Understanding Snoring and Sleep Apnoea
Snoring happens when your airway becomes partially blocked while you’re sleeping, which makes the soft tissues in your throat vibrate. It can be disruptive to both the snorer and their sleep partner, leading to drowsiness during the day, difficulty focusing, and if unchecked can lead to strain in your relationship. Sleep Apnoea is a more serious condition, where your breathing stops and starts during sleep, which can wreak havoc on your sleeping pattern and potentially lead to various health issues.
Where do Dentists Come Into It?
Dentistry is a lesser known but vital tool for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnoea, offering effective solutions designed to address the underlying causes of both. Some dentists actually specialise in sleep medicine, and can provide a range of treatment options which will be tailored to your needs:
Oral Appliance Therapy
This is one of the most common and effective treatments for snoring and mild-to-moderate sleep apnoea. These custom-made devices are similar to mouthguards and are designed to be worn during sleep. They’re built to reposition your jaw or tongue to help keep your airway open. Speak to your community dentist today about the process of getting a personalised oral appliance that will fit you comfortably and effectively reduce the symptoms of snoring and sleep apnoea.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Alternatives
CPAP machines are often provided for people with sleep apnoea, but they can be uncomfortable or inconvenient. Your dentist may be able to offer an alternative in the form of an oral appliance, designed to be portable and comfortable during sleep, both of which are crucial if you want to build a habit of sleeping with your appliance in. Speak to your local dentist about working in collaboration with your sleep medicine specialist to determine the most suitable treatment approach for you, taking into account your needs and preferences.
In some cases, your snoring or sleep apnoea may be a side effect of a malocclusion such as an overbite or underbite. Speaking to your nearest dentist may result in an orthodontic intervention which will adjust your dental structure to avoid airway obstruction and breathing difficulties. Braces and aligners will slowly correct the alignment of your teeth and jaws, which will help to improve your airflow during sleep.
If you or your sleeping partner are experiencing snoring or worried about sleep apnoea, you might not rank a visit to your local dentist as your top priority, but it should be. Dentists with expertise in sleep medicine will be able to assess your symptoms and determine the most appropriate treatment for your needs. If you’re looking for a dentist who is experienced in treating snoring and sleep apnoea, you can use our service search utility to narrow down your options and find a dentist near you who’ll be able to help give your mind (and partner) some rest.
Not what you’re looking for? Take a look through our archives to find the dental procedure you’ve been offered, and to learn more about what to expect when you’re in the waiting room.