What is sleep apnoea and what are the symptoms and how can it be treated?
Sleep apnoea is a debilitating condition. Common symptoms such as loud snoring, disrupted sleep, daytime sleepiness can cause disruption to daily life activities.
At Preston Smiles, our dentists know the signs of sleep apnoea and will ensure you receive the diagnosis and solutions to help you.
Apnoea literally means “no breath” or “stopping breathing”. Many people have sleep apnoea, but may not even know it. Sleep apnoea affects more than three in 10 men and nearly two in 10 women.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, it’s important to recognise some of the common symptoms and what you can do about it.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Gasping or chocking sounds during sleeping
- constant tiredness
- Poor concentration
- Morning headaches
- Depressed mood
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
- Lack of energy
- Sexual dysfunction
- Frequent urination at night
If you are experience any of these symptoms, Call us so we can help you today
Various treatments for sleep apnoea exist, with treatment often varying depending on the cause of the condition and the severity of symptoms. Solutions range from diet modification, oral appliance therapy or CPAP for more severe cases.
For sleep apnoea caused by sinus issues, a nasal spray may help to alleviate symptoms. Surgery can also treat the condition when caused by large tonsils or excess tissue in the throat.
Oral appliances made by Preston Smiles are one of the options that you can use to treat mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. They are also called Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) or Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) or Mandibular Repositioning Appliances (MRA). They look a bit like a mouth guard. At night, before you go to bed, you put it in your mouth. There is no need to wear it during the day.
Oral appliances work by pushing your lower jaw forwards. Your airway will open up more and there will be less of a risk that it will vibrate (snore) or obstruct.
As with all treatments, some people respond better than others. The oral appliance will work best if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, if your sleep apnoea is a lot better when you lie on your side than when you lie on your back and if you are not overweight. If you have central sleep apnea (less common than obstructive sleep apnoea), then oral appliances will probably not help. But until you have tried it, no one can say for sure how well it will work for you.
Generally, if the oral appliance is fitted correctly, it should be comfortable most of the time. Because it pushes your jaw forward, some people feel discomfort initially, but this tends to get better with prolonged use. Mostly, any discomfort is in the joint at the back of your jaw, just in front of the ear. This should soon go away when you take the appliance out in the morning. Other people find that it causes saliva to build up in the mouth, or makes the teeth feel tender. Again, these symptoms settle quickly with continuing use. Over the long term, there may be tooth movement, changes in your bite or problems with the joint and muscles of the jaw. It is important to have a regular check up with the dentist who supplied the appliance to detect these problems early so they can be dealt with. Each person has a different mouth and jaw shape, so you should have one made to fit you. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and send the mould away for the appliance to be made. This usually takes 2 or 3 weeks. When it is fitted into your mouth, it will be adjusted so that it moves your jaw forward to a position that will be effective but is still comfortable. The device will have a screw adjustment to allow further fine tuning of the position over the next few weeks. Your dentist will help supervise this.
There are some kinds of dental devices that you can buy over the counter. These are cheaper, but they usually do not work. You will be wearing a appliance for a long time, so it is best to have one fitted especially for you. This will make it work better and help avoid any side-effects. After the appliance is fitted, follow-up visits by us are required to titrate and adjust your oral appliance as necessary.
What are your next steps?
At Preston Smiles, if appropriate, we will refer you to a sleep specialist or liaise with your GP about organising appropriate sleep studies. They will determine how severe your sleep apnea is and what can be done about it. You will probably have an overnight sleep study. You can do this either at home or in a sleep lab. It takes one night. After the sleep study, you will have another appointment with your sleep specialist to talk about which treatment will be best for you. If you decide on an oral appliance, your sleep specialist will refer you back to us. You will continue to be looked after by both the sleep specialist and the team at Preston Smiles.
To find out if you have sleep apnoea, make your appointment today.