Sleep Apnoea & Snoring

Lifetime Holistic Dental offers innovative sleep apnoea and snoring treatments, that don’t just improve your sleep, they save marriages and sometimes lives. Our dental clinic takes a holistic approach to these issues, so the causes can be addressed and you can enjoy the type of sleep that secures lifelong health. Getting a great night’s sleep is truly valued until you get a great nights sleep and realise what you have been missing out on. Then you want a great night’s sleep every night!

snoring man overweight sleep apnoea

Snoring affects 50% of male and 33% of females, while Obstructive Sleep Apnoea known as OSA affect 12% of adult males and 8% of adult females and 4% of children. In Australia that is 3 million adults and 1million children.

We treat sleep issues in both children and adults. My wife saw my son stop breathing at the age of 6 months and this event has had a profound emotional effect on our family and on my wife ever since. Since then I have been looking for the causes and effective treatments of Snoring and sleep apnoea. I have tried lots and found lots to be ineffective. Now there are lots of websites claiming to cure snoring and sleep apnoea. I wish I found it as simple as buying an appliance online!

Breathing is a continuum from normal breathing to abnormal breathing to no breathing. Normal breathing is 6 to 8 breaths a minute, each breath taking about 6 seconds in and 6 seconds out, ideally with a 2 second pause at the end of the in and out breathe.

Breathing that causes dis-ease is through the mouth, too shallow, and too quick. This causes us to breathe off our Carbon dioxide and if goes too long we faint. The body is a carbon dioxide making machine – from metabolism of our muscles using oxygen and producing carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide helps regulate our acid / base balance in our blood stream and therefore the availability of oxygen to our tissues. Too little carbon dioxide and the oxygen molecules on the haemoglobin molecule do not release and although our arterial O2 is high say 97%, only ¼ of it will free itself from the haemoglobin molecule and we will suffer from fatigue, poor sleep, and often chronic diseases. Thus we need to make sure that our nose is open to breathe through 24 hours a day 365 days a year. When it gets blocked we need to clear it. Sometimes it is as simply as blowing our nose, other times we need to washing it out with saline, to using nasal decongestant drugs, to even having surgery to open the nasal airways up to air. Breathing through our nose is very important to our health and well- being.

Before I studied sleep, snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea, I used to think that snoring was the thing you ragged your “old man” about every morning after he fell asleep in front of the TV each night. Now I know better. I now know that it can be a symptom of a lot more serious problem. That it is not just a jab in Dad’s ribs every night to “bloody roll over, your snoring again“. Studies are now telling us that snorers have more serious heart and vascular disease and hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and are more likely to stop breathing each night and suffer from strokes and/or heart attacks.

So we all know what snoring is, but what is sleep apnoea?

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep apnoea occurs when the airway completely collapses on the inbreathe and prevents the flow of in and out of air in the throat. There is obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea. Dentists and dental appliances are effective at treating obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). OSA occurs when the negative pressure that is created by the diaphragm contracting causes the walls of the throat to collapse in on itself. It occurs in both children and adults. It is a common condition with significant health consequences. Unfortunately, this condition is under-diagnosed and under-managed in both children and adults. The most common symptom is ceasing to breathe while asleep, but often the other effects of this illness go un-noticed.

Children suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea don’t get a quality and refreshing sleep. For adults or children suffering from daytime tiredness, this can result in a reduced attention span and hyperactive behaviour. In adults, it can lead to an increased risk of workplace accidents and even road accidents.

On top of these indirect consequences, the condition is also strongly linked with cardiovascular disease ranging from hypertension or high blood pressure to heart attack and stroke. Sleep apnoea has also been associated with reduced social functioning and depression, and increase and work accidents.

The breadth and severity of these outcomes are why our Melbourne clinic is so committed to helping sleep apnoea and snoring sufferers.

Sleep Apnoea and Snoring Treatments

Snoring occurs when the airway partially collapses on the inbreathe and restricts the flow of air. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) are problems of the collapsibility of the airway, that occurs when we breathe in. When we breathing in, the diaphragm drops down creating a negative pressure in the lungs and in the airway in the neck. This negative pressure causes the airway in the neck to collapse in and become narrower or completely block. Narrowing is called snoring and completely blocking is called OSA. There are several treatment options for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. The most tested treatment for these conditions is a CPAP machine. This machine is a smart vacuum cleaner that blows air in the patient’s nose or mouth to increase the air pressure in the upper airway, and prevent the collapse of the airway, splinting the airway open and ensuring oxygen continues to flow in and out of the throat and lungs. Due to the poor compliance rate of CPAP machines – 13 to 18% reported in most studies. Oral appliance have been developed. The oral appliance, called a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS), holds your lower jaw forward during sleep, widening the airway and keeping it open. Both CPAP and MAS can fix the symptoms of OSA and snoring but do not fix the cause – collapsibility of the airway. The other treatment options are: orthopaedic orthodontics and, jaw surgery which move the tongue forward permanently, various laser surgeries and singing exercises or learning to play the didgeridoo, which tighten the tissues making them less likely to collapse.

While CPAP is the treatment all other treatments are compared to, studies have reported that 72 to 85 % of people are either unable or unwilling to use a CPAP machine.

Thus Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS’s) have been developed and studies show they are effective and comfortable to wear: 72 to 78% of people report being happy with their MAS appliance (or on 12 to 18% of people are unhappy with their MAS oral appliance. Each treatment choice has pros, cons and risks which Dr Chris Darby will discuss with you.

Many people suffering from sleep apnoea and snoring also clench and grind their teeth while they’re asleep. This creates inflammation and pain in and around the TMJ. Part of the diagnosis of snoring and sleep apnoea is determining the health of the Jaw Joints and patency of your nose. If your Jaw Joints are inflamed due to grinding then the inflammation needs to be resolved before the MAS appliance can be fitted. If your nose is blocked then it needs to be unblocked for any oral appliance to work. This may require referral to an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon.

  • We have a consult and diagnosis appointment where all your options for treatment are determined and presented to you. At this consultation visit I will assess the severity of your condition by reviewing your sleep study, and your X-rays, take a Jaw Joint Vibrational Analysis and perform Structural Testing. These tests will assess the health of your Jaw Joints and the causes of your clenching and grinding and the area of collapse or blockage of your airway. Once your Jaw Joint inflammation is resolved, then we take upper and lower impressions and a special bite record in the predicted ideal position of your lower jaw to establish your ideal airway which minimises your airway collapse./li>
  • If your nose is blocked then I perform a Rhino-meter which will assess the degree of blockage of your nose, discuss your options and to see if a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon is warranted.
    During the second visit, we will take a record of your bite, and capture the optimum position for your airway. We will consider two x-rays to find this optimum position.
  • The impressions and bite are sent to a specialised laboratory for custom creation of your MAS appliance.
  • Then the appliance is fitted and 3 monthly titration or adjustment visits are arranged. At a titration visit we will review the resolution of your snoring and sleep apnoea symptoms and then adjust the appliance to get the maximum improvement in your condition.

Why Choose Our Sleep Apnoea and Snoring Treatments

  • We look at the overall picture of your health to formulate a customised treatment plan. Our dental care is based around treating causes, rather than symptoms so we’ll look at everything from your lifestyle, to your health to make sure you end up with the best solution. We will discuss sleep hygiene and dietary influences and habits.
  • Sleep apnoea and snoring affect your sleep quality. A good night’s sleep is the bedrock of health, and as a holistic dental practice, we are interested in anything that will ensure you live a long, healthy and happy life.
  • Our principal dentist, Dr Chris Darby is at the forefront of sleep apnoea and snoring treatment technology. He will make sure you get the best technology and treatment for your needs.
  • We will see you annually to monitor your progress because we know that we do not cure sleep apnoea and snoring, just manage them and adjust treatment to get the best result.

Contact Lifetime Holistic Dental Today

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