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Dallas Dentist Trains Navy Dentists on New Therapy to Treat Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Course at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Coincides With Sleep Apnea Awareness Day - March 6, 2008 - during National Sleep

Awareness Week

DALLAS, March 6 /PRNewswire/ - The observance of Sleep Apnea Awareness Day today, March 6, has taken on new importance for Dr. Keith Thornton, third-generation Dallas dentist and recognized expert on the treatment of sleep disordered breathing. From March 4 through March 6, Dr. Thornton has been at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, training approximately 60 Naval dentists, staff and dental lab technicians on a new therapy for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Thornton is teaching the dentists how to treat patients with oral appliances that are adjustable and can adapt to changes in a patient's condition.

The therapy uses an oral appliance also known as a mandibular repositioning device (MRD), a highly effective treatment option for people who have mild to moderate sleep apnea as well as for those who simply snore but do not have any disease. The goal of this type of therapy is to keep the jaw in a forward position. The position of the jaw can change the size of the airway. When the jaw relaxes and rotates during sleep, the airway gets smaller. Moving the jaw forward naturally opens and stabilizes the airway and is a basic technique used in rescue breathing and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Oral appliance therapy is consistent with new treatment guidelines released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2006. The guidelines state that oral appliances are a primary treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea and are appropriate for treating severe sleep apnea in cases where the patient has tried and not been successful with other more commonly prescribed treatments such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Oral appliances are worn like a retainer, don't require electricity and can be worn at night without disturbing others. Because it resolves the major complaint associated with sleep apnea, namely snoring, an oral appliance can help everyone get better sleep, thus increasing productivity and reducing the chance for having a work-related accident.

Dr. Thornton currently devotes his entire career to dental sleep medicine. He lectures nationally and internationally on oral appliance therapy and sees patients in his treatment center -- SleepWell Solutions -- in Dallas.


Annelise Thornton


SOURCE Dr. Keith Thornton
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