Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you, and if you have imperfections, it can negatively affect your self-confidence. In fact, one study found that dissatisfaction with your smile is a significant predictor of low self-esteem. 

7 Ways That Dental Veneers Can Make Your Smile Shine:

1. Dental Veneers Can Close the Gap

Dental veneers can close minor gaps in teeth to improve the appearance of a smile. Many people with gaps will hide them by not showing their teeth when they smile, but dental veneers can effectively cover that gap to make you feel more confident about smiling. 

Dental veneers are thin shells that are designed specifically for your teeth. They are custom-made to fit over the surface of your tooth and can be shaped to cover minor gaps. They also closely match the color of your teeth, so they will look completely natural. 

2. Brighten Those Difficult Stains

Some people have stains on their teeth that cannot be removed by professional whitening procedures. These include stains made by a history of some types of medications, like antibiotics, or by severe fevers. 

The reason these stains can’t be removed by whitening is that they occur on the internal layer of the tooth called the dentin rather than the outer layer of the enamel. In those cases, dental veneers can cover teeth with stains that whitening can’t correct.

3. Help Correct a Gummy Smile

Some people are unhappy with their smile because it is too gummy. In other words, their tooth-to-gum ratio favors the gums. This is where veneers can help. 

Your cosmetic dentist can recontour your gums and place veneers that are sized to provide more balance for your smile. This will mean you can show more tooth and less gum when you smile. 

4. Cover Tooth Cracks and Chips

Another type of imperfection that veneers can cover is tooth cracks and chips. These can create a kind of ragged appearance to your smile. 

Veneers can often be a better choice for covering these kinds of imperfections than other alternatives like crowns. 

It is important to realize, however, that while your teeth may appear undamaged, veneers don’t correct the damage to the tooth. While you want your teeth to look good, you also want them to genuinely be healthy, so talk to your provider about what option is best for you. 

5. Correct Minor to Moderate Misalignments

Dental veneers can also be used to correct the appearance of minor to moderate misalignments. While they don’t actually correct the misalignment, they can make your teeth appear straight. 

This makes dental veneers a faster alternative to braces for helping your teeth appear straighter. For those who need a fast fix for their smile, veneers can be the way to go. 

6. Restore the Appearance of Worn Teeth

Bruxism is when you wear your teeth down by grinding them. It’s a very common problem. In fact, by some estimates, as much as 30% of the population grinds their teeth at least occasionally. 

That can create a worn look to the biting edge of your teeth. Veneers can restore the original appearance of your teeth. It doesn’t fix the problem of bruxism, but it does help your smile look better. The good news is – your dentist can address both problems!

7. Dental Veneers Give You a Natural Appearing Smile

Finally, dental veneers are virtually undetectable from your natural teeth. Their color is matched to your natural teeth, and your dentist will shape them to fit naturally with the adjacent teeth, your smile line and your facial structures.

What Types of Dental Veneers Options Are Offered?

There are a few different types of dental veneers to choose from, but all can give you a natural-appearing smile. Composite veneers are made of tooth-colored composite resin to match your smile, and are less expensive, but can stain over time. 

Porcelain veneers are made to specifically fit your dental anatomy so they will fit like a glove over your natural tooth and shine like natural teeth. No-prep veneers are a less invasive option because they don’t require as much enamel removal as traditional veneers do. 

No matter what kind of dental veneers you choose, they can give you a dazzling, natural-appearing smile that is sure to boost your confidence. 

Consult With A Dentist In Richmond, VA About Veneers

If you have imperfections in your teeth that you would like to fix, we can help. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Sarah Wilmer at The Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond. She can answer all your dental veneer questions. Give us a call today, and you’ll be on your way to a confident smile! 

Taking care of your oral health is an important part of taking care of your overall health, and the same is true for young children. That’s why it’s important to start dental care at an early age and get your children accustomed to seeing their dentist regularly.

Starting early helps children build healthy, lifelong dental care habits and it also helps them feel more positive about their dental visits.

Since getting kids used to going to the dentist can seem challenging, we’ve put together these 3 pediatric oral health tips for building healthy habits and a positive experience at the dentist’s office.

3 Essential Pediatric Oral Health Tips: When to Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Visit

1. When the Baby Teeth Come In, It’s Time for a Dental Visit

Many parents wonder just when they should start taking their child to the dentist. The answer is that when their baby teeth come in, it’s time for that first dental visit. 

Dental disease can create problems in baby teeth too. One common example is something called baby bottle syndrome. This occurs when parents use a baby bottle containing juice or milk or some form of liquid other than water as a sleep aid or keep it in the crib all night. 

Juice or milk from the bottle can pool around your child’s teeth and, over time, the bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars in that liquid to cause tooth decay. This can also happen when children carry a bottle or sippy cup of milk or juice around with them all day. 

That’s just one reason why it’s important to begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s teeth erupt. Your pediatric dentist can give you important oral health care tips to prevent problems like baby bottle syndrome or any other problems they may discover.

As your child gets older, your dentist can educate them about how to build healthy oral health care habits that will last a lifetime. 

2. Timing is Key

Another pediatric oral health tip is that timing is key when scheduling an appointment for your baby. It’s best if you can time it so it is between naps and after feeding. 

If your child is hungry or tired when they arrive at the dentist’s office, they are likely to be much less cooperative. That can easily create a negative experience that will make them reluctant to come back. 

It can also make them more leery of the dentist and their staff, and these kinds of feelings can last a lifetime. The goal is to give your child a positive experience so that they will look forward to coming to see the dentist. 

Mornings are often the best time of day for your young child’s appointment. This is likely the time of day when your young child is most alert and ready for new experiences. You want them to be as open as possible to meeting new people and having those new experiences. Morning appointments are the best time for that to happen. 

3. Bring Toys for a Better Pediatric Oral Health Experience

Another way that you can help your child form positive associations with their dentist is to make the experience a fun one for them. Bring their favorite toys to distract them from any fearful emotions they might have. 

When they have something familiar with them that they like playing with, your child will come to see the dentist as a fun place to go. 

The more your child views the dentist as a pleasant place to be where they can have fun, the more likely it is that they will maintain the oral health care habits they form at this early age for the rest of their life. 

With proper dental care from such a young age, your child’s overall oral health will be better over the long run. That also means that their overall health will be better over the course of their lifetime. Many health problems can be linked to poor dental hygiene. These include certain cardiac conditions, such as endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia. To avoid this, it’s vital to help your child have a good experience at the dentist so they build good oral health care habits for a lifetime of better health.

Reach Out To A Kid-Friendly Dentist in Richmond, VA For Your Child’s First Visit

Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond is a kid-friendly dental office. The professional staff at their office are dedicated to helping patients of all ages, including the very youngest, to develop healthy pediatric oral health care habits so their teeth will last a lifetime. Give them a call at (804) 784-2386 today or book a free consultation through their form to get your child started on the path to a healthier smile! 

There’s nothing quite like a beautiful smile to light up a room. But over the years, your teeth can become discolored from foods or drinks like coffee and from certain habits like smoking. 

That’s why many people turn to teeth whitening to improve the appearance of their smile. But should you use over-the-counter whitening kits, or should you let your dentist handle your teeth whitening?

Let’s Look at 4 Reasons Why You Should Let the Professionals Handle Your Teeth Whitening:

1. Your Dentist Can Check Your Oral Health

One of the biggest reasons to let your dentist whiten your teeth is that your dentist can check out your overall oral health in the process. They can often catch problems before they become more serious.

They might notice if you’re developing gum disease or if a cavity is forming, for example. Identifying problems before they have a chance to become too serious can save you a lot of pain and money down the line.

2. Personalized Results When Your Dentist Whitens Your Teeth

The commercial products available in over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are really made for the masses but unfortunately can produce uneven whitening, extreme sensitivity, burns, and destruction of the tooth structure.

Additionally, just like you, your teeth are unique, and they may require personalized whitening that varies from tooth to tooth. Your dentist can provide that by carefully matching the correct shade for your teeth and varying the shades as necessary for each tooth. This will give you the best possible results for your individual smile using the highest quality materials, which will make every tooth shine.

3. The Products Your Dentist Uses are Safer

Your dentist uses top-quality materials for teeth whitening that result in less tooth sensitivity and won’t cause you harm. What’s more, your dentist monitors the process and the products carefully to ensure you’ll get the best results with little or no unpleasant side effects. 

4. Professional Teeth Whitening Removes Tougher Stains

Your teeth may have some very tough stains, and those are often no match for the over-the-counter teeth whitening kits. Stains caused, for example, by the antibiotic tetracycline, can be really difficult to remove.

Over-the-counter products won’t be able to tackle those tough stains, but your dentist’s products, such as KöR Whitening, can, and the results will last longer too.

The KöR Whitening Difference

At the Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond, they are dedicated to keeping your mouth healthy and your smile bright, and are big believers in whole-body health. That’s why they have chosen to use the KöR method of whitening. Here’s more information on the difference between KOR whitening and other whitening products.

What is KöR Whitening?

Your tooth color is the result of both natural pigment and stain molecules that get trapped in a tooth’s microstructure. When those molecules are large, your teeth will appear darker. To whiten them, your dentist needs to remove those trapped molecules by breaking apart the large chains of stain. 

Why is KöR Better?

Research has shown that conventional whitening trays only provide strong activation of the peroxide gels for about 25 – 35 minutes due to contamination from saliva, and over the counter products can actually cause harm to your mouth. But the KöR technique uses KöR seal trays to prevent saliva and other fluids from entering the trays. That provides as much as 6 – 10 hours of activity, safely. 

The extended exposure time thoroughly cleans debris from between your enamel. The end result is a rejuvenated and more youthful enamel that can whiten quickly and thoroughly. In short, you get an amazingly white smile! 

If you are looking for that gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted, let the professionals help get you there safely!

Call the Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond for a Consultation Today!

The Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond has been helping to create a brighter world, one smile at a time. Give us a call today for a teeth whitening consultation or any other cosmetic procedure you may be looking for! 

While modern dentistry has definitely changed for the better, some people still have dental anxiety before their appointments. Our team of dentists and staff understand what it’s like and are always here to help. Use these tips to help ease your anxiety about visiting a dental professional.

Here are 8 ways to help ease your dental anxiety leading up to and during your appointment:

1. Use All Natural Techniques

Deep breathing is one of the best all natural techniques to help deal with any type of anxiety or anxious situation. It helps calm the mind and release stress. It’s a proven technique that’s surprisingly easy to do. Psych Central offers several great methods to try.

In addition to deep breathing, you can also try meditating. This can help dramatically leading up to your appointment. Consider making an acupuncture appointment before your dental appointment to release your tension.

Essential oils are also an option and you can even use them during your appointment. Lavender, jatamansi, valerian, jasmine, chamomile, and sweet basil are some of the most effective essential oils for anxiety.

2. Listen to Music or an eBook

Distract yourself to help ease anxiety during your dental appointment. Since cords can get in the way, bring along a pair of wireless earbuds. Tell your dentist you’ll be listening to music. If they need your attention, they can tap your arm. Sometimes, drowning out the sounds of the equipment and immersing yourself in a great song or book is enough to put you at ease.

3. Talk to Your Doctor About a Prescription

For severe dental anxiety, you may want to consider seeing your doctor about an anxiety-reducing medication. You can take these just when facing a stressful situation. Xanax, Ativan, and Valium are the most common. If you do take any of these, please make sure you have a driver. You won’t be able to drive when taking these medications.

4. Bring Along a Weighted Blanket

When you’re feeling anxious, do you wish someone would wrap you up in a soothing hug? This is exactly what a weighted blanket helps simulate. If you’re feeling anxious about visiting a dental professional, purchase a weighted blanket and bring it with you. These usually weigh anywhere from 4-30 pounds. The blankets are designed to simulate deep pressure touch therapy and may relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

In the days leading up to your appointment, use your weighted blanket to help you sleep better. Getting a good night’s sleep will also help reduce your anxiety on the day of the appointment.

5. Dress Comfortably

If you’re not comfortable when sitting in the chair, you’ll just feel more restless and anxious. Wear comfy clothes that make you feel like you’re just lounging around your house. The more comfortable you feel, the less anxious you’ll feel.

Another way to make you feel comfortable is wearing dark glasses. These block the bright lights your dentist uses to see inside your mouth. It’s a simple technique, but one that does reduce dental anxiety.

6. Skip the Caffeine

While caffeine might help you get going for the day, it’s not the most calming ingredient in your morning coffee. Too much of it makes you feel jittery. Of course, anything that makes you feel more on edge just increases your anxiety.

It’s perfectly fine to have a little caffeine before your dental appointment. However, maybe have just one cup of coffee versus two. The idea is to feel calm and relaxed. A better option is a soothing tea with one of the calming essential oils mentioned above. If you’re feeling too relaxed, ask someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

7. Eat Before Your Appointment

Dealing with anxiety about visiting a dental professional may make you feel queasy. However, an empty stomach may actually make your anxiety worse. Plus, it’s hard to feel comfortable with a rumbling tummy.

Eat a light meal before coming in. You don’t have to eat a major meal, but have something to keep you from feeling hungry during the appointment. (Did you realize seeing your dentist regularly can also help with your digestive health?)

If you’re taking an anxiety medication, you’ll want to eat something with it. Otherwise, the combination of an empty stomach and the medication may make you feel nauseous.

8. Talk to Your Dentist

Your dentist understands dental anxiety. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have concerns, talk to your dentist. Ask as many questions as you need to. If there’s something specific you’re afraid of, your dentist may be able to make small changes that make a world of difference for you. They’ll also talk you through the entire procedure so you don’t feel surprised.

Let Our Dentists Take Care of You

Our dentists are skilled in not only dental work, but in taking care of patients from all angles. We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible with our work before and during your appointment. If you’re trying to ease your dental anxiety, contact us today to schedule a free consultation to talk about your concerns ahead of your visit.

Sleep apnea could be affecting your life right now and you might not even know it. From waking up often and feeling tired all day to snoring, this highly prevalent sleep disorder could be wreaking havoc on your life. Let’s dive deeper to understand this sleep disorder and then discuss three reasons to address your sleep apnea as soon as possible.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Your breathing either stops randomly or is limited. This can happen as often as 30 times per hour. This lack of oxygen causes you to wake up, so your brain can restart the correct breathing process. Waking sessions are often so quick, you don’t even realize it. However, your mind and body feel the negative effects. That’s why it’s important to identify the symptoms soon.

Since you might not even know you have it, watch for these symptoms:

  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Gasping for air
  • Snoring
  • Falling asleep throughout the day
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Frequently having to urinate at night
  • Dry mouth
  • Waking up with headaches

Now that we’ve understood sleep apnea and its symptoms. We need to dive more into the reasons why you should address it.

3 Reasons You Should Address Your Sleep Apnea Today

1. Improve Your Quality of Sleep

The most immediate reason to treat sleep apnea today is to improve your quality of sleep. It ruins your overall quality of sleep. Snoring and restless sleep also affects your sleep partner. Lack of sleep is a serious problem.

Severe drowsiness from the constant sleep/wake cycle makes it difficult to focus and stay awake. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people with sleep apnea are 15 times as likely to be in a car accident.

It’s been proven that a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can be as detrimental to your brain as being drunk. You have trouble processing information, following instructions, and understanding emotions. If your sleep apnea is left untreated, your risks for long-term mental decline are higher too, such as dementia. Simply being able to sleep normally is a vital part of having a healthy mind and body.

2. Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Issues

Having your brain working against you due to a disease you don’t even realize you have is disturbing enough. However, it’s important to address sleep apnea quickly, even if you think it’s just snoring. Your heart will thank you.

Suddenly stopping breathing triggers your body’s stress response. When those hormones are released, they cause undue stress on your heart. Normal stress isn’t a problem. When your heart deals with dozens of stress events every night, your risk of heart disease goes up as well. You’re also at risk for hypertension, stroke, irregular heartbeats, atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. In one study, 43% of people diagnosed with mild OSA also had hypertension. And, around 70% of recovering stroke patients had a breathing-related sleep disorder, such as OSA.

3. Treat Sleep Apnea to Reduce Other Symptoms

Many people believe they just snore and don’t think anything else about it. That’s how sleep apnea also got the nickname of snoring disease. Yet, it’s much more serious than a disruptive snore.

As you might expect by now, constantly waking up at night, even for just a few seconds at a time, is enough to cause major health problems.

Outside of poor cognitive function and cardiovascular issues, you’re also at an increased risk for:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Frequently and/or severe headaches
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Loss of libido and even impotence in men
  • Nocturia (frequent nighttime urination)
  • Premature death

Until now, you probably didn’t even realize how important sleep is to your overall health. From helping better regulate blood sugar levels to regulating appetite, proper sleep is necessary to feel your best. For some people, they discover their depression was actually a symptom of dealing with sleep apnea and their symptoms decrease once they start treatment.

The most shocking of all is likely premature death. While the risk of sudden death is low (but not impossible), it’s usually the cardiovascular risks that ultimately lead to premature death. Left untreated, you double your risk of a fatal heart attack or other cardiac event. With treatment, your risks are drastically reduced.

Talk with Your Doctor or Dentist

Often, people go to their doctor to treat the side effects of sleep apnea without realizing the underlying cause. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any sleep-related problems as well. After all, treating sleep-related breathing disorders reduces your risk of other minor and severe health issues.

Surprisingly, your dentist may be able to create a treatment plan for obstructive sleep apnea. While 90% of the 20 million Americans suffering from this disorder are still undiagnosed, if you suspect you might have it, contact your doctor or dentist today.

Visit Highly Trained Dentists in Richmond, VA For Help

At Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond, Dr. Sarah Wilmer and her team will help create a custom sleep apnea treatment using dental devices or Nightlase, a non-surgical laser treatment. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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 Result of Sleep Apnea Treatment?

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.

Visit a Highly Trained Dentist in Richmond, VA For Help With Your Sleep Apnea

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.

Invisalign Facts You May 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 That?

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! 

Schedule an Apointment With a Dentist in Richmond, VA to Get Started With Invisalign 

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.

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.

Book an Appointment With an Expert Dentist in Richmond, VA 

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.

Contact us today to learn more about how regular dental visits can improve your skin health!

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. 

Visit A Dentist Who 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!