Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

Sleep related disorders are one of the newest areas in Medicine and Dentistry. Sleep Disordered Breathing comprises a variety of conditions that occur during sleep and range from Snoring to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (where people actually stop breathing for periods during sleep). There are significant health problems associated with Obstructive Sleep Aponea including cognitive impairment and an increased cardiovascular risk.

Cognitive impairment can greatly affect quality of life, increase tiredness, impair memory and increase the risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents. Recent studies show that snorers have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure. Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea have an increased risk of atherosclerosis and stroke, and are four times more likely to have a heart attack.

Sleep Disordered Breathing occurs as a result of many factors. They include a narrow airway or unfavourable jaw structure. At Dentists@work we work with Sleep Medicine Physicians to help diagnose and treat patients with these problems. The most common modifiable factor for people is weight loss, although central mechanisms that interfere with breathing can also be a cause of apnoea, which is why proper assessment by a Sleep Physician is essential. One of the main treatment options is Oral Appliances which have a significant role in helping patients (and their partners!) get a good nights sleep.

With any treatment there are possible side effects that must be considered. The main possible side effects of treatment with Oral Appliances include increased salivation, jaw joint problems and in the long-term changes to the way the teeth meet or bite together.   Whilst for most patients these are not an issue, it is important to be aware of them.