Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Treatment Dublin
Even though in most cases, snoring is just an unpleasant sound, it can also indicate the presence of a disorder: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS). OSAS is characterised by repeated periods of apnoea, more than 5 times an hour. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is caused by closure of the throat during sleep, causing brief awakening and broken sleep.
OSAS warning signs
- Asthenia and excessive daytime sleepiness
- Nightly snoring
- Choking or feeling suffocated and repeated waking from sleep
- Non-restorative sleep, concentration problems
- Nocturia (urinating more than once a night)
- Irritabilty, personality changes, depression
- Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux ( GORD)
How would I know if I had Sleep Apnoea?
The most frequent signs of sleep apnoea are snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness and a feeling of not being refreshed when waking in the morning. Disturbed sleep, frequent awakening during the night, morning headache and bedwetting are also common complaints. There are some standard questions related to sleepiness that can give you an idea if you might have apnoea which your sleeps specialist or dentist can go through with you.
If I snore do I definitely have apnoea?
Not necessarily but its worth having yourself assessed if the snoring is persistent, loud and frequent and if you have any of the other signs above, especially tiredness.
What are the health implications of sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea affects a very large range of other health conditions and is very bad for your general health if untreated. Common conditions it affects include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. If you are a frequent snorer and you drive for a living you should definitely consider seeing a doctor as the risk of being killed in a car accident is 7.5 times higher in apneic patients.
What ways can it be treated?
This depends on the severity and the cause. Sometimes its as simple as improving your sleep patterns and losing weight. In more severe cases, most doctors will recommend a CPAP machine. This is a device that attaches over the face or nose and blows air into the airway during sleep, to keep it open. Increasingly, mild to moderate cases are managed by dental clinics such as the Beacon Dental Clinic based in Sandyford in conjunction with sleep physicians.
How can the dentist help?
Beacon Dental Clinic can make you a set of oral appliances that cause your lower jaw to be protruded during sleep. These look roughly like a gum shield worn on the top and bottom teeth. They are very effective in reducing snoring and can dramatically reduce the number of sleep apnoea events.
Can I just go straight to the dentist for treatment if I snore?
No. Sleep apnoea is a medical condition and while a dentist may very well be involved, your treatment must be co-ordinated by a consultant physician. While you may think you just snore, you might have sleep apnoea and the condition might be more serious than you think, with implications for your general health. Its very important that the condition is properly diagnosed by a doctor and managed appropriately. If you are concerned about it and would like to discuss it with your dentist is there is nothing wrong with asking them to refer you to a sleep physician. A list of sleep physicians in Ireland can be found on the Irish Sleep Society website by clicking here.
Can I go to any dentist for sleep apnoea or snoring appliances?
Only if they have had special training in treating snoring or sleep apnoea. Dentists are not insured to do it unless they have had some accredited training in this field.
As director of the Beacon Dental Group, Dr Edward G Owens is a hospital affiliated Prosthodontist. He has been working successfully with oral appliances to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea since 1997.
He collaborates with major hospital sleep disorder clinics and has been active in the management of oral sleep appliances and the development of Dental Sleep Medicine in Ireland.
Dr Owens is one of a small number of dentists with recognised expertise in treating this category of patients in Ireland working in co-operation with physicians and surgeons in the recognised leading centers of experience and established expertise in Sleep Medicine in Ireland, namely St Vincent’s Hospital, The Mater Hospital, Beaumont and UPMC Beacon Hospital.
He has been working successfully with oral appliances in the management of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea for over 14 years. Many people in Ireland have been treated successfully through the utilisation of various dental appliances.
Dr Owens is a founding member of the Irish Sleep Society and has served as a committee member of the society. Dr Owens received his specialty training in Prosthodontics in Indiana University and is a member of American College of Prosthodontists and The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
He is a member of a number of national organisations, which focus on this developing interface between dentistry and medicine.