Sleep Apnoea and Snoring
The soft tissues inside and around your mouth can impact your quality of sleep. For instance, if you have a restricted airway because of enlarged tonsils or a collapse of your tongue while you’re sleeping, it can physically block oxygen flow to your lungs and brain throughout the night. This particular type of sleep disorder is known as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
Treating Sleep Apnoea
Some people use CPAP equipment to manage their sleep apnoea symptoms. But for others, the bulky or noisy machinery is quite cumbersome to use. Fortunately, oral sleep appliances may be an effective alternative.
What Are Oral Sleep Appliances?
An oral appliance for sleep apnoea positions your mouth in a certain way to reduce airway blockage. The device gently guides your lower jaw slightly forward, preventing your tongue, tonsils and other tissues from sealing off the back of your throat. Assuming your device is fitted by a professional, you can potentially start to see results within just a day or two of wearing it.
Advantages of Dental Sleep Apnoea Treatment
When you wear an oral appliance, you can sleep on your side and share a bedroom without disrupting other people’s sleep. These devices are medical grade and approved for treating symptoms of specific types of sleeping disorders, such as OSA.
Do I Have Sleep Apnoea?
Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnoea include fatigue, weight gain, snoring, teeth clenching and grinding, headaches, depression and a large neck circumference.
Getting treatment for sleep apnoea begins with a formal sleep study and assessment. Depending on the symptoms and vital signs you exhibit during your sleep, you could have anything from basic snoring to a specific type of sleeping disorder. The great news is that thanks to home sleep studies, it’s now possible to bring the testing process into your bedroom. Simply wear the device as directed and return it the next day.
How Sleep Apnoea Is Hazardous to Your Health
A number of health conditions can be complicated by sleeping disorders. For instance, untreated sleep apnoea lowers blood oxygen levels and increases blood pressure. In turn, it can raise your chances of a life-threatening stroke or heart attack.
Even though you may feel like you’re able to get by on a lower quality of sleep at night, the cumulative toll that it takes can be detrimental to your overall wellness. You owe it to yourself — and your loved ones — to get screened and treated as early as possible.
Perhaps you suffer from snoring but don’t necessarily have a sleeping disorder. Snoring can bother your loved ones and even cause you to sleep in separate bedrooms at night. Since snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissues in the back of your mouth, special types of devices can be made to minimise the movement. In turn, you can decrease the extent of your snoring habit.
There are even more recent technological advancements in some areas that allow for laser treatment. The laser helps to tighten the soft, looser tissues to minimise vibration while you sleep. Although this option is not available in all areas, it’s an exciting advancement in technology that may one day be able to eliminate the need for a physical snoring appliance.
Snoring can occur on its own or in combination with sleep apnoea. If you do not snore, it does not necessarily mean you don’t have a sleeping disorder. However, snoring can occur on its own, particularly if you’re suffering from nasal congestion or consumed alcohol before bedtime.
There are several oral signs of sleep apnoea, including flat, worn teeth and prominent jaw muscles. A large neck circumference is also quite common. You might even have a scalloped pattern along the sides of your tongue, from clenching your teeth while you sleep.
Since sleep apnoea causes the jaw to tighten up during oxygen deprivation, headaches and TMJ pain are common side effects.
A properly-fitting oral appliance can start to work from the first night of use. However, some adjustments may be necessary to fine-tune the fit and efficacy.
You will need to visit a dentist who is licensed to provide oral sleep appliance therapy and who can guide you through the sleep study process for a formal diagnosis.
* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.