Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissue in a person’s throat repeatedly collapses and blocks the airway during sleep.
These partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing typically last between 10 and 30 seconds, but can persist for one minute or longer. These pauses can happen hundreds of times a night, leading to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen levels.
The brain alerts the body to its lack of oxygen, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often leads to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They then make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when their airway reopens
The Diagnosis for sleep apnea must be made by a Sleep Physician with the aid of a Sleep Study.
Oral Appliances are placed in the mouth and are worn much like an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth protector. They are worn during sleep to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat so that the airway stays open during sleep. The appliances promote adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep in people who snore and have sleep apnea.
Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other means of therapy such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). Determination of proper therapy can only be made by joint consultation of our office and your sleep physician.
The Practice Parameters published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2006 include oral appliances as a first line of therapy in the standard of care for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
According to the guidelines, oral appliances (OAs) are indicated
For patients with mild to moderate OSA who prefer OAs to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), and in all cases for those who do not respond to CPAP, are not appropriate candidates for CPAP, or who fail treatment attempts with CPAP or treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep position change.1
Oral appliance therapy for sleep disordered breathing has repeatedly been validated and shown to be efficacious.2,3 Studies have shown compliance rates as high as 95% with oral appliance therapy.4,5 Because compliance rates are so high with oral appliance therapy, it can be a very effective treatment for patients over a long period of time.
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