Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a very common medical condition where the tongue and soft palate collapse in the back of the throat during sleep, causing air flow to stop. When the oxygen level in the blood drops low enough, the patient awakens, usually with a gasp. This repeats frequently throughout the night, causing the affected patient to get insufficient rest.
OSA has significant consequences to health.
Research shows that OSA increases the risk for:
OSA is a serious medical condition that must be diagnosed by a physician (usually a sleep medicine doctor).
Treatment options include weight loss, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP machine), Dental Appliance Therapy and Surgery.
Dental appliance therapy refers to an appliance that is worn in the mouth while sleeping to treat snoring and OSA. The purpose of this appliance is to mechanically keep the lower jaw in a more forward position; this repositions the tongue and other soft tissues to maintain an open, unobstructed airway.
Dental appliance therapy is as equally effective as CPAP for management of mild to moderate OSA. The appliances are better tolerated than CPAP for many reasons:
Patients who travel frequently benefit from having the dental appliance, even if they successfully use CPAP.
If you think you may have a problem, click here to take the Epworth Sleepiness Test.
Contact us today for more information.