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! 

 

We all have to face the aging process at some point. Many consider using surgery to help slow it down, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to help smooth out those age lines without painful and invasive methods?

You’re in luck! Technologies now exist that give you the results you want without having to go under the knife. That includes cutting-edge treatments in cosmetic laser dentistry, like SmoothLase.  

Non-invasive and simple, the SmoothLase treatment will leave you with immediate results and long-lasting smiles with just a few sessions.

So, what’s it all about? Let’s have a look at this ultimate guide to exploring SmoothLase, and what this innovative, non-surgical and non-invasive laser spa treatment can do for you.

What is SmoothLase

Essentially, SmoothLase is the tightening of the skin around facial areas by the use of a laser.

A laser for skin improvement? Sure, most know there’s nothing new about that. The difference between SmoothLase and other laser skin technologies is that this laser spa treatment revitalizes skin from the inside out.

Most skin laser treatments use actions that penetrate the skin from the outside. SmoothLase actually works its magic from inside your mouth.

So, no downtime and no restrictions.

How?

The laser handpiece is introduced intra-orally. The laser then emits pulses of light into the surrounding tissue.

From there, the laser promotes production of elastin and collagen around the face without damaging the inside or outside.

The end result is smoother-looking skin because of increased tightening and plumping of around the areas of the jawline, cheeks, lips, and mouth. It also is beneficial to other areas of your face such as the nasolabial folds and skin under the eyes.

More youthful skin also means less chance of fungal and bacterial infections around the mouth.

Exploring Smoothlase has a range of benefits over other anti-aging procedures. Let’s look at a few associated with this particular laser spa treatment.

What Are the Main Benefits of SmoothLase?

  • There are no radical changes to the facial structure as would be seen with plastic surgeries. This is the best option if you’re looking for an alternative to going under the knife.
  • Noticeable and gradual effects.
  • No foreign substances are placed onto or injected into the skin.
  • The treatments are short and no major time commitments are required.
  • Treatments can be done while having regular dental check-ups or cleanings, or on your lunch break!
  • Treat and go. Get on with the rest of your day after a session.
  • No medications are required before or after treatments.
  • Treatments do not require any pre-preparation before a treatment.
  • No sun sensitivity or redness.
  •  No scarring or bruising.
  • No restrictions afterward.

Why You Should Try This Laser Spa Treatment

Our skin, when in its younger years, constantly regenerates, renews, and replaces skin cells. As we age our bodies slow down this process and in turn, the production of elastin, collagen and other essential proteins that keep skin looking youthful is slowly lost.

In fact, our skin is said to lose around 1% of its collagen every year once we hit the age of thirty!

Scary stuff.

So, what can we do about it? There are a few things.

Sometimes all our body needs is a bit of stimulation to wake up the production of these much-loved rejuvenators. You can help it along with SmoothLase treatments. The power of our body is an amazing thing.

Am I a Candidate?

This is not a structure-altering treatment like plastic surgery, as an example. This is also not a treatment that uses foreign substances like fillers and toxins to plump out lips and facial lines. 

This is a treatment dedicated to boosting your body’s natural properties for the overall benefit of better-looking skin and to harness the power of our body’s predisposition for regeneration.

What Can I Do To Maintain Once I Have Treatments?

Glad you’re thinking about the future!

Like any treatment for the betterment of your health, maintaining a regimen and making changes is an essential mindset for the continued success of laser treatments. One touch-up every six months is all you need! Looking at lifestyle and diet are also tied to the long-term result we pursue.

What we want to aim for is to curb the damage that loss of skin proteins will have on the future of our skin.

Your laser spa dentist can help you achieve the look you want, but this is also a team effort! 

Keeping the following points in mind will help maintain collagen and prevent further sagging and wrinkles.

  • Limit exposure to UV rays. The sun is a skin damager. Use a high-numbered sunscreen whenever outdoors.
  • Reduce smoking. Quitting is one of the  best things you can do for your overall health.
  • Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol is a dehydrator so it makes sense to have a break from it or reduce consumption.
  • Look at your prescription drugs. Some may be dehydrating for your skin. Do your research and talk to your doctor.
  • Change your diet. Try to increase the intake of Vitamins A, C, and E. Look into supplements if you feel your diet is lacking.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

The healthier you are the better.

When our bodies are healthier, they don’t have to try so hard to keep our skin glowing.

Our skin is the biggest organ we have. It’s good to treat it well!

Think of it as whole-body health.

Your skin will thank you.

The benefits of laser spa treatments begin to be visible within just a few sessions. Keep your family and friends guessing when they give you a second look and ask, “What’s different about you?” You’ve simply discovered SmoothLase for healthier, more youthful skin from the inside out.

Ready for a new you? Wear that gorgeous smile and enhance your skin with SmoothLase. Contact us for all the information you will need to know about this innovative and welcomed spa laser treatment.

Brushing and flossing are paramount during the COVID-10 outbreak. Yes, we are telling you that oral hygiene should be a priority during a pandemic. Why? Because when you don’t floss and brush, tartar, and harmful bacteria build up. The bacteria can cause infection or gum and bone disease (gingivitis and periodontal disease). This low-grade infection weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to catching viruses. Here are the top 10 things dentists want you to do for your health during the pandemic:

  1. Wash your hands! Wash them with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before brushing, flossing and eating. Wash them after using the bathroom, going to a public place, blowing your nose, coughing, and sneezing. Washing is preferred over hand sanitizer because the friction from scrubbing with soap and water can break open the coronavirus’s protective envelope, making the virus inoperable. The soap then surrounds the virus so when you rinse your hands, the damaged virus is washed away. Done and done!
  2. Use hand sanitizerbut only if soap and water are not available. The sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol and your hands should not be dry until you’ve completed at least 20 seconds of rubbing. Soap is preferable over sanitizer because, while they both kill the virus, sanitizer does not remove it from the skin. (Note: neither soap nor sanitizer kill many bacteria and viruses, such as those that cause meningitis, pneumonia, and the common cold, but the vigorous scrubbing with soap and water removes them from the skin, making this method preferable over using sanitizer).
  3. Brush twice a day for two minutes each time – and wash your hands before AND after. If the virus is on your hands, you don’t want to catch it when you touch your mouth, and if you have the virus and touch your mouth, no one wants to catch it from you! Brushing properly with a soft toothbrush in a small circular motion or, preferably, with an electric toothbrush such as the Sonicare Flexcare+, removes the plaque and tartar that cause inflammation and low-grade infection. And if you are sick, don’t forget to change your toothbrush head and toothpaste when you’re better.
  4. Floss once a day – at night! Flossing at night will remove all of the remaining food that sits between your teeth from the meals you consumed that day. If you wait until the morning to floss, the food sits – and the bacteria grows. And don’t forget – wash your hands before AND after flossing… see the trend?
  5. Use mouthwash. Unfortunately, salt water, over-the-counter mouthrinses, and even prescription chlorohexidine have been deemed ineffective in killing the coronavirus. The only thing that the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to destroy the virus is a hydrogen peroxide rinse, such as Peroxyl by Colgate or Listerine Whitening Mouthrinse. Swish for 60 seconds and spit. (Note: over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide is too concentrated to use directly in the mouth.)
  6. Dab! Cover your coughs and sneezes, and not with the hands that are going to touch your phone, your food, the door handle, the refrigerator, the coffee pot, the hair brush… Make sure you wash your laundry with hot water and a bleach compound (preferably) and give it some extra time in a hot dryer. The coronavirus can live on clothes for up to 9 days!
  7. Do not touch your face mask! Wearing a face mask actually causes you to touch your face more than you normally would without one, thereby increasing your chances of getting sick. To avoid this, make sure your mask is secure, your hands are clean before removing your mask, and you remove it by grabbing the ear-loops or the back of the mask.
  8. If you are sick, stay hydrated – with WATER! Gatorade, sodas and other delicious beverages contain sugar and/or acid that are detrimental to your teeth AND gastrointestinal tract, which is the tract that leads to overall health.  A damaged GI tract can lead to nutritional deficiencies, leaky gut syndrome, and associated autoimmune diseases.
  9. Flatten the curve, practice social distancing, quarantine yourself – whatever term you prefer to use, avoid close contact with others! The virus has mutated more than once, which is why we cannot build an immunity to it and why it’s twice as hard to develop a vaccine against it. The only way to stop this pandemic is to stay home and stay away from others. And friends, “kind of” and “mostly” social distancing, is NOT social distancing. You, yourself, may not get sick, but you could unknowingly pass the virus to someone whose body is not strong enough to fight it.
  10. Be kind to yourself. As dental healthcare providers, our goal is not just to get your teeth healthy. Our goal is to get YOU healthy. The look and function of teeth play an important part in your mental health, which is a huge part of overall health and extremely important to us as doctors. So, during this time when you may feel physically isolated, take care of yourself. Get outside, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, eat healthy, and stay connected with loved ones virtually. Be kind to yourself, and do things that make you happy. We will all get through this together.