What Is an Oral Appliance?

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What Is an Oral Appliance?

What Is an Oral Appliance?

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2022 at 1:55 pm    

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is a sleep disorder in which the patient suffers from breathing issues caused by physical blockages to the airway while they sleep. It can lead to loud snoring and jerking or gasping awake as the diaphragm attempts to open the airway. Left untreated, OSA can lead to long-term complications like heart attacks and strokes.

If you have been diagnosed with OSA, then you may have used a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to treat your condition. CPAP devices feature a mask and hose that force a continuous stream of oxygen into the lungs overnight. However, these devices are bulky, loud, and uncomfortable. The most popular CPAP devices on the market, manufactured by Philips Respironics, were actually recalled recently after it was discovered that the sound abatement foam contained in the devices had the potential to cause cancer.

If you are looking for a new treatment option for your OSA that is effective and safe, look no further than oral appliances.

What Are Oral Appliances?

Oral appliances are devices that OSA patients use to keep their airway open throughout the night while they sleep. Oral appliances achieve this by repositioning your jaw to prevent the tissue in your airway from obstructing your breathing. As a result, patients can breathe freely without snoring and without risking further health problems down the road.

There are several types of oral appliances on the market today. They include:

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices – This oral device works by shifting the jaw and tongue forward, which reduces blockage in the throat.
  • Tongue-Stabilizing Devices – These oral appliances are usually made of flexible plastic or silicone resin. They use suction to pull the tongue forward, away from the back of the throat, reducing blockages in the air passages.
  • Mouth Guards – These types of devices also help reposition the jaw, but to a lesser degree than mandibular advancement devices.

How Silent Night Therapy Can Help

At Silent Night Therapy, we understand how invasive CPAP devices can be. We are also familiar with the severe consequences of untreated sleep apnea. Now that Philips CPAP devices have been recalled, many sleep apnea patients have begun searching for alternative solutions. One of the solutions that we frequently recommend to patients is an Oral Sleep Appliance.

Here at Silent Night Therapy, we offer four types of oral appliances. They look similar to mouthguards and are ultimately far less intrusive than a CPAP machine. Our oral appliances shift the jaw to open the air passages, allowing oxygen to pass freely in and out of the lungs while a patient sleeps. Each of the different types of appliances we offer has its own benefits, not the least of which is that they are more comfortable to wear than a CPAP.

Contact Us

If you have OSA and would like to learn more about how an oral appliance can help you sleep better, call us at 631-983-2463 and schedule an appointment with us at your earliest convenience. Dr. Clifford Brown was among the first dentists to prescribe and offer oral appliances here on Long Island. Dr. Brown is committed to helping sleep apnea patients get the effective treatment they need and deserve. Contact us today.


Spotlight on Service – Joann Lafata

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022 at 2:04 pm    

Joann recently celebrated her 90-day anniversary with BDC. See what Joann had to say about her days in service at BDC so far…

What is your position?  What location are you currently working from?

I am currently the OSA (oral sleep appliance) billing manager.  I would from both our Gateway Plaza and Great South Bay locations.

How would you describe our office environment and your team relationships?

The Practices are very productive.  Everyone here at BDC has been very welcoming and friendly.  I truly enjoy working with Michelle (Sands), I believe we compliment one another in our dedication to service.

What are things that you are currently doing in service that bring you joy?

Everything about this role!  I appreciate the opportunity to work with both Dr Brown and Jenn.  Michelle is truly amazing and very helpful in growing me in this position.  The work we do with our patients is very gratifying.  It makes me happy that I can be sure that the Practice gets paid for the work it is doing to help our patients too.

What are things you would want to add to enhance your individual service or that of our collective team service?

I look forward to continuing to learn more about the diagnosis and overall treatment of sleep apnea.  While I was a medical biller for many years I never worked in a situation where I had the opportunity to learn about the work being done on the level I can here.  I would love to be able to learn enough that I too can schedule and help patients outside of their billing needs.

Is there a patient experience that has moved you as a wholehearted professional that you would like to share?

Not a one-on-one interaction at this point but seeing the reviews starting to come through from patients we have recently treated is extremely gratifying.  It’s getting the nod, “job well done”, which makes me want to learn and grow more in my role here at BDC.  It is special when you hear how much the service you provided a patient has changed their life.

Anything amazing in working with our BDC family that you appreciate and lets you know you have found your next true professional home here with us?

I love how the team focuses on “happiness” because when I am happy, I give 110% and it really doesn’t feel like work.  Our owners really care about the atmosphere and environment here at BDC and I feel it personally, which is nice.

Any service or general professional goals for the rest of your first year here at BDC?

As I mentioned earlier, learning all I can about sleep apnea in general and learning how I can help the entire BDC team, if ever needed.

Outside of BDC, what are things in your personal like that fills your tank or brings you joy?

I love being with my family.  I value and hold dear my close friendships.  And my Mom, she is my “mainstay”.


Carrie Fisher and Other Celebrity Deaths Caused By Sleep Apnea

Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2022 at 4:59 pm    

In late December 2016, after completing production for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, beloved actress Carrie Fisher (best known for her role as Princess Leia) suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles and later died.

The Los Angeles County Coroner later determined Carrie Fisher’s official cause of death to be “sleep apnea and other factors.” Sleep apnea is a potentially severe sleep disorder that occurs when a person stops breathing while sleeping, sometimes for just a few seconds and sometimes for minutes. It can cause snoring, daytime fatigue, nightmares, insomnia, headaches, mood swings, irritability, and other symptoms.

Tragically, as in the case of Carrie Fisher, sleep apnea can also be deadly. Other celebrities that died due to sleep apnea-related complications include famous Indian singer Bappi Lahiri, who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and Amanda Peterson, who starred in the 1987 romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love. Her father stated that she had sleep apnea and that her condition may have contributed to her death.

Can Sleep Apnea Really Be Deadly?

Sleep apnea patients don’t always pass away from sleep apnea itself, that is, from a lack of oxygen while sleeping. Instead, the complications triggered by untreated sleep apnea can eventually result in death, as they did in Fisher’s case.

Numerous studies, including a study published in Sleep Journal, have shown that untreated sleep breathing disorders like sleep apnea carry a high mortality risk no matter the patient’s age, biological sex, and body mass index (BMI).

Another study, which examined 385 men with mild to severe sleep apnea over an eight-year period, found that male patients with a sleep apnea index (AI) of more than 20, which would indicate severe sleep apnea, had a much higher mortality rate than those with mild to moderate apnea. Participants with an AI of greater than 20 were 33 percent more likely to die during the study due to their condition than participants with an AI of less than 20.

Treating Sleep Apnea

While many individuals with sleep apnea have turned to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which force oxygen into a person’s lungs by supplying a constant stream of air through a hose and mask, these devices come with severe health risks. CPAP manufacturer Philips has issued a recall of their devices due to problems with the CPAP’s sound abatement foam, which can disintegrate over time, causing dangerous foam particles to flow into the patient’s airway.

Contact Silent Night Therapy

At Silent Night Therapy, we offer an alternative solution to patients struggling with sleep apnea. Our practice was one of the first on Long Island to recommend and treat patients using Oral Sleep Appliances instead of CPAP machines. Oral Sleep Appliances resemble a mouthguard and are far less intrusive than CPAP machines. These devices work by slightly shifting the jaw and opening the air passages, allowing for oxygen to pass safely and comfortably into a patient’s lungs while they sleep.

If you have sleep apnea, it is vital to treat your condition before dangerous complications arise. Call us or reach out to us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clifford Brown to discuss how an OSA might be able to help with your sleep apnea.