Sleep Apnoea

The necessary tools to recharge your energy during sleep

There are many suggested remedies for snoring but sleeping with an occasional snorer is very different to the experience of living with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

OSA occurs when there’s a partial or full blockage of your airway that occurs several times a night. This causes reduced oxygen flow to the brain, interruptions to sleeping patterns and may result in severe fatigue.

There is often a relationship between persistent, heavy snoring and sleep apnoea and available treatments range from the use of mouth guards to more specialised oral appliances for sleep apnoea.

If you are diagnosed with OSA, your dental professional may recommend trying sleep apnoea mouthguard as a starting measure.

Even if there are no perfect snoring cures, the right tools and support can help you and your loved ones gain a better night’s sleep. Read more about snoring and sleep apnoea below, or contact us to arrange an appointment.

Learn more about Sleep Apnoea

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Understanding how to Stop Snoring/ Sleep Apnoea

OSA occurs when there’s a partial or full blockage of your airway that occurs several times a night. This causes reduced oxygen flow to the brain, interruptions to sleeping patterns and may result in severe fatigue.

There is often a relationship between persistent, heavy snoring and sleep apnoea and available treatments range from the use of mouth guards to more specialized oral appliance for sleep apnoea.

If you are diagnosed with OSA, your dental professional may recommend trying sleep apnoea mouth guard as a starting measure.

Even if there are no perfect snoring currents, the right tools and support can help you and your loved ones gain a better night’s sleep. Read more about snoring and sleep apnoea or contact us to arrange an appointment.

Dysfunctional Sleep

Minor disturbances to nightly sleep are normal but when sleep patterns become dysfunctional, the wider health risks are considerable.

Signs of Dysfunctional Sleep

  • Loud and repetitive snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Erratic mood shifts
  • Morning headaches or fogginess
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Restless sleep
  • Frequently passing urine at night
  • Breathlessness at night or day
  • Reduced sexual libido
  • Reflux at night
  • Persistent weight gain regardless of diet

Underlying Causes

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) occurs when there is a partial or full blockage of the airway during sleep. The blockage registers with the brain, which triggers a muscle spasm to ‘wake’ the body into breathing.

This phenomenon manifests as very loud snoring followed by episodes of silence punctuated by gasps for breath.

In moderate cases, this disruption may only occur a few times a night. In severe cases, it occurs constantly.

Long term, OSA causes depletion of oxygen levels in the blood and brain. This in turn leads to fatigue in the sufferer, who may find it hard to stay awake during the day.

Undiagnosed sufferers may not even realise they have a problem and connect general lethargy, falling asleep at work, depression and even weight gain to dysfunctional sleep.

Who can be affected?

OSA does not discriminate. Infants, children, adults and the elderly can all be affected by it, although the causes of OSA may differ based on age.

In children, large tonsils and adenoids are a common cause but the largest affected group is the middle aged population. OSA is estimated to affect 10% of the population, with males predominating in a ratio of 10:1.

No matter the age, the effects of OSA can be very dangerous. As it depletes blood in the oxygen and brain, it can cause almost instantaneous sleepiness and people with OSA are at increased risk of having accidents in the car or at work as a result of their fatigue. Additional risks include heart attacks, strokes, irregular heartbeat, hypertension and loss of interest in sex/impotence.

Treating OSA

Once OSA is diagnosed, the critical path is to return the sufferer to normal sleeping patterns as quickly as possible.

How this is achieved is based on the individual case and may be a combination of dental and medical treatments.

There are a range of treatments for sleep apnoea depending on the severity of the condition.

If it is extremely severe, OSA sufferers may use a CPAP machine to regulate their breathing and oxygen flow at night. For many people however, a dental appliance known as a “mandibular advancement splint’ is the first step.

These appliances are custom moulded to fit the mouth of the person experiencing OSA and are worn during sleep. They hold the lower jaw slightly, which opens the airway at the back of the throat and keeps the tongue in a forward position so it cannot collapse backward to obstruct the airway.

Appliances can be non-adjustable or adjustable, with the latter allowing the position of the lower jaw to the most comfortable position to clear the airway. If an OSA sufferer is missing very many teeth, it is possible a dental appliance may not be suitable.

OSA Side Effects

There are no known dangerous side effects involved in wearing a dental appliance to help treat OSA. Some people may experience initial discomfort at sleeping with the appliance, some change to their bite or excess saliva production but these are usually a short term inconvenience that can be readily addressed with an adjustment to the appliance.

How much will treatments or solutions cost?

The solutions available range from the use of mouth guards to more specialised oral appliances for sleep apnoea. As such the cost can vary considerably.

Talk to your dentist and find out what the best solutions available for you, and the cost associated with each, to best determine what fits within your budget.

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