Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is a very serious medical condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep intermittently throughout the night. OSA is related to a number of adverse health conditions, including hypertension or high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, acid reflux/heartburn or GERD, headaches, anxiety, depression, obesity, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
OSA is the result of the tongue and/or the tissues of the soft palate collapsing into the upper airway during sleep, which stops a person from breathing and receiving necessary oxygen to their brain. Snoring can be a sign of OSA.
The traditional treatment for OSA prescribed by medical doctors is a CPAP machine. A CPAP is essentially a face mask that is worn during sleep with a machine attached that pumps and forces air down the airway to allow the person to breathe in spite of the obstruction. While the CPAP machine is effective in achieving it’s goal, it is cumbersome and causes many people to feel claustrophobic. The result is often poor compliance, and often so much so that statistically after one year from being prescribed a CPAP machine, only a small minority of people are still using it. Now the person is back where they started!
Enter Oral Appliance Therapy, or OAT, for OSA
OAT is essentially a treatment that involves wearing a special oral appliance or mouthguard whose function is to move the lower jaw forward slightly during sleep. This in turn pulls the tongue slightly forward, which in turn helps open enough space for air to enter the airway during sleep, helping the person to breathe properly again.
OAT is ideal for patients with mild to moderate OSA, and is a great solution for people who have tried and failed using the CPAP, or who just plain to refuse to wear a CPAP from the get-go.
Dr. Manduzzi is fortunate to have a Board-certified sleep specialist, Dr. Mark Murphy, in the office to help educate and treat patients of our practice with oral appliance therapy for OSA. Dr. Murphy is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and has tremendous knowledge about sleep disordered breathing and OSA.
Whether you have been diagnosed with OSA and can’t tolerate your CPAP, or if you have never been diagnosed but suspect you may have an issue, Dr. Murphy can prescribe an at-home sleep study and help get the issue diagnosed.
Please call our office at (586) 731-9240 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Murphy to learn more about OAT and OSA and find out if you are a candidate.