The dentist and Sleep medicine

The dentist and Sleep medicine

In recent years, specially educated dentists have taken on a greater role in the recognition and management of obstructive sleep apnea, a disease in which the patient stops breathing many times throughout the night. Snoring Isn’t Sexy is pleased to announce that its members, all of whom have had special training in sleep medicine, are now available to journalists investigating treatment possibilities of sleep apnea that affects 20,000,000 – 40,000,000 people in the United States.

While snoring is the most common sleep-breathing problem, it is often the precursor to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a medical problem in which breathing is occluded multiple times throughout sleep and is associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, ED and daytime drowsiness related accidents. Sleep apnea affects 20,000,000 – 40,000,000 people of all ages in the United States.Despite its prevalence only approximately 10% of the population with sleep apnea has been diagnosed and treated.

The most common treatment for OSA is a medical device called CPAP in which air, under pressure, is supplied through a tube to a mask over the patient’s nose. The pressurized air acts as a splint and prevents the airway from collapsing and occluding breathing.¬†CPAP is an extremely effective treatment option but, unfortunately, cannot be tolerated by all those with sleep apnea.

For patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea and those who cannot tolerate CPAP, dental researchers have found that a dental mouthpiece that moves the lower jaw forward and holds it in that position throughout the night, can provide effective relief from OSA. While not quite as effective as CPAP, oral appliance therapy has been medically approved when provided by a qualified dentist as alternative treatment.

“The field of dental sleep medicine has developed over the past 20 years but, unfortunately, most of the public and even many physicians are unaware of the role dentistry plays, in concert with sleep physicians, in the recognition and management of of OSA.” said Dr. Laurence Barsh, Founder and President of Snoring Isn’t Sexy. “

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