Throughout the medical and dental professions there are numerous courses given by suppliers of various devices for treatment of many medical problems, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea. After a two day course the doctor is assured he or she is qualified to deliver the device to their patients with great expectations of increased practice income.
Over the last five years, my office at Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Treatment Center, has delivered close to 600 dental sleep appliances with overwhelming records of success. This success did not come as a result of a two day course; it came from years of study and practice, plus a sizable investment in the purchase and continued training in the use of the Acoustic Pharyngometer and Rhinometer.
With this device, a visual reproduction of the airway is produced so that both the patient and I can see the obstructions and watch them be reduced when the jaw is properly placed. It can also show me if a dental device will not work and when the obstruction may require other treatment options, including surgical intervention. This demonstration (that an oral appliance wouldn’t be effective) has only occurred three times in my office, and the surgical results were great with the side effect of making the patient more attractive by bringing the chin forward.
The Rhinometer test results can prove the need for clearing of the nasal passages. Recent research in physiology has clearly proven that nasal respiration is very important to one’s health, to the extent that some of the researchers began taping their mouths closed to break the habit of sleeping with their mouth open. I merely refer the patient to an ENT with the print out of the rhinometry report and have them discuss treatment options to open up those airways.
Without the use of an echopharyngometer, the practitioner can only guess if the oral appliance would be effective, and the results are by chance. Every patient is asked to do a follow up sleep study once the patient is happy with the appliance. Our results have been incredible in many cases. One severe case went from 78 sleep disturbances per hour to only three.
It has taken years for the dental sleep appliance to become accepted by the medical profession. Originally, the CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, was the only acceptable method of treatment. One big problem with this method is patient compliance. In my own case, the mask and the air flow greatly interfered with my sleep. I heard about oral appliance therapy and tried seven different types of appliances, some of which were downright painful. I finally settled on the SomnoDent appliance. Half of my practice is the treatment of TMJ disorders and I found this appliance to be the most friendly to patients with TMJ.
If you or someone you know would like to look into this method of treating OSA, a complimentary appointment may be made by calling 925-837-8048.