A novel device has shown a high rate of accuracy in predicting which patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will improve with oral appliance therapy, according to a study.

Referring to the Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints (SAVE) trial’s finding that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) did not reduce long-term cardiovascular incidents, he claimed that “these incidents are not being reduced by CPAP, because people don’t use it” (N Engl J Med. 2016 Sept 8;375[10]:919-31).

“Our test allows the physician to prescribe the therapy knowing it will get rid of sleep apnea, and it tells the dentist how far the mandible needs to be pulled out by the custom fit device,” Dr. Remmers explained.

Dentists will also benefit from the test, because it allows them to make an appliance that will not need to be adjusted and will have a higher success rate than the current 60% success rate that oral appliances have at treating sleep apnea, he noted.

“This opens up a new an alternative clinical avenue at a critical time, when we have just learned over the past few years that there are serious questions about the effectiveness of CPAP in the long term,” Dr. Remmers added. “[With oral appliance therapy] you have an opportunity for higher compliance, because people prefer the less obtrusive oral appliance therapy over CPAP, and they use it more than CPAP. … Because our product says you don’t treat everybody, you only undertake oral appliance therapy for those who we know in advance will have a favorable outcome, it removes a major barrier to oral appliance therapy that has been the barrier for many years.”

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