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Using Overnight Pulse Oximetry to Manage Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) during Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Ronald S. Prehn, ThM, DDS


It is estimated that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects at least 25 million Americans.1 OSA occurs when a patient’s airway gets blocked during sleep. The benefits of physicians prescribing overnight pulse oximetry testing to pre-screen for OSA are well known.2 In addition, studies supporting the use of overnight pulse oximetry by dental sleep practitioners to confirm their patients’ response to oral appliance therapy (OAT) during treatment for sleep disordered breathing (SDB) are well documented.3 In fact, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) recently recommended in its treatment protocol the use of pulse oximetry home sleep testing to manage mandibular advancement splint (MAS) appliances.4 However, the practice of using a pulse oximeter to manage MAS appliances has only recently entered the mainstream of care.

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