What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is essentially when you suffocate in your sleep. It occurs when the airway’s closes during sleep. Some people have airways prone to collapse during the sleep; this could be due to poor jaw movement, large tongue, bad posture, or weight gain.
Sometimes airway collapses, partially or completely if this happens more than 5 times per hour than is an indicative of sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is a very serious medical condition that can rob you of both quality and quantity of your life.
As you can imagine not been able to breathe is extremely stressful to the body. It affects our blood pressure and heart rate through the night. The brain gets roused out of deeper, restorative sleep, and sleeping time turns into a survival battle rather than a rest and recovery.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea
- Chocking or gasping for air
- Feeling like you haven’t slept
- Waking up with headaches
- Feeling tired or like you could fall asleep during the day
- Has your partner ever said?
“You have stopped breathing during your sleep”
“You sound like your chocking”
Is snoring wrecking more than just your partner’s sleep?
Snoring is considered by many to be normal and a natural part of ageing, but many studies show that it is a very serious health risk that is affecting your health and also your partner’s health.
Snoring is not healthy at any age and if you snore at all, you need to rule out sleep apnoea.
Snoring is a problem when your partner needs to sleep in a separate bedroom, or it wakes you up.
The role of Dentistry in the field of sleep medicine
Dentist plays an important role in sleep medicine, not only in treatment, but also in first line of recognition of clinical signs, and screening for sleep disorders.
Dentist is in the position to identify these potential patients as sleep apnoea is commonly a disease of cranio-facial anatomy and dentist has great cranio-facial anatomy knowledge.
We apart from being a general dental practice are also a sleep study centre for Sleep Services Australia. This means we can provide our patients with the equipment to have a home base sleep study test.
What signs alert a dentist to potential sleep-disorder problems?
- Tooth grinding
- Receded lower jaw
- Acid erosion of teeth
- Erosion, chipping of teeth
- Inflamed gums
- Narrow jaws
- Crowded and worn teeth
- Bony overgrowth (Tori)
- Tongue tie
- Heavily filled teeth
- Scalloped tongue mouth breathing
- Deterioration of crown and restorations
- Large tonsils
Treatment options will depend on the level of severity of the sleeping disorder
- Oral appliance (MAS)
- ENT referral
- Weight management
- Life style changes (Reducing alcohol, not smoking)
While lifestyle changes and surgery are options the most successful treatment option is the use of CPAP machine and mouth appliance
We are part of Sleep Services Australia and Dr Erika Guerra can talk to you about how we can help you with your sleep apnoea.
One of the treatment options is an Oral Appliance Therapy. They are worn over the teeth like a mouth guard, they work by realigning the jaw while you are sleep, it opens the airway passage at the back of the throat and prevents your jaw from dropping back during your sleep and obstructing the airway.
We use SomnoMed dental appliance for treating mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
How can we help you?
We are trained with a physiological approached which means we can:
- Assist with obtaining the diagnosis or ruling out sleep apnoea (through a home base study)
- Provide custom made appliances, that will provide support to the jaw and airway and minimise snoring
- Monitor your progress in managing the sleep apnoea
- Titrate your appliance to achieve maximal medical improvement
- When appropriate, restore any broken down teeth to excellent aesthetics and function
Where to from here?
Sleep apnoea is a very serious medical condition that can rob you of both quality and quantity of your life. There is no higher priority for the body than to breath. We can survive days without food or water, but only minutes without oxygen. Sleep together with diet and exercise are the pillars of health. The healthier sleep, the more beneficial it is to your health. Is sleep is an issue for you or your partner, a sleep screening or sleep study can help to understand why. If you already have been diagnosed of sleep apnoea and are not being treated, speak to your well-trained dentist so we can arrange a screening test or guide you in the right direction.