Sleep Apnea Treatment

What is the cause and effects of snoring?

Breathing through a narrow airway or windpipe produces vibrations that cause the loud sounds of snoring. Snoring happens during sleep when the muscles relax and have difficulty keeping the airway open. The relaxed jaw position causes the tongue and throat tissues to collapse and narrow the airway.

Snoring can seriously affect the quality of life for both the patient and their family members. Snoring often leads to sleeping in separate bedrooms and can cause problems in relationships. Studies have shown that the bed partners of people who snore don't get the sleep they need. Or they may wake up their snoring partner in an abrupt manner, potentially causing more problems in the relationship.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway completely collapses and blocks airflow into the lungs. The more difficult to breathe, the tighter the airway seals. Without enough oxygen, the brain has to wake up the patient enough to start breathing again. A sleep mate will often hear the patient gasp or choke when they are able to breathe again. People with severe apnea can stop breathing as many as 80 times an hour.

What are oral dental appliances and how are they used in treating snoring and sleep apnea?

If you snore or have sleep apnea, you now have the option of being treated with a simple dental appliance. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine now recommends oral appliances as the first line of treatment for snoring and for mild to moderate sleep apnea and in some cases of more severe apnea where CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) has not worked.

As an alternative to CPAP, the doctors of Bryn Mawr Dental Associates recommend and fabricate special dental appliances for many of their  patients. The advantages of the appliances are that they are patient friendly, easy to fit and provide superior results. They are also considerably less expensive than bulky CPAP devices.

How do oral appliances work?

Also called ASD (Anti Snoring Devices) or MRD (Mandibular Repositioning Devices), oral appliances work by holding the lower jaw in a forward position so that it does not shift or fall open during sleep. This prevents the airway from collapsing thus reducing snoring and/or sleep apnea.

Most patients experience relief the very first night. It can take up to a week to get used to wearing an appliance. The compliance of patients wearing these oral appliances is far greater than wearing a CPAP machine which has a large nose piece, tubes running behind the head, and a noisy air compressor next to the bed. Considering this, oral appliances are a highly effective solution for both snoring and sleep apnea

Bryn Mawr Dental Associates is proud and excited to be one of the only offices in the region that utilizes a medical device called a Pharyngometer to determine the best position for your jaw to treat Sleep Apnea. Most dental offices arbitrarily bring your jaw forward which often leads to discomfort and an ineffective treatment. Utilizing the Pharyngometer allows our doctors to put your jaw in the best position to open and maintain your airway without unnecessary advancements or bite openings. This makes the device much more comfortable and effective. Drs. Bookman, Pavel, and Turner work closely with primary care physicians, ENTs, pulmonologists, and sleep medicine specialists throughout the Philadelphia region to coordinate your treatment and help you get the maximum benefit from your medical insurance company.