Treatment of Sleep Apnoea – role of a dentist
What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is a long term condition, where people do not breathe at different times during their sleep cycles. There are two main types: Obstructive sleep apnoea and Central sleep apnoea.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common one, where the airway’s soft tissue collapses, there- by preventing oxygen to enter into lungs. This is very common is chronic asthmatic patients.
Central apnoea is where, brain stops sending signals to the body to breathe in oxygen, there-by interrupting breathing. There is no physical obstruction as such.
Both apnoea are disruptive to sleep patterns, so the person does not wake up fresh in the morning. He/she feels tiered and lethargic. Left untreated this can affect both mental and physical health in the long run.
Sleep apnoea leads to a lot of chronic conditions like depression, mood disorders, heart disease, mania and bipolar disorders. Diabetes and high blood pressure are many at times aggravated. If untreated chronic fatigue sets in and such people are more lethargic and prone to accidents easily.
How dentist plays a role in sleep apnoea treatment?
Dentist can play a major role in treatment of sleep apnoea. After consulting a physician, a visit to a dental office will help in aid of treatment.
Dentist can recommend oral appliances in the lower jaw that look like mouth-guards. This helps to push the lower jaw forward, there-by preventing collapse of the obstructive muscles during sleep. On prolonged wearing, these appliances can tighten the muscles and prevent airway obstruction.
Dentist assess the patient’s mouth and decide the appliances based on their needs. They are usually tolerated well by the patient, as they wear them during night to have a comfortable sleep. Tongue retainers are not very commonly used, but they are used in appropriate patients to hold the tongue back, which gives more way for air to flow in and out during sleep.
Proper fit of the appliance is mandatory, so the dentists take measurements with teeth models for their processing. They also do regular follow ups to assess the patient on signs of improvement. Regular monitoring and proper adjustment gets the best result in such cases.
Advantages of sleep apnoea appliances:
Sleep apnoea oral appliances are very helpful in obstructive apnoea to train and tighten the muscles that are collapsing and obstructing the airway during sleep. They are easy to wear and removable.
Regular monitoring is required and they yield good results. They are much more affordable than the continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) that are usually used to treat sleep apnoea.
For enquiries and clarifications book an appointment with us at Oris Dental Center