Research shows that about a half a million adults suffer from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), making them two of the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorders. In addition to preventing someone from getting a good night’s sleep, snoring and/or sleep apnea are also accompanied by serious health risks and have been associated with both cardiovascular and systemic disease. The most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is CPAP therapy, but Dr. Linda Hallman of Fitbite, a dental practice in Chevy Chase, MD, offers an alternative treatment for snoring and OSA in the form of a custom fit snore guard to wear while you’re asleep.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most commonly diagnosed in those that are medically obese or carrying excess weight and is more commonly seen in men. Excess tissue in the back of the throat can block the airway as the muscles relax during sleep, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper may wake up multiple times throughout the night, gasping for air. The result is that he or she wakes up feeling tired, may fall asleep during the day, and may have issues with memory and concentration.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
While CPAP therapy, which uses a machine to pump air through a mask and down into the sleeper’s airway to prevent collapse is still the most common sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result. Both methods prevent the airway from collapsing during sleep but the sleep appliance is generally considered to be more comfortable.
The device is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to be comfortable while keeping the airway open. The oral appliance repositions the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep the soft tissue from collapsing over the airway. It’s even made strong enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth-grinders can benefit from the therapeutic benefits of the appliance.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Hallman meets with patients for an individual consultation where she will examine the mouth to ensure a comfortable fit. The device does reposition the jaw, but it’s designed to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report less snoring, better sleep and happier mornings after consistently using the oral appliance.
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes an oral device both effective and comfortable is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth by your dentist. Dr. Hallman will meet with you to discuss your needs, gather precise measurements and your mouth’s specific details, and will work with you to make sure the device is as comfortable for you as possible. We know that the more comfortable the device, the more likely our patients are to wear them to bed every night.
Q: Why should I choose Fitbite to treat my OSA and snoring?
Dr. Linda Hallman is an experienced dentist with a focus on orthodontic treatment of snoring and sleep disorders. Fitbite offers a variety of treatment options at our Chevy Chase orthodontist office including:
ProSomnus® Sleep Apnea and Snoring Devices: These devices help relieve snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. As one of the smallest oral appliances on the market, ProSomnus Sleep and Snore Devices are a comfortable and effective alternative to the CPAP machine.
SomonoDent ( Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance): This custom-made oral appliance positions the lower jaw forward to allow the tissues at the back of the throat to relax, which helps prevent the tongue from collapsing and blocking your airway. There is a wide range of oral appliances to choose from. Our team can work with you to find the right solution for your needs.
TAP ®: The Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) uses the same method as traditional CPR. In order for air to reach the necessary channels, the airway must be open. WIth sleep apnea, the airway consistently collapses, which causes a disruption to that airflow. With TAP, it holds the lower jaw in a more pronounced forward position which prevents it from opening and collapsing the airway.Our caring staff at Fitbite in Chevy Chase, MD wants to help you get better sleep. Call (301) 200-1683 or schedule an appointment online.