Some forms of sleep apnea may respond better to treatment with an oral appliance, according to new research published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Sleep apnea occurs when the flow of air into the lungs is obstructed. This obstruction is typically caused by the soft tissues of the throat collapsing into the airway or the tongue falling back to block the throat.

Between 18 and 29 million Americans are thought to be living with the condition.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine.

'This device works to blow the airway open by streaming air through a mask that covers the mouth and nose,' said Dr. Clara Griffey of Legends Dental in Waco, Texas.

But, many individuals living with sleep apnea don't like using the CPAP machine.

'Some individuals report that the mask is uncomfortable and makes them feel claustrophobic, and the machine itself is very loud,' Griffey said.

So, is the alternative going without treatment?

'No, there's an alternative treatment for CPAP, and that is through an oral appliance. This appliance works by moving the jaw into a more forward position to help prevent the tongue from falling back into the airway,' Griffey said.

The study revealed several factors as to oral appliance treatment for sleep apnea for those living with more mild forms of the condition.

During their research, the study authors used polysomnography testing to diagnose the condition and then gathered data from 93 adults who were diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea.

They reviewed two particular traits in the participants related to their upper airway: muscle compensation and collapsibility. What they found was that participants with severe throat muscle collapsibility benefited more often from using oral appliances than those without this trait.

Individuals with a weaker reflex response of their throat muscles (lower muscle compensation) also responded better to appliance therapy than those with a stronger reflex response.

Based on these two traits and other findings, oral appliances were predicted to be more effective than the CPAP machine in treating 61 percent of the participants.

Out of this 61 percent, patients in the group had a 73 percent reduction in the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), or the number of breathing interruptions lasting 10 seconds or longer per hour. The average number of breathing interruptions with the oral appliance was eight per hour.

'Appliance therapy is an excellent alternative for those who have mild to moderate conditions,' Griffey said.

 

Source: American Thoracic Society. 'Oral appliances may be highly effective in treating a type of sleep apnea.' ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2019.

Covid-19

A NOTE TO OUR PATIENTS

The well-being of our patients has always been our top priority!

Legends Dental is following the recommendations of Governor Abbott, Texas State Dental Board, ADA, as well as the CDC. We will be limiting our services effective immediately. Due to recent circumstances and for the safety and well-being of our patients, their families, and our community, we will not be performing any routine or non-urgent dental procedures at this time.

Though our office hours have been temporarily shortened, our team will continue to support anyone who may be experiencing pain and all who require an Emergency Care Visit.

If you are experiencing a dental emergency or having pain, please text our office at (254)776-0691 or call (254)799-9540 so we may get you scheduled as quickly as possible. You can also message us on Facebook.

Examples of urgent dental care treatments include:
Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation. Surgical postoperative osteitis or dry socket dressing changes. Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling. Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma. Dental treatment cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation. Extensive decay or defective restorations causing pain; suture removal; denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded; and snipping or adjustments of an orthodontic wire causing pain.

Additionally, our team is here to help those affected by cancellations. We will gladly assist with rescheduling to a time that is best for you. If you have an appointment that may be affected, or would like to reschedule regardless, please call (254)799-9540 or text (254)776-0691 so we may accommodate you.

We love all our patients and look forward to being able to serve all of your dental needs as soon as possible!! Thank you for you time and understanding during these circumstances.