Snoring is not usually an issue (except perhaps for the partner!) but for some this indicates a more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). OSA can cause an interruption to breathing many times during the night, each episode lasting from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. This may lead to heart disease, an increase in blood pressure, or even life-threatening stroke or heart attack.
Signs and symptoms include tiredness in the morning, excessive daytime sleepiness, choking or gasping during sleep, sore throat on waking, headaches, poor concentration, memory deterioration, decreased sex drive, anxiety and depression.
To ascertain the severity of the condition, we send you to an ENT specialist, who will rule out any other issues for an obstruction (for example, a tumour). They may refer you off for a sleep study, the results are analysed by a sleep physician and then treatment is determined.
Snoring and sleep apnoea may be treated using oral appliances (what we offer here at Yandina Dental), CPAP (a mask over the nose at night that delivers air under pressure via a quiet pump) or very rarely, surgery. Other methods of treatment include weight loss, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol or medications causing drowsiness or sleeping on one’s side.
Oral appliances are fitted in the mouth and act to posture the lower jaw forward to prevent the airways from collapsing during sleep. They are easy to wear and custom-made to fit your mouth. About 95% of snorers will have a decrease in the noise levels they make during sleep. Of every 100 people with mild to moderate OSA, about 80 will have either good or excellent results whilst using an appliance. Side effects may include teeth or jaw discomfort, dry mouth, excessive salivation, irritation to the soft tissues, discomfort of the jaw joint or bite changes. It is important to focus on the bigger picture though and realise that we can significantly improve one’s overall health and wellbeing by simply constructing an appliance.