Sleep apnea is characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep and occur repeatedly throughout the night. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), caused by relaxation of soft tissue in the back of the throat that blocks the passage of air. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused by irregularities in the brain’s normal signals to breathe. Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, morning restlessness, morning headaches and irritability. Sleep apnea is more likely in people who are overweight and occurs much more frequently in men than in women.
Most treatments for sleep apnea begin with the patient avoiding alcohol, tobacco and medications that relax the central nervous system such as sedatives and muscle relaxants. Some people are helped by devices that keep them from sleeping on their backs, or oral appliances to keep the airway open during sleep. For more severe cases, doctors often recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a face mask is attached to a tube and a machine that blows pressurized air into the mask to keep the airway patent (open). Also available are machines that offer variable positive airway pressure (VPAP) and automatic positive airway pressure (APAP). Occasionally surgical removal of excess tissue is performed to allow the airway to remain open. For patients with mild sleep apnea, hypopnea or problems with snoring, there is another, less invasive treatment available in the form of a oral appliance.
The Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) is a simple, patient-friendly oral appliance created for noninvasive treatment of Sleep Apnea and Snoring. The primary treatment mechanism of opening the bite and gently moving the mandible forward, is achieved with the use of advancement devices that offer varying degrees of mandibular advancement specific to a patients needs.