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Orthodontic intervention for sleep apnoea

The average adult requires six to eight hours of sleep each night, but for many obtaining an unbroken, truly restful sleep is an ongoing battle due to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, otherwise known as OSA.

This condition affects more than a quarter of Australian middle-aged males and around 10 per cent of females in the same age bracket, but the good news is, treating Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can be as simple as using a custom-fitted oral appliance.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea occurs when the muscles in the tongue and throat relax during sleep and partially or completely block the airway. These apnoeas, or periods without breath, can last from 10 seconds to a minute or longer.

It not only affects quality of life, but can result in increased risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents, diabetes, heart failure, elevated blood pressure, stroke, depression, and mood swings.

Once diagnosed, however, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is treatable using orthodontic appliances.

Do you have OSA?

One of the leading symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is snoring, with 60 to 70 per cent of people who snore suffering the condition.

This snoring usually commences shortly after the individual goes to sleep and continues at a regular pace for a period of time, gradually getting louder.

In Obstructive Sleep Apnoea this is followed by a brief period of silence where there is little or no breathing and then a loud snort or gasp as the sleeper partially awakens to clear their airway. The snoring then resumes and the cycle continues. While the snoring and waking cycle is the primary symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, there are other signs.

The top symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea include:

  • Snoring
  • Loud gasping during sleep
  • Daytime fatigue
  • General sleepiness
  • Unintentionally falling asleep during the day
  • Insomnia
  • Regularly awakening to go to the bathroom

Diagnosing OSA

Seeing your general practitioner is the recommended first step in properly diagnosing and commencing treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. They may then refer you to have a sleep study undertaken in order to analyse your sleep patterns and the severity of the condition.

The sooner Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is diagnosed the sooner treatment can commence, and the fewer ongoing health complications will arise.

Oral appliances

An oral appliance like SomnoDent is as an effective and convenient strategy in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Custom-made by specialist orthodontists, this technology is also known as a Mandibular Advancement Splint and is worn during the night. It works by shifting the jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open.

Painless, non invasive and adjustable, this splint resembles a clear mouth guard and is as simple to use as a retainer, providing a discreet, comfortable treatment option.

Mandibular Advancement Splints are viewed as one of the most effective alternative treatments for individuals with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, based on 40 years of scientific studies. They are now designated by the Australian Sleep Association and American Academy of Sleep Medicine as a key treatment for snoring and sleep apnoea.

Norwest Orthodontics is a leading provider of SomnoDent treatment, and you can learn more by contacting us directly.

Orthodontic intervention for sleep apnoea

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