Loud snoring can disrupt restful sleep, but it can also indicate an underlying medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea or OSA.
What Is Sleep Apnoea?
As we begin to drift off to sleep, the muscles of the throat and mouth relax. As a result, the tissue at the back of the throat can block the airway, restricting the breath, which can result in choking and a pattern where breathing can completely stop. When you cannot breathe properly, the body signals the brain to awaken in order to restore proper respiratory function.
Though many people are unaware of these waking episodes throughout the night, they can occur dozens or even hundreds of times.
Reduced oxygen throughout the night negatively impacts nearly every system in the body, causing serious health issues such as:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart failure
- Headaches or migraines
- Chronic fatigue
Obstructive sleep apnoea has also been linked to erectile dysfunction, due to decreased testosterone production.
Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Because of the seriousness of OSA, recognizing the signs and symptoms is important. Some of these include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Inability to concentrate
- A sore throat upon waking
- A partner complaining of loud snoring
- A feeling of choking during the night
- Headaches upon waking
- Nighttime restlessness
- Weight gain
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
If you notice these signs of sleep apnoea, the only place to receive an accurate diagnosis is an accredited sleep clinic. Polysomnography tracks the quality of sleep by recording brain function, oxygen levels, heart rate and eye and leg movements during sleep. Sleep studies are conducted either at the sleep clinic or with a home testing device.
Dr Andrew Findlay works closely with the WellSleep Centre at University of Otago to assist patients in getting the proper treatment necessary to improve their health and achieve the restorative sleep necessary for proper systemic function.
A qualified sleep practitioner will recommend appropriate treatment based on the severity of OSA and other factors.
SomnoDent Oral Appliance Therapy for OSA
At Wakefield House Dental, we offer a treatment option that is an effective, comfortable and convenient alternative to CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy or for use in conjunction with CPAP therapy.
When we receive a referral from a sleep specialist, we begin by taking impressions of the patient’s mouth for the accurate and comfortable fabrication of a premium custom oral appliance. The oral appliance will gently guide the lower jaw forward, repositioning the tissue and structures from the back of the throat and creating an open airway.
Patients often report that the oral appliance is comfortable and easy to use. Because it is small and discreet, it makes traveling with sleep apnoea easier than even the smallest CPAP machines.
DentiTrac Compliance Recording
When it is necessary or desirable to track the compliance of oral appliance therapy, DentiTrac works with SomnoDent to capture data regarding oral appliance use and number of hours or usage in convenient daily summaries.
This information is stored securely in the Cloud for access by medical professionals and payers who wish to monitor patient compliance.
What if your partner reports loud snoring, but you do not have OSA?
We can use the same device to quiet your snoring so that you and your partner can comfortably sleep in the same room. This can improve intimacy by eliminating the need for one partner to escape to the sofa midway through the night.
Do You Suffer from OSA?
If you recently received a diagnosis of OSA or your partner complains of loud snoring, we welcome you to contact our Wellington dental clinic to learn how we can help you enjoy a restful night’s sleep.