What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious medical condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while the patient is asleep. OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. These stops in breathing usually lasts about 10 seconds and are often followed by snorts, gasps, or choking sounds as the patient’s body fights to resume breathing again.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)?
Oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea continue to increase in popularity for many sleep apnea sufferers. Over 100 different oral appliances are FDA approved for the treatment of sleep apnea. These appliances are worn in the mouth, just like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic appliance while sleeping. Oral appliances hold the lower jaw forward just enough to keep the airway open and prevent the tongue and muscles in the upper airway from collapsing and blocking the airway. Two common oral appliances are the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue retaining device.
· Mandibular repositioning device (MAD): it pushes the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward. It prevents the throat muscles and soft tissues from collapsing back into the airways and allowing for normal breathing during sleep.
· Tongue retaining device: It is similar to MAD, but it has a small compartment that fits around the tongue that uses suction to keep it held forward. This prevents the tongue from collapsing back into the airway.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) as the first line treatment for patients diagnosed with Mild to Moderate Sleep Apnea. AASM recommends oral appliance for patients with severe OSA, who are unable to tolerate wearing the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Another option for people with severe OSA is Combination Therapy (wear CPAP and an oral appliance together) to help reduce the pressure on a CPAP machine, making it more comfortable to use.
Why use an Oral Appliance for sleep apnea?
· Oral appliance supports the lower jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway
· An effect treatment option for patients with mild and moderate sleep apnea
How can an Oral Appliance help with sleep apnea?
· Ease of use: more comfortable and tolerable than wearing a CPAP mask (no skin irritation, itchy and dry nose)
· Small and easy to transport at travel
· Patients tend to be more compliant
Side effects of wearing Oral Appliance Therapy
· Soreness of the mouth, sore teeth and/or gums
· Excessive salivation
· Damage or permanent change in position/bite of the jaw
Dr. Anna Lee is a dentist trained in sleep apnea who can assist you with the treatment. Dr. Anna Lee conducts a full evaluation of your teeth, mouth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to ensure that your teeth and jaw structure are healthy enough to wear an oral appliance. If you have any question about oral appliance therapy, please call us for a FREE CONSULTATION at 626-335-5114 or visit our sleep website at www.glendorasleep.com