Many of us can be aware of common sleeping problems but not know its significance.

Snoring, waking up often, the stoppage of breathing or even choking may be the result of an underlying sleep disordered breathing, or sleep apnoea. There are consequences of leaving sleep apnoea undiagnosed, and in the long term other illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease can manifest. As such, the initial and underlying problem of sleep disordered breathing can be easily overlooked.

Check yourself or someone you know if they are at risk:

  • S – Do you Snore Loudly (loud enough to be heard through closed doors or your bed-partner elbows you for snoring at night)?
  • T – Do you Snore Loudly (loud enough to be heard through closed doors or your bed-partner elbows you for snoring at night)?
  • OObserved? Had anyone Observed you Stop Breathing or Chocking/Gasping during your sleep?
  • PPressure? Do you have or are you being treated for High Blood Pressure?
  • BBody Mass Index more than 35
  • AAge older than 50?
  • NNeck size large? (measured around Adams apple)
    For male, is your shirt collar 17 inches/43cm or larger?
    For female, is your shirt collar 16 inches/41cm or larger?
  • GGender = Male?

 

OSA – Low Risk: Yes to 0 – 2 questions

OSA – Intermediate Risk: Yes to 3 – 4 questions

OSA – High Risk: Yes to 5 – 8 questions

Commonly, the management of sleep apnoea is an CPAP machine. This machine provides continuous flow of air. Individuals that travel a lot may find it difficult to travel with a CPAP machine, while others may find it intrusive in their personal lives and the constant noise of the machine may disturb their partner’s sleep. At Essential Care Dental, an alternative for suitable patients who suffer from sleep apnoea is a Somnomed device. This custom made appliance is a form of mandibular advancement splint, and iis only worn during sleeping. It is designed to keep the airway open by not allowing the mandible to retrude as the soft tissues around the neck relaxes during sleep. Many of our patients have had great success with this appliance. Patient comfort without being to intervening to themselves and their partners are big advantages with this appliance and being so, patient compliance is most important in managing sleep apnoea in the long term.

Consult one of our dentists at Essential Care Dental should you feel you may be at risk of Sleep Apnoea. We can provide an appropriate referral to your GP or a sleep physician to have you assessed.


Sleep disordered breathing in children

It is a common misconception that sleep disordered breathing only affects adults, but young children may also suffer from it. Some cope by mouthbreathing during the day and even at night, and dental signs include greater accumulation of plaque to upper and lower anterior teeth, waking up with dry mouth, and worn teeth from grinding (bruxism) at night. The mouthbreathing habit affects tongue posture as the tongue needs to lay low to allow air to pass, whereas with nasal breathing, the tongue rests in the palate. Proper growth and development of the face and jaws is likely to be impacted if there are breathing problems, precipitating with orthodontic issues including dental crowding and problems with eruption of permanent teeth, and malocclusion (bad bite).

Poor posture with rounded posture and spine curvature or venous pooling (dark circles under the eyes) may be other cues that suggest a nasal breathing issue. Sleep quality is affected which then impacts their ability to focus and concentrate in class. For children that we may suspect have breathing issues, an appropriate referral to an ENT surgeon is necessary. In conjunction specialist ENT intervention, our dentists at Essential Care Dental can implement the Myobrace program which can successfully train nasal breathing, correct tongue posture and function and alignment of the developing permanent teeth. Talk to us if you wish to find out more on how we can assist your child.

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