll have to spend more time wearing them. Get into the habit of brushing your teeth and aligners immediately after eating. Once you’re doing brushing, put them back in.

Will I Need a Retainer After Treatment?

Most will agree that you’ll need to wear a retainer to prevent your teeth from moving. Each case is different, so it’s best to speak with Dr. Wilmer to know your options. Also, if you need to wear a retainer, it’s usually only at night when you’re sleeping.

Am I a Candidate?

Many people are able to use Invisalign In some circumstances, like for those with a severe underbite, or unfilled cavities, Invisalign may not be an appropriate course of treatment. If you have active gum disease you’ll need to get it under control before being considered for aligners. To learn more about which options are best for you, contact Dr. Wilmer today!

 

 

 

Tooth loss is a common problem in America. About 178 million Americans have at least one tooth missing, and 40 million have lost all of their teeth. A missing tooth or teeth can affect a person’s self-confidence and other aspects of his life. Fortunately, there are ways to replace your missing teeth and finally restore that beautiful smile. Below are the best solutions available for you.

Flipper or Temporary Dentures

Temporary dentures are an inexpensive way to replace one or more missing teeth. Its purpose is to fill any gaps, so you are more confident about smiling and talking. It’s easy to get temporary dentures. In fact, you can have temporary dentures fitted right after tooth extraction. Keep in mind though, that they can feel bulky and uncomfortable over time.

These are ideal for people looking for a temporary solution for a missing tooth so they can save up for a more effective and sustainable treatment. With flippers, there is no need for multiple dental visits. You do need to regularly visit your dentist for dental health checkups and professional cleaning services. Also, make sure that you always practice good oral hygiene for the denture to last a little longer. 

Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partial dentures help replace one or more of your teeth in the same arch. They have metal clasps that will hold your dentures firmly in your mouth while still making it easy for you to remove them. You can wear a partial denture during the day, but you must remove it at night for thorough cleaning. The best way to clean them is by soaking them in a good cleaning solution.

Partial dentures are a lower-cost alternative to dental implants or fixed bridges. They are also effective at filling gaps so you can smile confidently. Depending on the placement of a partial denture, the metal used to hold it in place may be visible to others when you speak. A partial denture can start to be unstable or uncomfortable after extensive wear. For those who wear partial dentures, Dr. Wilmer highly recommends regular dental visits and thorough checkups. And when your dentures start to affect your speech, it’s time to replace them! While dental adhesives help your dentures stay in place, they are not the long-term solution.

If you want another economical treatment, partial dentures would be one of the best solutions. 

Removable Complete Dentures

Low-cost removable complete dentures rest just on top of your gums, and the procedure is non-invasive. Wearing these dentures can enhance your appearance and improve your smile. 

They can also provide the proper support for the lips and cheeks muscles, helping you restore facial dimensions. Also, it can look natural as the dentist usually would match the color of your new teeth to the color of your real teeth. Removable complete dentures can be adjusted, especially when the shape of your jawbone changes. Getting this treatment is not only affordable but also quick. 

Complete dentures are ideal for those who want a better solution but cannot afford dental implants. However, a few disadvantages include: having to remove these dentures at night for cleaning and avoiding sticky or hard food to prevent broken dentures. Over time, they may also become loose as your jawbone changes shape. When this happens, visit a dentist immediately for adjustment. While complete dentures are a method of addressing tooth loss, they are not a permanent solution. 

Fixed Bridges

An alternative to dental implants is fixed bridges. This solution is ideal when you still have other teeth for support. Unlike dentures, fixed bridges cannot be removed. They stay cemented in your mouth, and the procedure may involve cutting down the teeth. Not everyone is qualified to have fixed bridges. You must have enough teeth that will help support the fixed bridge. If you only have one or two missing teeth, fixed bridges are a better solution than partial removable dentures. 

Fixed bridges will feel like and function like natural teeth. The procedure also does not take longer – just about three weeks – the most – to complete. Good oral hygiene is still required so the fixed bridge lasts longer. While fixed bridges have more longevity than temporary or partial dentures, they do not provide enough vital stimulation to the tooth bone to serve as a permanent solution.

Dental Implants

The best way to replace a missing tooth is through dental implants. Implants are permanent and an excellent solution for your dental health because they are the closest thing to having natural teeth. It will feel like you have real teeth, and no one can ever tell you have dental implants. Implants are highly durable and feel so natural. Moreover, implants prevent jawbone loss. 

Dental implants can be expensive, and it may not be the practical solution for some people. Also, there is surgery involved, and the treatment may last longer. If you can afford it, we would highly recommend this treatment. It may be expensive, but it’s also the most effective solution to your missing tooth.

Do Something About a Missing Tooth

Keep in mind that missing teeth will result in bone loss. Over time, it will lead to the shrinking of your jaws and changing the shape of your face. You can avoid this with our help. Our dental solutions can help you keep that perfect smile and restore your self-confidence. Contact us today for a dental appointment. 

 

 

 

Very recently, dentistry was flagged as a high-risk profession; however, less than 1% of dentists in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19.  How is that, when during a dental appointment aerosolized respiratory droplets are created? Somehow, dentists seem to have discovered immunity. Here’s how they’re staying safe and keeping you safe, too. 

Don’t Gamble with Your Oral Health

During the pandemic, it’s not only safe, but very important to go to the dentist – for more reasons than one. Poor oral hygiene can have serious ramifications. These consequences spread far beyond bad breath and tooth pain. Bacteria in the mouth can easily enter the bloodstream through something as simple as brushing your teeth and can lead to a serious infection in your heart. It can also be inhaled and cause infection in your lungs. The last thing you need during the COVID-19 pandemic is the development of a condition that puts you in an at-risk category, or worse: a lung infection that collides with the virus.

Lower That Bacterial Load

Gingivitis. Periodontitis. These multi-syllable words are not meant to terrorize us into proper oral care. Instead, they’re inflammatory diseases that alert dentists to the possibility of major health crises waiting to happen, including:

  • 3x increased risk of diabetes
  • 25% increased risk of heart disease
  • 20% increased risk of high blood pressure 

These diseases put you in an at-risk category for contracting COVID-19. While there are many manifestations of COVID-19, certain factors can ramp up the severity of the symptoms you experience. What can turn an initially mild case of COVID into a severe case? A high bacterial load. That’s right. A higher bacterial count in your body and in your bloodstream, introduced by gum disease, can increase the impact of COVID-19 on your body. 

COVID-19 Complications

Inflamed lungs. When it comes to people with conditions that put them in at-risk categories, such as those with asthma, life can be much more challenging during the pandemic.  Complications occur when bacteria in your mouth is inhaled into your lungs, causing a secondary bacterial infection on top of a COVID-19 viral infection and your already at-risk condition. The results can be disastrous. 

Take Care of Your Oral Health 

Poor oral hygiene exacerbates pre-existing conditions. This increases your COVID-19 susceptibility and your chances of contracting a secondary infection. Bacteria that are a byproduct of poor dental health can inflame the lungs. Of course, this causes your symptoms to become more severe than they would have been otherwise. So what can you do to prevent this? 

Take care of yourself. 

Overall health starts with what you put in your mouth. Eating healthy and a rigorous hygiene routine is paramount. Staying hydrated is extremely important, too. 

Brush your teeth twice a day. If you’re stuck at home to work or attend online classes, you likely have the ability to brush three times a day. If that’s the case, take advantage of it! And don’t forget to floss daily! Studies have shown that when patients with pneumonia implement a regimented hygiene routine, mortality rates are reduced. If you’ve been slacking on your oral hygiene routine, jump back on the bandwagon right now!

Go the Extra Mile in Oral Hygiene 

From dental cleanings to regular X-rays, these ordinary procedures are important. It’s only a matter of time before elective work blossoms into major issues. And if the cost is an issue, remember: when a problem becomes more extensive, it becomes more expensive. Most offices have some type of financial assistance to allow you to get your mouth back to 100% healthy!

Let’s Get Healthy

As we’ve discovered, dentists and COVID are unlikely opponents. Dentists are some of the least-risk groups in America, though. You should feel comfortable going to see your dentist even if you’re high risk. After all, they were wearing masks before it was ‘in’! And making sure your mouth stays it’s healthiest could help save your life.

What’s next? Schedule that appointment and follow through. Follow social distancing and masking procedure guidelines to help protect the people around you. Make sure you’re following the individual protocols set by our office, too. 

We’re ready to serve you with the same compassion, knowledge, and gentle care that you’re used to. By maintaining your oral health, we’re also helping to protect you from COVID-19.

From masks, to hand hygiene, to social distancing, that extra barrier of protection is something that we could all use a little more of these days!

Contact us to schedule your appointment and we’ll get you on the books. We look forward to taking care of you!

 

 

Your dental health is far more important than you may think. The condition of your teeth and gums impacts your overall health. Poor oral health contributes to heart disease, stroke, diabetic complications, respiratory complications, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, pre-term birth and low birth weight, and certain cancers such as kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers. Studies show that it also puts you at a higher risk for contraction of COVID-19! In addition, having an attractive smile helps boost your confidence in both social and professional situations, which can lead to new job offers, salary increases, and happier relationships. In the next few paragraphs, we will describe the top 10 dental problems that you may have to deal with, and how you can overcome them so you can live life as the happiest and healthiest version of you!

1. Cavities

Cavities are one of the most common reasons people visit the dentist. Cavities are caused by bacteria that eat healthy tooth structure. They often don’t hurt. However, if they are left untreated, cavities can get larger and affect the nerves, leading to more extensive and more expensive treatment, such as root canals and extractions. Cavities develop for multiple reasons. Genetics, poor oral care (not flossing and brushing), a diet high in sweets and carbohydrates, and dry mouth are among the top reasons decay develops. Dentists typically treat cavities by filling them with a tooth-colored filling material. To avoid cavities, make sure you see your dentist regularly, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, avoid letting sugars and carbohydrates sit on your teeth for long periods of time (this includes bread, pasta, Gatorade, milk, and juice), and talk to your dentist about ways to protect your teeth (prescription topical fluoride), ways to combat dry mouth, and ways to decrease the amount of the bad bacteria in your mouth.

2. Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a condition that affects millions of people. Symptoms include bleeding gums though, in the early stages, you may have gum disease without any obvious symptoms. Left untreated, gum disease leads to bone loss, which can then lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetic complications, respiratory complications, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, pre-term birth and low birth weight, and certain cancers such as kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers, and, most recently, contraction of COVID-19. Consistent and good oral hygiene practices can help to prevent gum disease. Once it has progressed, however, it needs to be treated by a dental professional. Periodontal disease will not disappear, but it can be halted and maintained through teamwork – you do your part at home, and your hygienist will do their part on a more frequent interval. This is paramount to keeping the disease under control.

3. Tooth Sensitivity

If you have sensitive teeth, you may experience tooth pain when eating sweets or consuming something very hot or cold. Sensitive teeth can be caused by a multitude of factors such as cavities, root exposure from brushing too hard, or loss of enamel from misaligned teeth. In mild cases, you may be able to correct the issue by using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If the issue is caused by cavities or misaligned teeth, your dentist may recommend other solutions to resolve the problem and prevent further damage. 

4. Misaligned Teeth

Most people are not blessed with perfectly aligned teeth. Crooked or misaligned teeth are often considered a cosmetic issue as many people are self-conscious about their smile and would prefer to have straighter teeth. However, misaligned teeth can make chewing more difficult, contribute to periodontal disease and make your teeth more susceptible to injuries, including tooth loss. Aligning teeth is easy to do using Invisalign, and is one of the most important things you should do to keep a healthy mouth.

5. Stained or Yellow Teeth

Aside from misaligned teeth, having stained or yellowing teeth is one of the biggest obstacles to having a perfect smile. Stained teeth can be caused by smoking or regularly drinking beverages such as soda, coffee, tea or wine. Even certain fruits and vegetables can, over time, discolor the teeth. As almost everyone partakes in some of these foods or beverages, it’s difficult to maintain perfectly white teeth. Daily brushing along with regular professional teeth cleaning is the best way to maintain whiter teeth. Dentists can also “bleach” the teeth to give you a brilliant smile. Be careful about over-the-counter whitening products as overuse can cause problems such as damage to healthy tooth structure, damage to previous dental work or gum irritation.

6. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer screenings are performed at every six-month hygiene appointment. If you have dentures, it is still important to see your dentist yearly to get an oral cancer screening and check for other tissue issues. Factors that increase your risk for oral cancer include smoking, a history of smoking, and alcohol use. If you have anything abnormal, such as sores that don’t heal, lumps in the mouth or difficulty swallowing to name a few, you need to make an appointment to see your dentist.

7. Bad Breath

Halitosis, better known as bad breath, is a common ailment that can be embarrassing. Strongly flavored foods and spices such as garlic and onions can temporarily cause bad breath. It’s also typical to have sour-tasting breath in the morning before brushing your teeth. However, a more persistent condition is often indicative of an underlying problem such as cavities, gum disease or other dental issues. In some cases, digestive ailments can cause bad breath. Remedies such as mouthwash, gum and mints can temporarily mask the problem but if you consistently have bad breath you should ask your dentist about it.

8. Canker Sores

Aphthous ulcers, commonly known as canker sores, are small, often painful sores that can occur in various places in the mouth. They may also be present on the tongue. They may be red, white or yellow in color. Canker sores can have many causes, including allergies, immune disorders, smoking, stress, physical trauma, and reaction to certain medications. You can buy over-the-counter medications that can help to treat them. If you have canker sores that persist for more than a few weeks, or that occur frequently, you should consult with your doctor or dentist. One reason to seek professional help is that cold sores, a more serious and contagious condition caused by the HSV (herpes simplex virus), can be mistaken for canker sores.

9. Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Teeth can crack due to sports injuries, accidents, crooked teeth, old fillings, cavities, or biting into something hard. A chipped tooth can be annoying and unsightly, depending on its location. It can also be painful if the injury exposes a nerve. A dentist can fix a cracked or chipped tooth with a filling or veneer. Large breaks can require crowns and sometimes root canal therapy in addition to the crown. If the tooth is damaged beyond repair, it may need to be removed and replaced with another option, such as an implant.

10. Teeth Grinding and TMD

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a practice that can cause damage to your teeth over time. If you grind your teeth, it could be due to stress or a misalignment of your teeth. People often grind their teeth while sleeping and don’t know it. If stress or an underlying sleep disorder is present, you may need to make dietary or lifestyle changes. For example, excessive caffeine intake can contribute to insomnia and teeth grinding at night. A dentist may recommend alignment of your teeth or a mouth guard to prevent grinding your teeth while sleeping. TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) is a condition that can cause headaches, neck pain and jaw pain, as well as teeth grinding and tooth pain. In addition to a mouth guard, TMD can be treated by performing certain jaw, head and anti-stress exercises, or other methods.  See your dentist so they can determine the best remedy for you.

 

Your dental health contributes to the status of your overall health and your confidence level. You now know how to overcome the top 10 dental issues so you can live life as the happiest and healthiest version of you!

The idea of implants in your mouth might make you nervous, but dental implants are not as scary as you think! On the contrary, filling gaps in your teeth with a more permanent solution than a bridge or partial denture offers you long-term relief from discomfort, aesthetic issues, chewing problems, poor hygiene, and low self-esteem.

Dr. Sarah Wilmer, DDS has a long history of success with dental implants. For patients who have been considering implants but are nervous about the process, we have created this guide to show you how safe and beneficial the procedure can be for you.

Here is what you should know about dental implants and how they can change your life for the better:

Oral Health Implications 

Losing a tooth does more than leave an unsightly gap in your mouth. It also provides room for remaining teeth to shift and move. This movement can cause these teeth to become crooked, press against other healthy teeth, and negatively impact your jawbone.

Movement in your mouth due to a missing tooth could also affect your chewing, speech, and strength of your remaining teeth. Receiving a dental implant reduces the risk of future loss of teeth and improves speech, chewing, and oral aesthetics.

The Appearance of Your Teeth and Reflected Self-Esteem 

While Dr. Wilmer and team believe beauty is found within, we also know that the way we look on the outside can impact the way we feel about ourselves on the inside. Our mouths are the one area that is constantly on display to the world. At home, in business, and in social situations, we speak, laugh, chew, and our teeth are on display. (Yes, even during the pandemic! There are more close-up Zoom meetings that ever!)

Missing a tooth not only creates a less-than-even smile, but it can be detrimental to the way your mouth sits. When there is no tooth to support your lips, you may notice the area in front of your tooth loss beginning to dip (bone loss). A dental implant fills this space, preserves your natural bone and improves the look of your smile inside and out.

Fixing your smile physically can boost confidence and keep you smiling in all future meetings, social gatherings, and dinner dates. It can even make you look younger!

Improved Comfort with Dental Implants 

Comfort is essential for a happy life, and a missing tooth can be extremely uncomfortable. At first, the crevasse left in your gums could expose the root of an adjacent tooth. When you chew food, particles fall into the gap and rub against the root causing pain and discomfort. You may notice that certain foods with grains and seeds become unbearable to eat, or that foods that are extremely hot or cold become too intense to chew.

A dental implant fills this hole, leaving no space for food particles to rub against the exposed root. It also helps protect your gums from bacteria building up inside of the crevasse, which could lead to an infection if not properly cared for.

Better Oral Hygiene 

Cleaning your teeth becomes difficult and bothersome when there are difficult to reach areas, such as a gap. The food that gets trapped can cause the gums to decay or inflame, causing further pain.

Basic toothbrushes are not designed to get deep inside crevasses left by missing teeth. The best fix for a missing tooth is to fill the hole. Closing this gap makes dental hygiene much more convenient. You will find yourself able to clean your teeth faster and more efficiently without missing anything that could cause problems later.

Long-Term Investment 

Dental implants are a long-term investment. Unlike some other quick dental fixes, your implant will last you years and years and will never decay. They are easy to care for, requiring regular brushing just like the rest of your teeth. They also hold their color, providing you with an opportunity to brighten your smile and enjoy a full mouth of beautiful sparkling teeth.

Contact Dr. Wilmer Today

If you have a missing tooth and find yourself looking at the space in the mirror, wishing you had a full set of teeth to chew, chat, and smile with without concern, we invite you to contact Dr. Wilmer and her team of oral specialists.

Call 1-804-784-2386 and let us help you create not only a beautiful smile but also a healthy one!

Your smile is one of the first things that people remember about you. How many times have you heard people say, “She has a great smile!”? You can get that reaction, too! Consider having a smile makeover with porcelain crowns or veneers. In this article, you will learn the following information:

  • What is a crown?
  • What are the benefits of getting a crown?
  • What are porcelain veneers?
  • What are the benefits of getting porcelain veneers?
  • Who can help you make the right decision for your teeth?

Crowns vs Porcelain Veneers

Veneers and crowns both restore your smile and improve the functionality of your teeth. Here’s the difference: Veneers cover just the front of the tooth, while crowns cover your whole tooth. Depending on whether your dental work is primarily for cosmetic purposes or to restore the function of your teeth, one or the other may suit your purposes better. 

  • A veneer consists of a thin layer of porcelain about 1 millimeter (mm) thick that bonds to the front of your tooth.
  • A crown consists of a 2 mm thick porcelain shell fused over your whole tooth. It can also be all-metal or metal overlayed with porcelain, although these are highly unaesthetic and not recommended for health reasons.
  • Both have good success rates and can complete your smile makeover. 

Let’s take a look at what crowns and veneers are and what to consider in making your decision with the help of a board-certified dentist.

Considerations

Whether a veneer or crown works for you depends on your reason for seeking dental care. Common causes for getting a crown or veneers include the following:

  • discolored teeth
  • crooked teeth
  • chipped or broken teeth
  • decayed or weakened teeth
  • cracked teeth

The dentist can match both crowns and veneers to your other teeth, or provide you with a smile that is the color you have always dreamed of.

What Is a Veneer?

Since veneers cover just the front surface of the tooth, they are less invasive than crowns. More of your original tooth is left in this procedure. To prepare the surface, the dentist roughens the outer layer of enamel. The rough surface helps the veneer bond to the tooth. You may need a local anesthetic, depending on the type of veneer used. However, you may remain awake for the visit if you wish.

The dentist forms an impression of the tooth using a digital scanner or a mold. Typically, an outside lab prepares the veneer. In the meantime, you receive a temporary veneer while waiting for the permanent one to arrive. You return to the dentist to have the permanent veneer installed using dental cement cured with ultraviolet light. 

If you grind or clench your teeth, you may need a nightguard to safeguard the veneer.

What Is a Crown?

A crown covers the whole tooth, and more of the tooth structure is removed to properly install it. Crowns help restore tooth functionality when you have a broken tooth, large filling, root canal, or deep cavity that impacts most of the tooth.

During the procedure, the dentist repairs the decayed portion prior to creating the crown. Local anesthetics are normal during the procedure. 

The dentist makes an impression of the tooth using a digital scan or a mold. The scan or mold goes to an outside lab that fabricates the crown. When the permanent crown arrives back at the dental office, you return to replace the temporary crown with the permanent one. Sometimes small adjustments to the crown are needed to ensure that you can bite down properly. 

Which One Should You Choose?

A crown often works best if the tooth has a large filling or is worn and cracked. However, if most of the tooth remains intact, a veneer can cosmetically improve your smile. 

What Is the Cost?

The cost of your crown or veneer varies based on the complexity of the work done, the size of the tooth and what else is going on in your mouth.

If your dental insurer considers the procedure to be primarily cosmetic, they may not pay for it or the cost could exceed your annual limit.

How much you pay for crowns depends on the material used and the time needed to prepare the tooth. You can budget between $1,000 and $3,500 per tooth.

Providing a true estimate requires a consultation so that the doctor can see the condition of the tooth and surrounding area. In general, porcelain and ceramic crowns are the most popular and tend to cost you more than other materials. 

If you need to work out payment, check out our carecredit option or apply when you come in for your consultation!

Call for an Appointment Today

Founded in 2013, the office of Dr. Sarah Wilmer, DDS, can help you complete your smile makeover. We focus on whole mouth health to prevent bacteria and plaque from damaging your teeth. Great dental care starts with a great dentist. Make an appointment today to find out if veneers or crowns are better for your oral health. We are a full-service dental office and can help your whole family maintain a healthy, gorgeous smile that others will notice and comment on!