Around 40-60% of the population snores, with some cases so severe their sleep partner, loses sleep and often ends up sleeping in a separate room. Yet snoring is no laughing matter as it can be an indication of underlying health concerns and a life-threatening condition called obstructive sleep apnoea.
The good news is a simple appliance made by the dentist can help reduce snoring and treat sleep apnoea and improve the quality of life and sleep for those affected.
About 30 to 40% of people have some form of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Yet around 80% of cases go undiagnosed.
OSA often occurs when there is a restriction in the airway – such as the tonsils, a large tongue, or structures inside oral nasal passages that become very relaxed during sleep – blocking a positive flow of air. This can cause interruptions to the breathing of up to 60 seconds or more while sleeping.
Sleep apnoea can be a life-threatening problem if not treated, as it limits the amount of oxygen your body receives, leading to very serious health problems such as the risk of sudden cardiac death. Thankfully there are now advanced treatments for obstructive sleep apnoea or other conditions caused by restricted airways during sleep, such as snoring, that can help those affected get a better night’s rest.
Although as a dentist I cannot diagnose sleep apnoea I can identify signs of the condition and recommend further tests. At our Kenmore dentist practice we take sleep apnoea very seriously and regularly screen out patients for its dental signs and symptoms.
If you have concerns about snoring or other symptoms of OSA, like daytime sleepiness, low energy and even depression I will provide you with a screening questionnaire, which helps identify your risk for OSA and sleep disorders.
In conjunction with this, I provide a thorough exam of your throat and mouth area to determine the possible cause of the restricted breathing.
The only positive way to know if you have sleep apnoea is to undergo a sleep study, where a respiratory sleep physician can make the diagnosis and determine the severity. This can be organised with a simple referral direct from our office.
As a holistic dentist I can usually treat snoring without the need for sleep studies and medical diagnosis, however, treatment of OSA can only be done following a sleep study and recommendation from a sleep physician.
Treatment options depend on the severity of OSA, which can range from mild, to moderate, or severe.
For most patients, the gold standard is to use the continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine or an oral appliance called a mandibular advancement splint (MAS), which we can make for you in-office. The MAS oral appliance is similar to a custom-fitted mouth guard and is designed to help maintain a positive airflow through breathing passages during sleep.
My recommendation is if you suffer from snoring or fear you may have sleep apnoea seek medical help, as obstructed breathing at night is a treatable condition that does not need to be endured, and can, in fact, pose significant dangers to your health.
At Evolve Dental Healing we are highly trained in the treatment of sleep apnoea and snoring and are proud to be able to offer you a simple yet life-changing treatment for a condition that has serious health consequences if left untreated.
If you are concerned that you or your partner may have OSA, sleep-disordered breathing or suffers from snoring do not hesitate to seek treatment. Call us at 07 3720 1811 to discuss your concerns and find out how we can help you have better nights sleep and improve your health.