What is OSA?
OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway. Obstructions occur when throat muscles, the tongue, tonsils, or the soft palate relax and cover the airway, preventing breathing. The obstruction results in a severe drop in blood oxygen levels throughout the night.
OSA is typically diagnosed using a sleep study. During a sleep study, a sleep physician monitors brain activity and body system functions while a patient rests overnight at a sleep lab. The specialist evaluates the data collected to diagnose sleep disorders and recommend treatment. If prescribed by the sleep doctor, a dentist trained in sleep medicine works with them to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. In some cases, a home sleep study may also be possible instead of reporting to a sleep lab.