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Dentists Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Snoring with Oral Appliance Therapy
I am happy to partner with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) – a leading national organization of dentists who treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy for their “Keep Calm and Sleep On” educational campaign. The goal is to raise awareness for sleep apnea warning signs (e.g. snoring, breathing that stops during sleep) and available treatment options.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes people to suddenly stop breathing during sleep anywhere from 10 seconds to more than a minute and up to hundreds of times a night. It’s a potentially life-threatening condition affecting more than 12 to 18 million U.S. adults. Sleep apnea can increase the risk for serious health problems from congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence if left untreated.
If you have never consulted a dentist about treatments for sleep apnea and snoring, it may be time. Dental sleep medicine is a growing segment of dentistry that focuses on managing snoring and sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy (OAT) – an effective alternative to the standard continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), up to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not comply with or tolerate CPAP.
“CPAP has maximum benefit for patients only when they are willing and able to use it continuously, and unfortunately some sleep apnea sufferers are unable to do so,” said B. Gail Demko, DMD, president of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. “Dental sleep medicine focuses on managing sleep-disordered breathing like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea using oral appliance therapy – a relatively unknown but very effective treatment option.”
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) uses a “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. OAT devices prevent the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. For many, oral appliance devices are more comfortable to wear than a CPAP mask. The devices are also quiet, portable and easy to care for. Research suggests that oral appliance therapy often can equal CPAP in effectiveness and offers a higher patient compliance rate than CPAP. There are more than 80 different styles of oral appliance devices that have received FDA clearance.
Check out the comparison photo below which shows OAT examples versus CPAP machine and mask.
AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Once a patient is diagnosed with primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep physician, a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can provide treatment with OAT.
Bottom line…Know the warning signs and consult a physician if you or a loved one exhibit any! Consumers with sleep apnea or loud and frequent snoring can go to www.LocalSleepDentist.com to find a local dentist trained in oral appliance therapy.
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