Sleep Apnea/ Snoring Washington DC
Oral Appliances (Mouth Guards) for OSA & Snoring
Sleep affects all aspects of life. Getting a good night sleep is essential to helping you look, feel and perform your best. Sleep disordered breathing, such as Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), can leave you and your partner feeling exhausted, even after a full night sleep. More importantly, if left untreated, OSA can negatively affect your overall health and wellness.
Dr. McGorry has completed over 80 hours of continuing education in dental sleep medicine and passed her board exam in 2020, achieving Diplomate status with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. McGorry maintains active membership in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
What is Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Snoring occurs when the upper airway tissues vibrate with each breath during sleep, making a noise. Snoring can affect not only your sleep partner, but if loud enough, can wake the person who snores as well, causing fragmented sleep. Snoring often worsens with alcohol, smoking and nasal obstruction. Snoring may also be positional in nature. Loud and frequent snoring is a common sign of OSA, but not everyone who snores has OSA. Before treatment of snoring, OSA should be ruled out.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. and occurs when the upper airway muscles relax during sleep and the airway narrows or collapses completely. This decrease in flow of oxygen indirectly signals the brain to wake up, tensing the muscles and opening the airway, allowing you to breathe again. Hundreds of times a night, patients stop breathing, some for a few seconds and others for more than a minute. Some patients report they wake up gasping for air at night. However, many patients don’t remember waking at all despite having multiple arousals throughout the night to breathe.
Is it important to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring?
The treatment of OSA is essential to improving your overall health. Untreated OSA raises your risk for serious health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and erectile dysfunction. With severe cases of OSA, lack of treatment even increases your risk of death.
The treatment of snoring can decrease inflammation of your airway as well as improve dry mouth by enabling proper nasal breathing. Dry mouth contributes significantly to cavity formation, so the treatment of it is essential to maintaining good oral health. Most importantly, the treatment of snoring improves both you and your partners ability to sleep soundly through the night.
At Markowitz Dental we work closely with your sleep physician to help you get the sleep you deserve. Essential to proper treatment of sleep disorders is proper diagnosis. If you currently snore and think you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the first step is to get evaluated by your physician. They may have you complete a Sleep Study or Polysomnogram (PSG) at home or overnight at their facility. Once the diagnosis of Primary Snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is made, the correct treatment can be determined. A thorough discussion with your doctor is crucial to determining the best, and most manageable treatment for you. If you need help finding a sleep physician, feel free to give us a call and we can direct you to one.
How do I treat my Obstructive Sleep Apnea/ Snoring?
Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Depending on severity of OSA, it most commonly treated using CPAP therapy, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This type of therapy has been used for years and works in almost all cases. CPAP therapy relies on a constantly running machine that sends a continuous flow of pressurized air into your lungs at night through a face-mask and series of tubes. This pressurized air blows open the area of previous airway obstruction, effectively eliminating the spontaneous pauses in breath associated with OSA. The CPAP machine is prescribed by your physician for you to use at home.
Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Snoring
Oral Appliance Therapy is an alternate method to treat OSA and snoring. Oral Appliance Therapy utilizes a mouth guard-like device to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. No hoses or face masks are required, so many patients tolerate it much better than CPAP. Oral Appliance Therapy can help quiet or diminish snoring in most patients, giving you and your partner better sleep.
Not all patients with OSA are good candidates for Oral Appliance Therapy. It is best utilized for patients with diagnosed mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or for patients with primary snoring. In more severe cases, Oral Appliance Therapy may improve your sleep disordered breathing, but not resolve it completely. *At times, severe cases are treated with Oral Appliance Therapy because the patient is unable to tolerate or comply with a CPAP machine. In those cases, some improvement is better than no improvement at all.
How do I get an Oral Appliance?
Fill out the sleep specific patient intake forms and email those along with a copy of your medical insurance card to [email protected]. In addition, talk to your physician. The Oral Appliance must be prescribed by your physician, so a prescription form is linked for your physician to fill out and send to us with a copy of your most recent sleep study. Both the prescription and a copy of your most recent sleep study are required before treatment can begin.
How long will it take to get my Oral Appliance?
Once we have all your documentation, it takes about 3 weeks from your initial appointment with us to fabricate the appliance (depending on the type of appliance chosen). Once fabricated, we have you in for a fitting appointment where we adjust the appliance to optimize your comfort.
Unlike a CPAP, the oral appliance is slowly adjusted as the patient wears it over several weeks to create a combination of optimal comfort and effectiveness.