Sleep Apnea

Snoring & Sleep Apnea Annapolis, MD

We don’t just fix smiles, we save lives!

Do you constantly feel fatigued and drowsy even after a full night’s sleep? When you need a comprehensive dentist to evaluate and treat sleep apnea, please contact West Annapolis Family Dentistry online or by telephone at (410) 263-3700 to schedule an appointment.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is characterized by periodic breathing disruptions throughout the night that prevent restful and recuperative sleep.
Snoring and excessive daytime drowsiness are the most prominent signs of sleep apnea. Apart from fatigue, dry mouth, and waking up gasping for breath, people with obstructive sleep apnea can also suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia or early wakefulness
  • High body mass index (thick neck)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want a consultation to find out more about OSA and potential treatment options. Easy to use home sleep tests are also available for patients who demonstrate signs of having some form of sleep-disordered breathing problems. Schedule a free consultation today to see if you can benefit from a home sleep study.

Treatment of OSA

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), approximately one-third of Americans suffer from sleep disorders with excessive snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder where the tongue and soft palate cover the back of the throat periodically during sleep, obstructing the upper airway. Breathing cannot continue, and blood oxygen level drops to the point where you awaken with a gasp to begin breathing again. More apnea episodes may occur after returning to sleep.

The lack of oxygen aggravates a host of other problems, including heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, obesity, depression, stroke, and sexual dysfunction.

Several treatments exist for sleep apnea

As with virtually all health disorders, there is more than one treatment option for people suffering from excessive snoring or OSA. In addition to invasive surgery (UPPP) which can involve a painful and difficult recovery, there is the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and oral appliance therapy.

The traditional method uses a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) mask. The mask is fitted onto the head before sleeping, and a hose blows air down the patients throat to maintain the flow of oxygen during sleep, thus preventing sleep apnea. While proven effective, a substantial number of CPAP users abandon this therapy due to embarrassment or discomfort.

Oral appliances similar to those used for TMJ therapy or occlusal guards offer a more practical and effective alternative to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. At West Annapolis Family Dentistry, our doctors will choose from a variety of FDA approved sleep appliances including (EMA, Herbst, TAP-3, Somnodent, and others) depending on individual patient needs and physiology.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Diagram - Consequences of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Benefits of Oral Dental Appliances

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has recommended the use of oral appliances as the first line of treatment for mild to moderate OSA. AASM further states that oral appliances are indicated for patients who do not respond to CPAP, are not deemed good candidates for CPAP, or fail to use their CPAP for the following reasons:

  • Heat and pressure of the mask is uncomfortable
  • Restrictions on range of motion are intolerable
  • Noise generated by the air pump disturbs restful sleep
  • Difficulty keeping the mask in place during sleep

Oral appliances serve as an easy and effective treatment option that simply “clip” over your teeth while sleeping. This non-intrusive device keeps your throat from closing off the airway by either moving the lower jaw forward (mandibular repositioning) or realigning the position of the tongue. In some cases, particularly where the tongue positioning is a major causative factor, the retraining provided by the device can lead to the tongue eventually learning to position itself correctly so that wearing the device is no longer necessary. Furthermore, patients immediately identify with the benefits of oral appliances over the burdensome CPAP machines.

Oral Sleep Appliance

EMA® Oral Appliances

For a better night’s sleep.

The EMA® appliance promotes a deeper, more restful sleep by preventing snoring and relieving the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.

The EMA (Elastic Mandibular Advancement) oral appliance is a customized removable device for the noninvasive treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The appliance repositions the mandible (lower jaw) and opens the bite to allow for less restricted airflow during sleep.

EMA devices help promote a deeper, more restful sleep by preventing snoring and relieving the symptoms of OSA. Also, the EMA does not interfere with breathing through the mouth, even in cases of congested nasal passages. It has many options for advancement with nine strap lengths (13mm – 21mm) and four different elastic tension options, indicated by color. The shorter the strap, the farther forward the mandible is positioned. The 36 different straps allow for the most effective repositioning of the jaw with maximum comfort. Due to the varying elastic bands, non-restricted lateral/protrusive movement is possible while wearing the device.

Benefits

  • Appliance uses nine different lengths of elastic straps to gradually and incrementally advance the mandible
  • EMA patented design allows freedom of lateral mandibular movement
  • Patients can easily change the elastic straps

Treating Patients with the EMA

Left side

Without the EMA, soft tissues obstructs the patient’s airway.

Right side

The EMA allows for air to flow freely through the patient’s airway.

Treating patients with the EMA

Sleep Apnea Consultations

If you’ve been diagnosed with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea contact West Annapolis Family Dentistry for a treatment consultation.