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Snoring and Sleep apnoea

Image of a snoring man with his wife by Dentist and Co

Snoring

Snoring occurs when the muscles of the airway relax during sleep and vibrate (creating noise) when air we breathe passes in and out. Most people will snore at some time, however loud or chronic snoring can disrupt sleep quality and disturb others. Particularly when loud, it is often associated with other sleep related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnoea (See below for more on Sleep Apnoea).

Common causes of snoring:

  • Allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Nasal congestion
  • Some medications
  • Sleep positions
  • Deformity of the nose
  • Consumption of alcohol close to bed time
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Swelling of the muscular part of the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen adenoids or tonsils, especially in children

Treatment

An overnight sleep study can be performed to assess the nature and severity of snoring, and to check for other sleep-disorders that often accompany snoring, especially obstructive sleep apnoea.

The most appropriate treatment for snoring varies according to the severity of snoring, presence of sleep apnoea, age, body weight, degree of daytime sleepiness, alcohol-consumption, medical history and the anatomy of the upper airway. A Sleep Physician is a Dentist or Doctor who is trained in treating patients with snoring and other sleep disorders and is qualified to help sufferers make an informed decision about which treatment is the most appropriate.

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep Apnoea is a chronic, lifelong medical condition that can affect your sleep, health and quality of life. It has been linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, work and driving related accidents and stroke.

It can have a significant impact on quality of life, placing unnecessary strain on relationships between bed partners, family and in the workplace.

What Causes Sleep Apnoea ?

During sleep, muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissue at the back of throat can sag, narrowing and constricting the airway.

If you or your partner have Sleep Apnoea or display symptoms such as snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, pauses in breathing or teeth grinding while sleeping, treatment is essential.

Sleep Apnoea is also knows as OSA (Obstructive sleep apnoea)

Treatment

The overnight study performed will determine if you have sleep apnoea, once diagnosed there are a variety of options to treat sleep apnoea, one  treatment option available is Continuous open airway therapy, see below for more information.

COAT™ — Continuous Open Airway Therapy

Image of somnodent in mouth - Continuous Open Airway Therapy

Worn during sleep, continuous open airway therapy is a first line treatment option for people with mild to moderate Sleep Apnoea and consists of devices that have two components which fit over the upper and lower teeth.

These oral devices are comfortable and simple for patients to use which is why many patients prefer COAT therapy to other options. COAT is also a viable option for those who do not respond well to other treatment options.

Devices in the SomnoDent® family of products treat OSA by stabilizing and / or moving the lower jaw slightly forward. This optimal position of the jaw, prevents the patient’s airway from collapsing during sleep.

Prevalence of OSA in patients image by SomnoDent®

Picture courtesy of SomnoMed Australia

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