Snoring can be a nuisance. It can also be a sign of Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which can have serious effects on your health. Snoring is caused by a partial obstruction of the airway, causing a vibration of air as we breathe in and out.
OSA involves repeated episodes of partial or full airway obstruction during sleep, caused by abnormal relaxation of the tongue and airway muscles.
1 in 5 people suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, and 80% are undiagnosed. Common symptoms are snoring, waking unrefreshed, fatigue in the day, waking at night choking or gasping for air. However sometimes it can be silent.
OSA is a serious condition. It has effects which in the long term can prove to be life threatening. It increases your risk of brain degeneration, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, kidney problems, metabolic problems and psychosocial problems. You are 7 times at higher risk of death and heart disease, regardless of the severity of the OSA, age or heart problems. Correct treatment reverses this.
Suspected OSA requires thorough investigation with appropriate specialists. Management of mild cases may involve a dental appliance. Severe cases often require use of a C-PAP machine during sleep to make sure the right amount of air passes through the airway and into the lungs.
A major cause of bruxism (teeth grinding at night) is OSA so if you are grinding your teeth away, it is wise to get checked for OSA.
A dentist with sleep breathing disorder training is a good place to start for the diagnosis and management of OSA. Diagnosis is done by a specialist diagnostic sleep study. An ENT specialist may sometimes be involved in your treatment too.
If there is a positive diagnosis, we may have a 3D Cone Beam CT radiograph taken to assist in assessing your airway. Working together with an Ear Nose Throat surgeon and respiratory physician, we can determine where the obstruction is arrange the provide the appropriate medical, dental, orthodontic or surgical treatment.
At NewSmile Dental, there is never a “one size fits all” philosophy. You can be sure that you will receive thorough care in the best interests of your health.