I have alway slept well. If someone had told me, 10 years ago, I had a sleep disorder, I would say, “no way! I love to sleep.” As it turned out, my quality of sleep was so poor, I was constantly sleepy. My airway was collapsing when I relaxed and fell asleep. I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea three years ago. I am 5”10 and 130 lbs. While OSA was once thought to affect primarily overweight men, which it does, studies are showing that many more people are affected by obstructed sleep apnea than once thought. The CDC has declared OSA a health epidemic.
After my diagnosis of mild to moderate OSA, I had an oral appliance made. They can cost between $3000-$7000. It kept my airway open, however it put a great deal of pressure and torque on my teeth and they started to shift. I was also clenching, which was a sign that I was still having apnea episodes. I started using an APAP machine (auto adjusting PAP versus continuous PAP). After using the nasal pillows, I found my mouth blew open and the APAP was not effective. I tried a full face mask and my jaw moved around so much that the air was blowing by my nose and my chin. Refusing to wear a chin strap, I decided to wear my oral appliance, as way to stabilize my jaw, which provided the primary support and foundation for the mask. The full face mask worked beautifully with the oral appliance in place. I also had the added benefit of keeping my jaw stabilized so it wouldn’t fall back and collapse. This made my PAP more efficient and effective. I dialed back my adjustments on my oral appliance so my jaw was not moved forward; I had it in a neutral, comfortable position, since I had a PAP machine. My goal with the oral appliance was to prevent my jaw from falling back and keeping a stable interface for the mask.
I started implementing this combination therapy protocol in my dental practice, when patients had problems with their PAP machines. I discovered that almost everyone had the same problems with their PAP machines and no one wanted to pay $3-7K for an oral appliance. This is what inspired me to develop the Harmony Oral Appliance. While it must be worn with a PAP machine, because it doesn’t move the jaw forward, it is also less bulky than traditional oral appliances, which makes it much more comfortable. It is also designed to keep the mouth shut and create a lip seal. This is also an improvement over the traditional oral appliances available.
The Harmony Oral Appliance has been helping people love their PAP machines. The Harmony Oral Appliance is a minimalist-designed oral appliance that will discretely, comfortably and effectively close the mouth, stabilize the jaw and revolutionize PAP therapy.