Sleep Apnoea and Snoring
Suffering from sleep apnea?
Know someone who is?
Need information on the condition?
Need advice on treatment?
Need help with a diagnosis?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are in the right place. At Painfree Dentistry, we can offer information on this sleep disorder, treatment options and more. We are here to help.
What Is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is common and affects millions of people. Most people are unaware they are suffering symptoms because this condition only occurs while you are sleeping. There are signs you should look out for when you are awake. These include: feeling sleepy in the daytime, headaches in the morning, feeling unrefreshed after sleep and needing the toilet in the night more frequently. While you are sleeping, other people may notice loud snoring.
The cause of sleep apnoea is when the tongue and soft palate collapse into the back of the throat. This happens while you sleep. When this happens, the upper airway is restricted, which causes your brain to send signals of lack of oxygen to your body. These signals result in you gasping for breath, which forces the obstruction to clear so you can breathe again. In some cases, the process can repeat over and over during the night. In extreme cases, people can lose breath for around forty seconds during an hour’s sleep.
Who Is at Risk of Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnea is a common condition. It can affect almost anyone. However, males who are very overweight and people aged 40 and over are the most at risk. It can be life-threatening, and anyone showing symptoms should seek advice.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea?
- Feeling tired, sleepy and/or irritated during the day
- Morning headaches
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Waking up more than usual for the toilet or for a drink
- Memory problems
- Worn teeth
- Reflux problems
Why Is Sleep Apnea a Serious Condition?
The effects of sleep apnea can cause or has been linked to the following serious compilations:
- Drowsiness – which can lead to accidents and more
- Heart Attack
- Lung Hypertension
- Memory Loss and Dementia
Diagnosing Sleep Apnoea
As sleep apnoea occurs while you are sleeping deeply, you will need to have a sleep study test performed by a Sleep Physician. To have treatment with Painfree Dentistry, you will need to have a professional study that can properly diagnose the condition. Sleep studies can be done in a hospital or at home. We can discuss concerns with you, but you will need confirmation of sleep apnoea before we begin treatment.
Sleep Apnoea Treatment Solutions
There are different treatment options available. We can discuss any of these with you and work with you to find the perfect solution. Common treatments for sleep apnea can include:
SomnoDent® Devices – This is for mild and moderate cases. It is a dental device that you wear while sleeping. It will open your airway and stop the soft tissue from collapsing during sleep. It stops snoring and the obstruction process from occurring.
Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure – This treatment is for more severe cases and involves using a device with a mask, tubes and a fan. The device enables air to pass through your airway without any obstruction. This is an effective treatment that is non-invasive. Some patients have been known to struggle to sleep with the mask; however, the new technology is light, comfortable and quiet.
Surgical Procedure – In very extreme cases, sleep apnoea can be treated with surgery. If this is something you need, your dentist will discuss this in-depth with you.
Can You Help Me with Snoring?
Snoring occurs when we sleep. Some people do not snore, while others may snore quietly, with more severe cases snoring very loudly. If you or someone you know is suffering from snoring or you are concerned about a sleep disorder, you are in the right place. This section will give you important information about snoring and sleep apnea.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring is caused by vibrations in the respiratory structure. It occurs when we sleep because this is the time when a certain area of the nose and back of the throat relaxes. When in this relaxed state, these areas also narrow, which results in the air getting restricted in the air passage. The obstruction is what causes the sound.
What Causes Snoring?
There are many reasons why we snore. These fall into two categories the causes we can control and the ones we can’t.
Common causes of snoring we can control are:
- Smoking – When you smoke, it causes the airway to become inflamed and causes irritation of the nasal passages.
- Weight – If you are overweight, you may have extra fatty tissue in the neck area, which causes snoring.
- Medications – Some medication, such as sleeping pills, can cause inflammation and irritation in the nasal passage and airways.
- Alcohol – Alcohol causes the brain to respond more slowly, and this relaxed state can cause snoring when we sleep.
Common causes of snoring that we cannot control are:
- Age – When men hit middle age, they can have softer tissue around the neck which causes vibrations, which result in snoring.
- Medical conditions – Some medical conditions such as a narrow throat or cleft palate can result in snoring.
- Allergies and Asthma – These conditions can cause the nasal passages to swell, which can cause snoring.
How Can the Dentist Help with Snoring or Sleep Apnoea?
Your dentist can offer a variety of treatments for snoring. One common solution is the Mandibular Advancement Device. This holds your lower jaw and tongue in place so your airway can remain open while you sleep. Your dentist will discuss this with you if it is an option, and they can offer advice and treatment solutions.