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Sleep Apnea: Prosthodontists Recommend Patient Treatment Option Not Mentioned in News

Posted on June 2, 2012

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) May 31, 2012

Recently, national news outlets including CNN, USA Today, the New York Times, ABC, CBS, and Fox News, featured a recent study reporting that sleep apnea causes lowered oxygenation levels creating an environment where cancer cells can thrive.

Prosthodontist Paul McLornan, D.D.S., M.S., F.A.C.P., in San Antonio, Texas, noticed that medical doctors interviewed recommended surgery and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) as the two main ways to combat sleep apnea, without mentioning a common, non-surgical solution that prosthodontists use to treat the condition—Oral Appliance Therapy.

CPAP is still considered the "gold standard" treatment by many physicians but with reported compliance rates less than 50%, patients must be educated about the proven, alternative therapies.

“As a prosthodontist, I know that the Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) guidelines recommend that patients with mild or moderate sleep apnea should be given a choice between being prescribed a CPAP machine or an oral appliance,” advises Dr. McLornan. “It’s important to remind patients about all sleep apnea treatment options, including this common, non-surgical solution that prosthodontists use today called Oral Appliance Therapy.”

The oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea usually consist of custom made, removable upper and lower trays that fit over the patient’s teeth. There is a mechanism that attaches the upper and lower trays and holds the patients jaw forward while they sleep. Before bed, a person suffering from sleep apnea can simply attach the trays together overnight, and then remove them in the morning. By holding the jaw forward, the oral appliance holds the tongue forward and keeps the airway open, preventing it collapsing, which is what occurs in sleep apnea.

Prosthodontists have advanced dental training specifically for oral health conditions, including sleep apnea, and specialize in fitting and finding the correct position to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea without surgery or CPAP. Prosthodontists can also provide a solution for severe sleep apnea patients who can’t tolerate wearing a CPAP mask to bed every night.

With sleep apnea concerns growing, increased awareness about treatment option choice is critical.

Prosthodontists are proficient in comprehensive oral health diagnosis, treatment planning and restoration. From sleep apnea treatment options like Oral Appliance Therapy, to helping more than 178 million Americans missing one or more teeth prevent bone loss, prosthodontists offer oral health solutions. Some patients have interest in exploring dental implants while someone else may wear dentures or may want to improve the appearance of his or her smile. Others GoToAPro.org to check the health of their teeth before beginning whitening to prevent pain, prior to beginning head, neck, and throat cancer therapies to protect teeth during radiation and chemotherapy, or to screen for oral cancers, sometimes caused by HPV. Simply put, a prosthodontist has the skills and training to restore optimal appearance and function to your smile.

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The American College of Prosthodontists is the professional association of dentists with advanced specialty training who restore and replace teeth to create optimal oral health, both in function and appearance including dental implants, dentures, veneers, crowns and teeth whitening. For more information or to find a prosthodontist near you visit http://www.GoToAPro.org.