Did you know that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea? That is 20% of our population….adults and children who are not breathing well or sleeping well. We are becoming a society that is sleep-deprived, unable to focus, cranky, and depressed, relying on caffeine to get through our days. Long term health and wellness is being affected by the poor quality of sleep we are getting every night.
Why do we need good sleep? During sleep, our bodies get the chance to heal and repair after a rigorous day of abuse. Adults need to spend the correct percentage of time in deep sleep and REM sleep to be able to heal. Children need good sleep for their growing bodies and developing brains. When our sleep is disrupted by apnea events, we are being deprived of oxygen and our sleep pattern is disturbed. This cycle of poor sleep is now being linked to many health issues including ADD/ADHD, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, delayed growth, bedwetting, and many other physical and mental health problems.
The cause of obstructive sleep apnea is a blockage of the airway by the tongue and soft palate during sleep. The result is that you stop breathing and the oxygen level in the blood decreases. The brain will think you are choking and force you to take a breath. This is our body’s way of protecting itself. A “fight or flight” response to a threat. Try to imagine being threatened 30 times an hour while sleeping. That is sleep apnea!
The medical answer for sleep apnea is to place patients on a CPAP machine forcing air through your mouth or nose while you sleep. This is not a cure, but a device to keep you breathing. Something you will wear for the rest of your life. The long term use of the CPAP machine has been shown to decrease its effectiveness.
The surprise is that there is a dental solution to this medical problem.
Now there is another option. The mouth is the gateway to the airway. And if the mouth is too small the tongue will be pushed into the airway causing an obstruction. The Vivos appliances stimulate stem cells to grow bone resulting in a reshaping of the upper and lower jaws. The tongue will have enough room to suction to the palate and stay out of the airway. It is an all-natural, non-invasive, and non-surgical treatment.
A night of good night sleep is the only magic pill needed for a longer, healthier life.
After graduating from Creighton University School of Dentistry, she worked as an associate with an established dentist and then bought a practice in a small town outside of Omaha. However, Nebraska never felt like home. In 1994, she returned to Colorado and purchased a practice in Broomfield, Colorado. Several years later, she outgrew the original location and moved her practice to a new facility in Lafayette.
She enjoys many aspects of the dental profession including not only providing dental care for entire families — from the youngest child, through their grandparents –- but also treating TMJ pain and dysfunction. Additionally, she also holds a passion for treating patients who are scared of going to the dentist. Dr. Schafer has co-authored a book providing insight into the treatment of the fearful patient and is committed to helping the next generation be relaxed — and even excited – about going to the dentist and eliminating the negative perceptions that the public has toward dental treatment.
But nothing has affected her dental career as profoundly as the VIVOS Breathing and Wellness movement that she was introduced to in 2019.
“The industry has known for a long time that the condition of your teeth and gums can affect a body negatively. Yet it amazed me how your mouth and jaw can affect your breathing and sleep patterns, which then can affect your overall health and wellbeing. I know this first hand because both my husband and I experienced sleep apnea. We are also both VIVOS success stories.”
“Nothing is more powerful and rewarding than to know that I have affected a person positively and changed the way they feel, whether it’s mentally, emotionally, or physically. That is why I get up every morning and also why I’ve been interested in this profession for so long. The role of the dentist has changed so dramatically over the years. I’m excited to see which new medical advancements and knowledge I’ll be able to be a part of in the future.”