Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

Do you or your partner have trouble getting to sleep due to snoring? Do you often wake up tired and lethargic? If yes, then it is possible that you have a condition called Sleep Apnoea.

What is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep Apnoea is caused by our tongue and soft tissues collapsing into our airway while lying down, restricting our ability to breathe while asleep.

Each episode where you stop breathing, can last from seconds to minutes. Often Sleep Apnoea sufferers are unaware that they are affected, despite constant disturbances to their sleep. A person with Sleep Apnoea may have hundreds of these events each night which results in not only a disruptive sleep but a lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. The body compensates for this drop in oxygen by causing an increase in blood pressure to maintain blood flow to the vital organs. It is not surprising that a chronic cycle of apnoeas places an enormous burden on the the cardiovascular system.

Poor sleep has impacts on our mood, health, relationships, and jobs. Sleep Apnoea increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and stroke.
Fatigue during the day from bad sleep decreases our concentration and mental function. This effects your work performance, academic achievement, and is directly contributing to our road toll. Sleep Apnoea has a direct effect on the way each of us lives, performs daily activities, and how healthy we stay as we progress through life.
Sleep Apnoea affects 1 in 4 Australians, yet 80% of people who have Sleep Apnoea, are undiagnosed and remain at risk. Left untreated, it can lead to many serious medical conditions.

If you have Sleep Apnea, you are…

  • 3 times more likely to suffer a Stroke
  • 2 times more likely to develop Depression
  • 7 times more likely to have a Motor Vehicle Accident
  • 3 times more likely to suffer a Work-related Injury or Fatality
  • At greater risk of suffering Heart Attack
  • Likely to already have high Blood Pressure
  • More likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes
  • Almost certain to progress to Obesity

How can Sleep Apnoea be treated?
There are many treatments that have been used for Sleep Apnoea but the most effective is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).

Unfortunately, some people with Sleep Apnoea do not tolerate CPAP and turn to other Sleep Apnoea treatments such as surgery to the airway or an oral appliance, also called a mandibular advancement splint (MAS) or mandibular advancement device (MAD).

Mandibular Advancement Splints work by supporting the lower jaw in a forward-postured position throughout sleep. The usual oral appliance consists of a “mouth guard” fitted to both the top teeth and the bottom teeth and then joined together in such a way that the bottom teeth end up in front of the top teeth, like a bulldog.

Pushing the bottom jaw forward in most people opens up the airway at the base of the tongue and front of the throat and supports it so that it is less likely to collapse. This helps to reduce either the number or severity of the apnoea events.

What treatment are there for snoring?
If your problem is not Sleep Apnoea but just that you snore, and snoring is causing distress to you or your family, an oral appliance or MAS may be a solution. An oral appliance, properly fitted, is usually quite effective in stopping or reducing snoring. Whilst snoring may seem like a less important medical condition it is still important to have it managed properly because it may be a pointer to a more serious Sleep Apnoea issue. Even more importantly, if you are the partner of a snorer, it is crucial for your health that you too experience a calm and quiet environment at night to get a good night’s sleep for yourself.

Talk to us for more information
At Evergreen Dental Care, we work closely with sleep physicians who will diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatments.
If you feel that you may require treatment for Sleep Apnoea or snoring, contact us to arrange a consultation.

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