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Sleep apnea (brief stoppage of breathing during sleep) and snoring are common medical conditions, and the more severe sleep apnea may be, the higher the risk of serious, even deadly, medical issues. Snoring and daytime sleepiness are classic symptoms of disturbed sleep (low oxygen levels) and are related to the blocking of the airway during sleep by the lower jaw position and tongue. The “gold standard” for sleep apnea treatment is the use of a CPAP machine to provide a pressurized air stream to the patient to combat the airway closure. Many patients find the CPAP device to be cumbersome and difficult to use and seek an alternative.
There are a variety of dental appliances that effectively treat these conditions by advancing and holding the lower jaw in a forward position. Dr. Kosoris prefers an appliance that allows freedom of movement of the lower jaw instead of types that hold the jaw rigidly and can create problems with the jaw joints. By keeping the airway open snoring is greatly reduced or eliminated, and people that stop using their CPAP machines are able to avoid the potential life-threatening danger of untreated sleep apnea.