Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oral Appliance Therapy Gains Popularity in the Hawkeye State

American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) member John Clary, DDS, was recently featured in a Des Moines Register article highlighting the value of oral appliance therapy (OAT).

One of Dr. Clary’s patients, Dave Huntley, described how oral appliance therapy changed his life.

Huntley used Continues Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) for eight years to treat his obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Like some patients, he never got used to sleeping with the CPAP tubes and mask. He wanted a treatment he was comfortable with, especially for when he traveled.

"Carrying a CPAP was a little cumbersome. I stay in motels and sometimes you can't find a plug-in," he said.

Huntley found his solution in Dr. Clary’s dental office.

Many OSA patients do not know about treatments other than CPAP. But the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognizes oral appliance therapy as a safe and affective treatment option.

When Huntley tried his oral appliance for the first time, he was thrilled with the results.

"It was the best night's sleep I've had in years," he said.

He liked how the device did not dry out his nasal passages and how it could be carried in his pocket. One of the best parts – his oral appliance did not stop Huntley from going camping during the summer.

Huntley is not alone in his CPAP concerns. An estimated 25 to 50 percent of OSA patients do not tolerate or comply with CPAP. Oral appliance therapy helps meet these patient’s needs so that their OSA does not go untreated.

Dr. Clary makes sure that his patients have been diagnosed with OSA through a formal sleep study before fitting them with an appliance. He screens patients through a short survey and refers them to a sleep center as needed.

Like many dental sleep medicine specialists, Clary lends patients’ a home monitoring device that they can wear on their wrist overnight. This device monitors their breathing episodes, allowing him to track the effectiveness of their therapy.

Find-A-Dentist near you who is trained in dental sleep medicine.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.