Snoring and Sleep Apnea
H. Charles Jelinek, Jr., D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine
Center for CPAP Intolerance
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects people of all ages. It is an involuntary cessation of breath that occurs while someone is sleeping. Those who have this disorder stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time, ultimately leading to fragmented non-refreshing sleep. This disruption can occur hundreds of times per night, sometimes for one minute or longer.
One indicator of sleep apnea is snoring. Snoring is not only disruptive, but can lead to several medical problems including:
- Choking and/or gasping during sleep
- Memory loss
- High blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Dozing while driving
- Daytime sleepiness
- Acid Reflux
- Chronic Fatigue
The Dangers of Snoring
Snoring doesn't just interrupt your sleep cycle. The struggle for breath can result in high blood pressure, which can damage the walls of the carotid arteries and increase the risk of stroke. At certain levels of severity, complete blockage of the airway by the soft tissues and tongue can occur. If this period of asphyxiation lasts longer than 10 seconds, it is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a medical condition with serious long-term effects.
What Causes Snoring?
During sleep, muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth relax, shrinking the airway. This increases the speed of airflow during breathing. As the speed of required air is increased, soft tissues (like the soft palate and uvula) vibrate. The vibrations of these tissues result in "noisy breathing" or snoring. This means that the airway has collapsed and the muscles are failing to maintain their normal function.
Is Surgery the Answer?
Surgical techniques used (tonsil removal, correction of deviated septum or removal of nasal polyps) have shown only moderate success rates with the chance of complications afterwards. Many ENT physicians encourage their patients to try non-invasive oral appliance therapy prior to any invasive surgical procedure. With so many advances in the field of dentistry, patients now have the option to be conservatively and successfully treated with an oral appliance.
How Can an Oral Appliance Prevent Snoring?
A custom-fabricated intraoral dental device moves the lower jaw (mandible) into a forward position, increasing space in the airway. This extra space that is created prevents the airway from collapsing, which can help prevent snoring.
The EMA (Elastic Mandibular Advancement) Appliance
The EMA oral appliance is a customizable, removable appliance designed to treat snoring and OSA.
It is worn while the patient is sleeping, allowing for a less restricted airflow and better quality of sleep.
This is why we treat Sleep Disordered Breathing, commonly referred to as Sleep Apnea:
My husband has severe sleep apnea and struggled getting used to a CPAP machine. He heard about Dr. Jelinek's customized oral device to treat sleep apnea as an alternative to using a CPAP machine and immediately ...sought treatment. The oral device he is using is specific to his jaw and basically keeps his jaw in place while he is sleeping. He's been using the oral device for about 3 months now and the results are amazing! His snoring is almost non-existent. He wakes up energized every morning and no longer requires daily naps. My quality of life has also improved because I can sleep peacefully now. This device changed our lives =) Thank you Dr. Jelinek! Read more
- Carla S.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
From my first phone call to my very own oral appliance for Sleep Apnea, Dr. H. Charles Jelinek and his team were nothing short of an exceptional patient and human experience!! I suffered from fatigue... despite exercise, headaches upon awakening and unrefreshed sleep and was diagnosed with sleep apnea after a sleep study. Dr. Jelinek is one of the very select few Diplomates of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine in the DC Metro, MD and Northern Virginia region. I sought him out after thorough research. In a few short weeks, from a phone call to his office to Judy, a complete insurance benefits review by Erin along with a complimentary evaluation and comprehensive examination and follow up by Dr. Jelinek and his dental assistants I was fitted with an oral device. I have been using for several weeks now. On the very first night that I used the device, the quality of my sleep and the absence of snoring was so profound that even I was unbelievably surprised. More importantly, my wife completely vouched and validated my experience. I am very grateful to Dr. Jelinek and his entire team for making such a wonderful difference in treatment both from a technical expertise and a genuine patient experience point of view!!! Read more
- Vic K.
Sleep Apnea Review
Based on referrals, I sought treatment for my sleep apnea from Dr. Jelinek, Jr., DDS. Sleep apnea is a common disorder that results in the involuntary cessation of breath that occurs while someone is sleeping. I had severe sleep apnea and after several years of unsuccessful results from a CPAP machine, ... I was interested in trying an oral appliance. An oral appliance is a custom-fabricated dental device that moves the lower jaw into a forward position, increasing space in the airway. The extra space that is created prevents the airway from collapsing, which can help to reduce sleep apnea. Without treatment, sleep apnea can result in high blood pressure, which can damage the walls of the carotid arteries and increase the risk of stroke I elected to seek treatment from Dr. Jelinek because he is one of only five dentists in the Washington DC Metro area who is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He is especially qualified and experienced in treating patients with sleep apnea who are CPAP intolerant. My experience thus far has been OUTSTANDING! Dr. Jelinek and his entire staff are extremely professional, courteous and caring. Every step of the process in obtaining an oral appliance was explained in detail with measurement procedures performed in expert fashion. I have been using an oral appliance for approximately one month. The results were immediate and life changing. I now sleep throughout the entire night, not waking up 3 or 4 times like I was prior to my using an appliance. I am now able to reach such a deep sleep that I experience incredible dreams, compared to no memory of dreaming when I was previously waking up 3 or 4 times a night. I would rate my experience and results from Dr. Jelinek and his superb staff as an A+. I am very pleased and deeply appreciative with my improved ability to sleep through the night. I now look forward to an evening's sleep where my prior sleep experience was a constant battle to fall asleep. I sincerely thank and am very grateful to Dr. Jelinek and his entire crew for their dedication to improving the lives of patients through the use of an appliance that provides restorative sleep. Read more
- Howard C.