Can’t Sleep At Night? – Snoring Problem & Sleep Apnoea
Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) are fast becoming recognised as significant problems that a high percentage of patients experience. Male and female, young and old, large or small, may all experience this condition. Even children can suffer from OSA. Snoring itself can be anything from an irritant to a partner, to an indication of a more severe underlying problem.
What is Sleep Apnoea?
The word apnoea means ‘without breath’, and is defined as a medical issue when the sufferer goes without breath during sleep for 10 seconds or more. OSA diagnosed by a sleep study either performed at home or in a hospital setting, indicates if there is either a partial or complete obstruction in the airway during sleep. It may be linked to hypertension, stroke, atrial fibrillation, reflux, diabetes, depression and poor memory. A feeling of awakening unrefreshed and foggy is not uncommon!
Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Treatment
Treatment for snoring and OSA can be as simple as weight loss and changing sleep posture, but can also be more complicated and involve Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) or dental appliances such as Somnodent Mandibular Advancement Splint. Some patients may even need surgery. All treatments involve trying to keep the airway open, allowing air to travel more freely during sleep. Dental appliances all work on the principle of holding the lower jaw forward during sleep to help stop the chin and tongue from falling back and blocking the airway. They come in different designs.
Sleep Apnoea Treatment Referrals
Any treatment for OSA requires a referral from a Sleep Physician, ENT specialist, cardiologist or similar, to ensure the patient is getting optimum treatment. CPAP (an Australian invention) is recommended for those patients with severe OSA or significant health conditions, while those patients with a less severe form of the disease, those who cannot manage a CPAP machine, or those who simply snore, may be treated with the oral device, or a Mandibular Advancement Splint. Many CPAP users prefer to travel or go camping with a splint such as this.
Sleep Apnoea Assessment
At Kensington Dental, our dentist Dr Geraldine Ash has a Graduate Diploma in Dental Sleep Medicine and is qualified in the treatment and provision of appliances for OSA. She is experienced in assessing the airway and jaw to determine the best treatment option for the patient, and is happy to refer patients back to their own GP, Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist or sleep physician for the required examinations. Dr Adrian Courtenay and Dr Con Varvaressos have also undertaken OSA courses and can consult and discuss further treatment or referral with you.
Dr Ash is a member of the Australasian Sleep Association, the Sleep Health Foundation and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She has given talks to doctors and dentists in the field and also frequently attends lectures to further her knowledge in the field.
For all appointments & enquiries, please call (02) 9663 1605 or ask your question online.