Reggie WhiteThe Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA) organized an additional day of screening for sleep apnea during the Super Bowl. Dr. Jim Moreau, a general dentist from the New Orleans area, associated with the PPHA to screen NFL football players for sleep apnea.

The PPHA is continuing its momentum with former NFL legends to help spread awareness on the deadly disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea has taken the life of at least one former NFL great, Reggie White, and it is believed that sleep apnea is prevalent among other active and retired players as well.

Moreau has over 12 years of experience working with patients with disorders related to TMJ, facial muscles and occlusion (bites). In 2009, the year the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl, Moreau was invited to help provide specialized performance athletic mouth guards to about 25 New Orleans Saints players. 

Because of his knowledge and experience with neuromuscular dentistry and the role of jaw position and open airways, Moreau also recognized the scope of Sleep Breathing Disorders and the impact it can have on a person’s health. He works with board certified sleep physicians in Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi to screen patients for OSA and provide alternative oral device therapy for sleep apnea patients where other treatment methods may have failed.

In addition, a huge supporter of PPHA and the treatment of sleep apnea, Dr. Harry Sugg, was also present and assisting in diagnosis of sleep apnea during the event.

In conjunction with upcoming Super Bowl events, NFL players and former players had to undergo health screenings under the direction of NFLPA cardiologist Dr. Archie Roberts of Boston. As an adjunct, Moreau screened for sleep apnea and provided CPAP alternative treatment, when appropriate, through oral appliance therapy. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is considered the preferred treatment for sleep apnea patients, but a large percentage of patients can’t wear a CPAP mask. Rather than leave the life-threatening disorder untreated, qualified dentists like Moreau are now able to provide effective treatment through custom fitted appliances which move the jaw forward and keep the airway open during sleep.

“The challenge here is to get the results we’re looking for with regard to the sleep apnea without putting the jaw joints at risk or changing the way the patient bites down during the day,” Dr. Moreau says.

Because of his unique expertise combining TMJ, fitting performance mouth guards with attention to open airways, and understanding sleep breathing disorders, Moreau has been able to successfully help many patients overcome sleep apnea and potentially add years to their lives. “After screening patients for the sleep disorder, we work with a board certified sleep physician who properly diagnoses the patient, usually involving an overnight sleep study. The home sleep studies were proposed to be done with an innovated device called the NOX-T3 by CareFusion, which donated multiple units for the screening of these players.

These Super Bowl screenings coordinated by the New Orleans NFLPA Retired Players Chapter took place on February 1, 2013, from 10:00am to 2:00pm at Moreau’s New Orleans Sleep-Dentistry location within the General Dentistry office of Dr. Frank Martello. Both doctors Moreau and Martello are working in support of the PPHA campaign to “Tackle Sleep Apnea” which is a national touring campaign. The campaign consists of events in states all over the nation hosted by different physicians and dentists, who screen, diagnose, and treat sleep apnea. Statistically, over 60% of the NFL and former NFL players are suffering from sleep apnea and the campaign gives them, along with health care professionals, the opportunity to raise awareness and save lives through sharing their personal stories.

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