Our gums are the foundation of our mouth and teeth. We only get one set, and they need to last our whole life– but do you know the signs of potential problems with your gums? Gum disease affects a large portion of the population in the USA alone. It is also a top dental issue among many patients.

It’s time to take gum disease seriously. So what’s the solution?

Acting first by identifying the problem and receiving the right care can help prevent and treat existing conditions before they become worse.

So, what are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?

1. Bleeding gums

This is probably one of the most common and obvious signs of gum disease. It’s important not to scrub your teeth too hard while brushing, but to still be effective while caring for your gums. However, if your gums are still bleeding despite being gentle then it’s important to mention this to your dental health care professional.

2. Tender or sore gums

Your gums being tender or sore can be a sign that your gums are in need of care and attention. Gums in general should not feel bruised, or hurt while you are chewing.

3. Swollen and inflamed gums

This can often be a symptom of infection or even some trauma to the gum tissue.

4. Receding gums

This happens when the gum tissue begins to pull away from around the teeth and expose the root structure. As a result, this can make your teeth appear larger due to the loss of gum tissue.

5. Loss of teeth or loose teeth

Teeth falling out or becoming loose can be the result of gum disease. If gums are not strong enough to hold your teeth, then teeth will begin to become loose and may come out on their own. This can affect the overall structure of your mouth once you start to lose teeth.

6. Painful chewing

When it’s painful to chew and there has been no trauma to your mouth, it can be an indicator of underlying gum issues.

If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to see your dental health care professional and find out if you have gum disease.

Gums must be vulnerable then?

Your gums, like many other parts of your body, can be subject to illness. Periodontitis, the formal name for gum disease, if left untreated, will affect the structure and stability of your teeth. Without gums, what supports the teeth in the mouth?

As mentioned your gum tissue can be subject to illness, but it can also link to other illnesses in your body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, premature birth, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. These all have the potential to impact a person if left untreated, just like gum disease does. While this list of overall health conditions seems intense, the list does not end there. In fact, periodontal/gum health is even linked to the health of your skin.

Ultimately the goal is to have a whole health outlook. The entire body benefits from a healthy oral cavity and gum tissue.

So what can a patient do to prevent gum disease?

Being aware is key, and looking at your gum tissue to monitor it at home. Healthy gums are pink and fit tightly and firmly around the tooth. Look at where the gum tissue surrounds the tooth, and see if it looks like your tooth is longer in appearance.

Good oral hygiene care at home is a key component to maintaining healthy gum tissue but also to reduce the risk of gum disease. Brushing twice daily for two minutes each time with a soft or extra soft toothbrush (electric or manual) helps to condition the gum tissue to a healthy status. Flossing daily (with string floss, floss picks, or water flossers) can help to reduce bacteria under and between the gum tissue and the tooth.

These two activities are like exercise for your gum tissue and will help to maintain things long term.

Visit Dentists for Extra Help

Regular dental visits can help to monitor the condition of your teeth and gum health. X-rays that are taken routinely to help to monitor bone levels surrounding the tooth structure and in turn can help monitor gum tissue levels.

In addition to x-rays, your dental hygienist and dentist will measure your gum levels to ensure they are supporting your teeth properly. These measurements can also assist in evaluating how successful you are with your oral hygiene home care routine.

Being mindful of your overall health is important as we mentioned because if other health conditions are not well-maintained or under the control of a physician, these things can directly correlate to unhealthy gum tissue.

Your dentist and dental hygienist are experts in caring for gum health, and in caring for YOU. The first step is to talk to your dental health care professionals about any observations or questions you have about your gum health.

Learn more about what Dr. Wilmer can do for your continued dental health, make an appointment today to prevent gum disease, and enjoy a healthy smile forever!

Sleep apnea is an epidemic worthy of more attention and discussion than most people may realize. This disorder can cause numerous health issues and decrease your ability to enjoy life long-term.

Do you think you might have sleep apnea? You’re not alone.

One in five Americans suffers from sleep apnea with over 70 million people experiencing some kind of sleep disorder, and 90% of people are undiagnosed. This includes 82% of men and 93% of women. Women are at a higher risk of sleep apnea than men once they reach menopause.

Don’t worry though, there is help available!

The first step is to understand the disorder, its risk factors, the impact it may cause, and what the effects are if left untreated. Consider these questions and helpful information when trying to determine if you have sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea and how do I know I might have it?

Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by repeated episodes of complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep. You may or may not snore. Some signs of sleep apnea include waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, having a hard time falling or staying asleep, feeling unrefreshed despite getting a good night’s sleep, having someone witness you stop breathing, depression, headaches, mood swings, and weight gain to name a few.

What are the risk factors associated with sleep apnea?

There are many risk factors associated with sleep apnea, and some might surprise you. Obesity is at the top of the list, along with a large neck circumference. However certain medications, enlarged tonsils, smoking, hypothyroidism, and polycystic ovarian syndrome are also risk factors.

What is the impact of untreated obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep disorders are costly. Out of the greater than 100,000 annual motor vehicle accidents, which are the third leading cause of death and injury in the United States, 20% of them are related to sleep, and cost $50-$100 billion annually. They also lead to workplace accidents, which cost $6.5 billion per year, and comorbid diseases, costing $30 billion per year, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and depression. Sleep apnea contributes to memory loss, psychiatric changes, and behavioral issues, and decreases the quality of life. It can contribute to weight gain, increased blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.

What can I do to help myself?

  1. Maintain a healthy weight: When we gain weight, it doesn’t just affect our stomach. Weight gain can affect our throat, which increases the likelihood of sleep and snoring issues, and breathing capabilities.
  2. Exercise More: We all know that frequent movement helps us feel better. This could range from walking to even joining a gym. 30 minutes a day is the recommended time frame to start with.
  3. Avoid the bad, introduce the good: Quitting smoking, excessive alcohol, and/or using sedatives or sleep aides all contribute to problems with the quality of sleep or sleep disorders.

If you believe you could have sleep apnea, start by researching sleep services that are available to you.

Did you know your dentist can help?

If a CPAP is not the route for you, the dentist can provide an alternative option.

Custom-made dental sleep devices can be worn during the night to assist with opening airways and allowing your body to get the oxygen it needs for restful sleep.

In addition, treatments like Nightlase, a non-surgical laser therapy treatment, can assist in opening your airway. This sleep service is a non-invasive laser therapy that naturally assists your body in producing collagen in the back of the throat and tightening the tissues to decrease snoring. The result is a clearer pathway for oxygen so you can breathe better during the night AND during the day, allowing you to be less tired and more alert.

What are the benefits? No anesthetic required, safe and painless, long-lasting solution, perfect for continued snoring and sleep apnea sufferers.

What is the outcome for those who treat sleep apnea?

A good night’s sleep is essential for the body’s rest and recovery, energy, and helping natural defenses. Sleep is the key to good long-term health.

Remaining undiagnosed can be detrimental for yourself and those around you, so it is good to be aware of what sleep services are available once you have received this diagnosis from your medical doctor. This health condition requires the same attention, care, and consideration that many other health conditions require.

If you are suffering or you know someone who is suffering from a sleep-breathing disorder, we encourage you to get evaluated by a doctor and examine all options available.

Contact us to find out more information!

Let’s talk about teeth, in particular the ones of the non-perfect variety.

Orthodontic work has come a long way, and still offers tried and true methods for straightening teeth.

But time moves on, and with it so does our motivation to explore other options. 

After reviewing the limited choices available for straighter teeth, the welcomed introduction of Invisalign gave patients a new way forward.

It is the least invasive way to go about the correction of your smile.

While a lot has been said and even more read about this innovative way of teeth straightening, there are a few things you might not know.

1. History of Invisalign

In their day, metal braces were created to straighten the un-straightenable, and there was a great deal of applause for the technology.

Though as time went on and technology became better, we decided not to submit people to what was essentially an exercise in patience and discomfort. The search was on for something better.

A young Stanford University student and a few of his colleagues invented a new design, then a product that evolved into a series of what are essentially clear retainers, known as aligners.

Tada! Invisalign was born and ready to take on the metal wire-weary world.

2. A Faster Way to Straighten Teeth

Some things take time…and some don’t. One of the key areas of appeal is it generally takes less time to straighten teeth using Invisalign than through traditional metal braces.

Depending on your treatment, these clear aligners can take around six months. 

The complexity of your needs will be the ultimate decider for the length of your treatment.

3. I Can Eat What?

Eating certain foods can create problems for traditional brackets and wires. Hard or chewy foods usually cause metal brackets to break, and sticky foods make brackets and wires harder to clean. This can lead to diseases like cavities and periodontal disease.

These problems are non-existent with Invisalign. It makes enjoying your favorite foods so much easier…and you can eat anything! 

Simply take out the aligners, eat, brush, floss, and place them back in!

4. Treat Aligners with Respect

Cleaning and taking care of the aligners is just as important as brushing your teeth!

It’s simple. Rinse the aligner every time you take them out. This will help prevent any build-up of bacteria. Make sure to also clean the aligners daily by brushing them with anti-bacterial soft soap and a toothbrush.

You can even use denture cleaning tablets for an easier way to clean them.

5. You Still Need to See a Dentist

This is not a set-and-forget undertaking.

Just like with metal braces, your dentist is here to guide you and see how your Invisalign progress is tracking. The good news is that Invisalign check-ups tend to take less time than traditional orthodontic appointments.

Digital scans allow your provider to see exactly how each tooth is progressing, so you are more likely to finish your treatment on time.

Regular cleaning and care of your teeth are still important to ensure continued mouth health.

Remember that your mouth is the gateway to your body and the keeper of your health. Don’t forget to keep it clean and cared for! 

With Invisalign, a new smile can help you on the road to happiness and well-being. Better dental health means your entire body has a chance to stay mentally and physically healthier for longer.

Contact us today to learn more about how Invisalign can help you get the smile you want to last a lifetime.

Skincare is important to your dentist. Why? Because dental care focuses on the health of the whole patient, not just the mouth. Oral hygiene doesn’t just stop at the gums and teeth. The mouth is the gateway to your overall health. Including your skin. Research shows a relationship between oral and systemic health, but it also shows a link between oral health and skin. Poor oral health can result in various health and skin conditions. For example, stubborn acne and skin blemishes can be caused by bacteria in your mouth or infections in your teeth.

Here are a few skin diseases that are directly related to the health of your periodontium (gums and bone).


Psoriasis has the strongest correlation between skin diseases and periodontitis, especially if a patient smokes, drinks, or is overweight. The oral microbiome of bacteria can cause psoriasis outbreaks, and there is always a strong chance of cross-reactivity. While psoriasis is linked to poor oral health and manifests itself in the mouth as bleeding, lesions, and decay, gum disease can also increase the risk for psoriasis.

Dermatitis and eczema

During a breakout, gingival bleeding and tooth infections increase, and, unfortunately, the usual prescription of a steroid can worsen the problem. Patients who have eczema or dermatitis also have a higher tendency to be allergic to silver fillings.

Aphthous stomatitis

With aphthous stomatitis, flare-ups coincide with more plaque and an increased risk for oral infections.

Lichen planus

There is a strong connection between lichen planus and periodontal diseases, including an increase in gingival bleeding, since the amount of plaque and tartar are high in these patients.

Pemphigoid and Pemphigus

These disorders cause lesions in the mouth and are also exacerbated by poor oral health.

Chronic periodontitis contributes to the worsening of already present skin disorders. Improvement in dental care and dental hygiene can cause positive outcomes in patients with many skin diseases. The inflammatory pathways exacerbated by periodontitis directly affect your entire body, even your skin. Taking proper care of your teeth can improve your health, and skin, and boost your confidence. Vice versa, taking care of your skin can improve the health of your mouth. Flossing, brushing, replacing metal fillings with white fillings, and a proper skincare routine that includes a physical (not chemical) sunscreen will keep your mouth and body healthy and happy.

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?


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.


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!


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! 


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.