Let Freedom Dental help with a solution for your sleep apnoea.
If you or someone you live with snores loudly, you may be experiencing a condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). This happens when your airways become blocked, which can affect your breathing and cause other problems.
If you think you might have sleep apnoea, make an appointment with Freedom Dental. Our Melbourne dentists will work with you to develop a solution that suits your needs and your lifestyle. If we suspect you have sleep apnoea we will refer you to a sleep physician for diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, we can prescribe a suitable treatment option.
Schedule a free information session
Learn more about sleep apnoea and other oral health related problems you may be dealing with by attending a complimentary information session at Freedom Dental. You'll have the chance to talk to our knowledgable team who'll answer any questions you have. Click here for terms and conditions.
What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?
Obstructive sleep apnoea happens when your upper airway becomes blocked, restricting your ability to breathe normally while sleeping. It can cause your breath to become shallow or to stop altogether, and when breathing resumes it may be accompanied by a loud choke, gasp or sudden body movements that cause you or people around you to wake up.
As well as causing breathing problems, OSA can put pressure on your respiratory system and restrict the flow of oxygen throughout your body, as well as disturbing your sleep and that of other people.
OSA can occur many times a night, but some people are unaware of it until someone else tells them about it.
What are the symptoms?
When you make an appointment at Freedom Dental, your dentist will need to know what symptoms you're experiencing. This helps us to determine whether you have sleep apnoea or a different issue. You may have OSA if:
- you snore loudly and deeply
- you wake up suddenly in the night
- you stop breathing, choke or gasp while asleep
- you're tired, have trouble staying awake or concentrating
- you have trouble getting to sleep at night (insomnia)
- you wake up with a headache, dry mouth or sore throat
Sleep apnoea can also affect children, where it may be linked to bed wetting, teeth grinding (bruxism) and learning or behaviour disorders.
How can sleep apnoea be treated?
If you are diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA, we may recommend a mandibular advancement device or splint (MAD or MAS) to be worn at night. This appliance is made from plastic or acrylic and is custom-made to fit inside your mouth, where it helps to keep your airway open and may also prevent your tongue from entering your throat or push your lower jaw forward. Measuring and fitting this device requires mulitple visits to our dental clinic.
If your OSA is more severe, we may refer you to a doctor who can provide continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). This involves wearing a face mask at night, with uninterrupted airflow keeping your throat open.
If your OSA is related to a sinus problem, this may be treated using a nasal spray. If your airway is blocked due to large tonsils, a deviated septum or other excess of tissue, we may recommend oral surgery for a more long term solution.
We'll also recommend that you make any lifestyle changes needed to reduce your risk factor for OSA, such as losing weight, reducing your alcohol intake and avoiding sleeping pills.
How is OSA diagnosed?
Not all snoring problems are caused by sleep apnoea, so it's important that we accurately assess your condition before we start to plan any treatment. During your appointment at our dental clinic, we'll ask you about the symptoms you're experiencing and perform a physical examination of your mouth. We might also request to talk to people you live with, who might be able to offer further insights.
If we think OSA is a possibility, we’ll refer you to a sleep physician for a sleep study. A sleep physician will monitor your breathing, heart rate, muscle activity and other vital signs to understand how your breathing problems are affecting you and diagnose the severity of your condition.
What causes OSA?
Our dentists can help to relieve the symptoms of sleep apnoea, but for long-term relief, it's important to track down what's causing it.
The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnoea in adults is being overweight. More than half of people with this condition have a body mass index (BMI) categorised as overweight or obese. This can cause the soft tissues in your throat to expand, which can block the airway when you go to sleep and your muscles relax.
Tumours and other growths in the throat can also cause obstructions, as can having a naturally larger neck, tonsils or tongue, a tight throat or a deviated septum. OSA in children is most commonly caused by oversized tonsils or a misaligned bite.
Men are more likely to experience OSA than women, and the risk factor for this condition increases with age. You'll also be at greater risk of sleep apnoea developing if you're a smoker or if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.
What health risks are associated with OSA?
If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnoea, you should make an appointment to see our dentists as soon as possible, as this condition can lead to serious complications if it's left untreated. OSA has been linked with a number of serious health conditions, including:
- cardiovascular (heart) disease
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- heart attacks
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- nocturnal angina
As well as its direct impact on health, OSA symptoms can also have other consequences. If you often feel tired, drowsy or have trouble concentrating during the day, it can affect your alertness while driving. OSA can also increase your risk of psychological issues such as stress and depression.
Schedule a free information session
Learn more about sleep apnoea and other oral health related problems you may be dealing with by attending a complimentary information session at Freedom Dental. You'll have the chance to talk to our knowledgable team who'll answer any questions you have. For terms and conditions click here.