Snoring and pauses while breathing are often symptoms of a serious condition called sleep apnoea. If left untreated, sleep apnoea can lead to headaches, chronic fatigue, and even life-threatening risks to your health.
Our experienced dentists offer at-home sleep studies for patients who may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea. If you are diagnosed with this condition, our practice has a number of advanced treatment options that can help you get a healthier and more peaceful night’s sleep.
- What Is Sleep Apnoea?
- Sleep Apnoea Symptoms
- Sleep Apnoea Side Effects and Risks
- Types of Sleep Apnoea
- Sleep Apnoea Treatments
- Sleep Apnoea in Children
What Is Sleep Apnoea?
Soft tissues in the throat, tongue, and nasal passages become very relaxed while you sleep. In some cases, they can become so relaxed that they narrow your airways, causing abnormal breathing patterns. This condition is what characterises sleep apnoea and it can lead to snoring, teeth grinding and pauses in your breathing. In fact, sleep apnoea can cause breathing pauses of 10 seconds or more. One of the things that makes sleep apnoea so dangerous is that a person may not even be aware he or she has it unless it’s witnessed by someone else. This makes it crucial to know the symptoms of sleep apnoea and to be evaluated by a medical or dental professional as soon as possible.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea?
Snoring is one of the most common, and recognisable, signs of sleep apnoea, but there are several others that could easily go missed, as they are associated with a wide range of disorders. If you experience any of the following, you should speak with your GP to see if sleep apnoea or another underlying cause could be at work:
- Loud snoring
- Significant other/family members reporting breathing stoppages during the night
- Gasping for air
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Teeth clenching and grinding
What Are the Side Effects and Risks of Sleep Apnoea?
It is very important to understand that untreated sleep apnoea conditions carry extraordinary risks, including:
- Sudden cardiac death
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Loss of memory
- Gastric reflux disease
- Sexual dysfunction
Our dentists can talk with you about your symptoms and develop a total health dentistry treatment plan designed to reduce the risks that sleep apnoea can cause.
What Are the Types of Sleep Apnoea?
Three main types of sleep apnoea are commonly discussed when diagnosing this disorder: OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea), CSA (central sleep apnoea), and complex sleep apnoea syndrome. By far, the form most patients are diagnosed with is OSA, which is caused by a blockage of the airway by oral and bodily tissues. CSA is less common but often more dangerous, since this is a failure of the brain to send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing systems, telling them to function correctly. Complex sleep apnoea syndrome is a combination of OSA and CSA.
What Are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnoea and Snoring?
Customised oral guards are often effective treatments for sleep apnoea and snoring. Nightguards or snoreguards available from our dentists are designed specifically for each patient to provide the most comfortable fit. These can work to improve the airflow through your breathing passages and reduce snoring and pauses while breathing. Our treatment plans can also be designed to keep you from clenching and grinding your teeth and prevent the development of serious dental issues.
Our treatment options include:
- At-Home Sleep Studies
- Nightguards and Snoreguards
- NTI Appliance
- SomnoMed® Sleep apnoea devices
We also have very close working relationships with the leaders in the respiratory disease field. We also work with Sydney’s top respiratory surgeons who can help patients requiring positive airway pressure to successfully reduce the dangers of sleep apnoea.
Keep in mind, treatment for sleep apnoea can not only reduce risks to your health and symptoms that affect your livelihood, but it can also give you and your loved one’s a much more restful night’s sleep.
Sleep Apnoea in Children
Paediatric sleep apnoea is similar to the disorder in adults, with a few noticeable differences. Rather than daytime sleepiness, children are more likely to express behavioral problems. Paediatric sleep apnoea is also often due to enlarged adenoids and tonsils rather than being overweight. If you notice your child experiencing any of the following while sleeping, contact your paediatrician to see if sleep apnoea may be an issue:
- Pauses in breathing
- Restless sleep
- Snorting, coughing, or choking
- Mouth breathing
- Sleep terrors
For more information on sleep apnoea or if you‘d like to make an appointment, please contact us today.