Sleep Apnea Dentist, Arthur M. Strauss, DDS of Falls Church, VA
Special Interest in
the Dental Management of Snoring,
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and
Awake Related Oral Function Issues


Arthur M. Strauss, D.D.S.
Diplomate, American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine *

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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring & Sleep ApneaSnoring is the sound of obstructed breathing during sleep.  While snoring may be harmless (benign snoring), it can also be the sign of a more serious medical condition which progresses from upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

When you breathe normally, air passes through the nose and past the flexible structures in the back of the throat such as the soft palate, uvula and tongue.   While you are awake, muscles hold the airway open.  When you fall asleep, these muscles relax, but normally, the airway stays open.

Snoring occurs when the structures in the throat are large and when the muscles relax enough to cause the airway to narrow and partially obstruct the flow of air.  As air tries to pass through these obstructions, the throat structures vibrate causing the sound we know as snoring.  Large tonsils, a long soft palate and uvula, and excess fat deposits contribute to air-way narrowing.

When Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat.  This blocks the upper airway, causing air flow to stop. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again - usually with a loud gasp.  People with obstructive sleep apnea have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome

OSA has been associated with high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and excessive daytime sleepiness.  The condition known as upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) lies midway between benign snoring and true obstructive sleep apnea.  People with UARS suffer many of the symptoms of OSA, but normal sleep testing will be negative.

Snoring not only affects the health and well-being of the person snoring, but also the health and well-being of his or her bedpartner leading to marital difficulties and in some cases, divorce.

* Denotes a board certified Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM). The board is self designated and does not confer recognized specialty status by any certifying organization. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recognizes the Diplomate status granted by the ABDSM. All Diplomate applicants must hold (at a minimum) a dental degree (D.D.S. or D.M.D.) or its equivalent and an active unrestricted license to practice dentistry in addition to completing an extensive application process, including presenting case studies and taking a written exam.

Arthur M. Strauss, D.D.S.

311 Park Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046

Phone: 703-237-2350
Fax: 703-241-8414
Email: or

Office Hours

Tue, Wed, Fri: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm - Appointments
Monday - Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm - Administration