Sleep Apnea Therapy – Baltimore, MD
Enjoy Quiet, Peaceful Nights Again
Living with sleep apnea can be exhausting for various reasons. Your partner may become annoyed with your frequent loud snoring, and you could find yourself waking up multiple times during the night, occasionally gasping for air. You’ll likely feel sleepy throughout the day even if you went to bed on time. In the long run, you might even experience a heart attack or another serious health problem. Dr. Nancy Ward offers sleep apnea treatment in Baltimore that stops snoring and keeps you breathing normally throughout the night. Call us today to schedule a sleep consultation.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing is repeatedly interrupted while you’re asleep. While this is sometimes due to the brain failing to control the relevant muscles, the most common reason is blockage of the airway due to the tongue and lower jaw collapsing and obstructing the throat. While virtually anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, it tends to most often affect those who are overweight or are suffering from chronic nasal congestion. Other risk factors include a naturally thick neck, high blood pressure, and frequent alcohol and tobacco use.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Common warning signs of sleep apnea include loud chronic snoring and frequent awakenings. These symptoms are most likely to be observed by a partner. (The awakenings are so brief that you likely won’t be fully conscious of them and may not remember them later.) It’s also common to experience a dry mouth or sore throat in the morning. Most people also notice that they feel fatigued throughout the day. Putting off sleep apnea treatment can lead to the issue becoming more complex and deadly, so it’s important to set up a consultation with Dr. Ward as soon as possible.
How Sleep Apnea Can Be Treated
CPAP therapy is often the go-to solution for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine forces air into your throat throughout the night to prevent it from getting blocked. The air is delivered through a special face mask that you put on before you fall asleep. The downside of CPAP therapy is that many patients find they can’t tolerate it in the long run. They find the machine too noisy, or the mask is too restrictive. In a lot of cases, they might stop using CPAP altogether and continue to suffer the effects of sleep apnea. Dr. Ward can offer such patients oral appliance therapy as a more comfortable and convenient alternative.
Oral Appliance Therapy
An oral appliance for sleep apnea is made based on an impression of your mouth so that it takes the exact form it needs to fit on your teeth and gums. The device advances the lower jaw forward and/or holds the tongue in place. This helps ensure that nothing falls back and blocks the throat during the night, allowing you to enjoy hours of uninterrupted rest. While using an oral appliance, you can also take other steps to reduce your personal risk for sleep apnea, such as losing weight.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
If you or your physician suspects sleep apnea, don’t be alarmed. Your sleep dentist will explain everything during your consultation. In the meantime, here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions to calm your nerves until your appointment.
Do I have sleep apnea if I snore?
Snoring doesn’t always indicate sleep apnea. It’s normal for everyone to snore occasionally, like when battling a cold. However, if it's a chronic problem, it can be a symptom of sleep apnea. The two are often connected because they are both caused by the airway narrowing. Although snoring is harmless, it isn’t something to ignore if it is occurring nightly. If sleep apnea is the culprit, you can treat both issues using an oral appliance.
Is an oral appliance effective?
An oral appliance is an FDA-approved method of treating mild-to-moderate cases of sleep apnea when used consistently. Patients report over 95% improvement in symptoms. Although oral appliance therapy is effective, it isn’t suitable for some types of sleep apnea or severe cases. In some situations, an oral appliance may be recommended along with a CPAP machine for maximum benefits.
Do I use my dental insurance for an oral appliance?
Although you’ll visit a dentist for an oral appliance, you won’t use your dental insurance to pay for it. Sleep apnea is a medical condition, so your health insurance will be billed. You will visit a dentist because they have special training in oral anatomy to create the personalized device you need. We will work on your behalf to file the required forms. A member of our team will explain how your coverage is being used and if there’s any remaining balance.
How much does oral appliance therapy cost?
Every situation differs, so there’s not a flat fee for sleep apnea therapy. Various factors affect the amount you will pay, such as the materials used to make your appliance. After creating your treatment plan, we will provide you with an estimate and review your payment options. We will help you find the solutions you need to breathe better without spending your life’s savings.
What are the benefits of oral appliance therapy?
Many patients are ditching their CPAP for an oral appliance because it offers various advantages, including:
- Effective, comfortable solution
- Convenient and portable
- Cost-effective and durable
- Easy maintenance and care
Do I really need to treat sleep apnea?
Loud, chronic snoring isn’t the only complication of sleep apnea. Every pause in breathing depletes your body of oxygen. Not only does this interrupt your sleep quality, but it can also affect your health. Untreated sleep apnea is linked to various health issues, like heart disease and diabetes. It can even affect your mood, memory, and quality of life. Research has shown sleep apnea patients have a heightened risk of auto and workplace accidents from sleep deprivation. Although the initial symptoms may not seem too alarming, without the right intervention, sleep apnea can have devastating consequences for your physical and mental health.