Loud, explosive snoring is a hallmark of obstructive sleep apnea, which affects up to 25% of men and 10% of women. This nighttime breathing problem often disrupts sleep, leaving people tired and irritable during the day. But sleep apnea also can boost blood pressure and may increase the risk of clogged heart arteries, heart rhythm disorders, heart failure, and stroke.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when excess tissue around the tongue and throat blocks the upper airway. The blockage causes a person to briefly stop breathing dozens or even hundreds of times a night.
Sleep apnea tends to be more common in people who are overweight and who have a narrow throat, large neck, and small lower jaw. If you think you might have the problem, talk to your doctor.
Losing weight can improve sleep apnea; so can treating nasal stuffiness, getting more exercise, and avoiding alcohol near bedtime. But these lifestyle changes don’t always work. If that’s the case another possible option is a an oral appliance.
An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. The device fits similar to a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer and prevents the airway from collapsing by either supporting the tongue or jaw in a forward position, thereby opening the airway.
With a custom fitted oral appliance, we can help minimise or eliminate the symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing. Sleep apnoea (in mild to moderate cases) including loud snoring, gasping and unpleasant noises.
The device can also act as an alternative treatment for patients (on medical advice only) who have been prescribed CPAP by their medical consultant, finding it difficult to adhere to this therapy for management of their sleep apnoea condition.
Process of our Oral Appliance Therapy Program
If you are referred to the Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic by a medical consultant, we will then assess your suitability for Oral Appliance Therapy. This will involve a dental examination, an x-ray and a trial oral appliance, if indicated.
If you have not been seen by a doctor, we will refer you to the appropriate medical consultant before further assessment.
In the Treatment phase, you will be fitted with an oral appliance by an experienced restorative dentist with expertise in the field of dental sleep medicine, who will control and monitor your progress and response to treatment. All patients of the Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic are seen one week and one month following initial appliance delivery. You will also be provided with clear instructions as to the best use and care of your oral appliance.
Follow up appointments
All patients with sleep apnea diagnosis are referred back at this stage to their medical consultant for evaluation. The oral appliance is re-evaluated at the Beacon Dental Clinic at specified internals to evaluate its mechanical integrity and performance.