Sleep Apnea in Frederick, MD
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing, or to produce shallow breaths, throughout the night. This reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain and can lead to some serious health problems if not properly treated. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mild to moderate form of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your treatment could lie in the hands of our Frederick, MD, dentist Dr. Dave Verma.
How Our Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea
When people find out that they have obstructive sleep apnea they may hear that CPAP is one of the most common ways to treat this sleep disorder; however, it isn’t the only option. Our sleep apnea dentists have helped many patients manage their sleep apnea symptoms with oral appliance therapy.
How Do Oral Appliances Work?
An oral appliance is a plastic custom-made device that is similar to a mouth guard or retainer that covers the upper and lower teeth. It holds the jaws in a slightly forward position, keeping the airways open to prevent snoring and to make sure the patient can breathe normally throughout the night. This device only has to be worn while sleeping.
The Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
One of the major benefits of oral appliance therapy is that it’s extremely comfortable and convenient. All you have to do is put in your oral device every night before bedtime. It’s easy to wear and care for, very portable (particularly compared to CPAP equipment) and fits into your lifestyle. While oral appliance therapy is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea it can also treat snoring that isn’t caused by this sleep disorder. If you are committed to wearing your oral appliance every night you will notice dramatic relief from your symptoms within a few days.
Is Oral Appliance Therapy Right for You?
There are over 100 different types of oral appliances that are used to treat sleep apnea. You will need to come into our office for a consultation so we can determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for oral appliance therapy. This device isn’t right for everyone and is most often used to treat more minor cases. Those with more severe cases may not be ideal candidates for treatment.
Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Using oral surgery to help sleep apnea seeks to remove the excess tissue in the throat that is vibrating and blocking the upper air passages. One surgical procedure is an Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This procedure involves removing the excess tissue from the upper mouth and throat. This procedure in performed in a hospital under general anesthesia.
Maxillomandibular advancement is another type of procedure used to assist with sleep apnea. This procedure involves the upper and lower part of the jaw. In this procedure, the jaw is moved forward from the rest of the facial bones. This allows more room behind the soft palate, thereby reducing the obstruction.
Finally, a Tracheostomy is a last ditch effort when other treatments have failed. This involves the surgeon inserting a tube into your throat so you can breathe. It is covered during the day but opens at night while you sleep. All of the aforementioned surgeries are routine and very safe.