About 10% of the Australian adult population will suffer from some snoring in their lifetime
The condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) occurs when the patient stops breathing many times during the sleeping cycle. These episodes can be few or many and can be of short or longer in duration (10 seconds-1 minute). This happens without any awareness to the patient during sleep.
Sleep Apnoea can have serious health implications including life threatening conditions such as a stroke or heart attack. Proper assessment or diagnosis of Sleep Apnoea and measurement of its severity needs to firstly be done by a respiratory physician. We work very closely with such specialists, and once they assess the degree of Sleep Apnoea will make recommendations on the best treatment option.
One of these treatment options is offered at our clinic, and is created through fabrication of an oral appliance called Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS). These appliances aim through design and fabrication to position the lower jaw in a slightly forward position which effectively holds the tongue forward as well as lifting the soft palate. This effectively provides a larger opening of the airway at the back of the mouth, making air flow easier.
This form of treatment has a 70-80% success rate. There are many different types of appliances that are available and designed for this purpose. Some of them are certainly a lot better than others in regards to their comfort and effectiveness.
Your physician once completing the assessment may recommend for you not a MAS but the CPAP (Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. This would generally be the preferred option for severe Sleep Apnoea or in cases of existing heart or lung disease. Surgery can also be considered including tonsil removal, opening up nasal passages, tongue reduction, repositioning the jaw more forward as well as tissue removal at the back of the throat. Surgery discomfort and complications need to be discussed with the surgeon.
Side effects of Oral Appliance (MAS)
- Irregularities or changes to the jaw
- Intolerance to appliance (gagging)
- Excessive saliva
- Jaw or teeth discomfort
- Tissue irritation in mouth
Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea
The most obvious symptom is that the person feels tired upon waking and feels sleepy through the day with poor concentration or even a decrease in job performance. Other symptoms nearly always include loud snoring, and the patient may also notice choking or gasping during sleep. There may be a sore, dry throat upon waking, morning headaches, memory deterioration, irritability and even anxiety and depression.
If you think you may suffer from sleep apnoea, don’t hesitate to contact us at Family Dental Clinic – West End today.