Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a potentially life threatening disease, is a sleep-related breathing disorder that is characterized by a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breath. It occurs when the muscles in the mouth and throat relax during sleep, causing the soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.
OSA is one of the most severely under-diagnosed conditions in our population today. Nearly 20 million Americans are estimated to have sleep apnea, yet researchers believe 90% of patients afflicted remain undiagnosed. The true medical side effects of untreated OSA are vast and are just starting to be recognized. Studies have shown that people who suffer from OSA are at a higher risk for:
- High blood pressure Systemic hypertension is observed in 50-70% of patients with OSA.
- Diabetes Multiple studies have shown that patients with OSA have increased glucose levels and increased insulin resistance.
- Heart attacks Approximately 50% of heart failure patients experience sleep disordered breathing.
- Strokes As many as 63% of stroke sufferers also experience sleep disordered breathing.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- ADHD in children
- Excessive daytime tiredness
- Alzheimer’s This topic is still being debated. It has, however, been noted by the National Sleep Foundation that up to 80% of dementia patients suffer from sleep disordered breathing.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
A polysomnograph (PSG) is the ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of many sleep disorders, including OSA. The PSG determines whether or not a patient has OSA and classifies one as having mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea. At our office we offer take home sleep studies to help us determine how our patients are sleeping in the privacy of their own homes. This can actually be used to obtain a medical diagnosis from a board certified sleep physician and we can begin treatment immediately if it is appropriate.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the treatment of choice for people who suffer from severe OSA is with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The recommended treatment for mild OSA, moderate OSA, and those who are CPAP intolerant is actually with an oral appliance. Oral appliances are convenient and can be more comfortable than other treatment methods. These FDA approved appliances accomplish the goal of improving airway stability by advancing the tongue and therefore creating a larger opening in the airway. If you are a patient who snores, we must rule out the possibility that you have OSA before an appliance is made that strictly treats snoring. We will work with your physician to provide treatment and ongoing care so you can get the sleep you need for overall good health.
Full Breath Solution
The Full Breath Solution is an FDA approved oral appliance for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. This appliance is unique in that it offers multiple ways of improving our patients airway stability, with little or no side effects.
Many oral appliances on the market function in a similar way by pulling the patient’s jaw foward. When the jaw is pulled forward it pulls the tongue forward as well resulting in an opened airway. The problem with this method lies in how far forward the jaw needs to be pulled in order to adequately open the airway. Often times these types of appliances can cause some serious side effects such as permanent bite changes, TMJ/muscle pain, and permanent joint changes. We have successfully avoided these unwanted side effects with the Full Breath Solution.
The Full Breath Sleep Appliance is designed to stabilize the airway and it works in two ways:
- It changes the height separation between the upper and lower teeth. This results in an increased opening of the airway.
- There is a “tail” piece that depresses the tongue which inhibits it from falling back in the throat and blocking the airway.
We are thrilled with the tremendous success we have had with this appliance. If you are interested in learning more, please contact our office for a free consultation!