Sleep Apnea

WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?

What is Sleep Apnea?

OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea) is when the soft tissue within a person’s throat is always collapsing and blocking the airway when they are sleeping.

There are pauses and partial reductions in breathing that normally last between ten and thirty seconds, but can sometimes last longer than a minute. This causes reduction in blood oxygen levels and can happen hundreds of times at night.

When the brain tells the body that it is lacking oxygen a person briefly wakes up and restores normal breathing. This causes a person to have inconsistent or fragmented sleep patterns and leads to daytime sleepiness which could take a negative toll on the daily lives of people.

Those with OSA tend to snore frequently and loudly. There may be periods of silence when airflow is blocked or reduced followed by choking, snorting, or gasping sounds when the airway reopens.

OSA must be diagnosed by a Sleep Physician and a Sleep Study.

ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY

Oral appliances are worn when you sleep. The help with sleep apnea by preventing the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. This allows the airway to stay open during sleep. The oral appliances are worn like an orthodontic appliance or a sports mouth guard. It will help a person allow adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep for people with OSA.

Oral appliances are able to be used in addition to CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) therapy. Our office and your sleep physician must consult in order to determine the best therapy option for you.

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.