What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is when breathing stops temporarily as a person sleeps. More than 12 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea. There are three types of sleep apnea:
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. It is caused by the airway being blocked, usually by soft tissue in the rear of the throat, causing the throat to collapse and close during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea is when the muscles that control breathing fail to receive the proper signals from the brain.
  • Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
No matter what type of sleep apnea a person has, those with untreated sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing throughout their sleep. The brain will respond by waking the individual so that breathing may resume, but the frequent stops and starts throughout the night results in very fragmented patterns of low-quality sleep.
Overweight men over 40 have the highest risk of developing sleep apnea, but anyone at any age can suffer from sleep apnea, including children. Unfortunately, the majority of people who suffer from this sleep disorder go left untreated due to lack of awareness.

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed ?

Your doctor will use a combination of factors to diagnose sleep apnea, including a complete medical and family history, a physical exam and a sleep study, which involves an overnight stay at a sleep center for constant monitoring. A polysomnogram may also be used to record brain activity, eye movement, muscle movement, heart rate, breathing patterns and oxygen levels, which will help determine whether or not a person has sleep apnea.

What Treatment Options Are There ?

Treatments vary depending on the severity of a person’s sleep apnea. For milder cases, mere lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking or losing weight may be beneficial in improving the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. For mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidelines recommend oral appliance therapy as being equal to CPAP. Dr. Seltzer and Dr. Rein have over 23 years 0f experience treating patients with oral appliances

Hybrid Therapy

Hybrid therapy in oral appliance design is the latest advancement in battling obstructive sleep apnea. It is primarily used to combat more severe cases of OSA. Basically, hybrid therapy is a combination of oral appliance therapy and CPAP. However, together the combination is more. It is the best of both worlds!!

The benefit of this treatment is that it will overcome the biggest obstacles associated with using CPAP alone as a treatment.

The majority of complaints we encounter from CPAP users are:

  1. The masks are ill fitting leading to air leakage
  2. The headgear is cumbersome and limits sleep position, staps cause irritation and loosen
  3. Too much air pressure is required to overcome the severity of the OSA

By fusing CPAP with an oral appliance into ONE appliance we can:

  1. Create masks that are smaller, customized, and fit more securely. This provides a mask that is more comfortable, more stable (a patient can sleep on their back, side, and even stomach) and has virtually no air leakage.
  2. Eliminate head gear and straps as the mask is now supported by the oral appliance ONLY
  3. Eliminate head gear and straps as the mask is now supported by the oral appliance ONLY


If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, as well as weight gain, memory loss, impotency and headaches. In addition, untreated sleep apnea causes severe fatigue, which may lead to poor job performance and motor vehicle crashes.

 At Long Island Dental Sleep Medicine, Drs. Rein and Seltzer remain on the forefront of sleep apnea treatment and dental sleep medicine. We would be happy to schedule a consultation for you, during which we will advise you of the best treatment option for your symptoms. Please call 516.200.1771 today to set up an office consultation.

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