Sleep Related Breathing
Sleep disorderscome in many forms. Sleep medicine is a relatively new area of study. It is estimated that conservatively there are 50 - 70 million chronic sufferers of sleep disorders in the United States alone. The physical impact to the health of the sufferer and his or her family is enormous, however the impact to society might be even higher.
More Costs to Society
Sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD) are the cause of some of our most disastrous modern
accidents. They include the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the accidental grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker in Alaska and the Staten Island ferry crash. It has become such a concern that truck shipping companies are now routinely requiring their drivers to undergo sleep studies and treatment to be able to drive these large vehicles on our roads. Oral appliances are sometimes ideal for these types of jobs because they are so much more portable than CPAP machines. Airline pilots are now required to take mandatory sleep time between flight duties.
In 2006 the Institute of Medicine stated that sleep disorders are an "unmet public health problem." More and more studies are confirming that sleep disorders have reached epidemic levels. It has also become evident that some insomnia is caused by SRBD and that the administration of sleep inducing medications may make the problem worse. Some people have died in their sleep as a result of sleep apnea, regardless of whether or not they take sleep medications. When you stop breathing, oxygen levels in the blood stream can get so low that you do not come out of it.
These factors have led more and more health professionals to undertake the treatment of SRBD. And, now that more and more recognition that SRBD is the cause of many dental diseases, dentists are learning to provide this care at increasing rates.
Furthermore, dentist are in a position of providing conservative and extremely effective therapy for patients at a cost effective level not previously achieved in the history of sleep apnea care. Organizations such as the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances for snoring and also for all levels of severity of obstructive sleep apnea if a patient prefers an oral appliance to CPAP or BPAP therapy. Most medical insurers are now covering much of the cost of this care, including Medicare in many locations.
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Positive air pressure ( + see below) can be used to inflate the lungs with a CPAP/BPAP to push air past the airway constriction.
Oral sleep appliances (OSAs) pull the lower jaw forward to open the airway at the back of the throat where it is constricted.
Any age, size, gender, race or weight person can have obstructive sleep apnea.