Sleep – it’s something we do every night, and it is not overrated. It affects every aspect of our lives.
According to reports from the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs (OSA) in all age groups and both sexes, but there are a number of factors that increase risk, including having a small upper airway, being overweight, having a recessed chin, small jaw or a large overbite, smoking and alcohol use, or being age 35 or older. Also, OSA seems to run in some families, suggesting a possible genetic basis. Chronic snoring is also a strong indicator of sleep apnea.
John Truitt, CEO, and Chris Prince, president and COO, of Simple Sleep Services.
Photo by Bruce Maxwell
“Many of our patients are habitual loud snorers that come to us because they want to get back into the marital bedroom,” he said. “When we conduct a diagnosis on them, they find out that they do, in fact, have obstructive sleep apnea. Once that’s cleared up, they feel much better.”
Truitt grew up in Gainesville, Texas, sitting at the breakfast table discussing bicuspids and crossbites rather than baseball and football. His father and grandfather were dentists. Today, he is a leading figure in the field of Sleep Medicine and specializes in dentistry’s impact on the treatment of OSA and snoring.
“We believe in starting most patients in a comfortable, fully reversible, non-surgical and custom-fitted oral appliance,” Truitt said. Our device is different from things you might see on television. Those are known as ‘boil and bites.’ They are not prescribed by a doctor and they’re not issued by a dentist; therefore, they can be quite dangerous. They potentially could cause tooth movement or jaw pain and even worse, may not treat the underlying condition of sleep apnea.”
Simple Sleep Services’ device is an FDA-cleared class II Medical Device that’s approved to treat OSA. It adds another dimension to oral appliance therapy, Truitt said. “Gentle forward tongue posturing and an open frontal design provide maximum effectiveness and comfort. When combined with jaw advancement, our device becomes what we believe to be the most effective and comfortable appliance available,” he said. “In addition, the two-part construction allows patients to talk, drink, open wide and close their lips.” He personally wears the device every night.
Truitt became interested in snoring and sleep apnea about 10 years ago. Once he understood how many people were affected it became an obsession, he said. Truitt teamed up with Chris Prince – a friend he’s known most of his life – and they opened Simple Sleep Services in September 2011. Prince is the president and COO of the company.
Prince is a graduate of University of North Texas, and he has extensive experience in business management. He has a track record of success in startup, acquisition, structuring, operational, and sales management.
“John has great insight when it comes to the business of sleep,” Prince said. “The diverse experience he brings has allowed us to build a business that is unique and can really help a lot of people. It’s also fun to build something with someone who is such a close friend. We’ve experienced a lot together,” he said.
The target candidate is the man or woman whose primary complaint is snoring, he said. “They may have some mild daytime tiredness, but it’s not someone who’s morbidly obese and falling asleep at the wheel. That’s not our demographic. Those people need to be on CPAC and stay on CPAC. Anyone who snores is an ideal candidate, and the majority of people who have apnea are ideal candidates for our therapy,” he said. “We can treat patients across the continuum. These are effective appliances.”
Truitt says that some people come through the front door and have been told they are bad patients just because they can’t wear CPAP. “They are told they’re wimps if they don’t want the surgery. That’s just not the case,” he said. “I want people to know that we have a place where everyone who snores or has apnea can come for a safe, easy assessment and solution. If we can’t help them, we’ll refer them to someone who can, but we find that the majority of people that snore and have apnea, we’re able to treat.”