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September 27, 2012

American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine

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Dr. Boe and Dr. Page are members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). They are committed to offering an alternative treatment for people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA affects approximately 18 million Americans, causing them to stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes for one minute or longer, hundreds of times a night. This sleep deprivation can lead to numerous, life compromising consequences.

Scientific studies have shown that approximately 25 percent to 50 percent of patients with OSA are unable to comply with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), the standard treatment therapy, or do not tolerate it, leaving a large number of OSA patients that dentists can help with Occlusal Appliance Therapy(OAT) .  

OAT involves the customized selection, fabrication, fitting, adjustments, and long-term follow-up care of specially designed oral devices, worn during sleep, which reposition the lower jaw and tongue forward to maintain a more open upper airway. Oral appliances (OAs) look similar to mouth guards, but should be selected and fitted by a dentist trained in DSM to maintain unobstructed breathing during sleep.

The AmericanAcademy of Sleep Medicine has published practice parameters, stating that oral appliance therapy is indicated for treatment of patients with mild to moderate apnea if they prefer it to CPAP, cannot tolerate CPAP, or are unable to use positional therapy or weight loss to control their apnea. OAs are also recommended for severe patients if they are unable to tolerate CPAP.

Warning signs of OSA include excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, morning headaches, poor memory and mood changes. If a patient undergoes a polysomnography and is diagnosed with OSA by a sleep physician at an accredited sleep center, he or she may be sent to a dentist for treatment. 

Unfortunately, OSA is a growing problem, with overweight and obese people making up one of the highest risk groups for this disease.Oral Appliance Therapy(OAT) is a safe and effective treatment option that will help decrease the prevalence of untreated OSA and improve patients’ overall health.

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