Understanding

Sleep Apnea

Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from a lack of sleep—and even exhaustion—caused by sleep apnea. Chronic snoring problems and interrupted sleep aren’t just an inconvenience. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to more serious health risks. Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleep disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing are called apneas and they can happen hundreds of times each night. Sleep apnea can have a negative impact on your health and prevent you from getting the restful night’s sleep your body needs.

VIDEO: What is Sleep Apnea?
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Potential Health Issues

From Untreated Sleep Apnea

Continuously interrupted sleep can result in serious health-related problems.
Potential health issues that may result from untreated sleep apnea include:

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Sudden death

Heart attack

Stroke

High blood pressure

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Diabetes

Obesity

ADHD

sleep-apnea-health-risks-concentration-problems

Dementia

Depression

Inability to concentrate

Impaired memory

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Common Symptoms

Sleep Apnea

  • Frequent, loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Chronic exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep
  • Gasping, choking or snorting during sleep
  • Morning headaches

  • Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor memory, moodiness or difficulty concentrating
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat

understanding sleep apnea and health risks

Sleep Apnea Risk Quiz

Important Considerations for Sleep Apnea

Use this brief questionnaire and checklist to determine if you might be at risk for sleep apnea.


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Sleep Consultation | Sleep Apnea | Maryland Sleep Apnea | Ellicott City MD

Complimentary

Sleep Apnea Consultation

Our doctors feel so strongly that knowledge and action can improve and save lives that they are offering a no-cost individual 30 minute consultation on sleep breathing disorders. Whether it’s loud snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, make sure you are not at risk for this very treatable, potentially life threatening condition. Learn more about sleep apnea and get all of your questions answered. We have a limited number of consultation times available, so schedule yours as soon as possible.

Stop Snoring | Sleep Apnea | Maryland Sleep Apnea | Ellicott City MD

At-Home Sleep Test

A comfortable alternative

If during your consultation it is suspected that you may suffer from sleep apnea, we will assist you in ordering a convenient and accurate home sleep test designed to assist in the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing. In the comfort of your own bed, you’ll wear the testing device while sleeping. A Board Certified Sleep Physician will interpret the data and we will contact you to discuss your results.

At Home Sleep Apnea Test| Maryland Sleep Apnea | Ellicott City MD
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Sleep Apnea Solutions

There are various methods of treating sleep apnea. One of the following options may be the right solution for you. 

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Oral Appliances

These devices are custom fitted by dentists with special expertise and training in treating sleep apnea. They fit in the mouth, similar to a retainer or mouth guard. They open your airway by moving your lower jaw and tongue forward while you sleep. They are small, comfortable and effective.

CPAP sleep apnea treatment

CPAP Device

With Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), patients wear a specialized mask over the nose and face during sleep. The CPAP device delivers a steady supply of air, keeping the airway open. CPAP treatment can be very effective, however the patient must be willing to use it correctly and consistently.

sleep apnea surgery solution

Upper Airway Surgery

There are several surgical options. Nasal surgery can correct a deviated septum or remove bones in your nose to improve air flow. Surgery may also be performed to remove and/or reduce the size of the soft palate, uvula and back of the tongue. These surgeries are not typically recommended as first line treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.

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Benefits of Treatment

Restful Sleep

A full night’s sleep for both you and your partner. Wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Daytime Alertness

Experience increased concentration, memory, focus and energy.

Improved Health

Avoid the health risks caused by untreated sleep apnea and live a longer, healthier, more enjoyable life.

Maryland Sleep Solutions

Snoring | CPAP Intolerance | Sleep Related Breathing Disorders

Dr. Damian D Blum | Sleep Apnea | Maryland Sleep Apnea | Ellicott City MD

Dr. Damian Blum

Diplomate, American Board Dental Sleep Medicine
Diplomate, American Sleep and Breathing Academy
National Speaker and Educator in Dental Sleep Medicine

According to Dr. Damian D. Blum, “The dentist of today, if well trained and forward thinking, can foretell the future physical and mental disorders of patients. This can be done through understanding of patients’ current oral and systemic conditions, and with appropriate therapeutic intervention, we can change the future into a healthier one.”

More About Dr. Damian Blum

Born in Argentina to a poor family, Dr. Blum’s parents emigrated to the United States when he was only 10 years old in order to escape discrimination and persecution and to give their children a chance at a better life. Although his parents only had a six-grade education, their wisdom, love, and compassion helped to propel him to become the first person in his family to achieve a post-graduate education.

From his parents he got his passion and calling to help and serve others. Having studied under many of the top clinicians in the world for the past 35 years. Dr. Blum began his journey toward becoming a dentist as a volunteer at the Sinai Hospital Dental Clinic and eventually graduated from UMBC with a BA in Biology / Psychology. He went on to Boston University’s School of Dental Medicine, graduating with a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree in 1983. In that same year, he opened the doors of his first private practice in Baltimore, and later opened the doors of a new practice in 1987 in Ellicott City MD. Passionate about education and sharing knowledge, Dr. Blum believes that if someone has the opportunity to learn something, they should pay it forward. Dr. Blum attends training and conferences year-round, sometimes as a student, and other times as the instructor. He is also a past Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

In recent years, Dr. Blum has been lecturing and training other dentists around the country in improving patients’ airway, sleep-disordered breathing, and in alternative therapy for those who cannot wear a CPAP machine. He also has spoken and trained other dentists in the therapeutic and cosmetic uses of Botox® to help with migraines, TMD and Orofacial pain management in addition to using other modalities for the same purpose of pain management.

Dr. Blum has become one of the most sought-after clinicians and dental speakers in this country! Today, his professional time is spent on helping patients, teaching and training other clinicians and their teams, to do what he does.

Dr. Blum’s practice is focused on helping patients who suffer from Sleep Related Breathing Disorders such as Sleep Apnea and Snoring as well as those who suffer from TMD and Orofacial pain. His reputation for performing the highest-quality dentistry is only rivaled by his kindness and penchant to turn a smile. When he was involved in Dentistry, he brought compassion and excellence to the art of dentistry, excelling in cosmetic dentistry and smile design. When asked what he likes most about his work, he says he loves it when he absolutely knows that he has made a true difference in someone’s life — “one of the most amazing feelings in the world.”. From using and customizing life-saving treatment plans for patients with obstructive sleep apnea and those who are CPAP intolerant, to helping patients who have suffered from Craniofacial and Orofacial pain for many years, so that they become healthier and happier again — these are the reasons Dr. Blum loves doing what he does every day!

For more than 35 years, Dr. Blum‘s patients have benefited from his dedication to improving their oral and systemic health. He maintained a “mercury-free” dental practice for many years after finding, through existing research, that mercury was a neurotoxin and not safe to place in patients’ mouths.

He also discovered and understood, through the research and literature, the ever-present relationship between dental problems, periodontal problems, Orofacial pain, TMD, headaches, systemic inflammatory diseases, and problems with the patient’s airway and breathing. Once he started researching and digging deeper into the connection between systemic health, airway blockages, and sleep-disordered breathing, there was no turning back.

Dr. Blum’s sole purpose has become helping his patients and teaching other dentists and allied health professionals about airway problems and sleep-related breathing disorders, so they can help their patients as well.

“Building health is not about competition – it’s about community.”

Through his clinical practice, lectures, and workshops, Dr. Blum has made it his quest to spread the word about the treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders.

Dr. Blum always makes the space and time to volunteer and give to people and organizations in need. “One of the best parts of being in a community is the act of building it.” Dr. Blum participated in the Give Back a Smile Program by donating restorative and cosmetic dentistry services to survivors of domestic violence. In addition, Dr. Blum had donated his dental services for many years through the Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, taking on patients who were experiencing difficulties and had have slipped through the cracks of Health Care programs, or had disabilities that rendered them unable to care for themselves.

When not treating patients, Dr. Blum and his wife, Betsy, travel around the country teaching other dentists how to help their patients deal with the effects of sleep-related breathing disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea. He also enjoys reaching out to the community, geeking out to good music, and getting involved in just causes. At home, he can usually be found performing cooking experiments, gardening, and working on the farm side by side with his wife Betsy. Both he and Betsy were married before, and they both lost their spouses to cancer. Their union is about love, understanding and second chances in life. Their four children (from oldest to youngest), Bill, Beth, Ashley and Rye, along with their four grandchildren are their pride and joy.

What Clients Have To Say About Dr. Blum

“I have been a patient of Dr. Blum since 2013. He has been EXCEPTIONAL in his diagnosis and treatment of my Sleep Apnea condition. Dr. Blum is very patient and considerate of the needs of his patients and takes whatever time is necessary to make sure they fully understand the plan that will be best for them. If you want the very best treatment, then of course you will make an appointment today to get your sleep apnea problems resolved quickly and properly.” -Alvin D.

“Dr. Blum and his team are professional and very knowledgeable. It’s a nice touch to have the doctor greeting you when you arrive for your appointment. Great first impression!” -Amanda M.

Dr. Blum's Certifications & Affiliations:

  • A Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • A Diplomate of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy
  • A member of the Committee on Education of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy
  • A Clinical Instructor and National Speaker on Dental Sleep Medicine and Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders
  • An Elected Fellow of the International Academy for Dental Facial Aesthetics
  • Winner of the Spectrum Award
  • Winner of the Talk Of The Town Award
  • A 2010 Founding Member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health
  • A member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
  • A member of the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry
  • A 1986 Charter Member of the American Academy for Functional Orthodontics
  • A member of the American Dental Association
  • A member of the Maryland State Dental Association
  • A member of the Howard County Dental Association
  • A member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
  • A member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • A member of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy
  • A member of the Maryland Sleep Society
  • A past member of the Leading Physicians of the World
  • A past member of the International Association of Dentists
  • An accredited member and past adjunct faculty of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics
  • A past volunteer faculty University of Maryland School of Dentistry

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For Maryland Sleep Solutions

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Common Questions

Regarding Sleep Apnea

If I snore, do I have sleep apnea?

Snoring frequently accompanies sleep apnea but it is not always an indicator of whether this sleep condition is present. However, snoring can indicate that bulky throat tissue could potentially obstruct airways – especially if patients have certain lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep apnea. Fortunately, the treatment we offer for sleep apnea and snoring is the same. By prescribing a custom oral appliance, the diameter of the airway can be widened to prevent the sounds of snoring as well as episodes of apnea. These oral appliances are soft and comfortable to wear. They work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward so that the airway is no longer obstructed.

Is it possible that I have sleep apnea even if I don't snore?

Anyone of any age can have sleep apnea. Even though snoring can accompany sleep apnea, it is not always a symptom of this sleep disorder. For this reason, it is important to have a sleep study conducted to determine if apnea is occurring. Our practice provides take-home sleep study machinery to detect episodes of apnea during sleep. After usage, the device will be returned to our practice and we will analyze the data collected. If we find that sleep apnea is present or determine if snoring is obstructing one’s quality of life, we will provide treatment recommendations.

What causes sleep apnea?

The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different for each person. Anyone can develop it, regardless of age or gender. The most common risk factors include:

  • Being over age 40
  • Having a large neck (over 17 inches in men, 16 inches for women)
  • Being overweight – approximately half of OSA sufferers are overweight
  • Being male – more men than women suffer from OSA
  • Having a large tongue or small jaw
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (particularly in children)
  • Using alcohol or sedatives which relax the muscles in the airway
  • Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum or sinus and allergy problems

What is the difference between a CPAP and an oral appliance?

While CPAP is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people cannot tolerate the discomfort of  the mask and the inconvenience and noise of the machine. Therefore a high percentage of users have difficulty or will not wear them.  

An oral appliance is a popular alternative to the CPAP. This device is small, portable, fits more comfortably and can provide similar treatment benefits.

How do you confirm the effectiveness of the oral appliance?

You will have a follow-up sleep study while using your oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device. A consultation with the sleep medicine physician will be necessary to interpret the results.

Does insurance cover sleep apnea treatment?

Because insurance plans vary widely, our experienced team will work with you to see if your insurance company will cover the oral appliance. If for any reason it isn’t covered, we will let you know and work with you to develop a financial plan if needed.

If coverage is available for oral appliances, it will come from your medical insurance carrier. Most dental insurance companies do not cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.  

Our patients tell us it is well worth the investment of their time and money to treat their sleep apnea because of the improved quality of life they experience.

What if I don’t have insurance?

We offer financing options and will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs.

How long will it take to adapt to the oral appliance? Will it hurt my teeth?

The majority of patients will adapt to the appliance within 5-10 days. It will take a few days to get used to having a device in your mouth while you sleep. The appliance will not hurt your teeth. If your teeth are sore after initial use, we can easily adjust it for your comfort.

How often will the appliance need to be replaced?

They are made of hard acrylic, which is very durable. They are typically replaced every 3-5 years depending on wear and tear. If you grind your teeth, you may have a more frequent rate of repair or replacement.

Will the appliance change my bite?

A change in your bite is possible. Depending on the position of your teeth and the status of your bone, your teeth may shift. This can be minimized with the use of a morning re-positioning device.

Are there any side effects of the appliance?

The most common side effect is morning muscle soreness that usually goes away after a short time. Some patients may experience either dry mouth or excessive salivation. As mentioned above, minor tooth movement occurs in some patients.

How long will I have to use the oral appliance?

Obstructive sleep apnea in unlikely to decrease with age; therefore your oral appliance will probably be a lifelong therapy. However, certain wellness factors such as significant weight loss may improve your symptoms.

Can’t I just order a boil and bite device off the internet?

While there are over-the-counter appliances you can order, keep in mind these are not FDA approved for treating sleep apnea. Additionally, when not fitted properly they may cause unwanted side effects such as jaw problems or excessive tooth movement.

Schedule Your Complimentary
Sleep Apnea Consultation

Maryland Sleep Solutions
5454 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 620, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 | (301) 652-3355