Most adults derive adequate rest and rejuvenation from 8-10 hours of sleep per day. However, the same cannot be said of those who are suffering from untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). That’s because true rest can only come from deep sleep, which requires an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep, which unfortunately is what OSA sufferers severely lack.1

Couple suffering from sleep apnoea.

The potentially dangerous sleeping disorder causes the sufferer’s breathing to either be completely or partially obstructed during sleep. When an OSA patient is asleep, the tissues and muscles around the windpipe would collapse and obstruct the airway. For acute sufferers, the breathing interruptions would take place throughout the night, depriving the OSA sufferer of the adequate rest he or she needs to function the next day.

There are many signs and symptoms associated with a sleeping disorder. One of the most common symptoms is that of loud and persistent snoring. More than just a bedtime annoyance, persistent snoring – usually followed by choking and gasping for air – is one of the most telling signs that the person may be suffering from Sleep Apnoea. Other signs to look out for are: daytime fatigue; morning symptoms like dry mouth or headaches; depression and anxiety; memory loss; lack of concentration; and decreased libido.

As mentioned, OSA is a serious medical condition that is associated with a variety of health risks, including:

  • Stroke: Results from a 20-year-study shows that people with moderate to severe OSA are nearly 4 times more likely to have a stroke.2
  • Cardiovascular problems: The breathing interruptions that cause decreased oxygenation of the blood, can lead to complications like heart failure and rhythm disturbances.3
  • Diabetes: When OSA patients struggle to breathe, they release stress hormones which inadvertently raise blood glucose levels, thereby increasing the risk of diabetes.4
  • Cancer: OSA sufferers are 3 times more likely to die from cancer.2
  • Death: The same study finds that people with moderate to severe OSA are 4 times more likely to die.2

If a sleep physician has diagnosed you with mild to medium Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, you may be prescribed a mandibular advancement splint (MAS) as a non-invasive and proven treatment option. The anti-snoring device helps to prevent soft tissue from collapsing on the airway and disrupting normal breathing patterns. The TGA-approved oral device is an safe and painless treatment that does not require any needles or surgery.

The mandibular advancement device consists of two splints that are worn over the upper and lower teeth. The interconnected plates are designed to push the lower jaw forward relative to the upper jaw’s position. This helps to open up the airway while preventing the soft tissue from collapsing on it. Customised to the precise structure of your mouth, the mandibular advancement splint (MAS) helps to stop the snoring and reduce the number of breathing interruptions throughout the night.

The splints are fabricated based on the impressions and a bite registration taken by the dentist. The clinician will also fit the mouthpiece over your teeth and make necessary adjustments to achieve optimum comfort and efficacy. That is why it is important to be treated by a dentist who is adequately trained in Oral Appliance Therapy or Sleep Medicine.

Finally, it is important to remember that what works on other OSA patients may not work for your specific condition. If you have any questions about OSA, please speak to a dental or medical professional who is trained in this field.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a potentially life-threatening condition. If you are suffering from OSA or experiencing related symptoms, please contact Face Value Dental on 07 3221 0677 or visit our webpage http://www.facevaluedental.com/snoring--and-sleep-apnoea.html for more information.

References

  1. "How Many Hours of Deep Sleep Does One Need?" New Health Advisor. July 17, 2015. http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/How-Much-Deep-Sleep-Do-You-Need.html.
  2. "Study Links Severe Sleep Apnea to Increased Risk of Stroke, Cancer and Death." American Academy of Sleep Medicine. http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=4687.
  3. "Sleep Apnea Oxygen Level." Sleep Apnea Guide. http://www.sleep-apnea-guide.com/sleep-apnea-oxygen-level.html.
  4. "Diabetes and Sleep Apnea: How Sleep Affects Blood Glucose and Diabetes." Diabetic Living. http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/complications/heart/diabetes-and-sleep-apnea-how-sleep-affects-blood-glucose-and-diabetes.