Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is reported to occur as many as 83% of women and 92% of men.1 This phenomenon occurs nightly when the tongue falls back and blocks the airway. This means that every hour of every night there are multiple periods of no O2 to every cell in the body. These periods occur five to 100+ times an hour, for 10 to 90 seconds an episode. With insufficient oxygen, cellular regeneration is unable to transpire nightly during sleep. Poor cellular regeneration results in an individual being more susceptible to numerous pathologies anywhere in the body. This nightly cellular breakdown has a destructive effect on the health of mankind. The co-morbidities for sleep apnea are numerous.2,3,4,5 OSA is the disease that dentistry now leads the world in for accepted treatment of the afflicted.
The most successful treatment for OSA is CPAP. It is the No. 1 treatment prescribed by the medical community. CPAP is highly successful when it can be used. But the big problem with the CPAP are the numerous difficulties patients have using it. The CPAP is not tolerated by up to 60%,6,7 and some estimate up to 83%, of users.8 With an inability to tolerate the CPAP, these patients find themselves at great risk in regard to their health and longevity. It is a major problem for mankind when medicine’s most effective treatment tool is rejected by 60% to 83% of the users.
With the high rejection rate of the CPAP, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine designated dental sleep oral appliances as the No. 1 nonsurgical alternative for the CPAP intolerant.9 Numerous sleep appliances are available to the public and distributed through dentists. These are double-arched appliances that gain success by opening the vertical dimension and advancing the mandible. Vertical opening can range from 2 mm to15 mm. The advancement can be as much as full forward prognathic extension, with forward movement up to three-quarters of an inch. The problem presented by these appliances is that they can cause pain or malocclusion.