Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea or a sleep disorder? Are you looking for an alternative to the CPAP?
Dr. Elizabeth Duling is a Diplomate with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) and can offer comprehensive treatment for sleep apnea with advanced oral appliance therapy (OAT). Sleep appliances are custom designed to improve airway function and minimize the symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
They can offer benefits for patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea or are intolerant of the CPAP. Treating sleep apnea is important for overall physical health and wellness and reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease, sudden stroke, and other inflammatory conditions that are impacted by poor sleep over time.
Treating Sleep Apnea and OAT
Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea can often be successfully treated with the consistent use of the right oral appliance. Oral appliance therapy is a modern alternative to CPAP machines. Patients who are intolerant of CPAP can also benefit from this treatment option. CPAP machines are often too loud, bulky, and uncomfortable for some patients. Oral appliances are small and portable. They are similar to other dental mouthguards that we can create with digital impressions.
Dr. Duling works with patients to find the right fit and best functional solution with an oral appliance. We offer a range of oral appliances including ProSomnus® and EMA®. Each of these and the other we work with will support a more open airway by moving the jaw forward.
Also called mandibular advancement, this technology has been proven to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea and allow restful, uninterrupted sleep when used regularly. Mandibular advancement works to prevent the soft tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing into the airway during sleep, resulting in snoring and the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Oral Appliance Therapy: What to Expect
It is important that the right oral appliance is chosen and that it is customized to you and your unique oral structure. Dr. Duling works with her patients to create a custom oral appliance for their needs and thoroughly explains proper care and daily usage during their visit to our Owings Cross Roads dental office. There may be multiple appliances that suit your needs and Dr. Duling will work with you to ensure the choice made is comfortable and functional.
During your consultation with Dr. Duling, she will perform a TMJ exam. She will examine the TMJ joints, tongue, jaw, airway, and muscles of the face. Dr. Duling will take measurements of the jaw opening and the dental hygienist will make dental impressions of the teeth for the appliance. There are a variety of oral appliances that Dr. Duling offers, and she will review these options with you.
There are important considerations when choosing oral appliance therapy and Dr. Duling has a list of 5 questions that each patient should ask themselves as part of their journey to the best solution for their overall health needs.
Below, you can learn more from Dr. Duling herself about how she helps patients find the right fitting oral appliance for their sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatment FAQs
Can sleep apnea be cured completely?
While oral appliance therapy is a solution, it technically doesn’t fully cure sleep apnea. The only way to know the condition is cured is to lose weight or get surgery to remove soft tissues from the back of your throat. However, oral appliance therapy offers relief from the symptoms of sleep apnea, improving your health.
Can I live longer with treated sleep apnea?
Yes. The mortality rate of untreated sleep apnea is higher than that of the normal population. But when sleep apnea is being treated, the mortality rate is comparable to the normal population.
What else can I do to help my sleep apnea?
In addition to fitting you with an oral appliance, Dr. Duling can also offer further advice. Certain medications are best avoided if possible when you have sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side is ideal to ease sleep apnea, and she may recommend other things that you can do.