Are you known as someone who snores excessively? Do you often feel sleepy during the day? If so, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). It is a type of Sleep Disordered Breathing that causes the sufferer’s airflow to be reduced or completely blocked during sleep. If untreated, obstructive sleep apnoea can lead to serious medical and lifestyle issues including diabetes, increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, daytime fatigue or a lack of concentration.
Sleep apnoea occurs throughout the night, approximately once every minute. It can seriously disrupt the rest that you need in order to function properly the next day. The common symptoms associated with the nocturnal breathing condition include persistent and loud snoring. Sufferers are also observed gasping for air following repeated breathing pauses. The effects of sleep deprivation also spill over to the waking hours – or you may classify them as ‘daytime symptoms’. OSA patients may experience some or many of these daytime effects: Excessive sleepiness, morning headaches, memory loss, bed-wetting, mood swings, depression, dry mouth, sore throat, etc.
One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for obstructive sleep apnoea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The therapy makes use of a portable CPAP breathing machine to deliver constant streams of pressured air via tubes to a breathing mask that is worn on the OSA patient. Custom-adjusted for each patient, the air blows at a constant pressure into the patient’s mouth so that it is able to hold the palate, nose and throat tissues open. Although CPAP is highly effective and considered the gold standard for OSA treatment, not everyone can adapt to the daily routine of sleeping with a face mask that blows pressured air through their nostrils and throats. In terms of compliance rate, it is estimated that less than 50% of patients find success with the CPAP method.
Thankfully, OSA patients who have trouble coping with CPAP therapy can turn to dental appliances as a viable alternative. The most popular dental appliance used in Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD), also known as Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS).
Worn on the teeth during sleep, the dental splint helps to prevent the soft tissue from collapsing into the airway and disrupting normal breathing patterns. The Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) offers a safe and effective method for reducing the effects of obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring. The splints, worn on the upper and lower jaws, can be customised to fit perfectly on your teeth. The device is easily adjustable for optimum comfort and precise function. The splint is a small and unobtrusive device that does not excessively disrupt your lifestyle, compared to the CPAP machine that adds substantial weight to your luggage on your travels. The dental device is also competitively priced especially when you compare it to surgical treatment or even other conventional OSA therapies.
If you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and would like to find out more about how oral appliance therapy can help, speak to a dentist who has the necessary knowledge and expertise in Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) and Sleep Medicine.
For more information on our range of oral appliance therapy, book an appointment to speak with Dr Luke Cronin at Quality Dental in North Sydney at (02) 9922 1159. You may also visit www.qualitydental.com.au