New practice parameters published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in the medical journal SLEEP recommend oral appliances as a first-line treatment for snoring and mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is good news for the estimated 20 million OSA sufferers in the US since it enables them to avoid the risks associated with surgery and the discomfort that can accompany other treatment methods.
Signs and Symptoms
OSA causes snoring, airway blockage and sleep disruption. It occurs when the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse to block the airway during sleep, producing pauses in breathing that can occur a few times or several hundred times a night, disrupting sleep. OSA can cause: Excessive daytime sleepiness, an increased risk of high blood pressure, higher rates of stroke, arrhythmias, heart attack and even death.
In fact, OSA reportedly contributed to the 2004 death of football great Reggie White. Experts also believe that it may be responsible for a high percentage of on-the-job injuries and motor vehicle accidents, as well.
“Oral appliances may help people who have tried other OSA treatments and been unsuccessful or who have not complied with their treatment,” Lawrence Epstein, MD, president, American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That’s where Joyful Dental Care comes in: we help those who cannot be compliant with their cPAP machines, or cannot use them all the time. Call us for a free consult! We can help treat the mild and moderate sufferers of sleep apnea.