Snoring & Sleep Apnea

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Finally the illusive good night’s sleep

A jab in the ribs or shove of the shoulders is usually the way a disturbed and frustrated sleep partner stops someone from snoring.

While snoring is common, it can also be an indicator of the more serious condition of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea occurs when the soft tissue and muscles at the back of the throat responsible for holding the airway open relax too much during sleep. This causes a blockage of the air passage and a pause in breathing.

These non-breathing episodes can last from 10 seconds up to one minute, and in severe cases occur several hundred times per night.

The brain registers the person is not breathing, sends a signal to the throat muscles causing the snorer to jolt awake, breathe and fall back to sleep almost instantly, often with no recollection of ever waking.

Factors that can contribute to OSA include being overweight, smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Often losing 10 – 15 kilos can reduce the severity of sleep apnoea, as too can a dental night splint.

Similar to a sport mouthguard, a dental splint repositions the jaw, helping to open the air passage and make breathing during sleep easier.

For people diagnosed with severe OSA, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine is recommended as the most suitable treatment solution.

A CPAP machine features a small, quiet air pump, a tube and face mask that fits comfortably over the nose (and sometimes the mouth). It is designed to pump a constant flow of low pressure air into the throat. This low pressure airflow prevents the airway from collapsing and also stops snoring instantly.

The CPAP machine prevents but does not cure Sleep Apnoea. If you stop using it, snoring and Sleep Apnoea will re-occur.

In addition to daytime fatigue due to disruptive sleep patterns, OSA may also contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Snoring & Sleep Apnoea is an issue, so if you or your partner snore or you notice they stop breathing during sleep, schedule a consultation appointment with the Glebe Dental team. We can assess the positioning of the jaw while it is relaxed and determine if your OSA could potentially be resolved with the use of a night splint.

Should you require a more in-depth assessment, you may be referred to a sleep specialist.