The implications of snoring may be much more profound than just an irritated partner. While one of the most common bugbears associated with people who snore is destroying the peaceful slumber of others, but it can be more problematic if caused by a medical condition known as sleep apnoea.

What is Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a very common yet under-diagnosed sleep-related breathing disorder. Obstructive sleep apnoea refers to the obstruction of airway during sleep that is commonly associated with loud snoring. Besides snoring, OSA sufferers do not get quality rest from their sleep – some wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air – resulting in daytime fatigue, difficulty in waking up in the morning, headaches and even memory loss. OSA patients are also seven times more likely to have a heart disease, regardless of the patient’s age or severity of condition. Other health implications associated with this serious chronic breathing and sleeping disorder include diabetes, hypertension, stroke and even death.

Who Experiences Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

The disorder is most commonly found in people who are obese; have a narrow airway or large tongue; or consume large quantities of alcohol at night. If you or a loved one has any of the symptoms or are at risk, you may consult a dentist who has the knowledge and expertise to determine the underlying causes of your disorder and deal with the problems.

Methods Of Treatment For Sleep Apnoea

Depending on the severity of your condition, the methods for countering the effects of OSA can range from surgery to the use of a breathing machine known as CPAP. Among the more conservative methods with proven effectiveness and high patient acceptance rates – CPAP patient compliance is as low as 50% – involves the use of dental appliances.

For example, some dentists prescribe the use of mandibular advancement splints to push the tongue forward while keeping the jaw stationary – to prevent the airway from getting blocked, a major cause of OSA.

Another dental appliance, known as SomnoMed, is a next generation devise that can be worn during sleep to prevent the collapse of the upper airway. The treatment involves the use of a custom-made appliance that features two components that fit over the upper and lower teeth.

These comfortable and easy-to-use oral devices are prescribed as part of the Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT) – of which SomnoMed is a leading provider. After a sleep physician has diagnosed you with OSA, the dentist will take an impression and bite registration of your teeth and send the items to SomnoMed for the appliance to be made. The dentist will also fit the device for you and explain how you may insert or remove it by yourself, for cleaning purposes.

If you have been diagnosed with OSA talk to Dr Luke Cronin at Quality Dental in North Sydney about an appropriate dental solution.

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