Our Services

Dental Airway Assessment: During your in-office dental airway assessment, your dentist performs a number of different evaluations recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). Depending on your assessment, you may require a referral to a sleep specialist. 

Your assessment begins with a discussion of your breathing, sleeplessness, and other indicators of obstructive sleep issues. A simple physical examination known as the Mallampati score can help evaluate if you’re experiencing airway obstruction. 

To determine your Mallampati score, your dentist takes a look at the back of your throat. The score classifies your condition based on the visibility of your soft palate and uvula. If the structures in the back of your throat are partially or completely concealed, it’s highly likely that you’re suffering from airway obstruction. 

If your Mallampati score indicates obstruction, the next step is a sleep study to definitively diagnose and determine the severity of your condition. You and your dentist decide between a home sleep test or an in-lab polysomnography. 

Airway obstruction is the main contributor to conditions like obstructive sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome.

Obstructed airways can be caused by:

  • Naturally narrow airways
  • Narrow arch
  • Position of the tongue
  • Scalloped or enlarged tongue
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Position of the teeth
  • Deviated septum
  • Allergies

Obesity and excess body weight are also major contributors to obstructed airways as excess fat near the airways can obstruct breathing.

Treatment for your sleep apnea may include:

  • Oral appliance therapy
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle changes like weight loss and ceasing smoking

To find out which treatment is right for you, book your appointment by phone or online today.

Oral appliance therapy is effective at addressing the underlying cause of issues like OSA and snoring. Patients treated with oral appliance therapy can restore their sleep health without surgery, injections, or drugs. 

Oral appliance therapy uses removable custom-fit mouthpieces to create space in the airway as you sleep. There are two types of oral appliances primarily used for this type of therapy:

Mandibular repositioning devices

Mandibular repositioning devices are mouthpieces that reposition the lower jaw to keep your airway open as you sleep. Mandibular repositioning devices are the most common type of oral appliance therapy. 

Tongue retaining devices

Tongue retaining devices work by holding the tongue in place to increase airflow as you sleep. Tongue retaining devices use gentle suction to keep the tongue in a forward position and prevent it from obstructing the airway. 

Oral appliance therapy is often used as a more tolerable alternative to treatments like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). During your consultation, your doctor evaluates your condition and determines the best treatment options for you. Oral appliance devices are small, easy to use, and custom-fitted for optimal effectiveness. 

Oral appliance therapy happens in two stages. The first is your consultation. Your dentist performs a dental airway assessment and evaluates the severity of your condition to determine treatment options. Your dentist then selects the best oral device for your condition. 

The second stage is the follow-up stage. After you begin using the oral appliance, you periodically follow-up with your dentist to evaluate the progress of your treatment. 

Candidates for Oral Appliance Therapy 

Patients with moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea who have tried but were not able to tolerate C-PAP are excellent candidates for oral appliance therapy. Good candidates for oral appliance therapy are also patients with primary snoring or mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) who do not respond to OR are not appropriate candidates for treatment with behavioral measures, weight loss or sleep-position changes.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine Recommends Oral Appliance Therapy.

At Ashburn Dental Group, we evaluate your airway using basic as well as advanced technologies like Cone Beam Computerized Tomography and make you a customized Oral appliance to prevent sleep apnea and snoring.

Call us today to book an appointment 703-445-3600