Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Snoring can be a warning sign that normal breathing is not taking place during sleep. While there are many conditions that can lead to snoring, one of the most serious is a disorder called “sleep apnea.” Sleep apnea is very common, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include being overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children.

Dentists play an important role in the team approach to the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Physicians, dentists, psychologists, and respiratory therapists all pool their knowledge to treat each patient appropriately and effectively.

Dentists who are specifically trained in aspects of sleep medicine and have a command of multiple appliance modalities are of great help to physicians in treating patients with sleep disorders


Approximately 45 million people in the United States Snore every night.
Left untreated, snoring increases risk of heart attack and stroke.
Approximately 90% of sleep apnea patients are not diagnosed.
Each year, sleep disorders add an estimated 15.9 billion dollars to the national healthcare bill.
Hypertension is present in approximately 50% of patients with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea)
60% of males and 40% of females over age 60 snore.
42% of patients with OSA report a decrease in sex drive and impotence.

Studies have shown that Sleep Apnea depletes oxygen levels in your body and could also put you at risk for congestive heart failure, coronary disease, irregular heartbeat or even sudden cardiac death.


Hypertension Muscle pain, “Restless Leg Syndrome” Impotence
Increased risk of depression Loss of short-term memory Weight gain
Gastric reflux Diabetes Mood Swings
Insomnia Fibromyalgia, pain in joints and muscles Heart Attack
Lung Dysfunction Attention Deficit Disorder Heart Arrhythmias


Before any therapy is performed to treat sleep apnea, the use of sleeping aids and alcohol is restricted and a weight loss program is suggested for those who are overweight. When sleep apnea is suspected, an experienced, specially trained dentist may refer patients to a physician or sleep specialist for a complete medical assessment. Diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study called a Polysomnogram (PSG). This technologically advanced sleep study monitors breathing patterns, sleep stages and cardiac rhythm along with airflow and length of non-breathing episodes. The doctor will work closely with Dr. Richard Dailey to monitor your condition and the effectiveness of therapy. Once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be treated several different ways.

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a simple test designed to measure your risk for sleep apnea. If you score a nine or above, you will need to be seen in our office.

The most common method of treatment has been the (CPAP) Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP requires a bedside generator to deliver pressurized air through a tube that is connected to a facemask. The biggest hurdle for using this method is compliance. Many patients feel claustrophobic and others find wearing the mask to be offensive.

Are you CPAP Intolerant?

Nasal congestion
Runny Nose
Trouble sleeping Awkwardness or embarrassment
The Mask Leaks
Unconsciously remove CPAP at night
The noise from the device disturbs your sleep

CPAP Alternatives

If you have been diagnosed with OSA, and you have been prescribed the CPAP but find you are not using it consistently call us today to see if you are a candidate for an oral appliance.

The Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) is a custom adjustable oral appliance (orthotic) that is worn while sleeping. The appliance holds the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue and the soft tissue of the throat from collapsing into the airway.

The TAP device provides a powerful prescription for snoring and sleep apnea. Based on the same principle as cardiopulmonary resucitation (CPR), the TAP was designed to keep the airway of the throat open to allow for air to pass. A constricted or collapsed airway causes snoring or sleep apnea.

The TAP’s simple design coupled with its high compliance rate makes it one of the most effective snoring and sleep apnea devices available. The TAP is also the primary oral appliance replacement for the Continuous Positive Airway (CPAP) machine and surgery.