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Snoring is no joking matter! It is a sign of airway obstruction and a medical condition called sleep apnoea. Snoring can have a huge impact on relationships, and could also be affecting your health.
Dental Sleep Appliances - the best solution
Custom made, adjustable dental sleep appliances are scientifically proven and widely regarded by sleep physicians as the best available treatment for snoring and a frontline treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
Comfortable, effective and easy to use Dental sleep appliances are comfortable and easy to use with studies demonstrating 95% effectiveness in overcoming snoring.
Recent guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the peak body in the field, recognise dental sleep appliances as a frontline treatment for snoring and mild-to-moderate sleep apnoea. In severe cases of sleep apnoea the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is the optimal treatment, in which air pressure of adjustable intensity is delivered through a nasal mask worn during sleep. However many people find it very difficult, or just cannot use CPAP.
Dental sleep appliances are an excellent alternative therapy for people with severe sleep apnoea when CPAP is not tolerated, or when travelling, camping, or in any situation with no access to electricity.
Do you also have sleep apnoea?
If you snore you also might have sleep apnoea.
If you wake feeling somewhat unrefreshed and are sleepy during the day then your snoring may be more than just a noise - it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition called sleep apnoea.
Up to 70% of adults who regularly snore have sleep apnoea, with most unaware they have this condition. Sleep apnoea is caused by soft tissues in the throat, including the tongue, collapsing against the back of the throat. This obstructs the upper airway and air flow is reduced.
This cycle of obstruction and then breathing can occur many times per hour disrupting the quality of sleep. Sleep apnoea can cause high blood pressure, heart and health problems and is an important cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
How does the dental sleep appliance work?
Dental sleep appliances work by comfortably holding the lower jaw slightly forward, which prevents the tongue and structures at the back of the throat from collapsing into the airway. This keeps the airway open.
It is possible to have significant sleep apnoea even if no one has seen you stop breathing. Even partial obstructions can have a severe impact on health and quality of life.
What is the best treatment for snoring?
Dental sleep appliances are generally regarded as the most effective treatment for snoring, with the least side-effects. Studies demonstrate that dental sleep appliances are far more effective than surgical treatments. Surgery is only around 55% effective with significant potential side-effects including severe post-operative pain and regurgitation of food through the nose. Surgery is currently a very uncommon treatment.
Do you have sleep apnoea?
It is important to distinguish between:
- People who only snore.
- People who snore and also have sleep apnoea, an important medical condition.
Self Assessment for Sleep Apnoea
- Do you snore loudly?
- Is your snoring a problem for others?
- Do you wake feeling unrefreshed?
- Are you somewhat sleepy during the day?
- Has anyone heard you snort, gasp, or hold your breath during sleep?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you may be suffering from more than just snoring, you may have obstructive sleep apnoea.
It is recommended you call our practice to be assessed with a diagnostic sleep study.
Diagnosing sleep apnoea
An overnight sleep test is the only way of diagnosing sleep apnoea. The sleep test is important not just to determine whether you have sleep apnoea, but also the severity. The severity is an important factor in determining the optimal treatment.
What is the role of dental sleep appliances for sleep apnoea?
Dental sleep appliances are a frontline treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnoea. Most people with mild to moderate sleep apnoea will elect to use a dental sleep appliance as they are far more comfortable and easier to use than the traditional treatment which is the CPAP machine and mask. While the CPAP machine is the gold standard treatment for severe sleep apnoea many people find it difficult and are unable to use it.
Dental sleep appliances can often achieve excellent results with severe sleep apnoea for people who can’t or won’t use the CPAP machine. Even if 70% to 80% of the sleep apnoea is eliminated by using a dental sleep appliance this is often sufficient for the patient to feel more refreshed, less tired, stop snoring and have a reduced risk of blood pressure problems and heart disease. Greater effectiveness is often achieved in managing severe sleep apnoea when the use of a dental sleep appliance is combined with other measures such as weight loss.
If you have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea and you are not using CPAP then it is very important that a dental sleep appliance is used to assist with your breathing during sleep in order to prevent health and quality of life problems.
Are dental sleep appliances comfortable to wear?
Although the mouth is a very sensitive area, the vast majority of people adapt within a night or two and find the appliance surprisingly comfortable. This is because the appliances are tailor made and very thin. Once the snoring stops and the patient is feeling more refreshed, and have adapted to the appliance, most people would much rather wear it during sleep than leave it out, in order to maintain the benefits.
Are all dental sleep appliances the same?
Not all dental sleep appliances are the same. Current scientific research demonstrates that custom made appliances made by an appropriately trained dentist, from impressions and models of the patient’s own teeth are by far the most effective, comfortable type of appliances.
There are also “boil and bite” devices available from the internet. These are non custom made plastic shells, one size fits all, and are mostly non adjustable. These non - prescription devices have been banned in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They have the potential to cause significant side-effects and are difficult for people to wear - even in the short term.
While there are currently over 40 different appliances being advertised throughout the world many do not have associated studies demonstrating effectiveness. It is important to only use appliances that are supported by scientific studies which prove their effectiveness and comfort.
How long does a dental sleep appliance last?
If you don’t clench or grind your teeth a dental sleep appliance can last for 4 or 5 years and often much longer.
Even if you do clench or grind your teeth an appliance can still last for years and has the added benefit of protecting your teeth and dental work.
Our clinic works in close association with SleepWise Dental Lab, the only laboratory in Australia that specialises in the manufacture of an extensive range of high quality custom made dental sleep appliances.
Impressions are taken and the appliances are made on accurate moulds of the patient’s mouth. New generation materials are thin, yet strong, and ensure that the appliances are comfortable and last for the long term.