Have you ever woken up breathless after a restless night, with morning headaches and a general feeling of lethargy and irritability for the rest of the day?
Do the people around you complain about your snoring at night?
If you answered yes to most of these above, you may be suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnoea.
As dental professionals, we are more than used to seeing patents asking for treatments to their sleep apnoea. According to Healthy Sleep Solutions, sleep apnoea is a sleep condition on which affects approximately 10% of females and 25% of males.
Yes, sleep apnoea is a condition on we see a lot of at our dental clinic. And it’s one which is poised to increase in the coming years.
As your dentist, our focus is on your oral health. But as people who get up early in the morning and work all day to deliver healthy smiles, we know how important a healthy amount of sleep is, too!
What is sleep apnoea?
Apnoea, like most medical terms, comes from a Greek word – in this case apnoea, meaning “breathless”.
If that wasn’t a dead giveaway to its definition, sleep apnoea is a sleep condition which affects your breathing, only while you are asleep.
Patients suffering from sleep apnoea experience complete blockages in their airways while they are asleep. These micro blockages cause disruptions and pauses in breathing which can last from as li le as a few seconds to several minutes… and they occur dozens of times a night (even hundreds in severe cases). Sleep apnoea can severely impact the quality of your sleep and as such, your overall health and quality of life.
Okay, so I’ll be feeling sleepier. Find me someone who isn’t sleepy these days…?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. A diagnosis of sleep apnoea can have far-reaching implications for your overall health if not treated quickly! While short-term redness can be dealt with, a lack of or poor sleep has been linked to a number of severe long-term health issues, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart attacks and strokes
- High blood pressure
More than just snoring
The most obvious symptom of sleep apnoea is snoring, particularly the sort of snoring where a breath is not taken for several seconds between snoring sounds.
But just because you snore, doesn’t mean you’re suffering from sleep apnoea. In fact, while most people with apnoea snore, not all people who snore suffer from sleep apnoea… so if you’re a snorer, you don’t have to start worrying just yet!
Other immediate symptoms of apnoea include:
- Feeling unrefreshed after waking up
- Lethargy/sleepiness throughout the day
- Morning headaches
- General irritability
- Tobacco usage
- Enlarged tonsils/tonsillitis
Help: I think I might have sleep apnoea!
If you think you have sleep apnoea, the first thing you should do is talk to a sleep specialist and arrange a sleep test, where your sleep will be observed, usually during an overnight session.
After all, you can’t exactly diagnose yourself!
If you do receive a diagnosis, the next step is to talk to your dentist! Your dentist can prescribe a number of oral devices to relieve your apnoea and fix any issues you may be having with your airways while sleeping.
And as your local dentist, Dental Care Group is more than willing to provide oral health devices to relieve your sleep apnoea and improve your night’s sleep!
How exactly does my dentist come into the picture?
Have you ever heard of a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS), Mandibular Advancement Device or Mandibular Repositioning Appliance?
While this one appliance goes by a number of different superhero names, these mouth guard-like devices all work the same way. These devices treat your sleep apnoea by moving and holding your jaw in a position that relaxes the muscles in your throat and dilate your airways, allowing you to breath unrestricted!
If you receive a diagnosis of moderate sleep apnoea, the experienced team at Dental Care Group can provide relief! We pride ourselves on stocking the latest and most suitable oral health solutions to treat your oral health issues, as well as delivering friendly service and upfront advice.
Talk to our team about getting one of these devices fitted to match the unique shape of your mouth!
Worst case scenario
A MAS device will work for the majority of moderate to mild cases of sleep apnoea.
But in the event that this fails or you’re diagnosed with severe apnoea, what should you do?
In these cases, we strongly recommend consulting with a sleep specialist for alternative treatments. In some cases, this can mean more specialised breathing devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines or, in the worst-case scenario, surgery on your airways.
At Dental Care Group, we look after you
In life, there are some things you can afford to have less of, and others that you really can’t get away with neglecting.
And sleep falls firmly in the latter category!
Sleep isn’t just important for staying alert and awake during your day – it’s one of the most important consideration for your overall health. We can’t understate how important it is to get any sleep-related problems diagnosed by a professional.
So if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnoea or are feeling many of its symptoms, stop by Dental Care Group’s brand new dental clinic in Armadale for tailored treatment options or advice for your sleep apnoea problems!
Conversely, there are many patients who want a solution for snoring, even if the snoring has not led to sleep apnoea. To that end wearing a MAS appliance overnight, is very good at reducing or even eliminating snoring, whilst the appliance is worn.