Littleton, CO dentist Dr. Guy Grabiak and team celebrate case study award for long-term healthy results with their patient.

Treating a Root Cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Vivos Therapeutics

Apr 17, 2024 | Sleep Apnea / Airway

Biological dentistry emphasizes treating root causes instead of symptoms. Symptoms are signs that something is amiss and that your body is fighting whatever the threat may be. While suppressing them can create the illusion of health, you’ll never get the real deal until you go to the source of the disease or dysfunction.

To put it another way: If running water is causing your bathtub to overflow, bailing and sopping up won’t do you much good until you turn off the tap. Similarly, if you happen to be living with symptoms of mercury toxicity, detox will only be of limited help if the mercury is coming from “silver” fillings still in your mouth.

You’ve got to address the root cause. This applies to airway issues, as well.

Getting to the Root Cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

As we noted last time, sleep apnea happens when the airway becomes blocked so you literally stop breathing for at least 10 seconds repeatedly through the night.

Sometimes, this can be due to obesity, when excess tissue winds up covering the windpipe as the muscles relax. Weight loss can often mean significant improvement.

normal airway vs sleep apneaFor others, the culprit may be their jaw falling backward as the body slackens into sleep. In this case, an oral appliance called a mandibular advancement device, or MAD, can help hold the jaw forward so the airway remains clear.

But in many cases, the trouble is that the person’s jaws never developed to their full genetic potential in the first place. The result is narrow arches and not enough room for the tongue to rest comfortably in the mouth so that it repeatedly blocks the airway during sleep.

The obvious solution? Enlarge the airway. And that’s where Vivos Therapeutics comes in.

Vivos for Sleep Apnea: What It Is & How It Works

Unlike other apnea appliances, which demand nightly use for life, Vivos Therapeutics has a typical treatment length of just 18 months.

Vivos mRNA applianceThe Vivos appliances – one of which last year was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of severe sleep apnea – look similar to retainers and are made of a special plastic that’s customized to fit the shape of your mouth. When you wear the appliance, it gently moves your jaw forward and keeps your airway open. This allows air to flow freely, preventing the breathing interruptions that occur with sleep apnea.

What makes the Vivos appliance unique is that it does more than just reposition the jaw; it actually helps redevelop and remodel the airway over time, providing long-lasting results.

Here’s how Vivos works:

  • The appliance positions your lower jaw slightly forward, holding your tongue forward to keep the airway open while you sleep.
  • The gentle outward forces applied by the appliance stimulate and activate stem cells in the area. These stem cells then replicate into new bone and soft tissue.
  • Over months of nightly use, this stem cell activation causes new bone to gradually grow, remodeling the jaw area and developing a more open, unobstructed airway.

The repositioned jaw and increased airway space created by the new bone growth helps eliminate the breathing issues caused by sleep apnea. By the end of treatment – which may include supportive therapies such as myofunctional, nutritional, or craniosacral therapy – the device is no longer needed.

Bottom Line: Vivos Works

Clearly, Vivos works. One of the most recent studies found that their DNA appliance

effectively reduced AHI [a measure of apnea severity] by 46% and significantly increased both airway volume and transpalatal width. After DNA treatment, 80% of patients showed some improvement in AHI scores with 28% of patients having their OSA symptoms completely resolved.

There are only two requirements to become a candidate for Vivos Therapeutics. The first is that you need to have enough natural teeth and healthy enough gums and bone to support the device. When those are lacking, a MAD may be a better dental option for relieving apnea.

The other requirement is simply commitment. The more dedicated you are to your personalized course of treatment, the better the results.

Ready to find out if Vivos might be the right solution for you? Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

lizmar thurber

Noelle Jones

Office Manager

With a robust career spanning over 20 years in the dental sector, Noelle Jones has developed a profound expertise that blends technical proficiency with visionary leadership. Starting her journey as a dental assistant, Noelle has continually expanded her skill set and knowledge base. She pursued higher education at Georgia Perimeter College, where she completed programs in dental lab technology, chairside assisting, and business management. In 2024, Noelle found her perfect match in the professional world at Denver Dentistry, a practice that embraces the principles of biological dentistry. This role not only marks a significant step in her career but also profoundly shifts her perspective on the impact dental health has on the rest of the body. Beyond her professional endeavors, Noelle is an avid adventurer who loves exploring the natural beauty of Colorado. She is on a quest to hike all the "14ers" in the state. When not scaling peaks, she enjoys traveling and cherishing moments with her husband and their three beloved dogs. Noelle's dedication to dental excellence and her commitment to a holistic approach in her field make her a pivotal member of the Denver Dentistry team.

The foundation of providing safe and personalized holistic care begins by getting to know you and your goals for your oral health and overall health, both short term and long term. Dr. Grabiak will then learn about your family’s dental and medical history, along with your dental and medical history. Afterwards, we begin your exam by taking a sample of your saliva (Sillha), checking for seven different biomarkers. That same day, we will send you home with a report showing how you scored in those different biomarker categories.

The head and neck examination is often overlooked by busy clinicians but it is as crucial as an element of the oral cancer examination. Dr. Grabiak begins his exam outside of the mouth by starting with a soft tissue check of the neck and the jaw. A thorough head and neck examination is essential for detecting early skin cancers, any overdeveloped jaw muscles that may be contributing towards bruxism, and enlarged lymph nodes that may indicate an active virus or infection.

After the extraoral exam, Dr. Grabiak begins his extensive intraoral exam. During Dr. Grabiak’s exam he is evaluating the teeth, uvula, mucosal tissues, tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and the oropharynx. Part of this exam includes taking high-definition photos of the mouth, all at different angles so you can see exactly what he is seeing. Our hygienist will then come in and complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment. In some cases, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist may recommend additional testing to get to the root cause of the evidence of symptoms they are seeing in your mouth. This entire process takes roughly an hour. In some cases, depending on what Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist had found during their exam we will invite you back for a follow-up appointment called review of findings.

In preparation for the review of findings, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist will take the time to evaluate all of the data that was collected from your examination and testing to determine your specific needs. At your review of findings appointment Dr. Grabiak will sit down with you one on one to review the data that was collected from your appointment, along with any recommendations. This allows you the time to ask Dr. Grabiak any questions that you may have about your treatment recommendations and expectations from treatment.

Jeromy Mulkey

Jeromy Mulkey

Operations Manager

Jeromy earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His journey in the dental field began when he moved to Colorado in 2015 from Hannibal, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse. Starting as a patient coordinator in corporate dental, Jeromy quickly advanced to office manager and eventually managed multiple offices for a DSO, including specialty practices over the next 4 years. In 2019, his transition to holistic dentistry at Denver Dentistry began. This transition brought new challenges and a renewed passion for learning about the latest sciences and technologies integrated into their practice. Since starting at Denver Dentistry, Jeromy has enjoyed learning about safe mercury removal (SMART Protocol), airway management, ozone, salivary testing, biocompatibility testing for materials, heavy metals testing, and the systemic and oral health connection. Jeromy currently resides in Littleton, enjoying the proximity to the mountains. Outside of work, he cherishes time spent with his wife and daughter and enjoys activities such as snowboarding, bouldering, paintball, soccer, basketball, camping, and hiking. Jeromy's dedication to delivering exceptional customer service and contributing to the team's mission of bringing more healthy smiles to satisfied patients is at the core of his professional ethos.
Chelsea White

Jazmin Contreras

Dental Hygiene Assistant

A native of Guatemala and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Jazmin Contreras embarked on her medical journey with a degree in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2020. Her early professional life included a significant role in a chiropractic office, where she gained an appreciation for the interconnectedness of whole-body health. This experience laid the groundwork for her holistic view of healthcare. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jazmin leveraged her linguistic skills as a medical interpreter, greatly enhancing her communication capabilities and deepening her understanding of patient needs and concerns. This role proved essential in her development as a healthcare provider, enabling her to effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers in medical settings. Jazmin's career trajectory took a definitive turn when she joined Denver Dentistry. Under the guidance of Dr. Grabiak, she was introduced to an innovative holistic approach to dental care that aligned with her own values and aspirations. It was here that Jazmin found her calling, thriving in an environment that embraced both traditional and alternative medical philosophies. Known for her robust critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Jazmin is passionate about educating her patients on the nuances of holistic dentistry. She is dedicated to demystifying dental care, ensuring her patients not only receive top-notch treatment but also understand the broader implications of oral health on overall well-being. When not at the clinic, Jazmin and her husband indulge in the great outdoors, pursuing activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking. These adventures not only satisfy their love for nature but also provide Jazmin with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy, which she brings back to her patients and her practice.
lizmar thurber

Lizmar Thurber

Expanded Duties Dental Assistant

Lizmar Thurber is a highly experienced Expanded Duties Dental Assistant, distinguished by her extensive background in both traditional and holistic dental practices. Her educational journey began at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry’s Division of Continuing Education, where she specialized in Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel, Radiological Health, and Safety in 2002. She further enhanced her credentials by earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. In her role, Lizmar leverages a robust skill set tailored to holistic dental care. She has a profound understanding of holistic health practices and is skilled in using biocompatible materials for dental procedures, such as fillings and crowns, to reduce toxicity. Her empathetic demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are pivotal in alleviating patient fears, thereby creating a comforting and reassuring environment. Known for her bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, Lizmar effectively communicates with a diverse patient base, providing clear explanations of holistic dental treatments and procedures. Lizmar's exceptional communication abilities and her capacity to adapt to various treatment modalities are essential in navigating the unique aspects of holistic dental care. Her versatility and adaptability make her an invaluable asset to any dental team, enhancing patient care with a comprehensive, patient-centered approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lizmar cherishes the time spent with her family. Together with her husband, and their sons, she actively participates in various sports activities. They frequently travel for the Colorado Prospects baseball club and engage in other sports like basketball and soccer. Additionally, Lizmar serves her community as a worship pastor, where she shares her passion for music and guides others in their spiritual journey with Christ.

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