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Sleep Apnea Treatment in Germantown, MD

Many people struggle with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that disrupts sleep by causing pauses in breathing throughout the night. If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea in Germantown, MD, Clarksburg Dental Center can help. We offer a variety of effective treatment options to improve your sleep quality and overall health.


What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by temporary pauses in breathing during sleep. The term “apnea” originates from the Greek word meaning “breathless.” This interruption in breathing occurs due to either a physical blockage of the airway (known as obstructive sleep apnea) or a failure of the brain to signal the muscles to breathe (known as central apnea).

When breathing stops, the body’s oxygen levels drop, triggering a survival reflex that briefly awakens the person to resume breathing. While this reflex is crucial for survival, it disrupts the natural sleep cycle, preventing deep, restorative sleep. Consequently, this cycle interruption can lead to various health effects, including increased stress on the heart, which may pose severe risks over time.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea disrupts your breathing during sleep, leading to fragmented sleep and potential health complications. There are two main types: obstructive and central sleep apnea, each with distinct causes and symptoms.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This is the most common form. During sleep, relaxed throat muscles and soft tissues collapse, blocking your airway. Your body struggles to breathe, leading to loud gasps, body jerks, and partial or complete awakenings. This disrupts sleep quality and reduces oxygen to vital organs, potentially causing heart rhythm problems.

Central Sleep Apnea

Unlike OSA, the airway remains open in CSA. The problem lies with the brain. The respiratory control center in the central nervous system malfunctions, failing to send signals to the breathing muscles. This causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly during sleep.  Individuals with neuromuscular disorders like ALS, those recovering from a stroke, or people with heart failure, kidney disease, or certain lung diseases are more prone to CSA.


Effects of Sleep Apnea

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Daytime fatigue and excessive sleepiness lead to impaired concentration and productivity.
  • Mood disturbances include irritability, depression, and anxiety.
  • Memory problems and difficulty with learning and decision-making.
  • There is a higher likelihood of accidents, both on the road and in the workplace, due to impaired cognitive function.
  • Decreased quality of life and overall well-being, affecting personal relationships and social interactions.
  • Complications with medications and surgery due to breathing problems during anesthesia.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The causes of breathing disruptions differ between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

  • Muscle Relaxation: During sleep, throat muscles relax, narrowing the airway passage.
  • Snoring: This narrowing creates a vibration in the airway, causing snoring.
  • Airway Blockage: When the airway is completely blocked, breathing stops.
  • Oxygen Deprivation: Lack of oxygen triggers the body to wake briefly, restarting breathing.
  • Repeated Disruptions: These awakenings happen repeatedly throughout sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

  • Brain Communication Issue: The brainstem, responsible for breathing control, fails to detect proper carbon dioxide levels.
  • Shallow Breathing: This leads to slower and shallower breathing during sleep.
  • Repeated Episodes: These shallow breathing episodes occur repeatedly.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea





Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Feeling tired despite a full night’s sleep may struggle to stay awake during the day. Fatigue and daytime drowsiness impact daily activities. Mistaken for laziness or lack of focus in school.
Snoring Common but not universal, it may occur with pauses in breathing. May be less likely to snore; not always present. Common, may be noticed by caregivers.
Mood Changes (Depression, Anxiety) Common symptoms include emotional impact due to disrupted sleep. Anxiety or depression; emotional well-being affected. Emotional issues may affect behavior and performance.
Cognitive Issues (Memory, Concentration) Memory loss, trouble concentrating, brain fog. Similar cognitive impacts include difficulty with memory and focus. Difficulty focusing in school; academic performance may suffer.
Nocturnal Symptoms (Waking up frequently) Waking up repeatedly during the night may not remember waking up. Trouble sleeping; frequent awakenings during the night. Restless sleep; frequent movements or noises during sleep.
Pauses in Breathing Others notice breathing pauses, a hallmark of sleep apnea. Others observe pauses in breathing during sleep. Breathing pauses during sleep may cause concern for parents.
Cheyne-Stokes Breathing (CSB) Distinctive breathing pattern with rapid, deep breaths followed by shallow ones or pauses. Similar breathing patterns; may experience CSB during sleep. N/A
Insomnia Difficulty falling or staying asleep despite adequate opportunity. Trouble sleeping; difficulty maintaining sleep. Difficulty sleeping through the night; may wake up frequently.
Night Sweats and Restlessness Waking up sweating or feeling restless during the night. Restlessness and night sweats may occur. Nighttime discomfort; physical restlessness.
Sexual Dysfunction Decreased libido or other sexual performance issues. Similar issues with sexual function may arise. N/A
Waking Up Gasping or Choking Sensations of suffocation or choking upon waking. Feeling unable to breathe properly upon waking. Waking up distressed due to breathing difficulties.
Morning Headaches Headaches upon waking, potentially due to oxygen fluctuations during sleep. Common symptoms: morning headaches may occur. Headaches upon waking may indicate disrupted sleep patterns.
Hyperactivity or Problems Focusing N/A Difficulty focusing may affect daily activities. Hyperactivity or attention issues in school may impact academic performance.
Trouble Swallowing or Breathing N/A Daytime mouth breathing; trouble swallowing may be noted. Daytime breathing issues may involve mouth breathing or throat discomfort.
Unusual Sleeping Positions/Movements N/A Unusual sleeping positions; movements during sleep. Sleeping positions like hands and knees; movements during sleep may be observed.
Bedwetting N/A N/A Bedwetting may be a sign of sleep disturbance.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Multiple factors influence a person’s likelihood of developing sleep apnea, with different factors affecting obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

Risk Factors of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

  • Age: Risk increases until your 60s or 70s.
  • Sex: Men are more likely to have OSA, especially younger men.
  • Anatomy: Features like a large tongue or short jaw can increase risk.
  • Weight: A higher Body Mass Index (BMI) is a significant risk factor.

Other Potential OSA Risk Factors

  • Smoking: May increase risk compared to non-smokers.
  • Hormones: Conditions like underactive thyroid or excess growth hormone may play a role.
  • Sleeping position: Sleeping on your back may worsen OSA.
  • Family history: Genetics may increase risk through shared anatomical features.
  • Nasal congestion: Difficulty breathing through your nose can be a factor.
  • Medications: Alcohol, some prescriptions, and narcotics may elevate risk.
  • Medical conditions: Certain heart and lung problems may be linked to OSA.

Risk Factors of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

  • Underlying medical conditions: CSA often occurs due to issues like brain stem problems, heart or kidney failure, stroke, or excess growth hormone production.
  • Age: People over 65 are at higher risk.
  • Sex: Men are more likely to have CSA, possibly due to sex hormones.
  • Medications: Chronic use of opioids and certain prescriptions may raise risk.
  • High altitude: Low oxygen levels at high altitudes can contribute to CSA.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

To diagnose a sleep disorder, our experts will likely:

  • Ask you about your symptoms and sleep habits. This could include how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up during the night, and how tired you feel during the day.
  • Talk to your bed partner if you have one. They can provide information about your sleep behaviors that you might not be aware of, such as snoring or restless movements.
  • Recommend a sleep study. This test monitors your brain waves, breathing, heart rate, and muscle activity while you sleep. It can help identify what type of sleep disorder you may have. There are two main types of sleep studies: in-lab studies and home sleep tests.

What Tests Will be Done to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

The dental team of Clarksburg Dental Center will perform the below mentioned tests to diagnose your sleep apnea:

Overnight Sleep Study (Polysomnography)

An overnight sleep study, or polysomnography, is conducted in a medical facility often called a “sleep lab.” This facility is designed to provide a comfortable environment while closely monitoring your sleep. During the test, sensors are attached to your body to track various physiological parameters, including heart rate, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and brain waves. This comprehensive monitoring makes polysomnography the gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea.

Home Sleep Apnea Testing

Home sleep apnea testing allows you to conduct a sleep study from the comfort of your own home. While similar to an overnight sleep study, it does not monitor brain waves. This method is generally not used to diagnose central sleep apnea and may not be suitable for those suspected of having severe sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. If a home test does not indicate sleep apnea but symptoms persist, experts often recommend a follow-up overnight sleep study for confirmation.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. There is no cure for sleep apnea, but there are effective treatments that can help reduce or eliminate its effects on life. The best treatment for you will depend on the type and severity of your sleep apnea and your overall health.

Conservative Treatments

These nonmedical approaches can typically improve or resolve obstructive sleep apnea. Although they don’t cure the condition, they can reduce apnea to a point where it stops happening or isn’t severe enough to cause symptoms. These include:

  • Weight Loss: A 10% decrease in body weight can significantly improve sleep apnea for individuals with excess weight or obesity.
  • Position Changes While Sleeping and Sleep Aid Items: Sleeping on your back increases the likelihood of sleep apnea. Special support pillows and similar items help change your sleep position, keeping you off your back so that soft tissue doesn’t press on your windpipe and obstruct breathing.
  • Nasal Sprays and Adhesive Strips: Over-the-counter products can improve breathing by easing air passage through your nose. They can’t address moderate or severe sleep apnea but may help with snoring and mild cases.
  • Treating Underlying Conditions: Managing conditions such as heart failure can often improve central sleep apnea.
  • Medication Adjustments: Working with your doctor to reduce or stop opioid pain medications may improve or resolve central sleep apnea.

Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) and Adaptive Ventilation

Positive airway pressure involves using a specialized device to increase air pressure inside your airway while you inhale. This method treats obstructive, central, and mixed sleep apneas by pushing pressurized air through a hose connected to a mask worn on the face during sleep. The pressurized air keeps the airway open, preventing blockage.

Oral Devices

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when soft tissue in the head or neck presses on the windpipe. Special mouthpiece devices, often created by dentists and sleep medicine specialists, hold the jaw and tongue in a position that prevents airway blockage.

Nerve Stimulators

Nerve stimulators can treat obstructive sleep apnea by targeting the hypoglossal nerve, which controls tongue movements. An electrode attaches to the nerve under the jaw and is connected to a device implanted under the skin in the chest. This device stimulates the nerve, pushing the tongue forward to prevent it from blocking the windpipe during sleep.

A similar approach for central sleep apnea involves stimulating the phrenic nerves, which control the diaphragm muscles responsible for breathing. This stimulation helps maintain regular breathing patterns.


Surgical procedures on the nose, mouth, and throat can prevent blockages that cause sleep apnea. The impact of these surgeries varies among individuals and is usually more effective in children than adults. Procedures include:

  • Somnoplasty: Uses radiofrequency (RF) to reduce soft tissue around the upper windpipe.
  • Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy: Removing the tonsils and adenoids widens the airway, making it easier for air to pass through and reducing soft tissue that can block breathing.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This procedure removes the uvula and soft tissue from the soft palate and pharynx to widen the airway.
  • Jaw Surgery: Changes the jaw position to prevent soft tissue from pressing on the airway, which is beneficial for those with structural causes of sleep apnea.
  • Nasal Surgery: Procedures like septoplasty straighten nasal tissue, easing airflow through the nasal passages.

Medications for Central Sleep Apnea

In addition to PAP, adaptive ventilation, and phrenic nerve stimulators, certain medications can help treat central sleep apnea. These may include hypnotic medications, respiratory-stimulating drugs, and others, though none are formally approved specifically for this use.

How Much Does Sleep Apnea Treatment Cost?

The cost of treating sleep apnea varies depending on the chosen treatment option.

  • CPAP machines, essential for maintaining open airways during sleep, range from $300 to $850, depending on features like humidifiers and auto-adjusting capabilities. Insurance typically replaces CPAP machines every five years.
  • Oral appliances designed to reposition the jaw and improve airflow cost between $1,800 and $2,000, covering consultation, custom molds, and adjustments. These appliances require periodic replacement, especially after dental work altering the bite.
  • Surgical interventions for sleep apnea span a broad cost spectrum. Simple procedures like turbinate reduction may cost between $1,000 and $3,000, while advanced treatments such as the hypoglossal nerve stimulator (e.g., Inspire) range from $30,000 to $40,000.

Financing Options at Clarksburg Dental

In partnership with Compassionate Finance, we ensure that top-notch dental care is within reach for everyone, regardless of their insurance status. Our personalized payment plans feature flexible terms and fixed interest rates, empowering patients to select the option that suits them best. With a straightforward approval process backed by the convenience of qualifying with an active bank account, we make quality dental care accessible without the usual financial hurdles.

Why Choose Clarksburg Dental Center for Sleep Apnea Treatment in Germantown, MD?

At Clarksburg Dental Center, we understand how sleep apnea can impact your life. We offer a comprehensive approach to sleep apnea treatment, including:

  • Expertise in Sleep Apnea: Our team is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea using the latest techniques.
  • Advanced Diagnostic Tools: We utilize state-of-the-art equipment to ensure accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plans.
  • Personalized Treatment Plans: Each treatment plan is customized to meet the unique needs of our patients, ensuring the best possible outcomes.
  • Comprehensive Care: From initial consultation to ongoing management, we offer complete care for sleep apnea to improve your quality of life.
  • Patient-Centered Approach: We prioritize your comfort and well-being, providing compassionate and attentive care throughout your treatment.

Visit Clarksburg Dental for Sleep Apnea Treatment in Germantown, MD Today!

Don’t let sleep apnea disrupt your life any longer. Call Clarksburg Dental today to discuss sleep apnea treatment options in Germantown, MD. Our team can help you breathe easier and get your desired restful sleep.


  • Is sleep apnea genetic?

    Genetics can play a role in developing sleep apnea, especially if family members have the condition.

  • Can sleep apnea cause high blood pressure?

    Untreated sleep apnea can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) due to intermittent drops in blood oxygen levels during sleep.

  • Does sleep apnea cause weight gain?

    Sleep apnea itself may not directly cause weight gain, but obesity is a significant risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Is sleep apnea a disability?

    In some cases, severe sleep apnea can impact daily functioning and quality of life, potentially qualifying as a disability under certain circumstances.

  • How long does sleep apnea last?

    Sleep apnea can persist as a chronic, long-term condition. While weight loss or specific treatments may resolve it for some individuals, for others, it may remain a lifelong challenge.

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