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Obstructive Sleep Apnea
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway completely collapses, blocking airflow into the lungs. The harder one tries to breathe, the tighter the airway seals. This airway obstruction persists until the brain partially awakens the person, unconsciously closing the jaw and returning the tongue and throat to a normal position.
The sleep apnea cycle - falling asleep, jaw relaxing, airway collapsing, unconsciously awaking with a gasp, falling back asleep - can repeat itself 50 or more times per hour during the night. With a blocked passageway, one does not receive enough oxygen. Both the awakenings and oxygen deprivation can then trigger other health problems, including chronic sleepiness, headaches, depression, exhaustion, high blood pressure, and even strokes and heart attacks.
Dr. Blatchford treats sleep apnea and snoring with an appliance called a Thornton Adjustable Positioner. This appliance holds the mandible (lower jaw) forward during sleep to prevent the tongue and soft tissues of the throat from collapsing into the airway.
By adjusting the degree to which the mandible is held forward, Dr. Blatchford can maximize both the effectiveness of the appliance and the patient's comfort. Clinical studies show that the Thornton Adjustable Positioner has a 96% success rate in alleviating snoring and sleep apnea.