Can a visit to the dentist really help you get a better night’s sleep? We ask the team at Azura Dental.
What is sleep disordered breathing?
Sleep Disordered Breathing is where a person has either partial obstruction or full obstruction of their airway during sleep, causing them to either stop breathing for periods or have trouble breathing. This can lead to lack of oxygen or low oxygen, or the person waking often so they never really get to deep sleep. The person may or may not be aware that they stop breathing or snore or are waking frequently during the night. This can affect anyone at any age, including very young children.
what are the signs to watch out for?
The signs can vary greatly and can be very different in a child compared to an adult. Some of the signs may include waking up tired, waking up with headaches, snoring, being tired throughout the day, having dark circles under the eyes, teeth grinding and clenching, waking up coughing and gasping and breathing predominantly through the mouth instead of through the nose.
can a dentist make the diagnosis
Dentists can identify the signs and symptoms and manage diagnosis by referral to the appropriate practitioner. Dentists can also assist in the management of sleep disordered breathing with special oral appliances.
how important is early detection?
Early detection is vital to prevent future health conditions, early learning developmental delays, behavioural challenges and to improve quality of life.
is sleep disordered breathing more prevalent in people with periodontal disease or other disorders?
Although it is not necessarily more prevalent in people with pre-existing conditions/diseases, there are some medical conditions that can either contribute to sleep disordered breathing or make it worse. There is ongoing research that suggests some conditions may occur as a result of sleep disordered breathing, such as high blood pressure, reflux and others that are currently being investigated with further research. If left untreated, sleep disordered breathing can have long term health effects including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and depression.
what kind of treatment options are there?
Depending on the cause, there are several options for treatment. For some patients, a simple mouthguard-like device (called a mandibular advancement device) can be all that is required, for others they may require surgery or use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. An oral appliance is a custom fit dental device recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep disorder breathing or for those patients who are unable to tolerate a CPAP machine. A CPAP machine is recommended for those with moderate to severe symptoms and is a machine that delivers pressurised air through your airway while you sleep. Surgery is considered for those patients with an obstruction within their nose and/or airway causing a blockage. There are also conservative management methods including weight loss (being overweight increases the chances of airway obstruction within the throat), positional therapy (as apnoea mostly occurs whilst sleeping on your back), and also the use of nasal sprays to treat allergies can be helpful.
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