Sleep Apnea Treatment Brunswick, Snoring Treatment Brunswick
The sound of someone snoring might be amusing to a child, but when that noise is coming from your bed partner, it isn’t all that funny. In fact, apart from the disturbance it creates, snoring can signal a potentially life threatening disorder: obstructive sleep apnoea. Left untreated, this not-so-silent condition could do much more damage than simply deny you a good night’s sleep.
Solve your Breathing and Sleeping Problems
A restful night’s sleep is important to maintaining good physical and mental health. After all, it’s hard to be productive when you’re tired, and a lack of sleep makes it difficult to think clearly, make sound decisions or react quickly. In fact sleep loss and sleep disorders can have an extremely negative impact on both the individual and society as a whole. Increasingly, they are being recognised as a major public health problem.
While there are many different factors that influence the way we sleep (such as taking time to wind-down and relax before going to bed, having a comfortable mattress, or getting the temperature just right), loud snoring can be incredibly disruptive and reduce the amount of time the other bed partner spends in deep sleep and dream sleep. These two stages of sleep are important to ensure that processes such as cell and tissue repair, as well as ‘brain clearing’ can take place.
However, while snoring is disturbing to others, it’s also a sign that the snorer is not breathing normally while sleeping. In turn, this may indicate the presence of something more serious than simply an annoying noise: they may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea.
The word ‘apnoea’ is derived from the Greek ‘apnoia’, which means ‘without breath’. People who suffer sleep apnoea can suffer from morning headaches, be chronically tired and sleepy, experience gradual personality disorders and suffer from other conditions. They are also more prone to having higher blood pressure and are at greater risk for strokes, diabetes and heart attacks. In short, sleep apnoea can be a ‘silent’ killer.
With our experience in sleep disorders together with our understanding of functional jaw orthopaedics (FJO), Holistic Dental can diagnose and provide effective treatment recommendations and therapies for snoring and sleep apnoea.
If you’re a snorer, we can help you breathe better, which will allow you and your partner to sleep better and live better (and perhaps even longer).
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
One of the problems with sleep apnoea is that you may not be aware about the level of your snoring or that you’re making gasping or choking noises in your sleep. If you live alone, you may never realise that you this condition, and in some cases, heavy sleeping partners are equally unaware of what’s been happening.
Apart from the loud snoring and episodes of gasping or choking, other symptoms of sleep apnoea include:
- Restless sleep and a sense of not having slept well
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a sore, dry throat
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and lack of energy
- Feeling drowsy during low stimulus activities (such as being a passenger in a car)
- Forgetfulness, increased irritability and a decreased sex drive.
Of course most of the above symptoms could be the cause of other conditions such as having to work long and irregular hours, the side effect of medicines (such as beta blockers, antihistamines, sleeping tablets or others), chronic fatigue, alcohol abuse – and much more. That’s why proper diagnosis is so important.
Your Holistic Dental practitioner has the experience and qualifications to diagnose and assess whether you suffer from sleep apnoea. During the consultation, your Holistic practitioner may take a complete medical and dental history, and then conduct a physical examination of your mouth, throat and jaw. You may be asked to complete a sleep diary (which you can download here ) before being referred to a sleep physician, who will conduct a thorough sleep study.
The sleep study is either performed in a dedicated sleep laboratory, or you may be fitted with special monitoring equipment (called a polysomnogram) that enables you to complete the study in the comfort of your own home. During the study, signals from your brain will be recorded together with data relating to your muscle activity and breathing. At the same time, a small bandage-like probe attached to one finger will measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.
The results from the study will be analysed to determine whether or not you have obstructive sleep apnoea, and what type of treatment is required.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is the most effective treatment for patients with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnoea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose (or nose and mouth) at night, which is attached to a CPAP unit that blows air down your throat via a quiet pump, keeping your airways open while you sleep.
There are three main parts to a CPAP machine:
- The mask which is held in place over your nose (or nose and mouth) with adjustable straps
- A quiet motor that blows air
- A large tube that connects the motor to the mask
CPAP machines are compact and lightweight and should be taken with you when you travel. Side effects are usually only minor and may include:
- A feeling of being restricted or constrained by the mask
- A sore or dry mouth
- A congested nose or sinusitis
- Skin irritation from where the mask sits on the face
- Slight bloating and discomfort
- A slight ache in the chest muscles (which usually reduces over time).
If you experience any of these or other problems, you should discuss them with your Holistic Dental practitioner. Most CPAP machines can be adjusted to improve comfort levels and some models include features such as heated humidifiers that can help reduce issues such as a dry mouth and throat. In addition, cushioned straps and other modifications can help you feel more comfortable when using a CPAP.
Take the test!
How normal is your sleepiness?
Details about usage are here: http://epworthsleepinessscale.com/
Surgery is the most invasive treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. It is usually only considered as a last option when all other treatments have failed, or when other treatments aren’t suitable (for example, when excessive tissue at the back of the throat severely reduces the airway space). Surgical procedures may include widening the breathing passages, removing tonsils, reducing the tongue size – and more
The only time when surgery is not viewed as a last option, is when a child is suffering from sleep apnoea due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids (which are lumpy clusters of spongy tissue that sit in the back of the nasal cavity and above the roof of the mouth). In such cases, surgery is usually the first treatment option.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea and surgery is the only possible solution, your Holistic Dental practitioner will fully discuss the proposed procedure and outline both the risks and benefits.