Dental Sleep Medicine – Defined

Abbreviated Definition:

Dental Sleep Medicine focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders (SBD), which includes snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), with oral appliance therapy (OAT) and upper airway surgery. OAT involves the customized selection, fabrication, fitting, adjustments, and long-term follow-up care of specially designed oral devices, worn during sleep, which reposition the lower jaw and tongue base forward to maintain a more open upper airway. Surgery may be an effective treatment for SBD if performed competently and on correctly identified specific anatomic sites that contribute to upper airway obstruction. The diagnosis of SBD, particularly the potentially life-threatening medical disorder OSA, must be determined by sleep physicians. The treatment of selected SBD cases with OAT should be performed by qualified dentists, and upper airway surgery by qualified surgeons.

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