Snoring & Sleep Apnoea
If you or your partner snore, you may have sleep apnoea.
Snoring is often more than just a noisy social nuisance. Snoring may be an indicator of a serious underlying condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Many snorers with OSA are unaware that they may have it. Try the Epworth Sleepiness Test to see if you suffer from OSA. Whatever your result, you should treat your snoring to improve your health and to improve the sleep quality of those that you share your life with.
Sleep disordered breathing can potentially be serious. A situation may develop where the breathing stops and starts throughout the night
Symptoms That May Indicate an Underlying Sleep Disorder:
Snoring and/or gasping/choking during sleep
Waking up with a headache in the morning
A sense you’ve been clenching during the night
Breaking or chipping teeth without other reasons
Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks
Tight muscles or a sore jaw in the morning
Feeling unrefreshed/tired when you wake up even after 7-8 hours’ sleep
Daytime sleepiness and tiredness
Anxiety and poor concentration during the day
The SomnoMed appliance has been proven to be effective in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnoea.
If you would like to know more about treatment for snoring and OSA then please contact our office.
What is Regular Breathing?
When we breathe, air should pass through our nose and past the flexible structures at the back of our throat, including the tongue, soft palate and uvula. While we are awake, muscles hold our airway open. Normally when we fall asleep these muscles relax, but our airway remains open. Snoring is simply the sound of obstructed breathing during sleep. While snoring can be harmless, it can also be the sign of a more serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea, or OSA (see below)
Why Do We Snore?
Snoring occurs when the structures in our throats are large and our muscles relax enough to cause our airway to narrow and partially block the flow of air. Air tries to pass through these blockages, and our throat structures vibrate causing the sound we know as snoring. Large tonsils, a long soft palate, an enlarged uvula and excess fat deposits contribute to our airway narrowing and causing us to snore. When our throat muscles relax in sleep, they are less effective in holding our breathing passages open. The soft sides of our airway tend to collapse, and the air has to move faster through a smaller space. This creates vibrations of the soft tissues and generates the noise called snoring. It has been shown that excess body weight; heavy alcohol consumption, sedatives and sleeping on your back can increase the severity of snoring.
While not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnoea, we suggest that if you have been heard to gasp for breath or have sudden spells of drowsiness during the day, then you should obtain a referral to a qualified specialist. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is an extremely serious medical condition and if left undiagnosed it may lead to a number of serious health problems or possibly even death.
Treatments For Snoring
Treatments for snoring vary greatly from simple measures and precautions to surgery. The success is difficult to measure by sound recording or tests because the most important factor for snoring is the partner affected by the snoring. Their satisfaction is the ultimate measure of success. Thus, if you can decrease your snoring so that your bed partner can sleep well treatment is considered successful.
It is a primary concern of Natural Dentistry that our patients don't have sleep apnoea. The treatment for OSA may be different from that for snoring.
In some instances, the avoidance of alcohol and any sedating medications in conjunction with regular good quality sleep may help to decrease the volume of snoring. Most snorers are loudest while sleeping on their backs, therefore positioning strategies or an extra pillow can help control snoring. However, except in the mildest cases, additional measures are usually needed.
If the main concern is a bed partner, strategies that allow the non-snorer to sleep first can often limit the irritating effects of even the loudest snorer. In individuals that are overweight, significant weight loss can dramatically reduce the level of snoring. Maintaining this weight loss over time can be difficult for many individuals, but for those that are successful, this can be a very effective strategy. Any extreme dietary measures or long term use of dietary medications should be reviewed with your doctor.
There are a wide range of surgeries performed that may help control snoring. Although they differ significantly in the overall patient experience, most can be relatively successful in controlling the sound produced with snoring.
An oral device is an appliance worn in the mouth similar to an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouthguard. Oral device therapy involves the use of a specially designed appliance that, when worn during sleep, maintains an opened, unobstructed airway in the throat. These appliances promote adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep in people who snore and have the medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea.
Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS)
Mandibular repositioning appliances work by repositioning and maintaining the lower jaw (mandible) in a protruded (forward) physiologic position during sleep. This opens the upper airway by tightening the tissues at the back of the throat. Since the tongue is attached to the lower jaw, repositioning the lower jaw in a more forward position also holds the tongue in a more forward position away from the throat thus eliminating snoring sounds.
Advantages of Mandibular Advancement Splints
MAS treatment is not painful and invasive like surgery. In addition, it is completely reversible. If complications arise, then the patient simply stops wearing the device. They are comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find that it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimatised to wearing the appliances. Finally, mandibular advancement splints are small and convenient making them easy to carry when travelling.
The SomnoMed MAS™
The SomnoMed MAS™ is an oral appliance in the class of Mandibular Advancement Splints (“MAS”) that treats both snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea by advancing the lower jaw forward into a physiologic rest position. It is a custom made device consisting of upper and lower dental plates with a unique patented fin- coupling mechanism. It is an adjustable appliance; thereby providing incremental jaw advancement to the necessary degree depending on your physiology, to alleviate snoring and reduce OSA.
The SomnoMed MAS™ design incorporates a number of key features which represent advances on existing MAS oral appliances, including:
Permits full range of mouth opening and closing;
Minimises disruption to normal oral functions like speech, drinking and yawning;
Provides contact at both the anterior(front) and posterior(rear), meaning a more stable occlusion (bite);
Minimises impingement on the oral airway and the tongue space, and enables the wearer to open the mouth, yet have the jaw remain relaxed and forward at all times.
We hope that this brief explanation will answer some of your questions regarding snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. We will be happy to discuss any of these questions with you at your consultation.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you may seek an opinion from another appropriately qualified health care practitioner.