At Smile Team Orthodontics we believe all of our clients (both children and adults) should be screened before they consider orthodontic treatment. This is because our treatment recommendations may differ in the presence of sleep apnoea.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Snoring affects about 24% of men and 14% of women on a regular basis. When asleep, the muscles are relaxed and the opening at the back of the mouth can sometimes be restricted. The air that passes through this opening can vibrate between the surrounding tissues. This vibration causes a sound which we are familiar with, known as snoring.
Sleep apnea occurs when the walls to the throat close during sleep, causing breathing to stop. Once the brain registers it is not breathing, the sleeper usually wakes up, rouses, the throat opens again and they drift back to sleep. In most cases, the person affected by sleep apnea does not realise they have even woken. It also causes decreased oxygen intake. This means the brain, heart and nervous system are not receiving their required time to rest and oxygenate. The pattern can repeat itself hundreds of times every night.
One of the side effects of sleep apnea is cardiac problems. Drivers with sleep apnea have eight times the risk of car accidents. Sudden cardiac death during sleep occurs more commonly in patients who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you snore, it is likely you have been told about it by someone who has heard you. Sleep apnea can be a little harder to detect. Some symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Poor performance at school
- Mouth breathing
- Irritability or mood changes
- Developmental and/or growth problems
- Behavioural problems
- Witnessed breathing problems
- Poor concentration
- Day time sleepiness
- Falling asleep when driving
Types of treatment
Treatment for children
Jaw discrepancies (narrow and small) have been shown to be a potential cause of sleep apnea in children. While the jaw and bones are still growing, it is possible to manipulate jaw development to provide a more desirable and comfortable tooth and bite position. In a lot of cases this can be achieved by wearing plates and can often avoid the need for more drastic measures later in life. The use of plates in your child’s mouth can expand narrow dental arches, correct mal-positioned or small jaws, and bring bites into the correct position.
Treatment for adults
Treatment for sleeping problems, sleep apnea and snoring for adults can range from night time mouth devices, such as the ‘tongue stabilizing device’ which holds the tongue during sleep to avoid it from collapsing and blocking the airways, and night splints, which can bring the lower jaw forward to reduce the risk of soft tissue collapse. We will liaise with your sleep specialist and E.N.T specialist to ensure the right treatment is chosen for you.
Multiple specialists are required to properly treat sleep apnea. Professor Ali Darendeliler and team have worked with some of the most experienced E.N.T. surgeons and sleep specialists in Australia since 1999 to ensure each patient receives the right treatment based on evidence. Following a detailed assessment we will liaise, if necessary, with the most appropriate specialist/doctor to provide the best available treatment for you.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. If untreated, sufferers can stop breathing repeatedly, sometimes hundreds of times a night. This means they feel tired, even after a full night of sleep, and it can lead to hypertension, high blood pressure and heart problems.
Dental sleep apnea treatment
If your condition falls between mild and moderate, you may want to consider dental sleep apnea treatment. Rather than using a CPAP device, which is a mask that fits over your face as you sleep, dental sleep apnea treatment involves a small dental device you pop into your mouth at bedtime.
There are two different devices available. The first is a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). It fits over your upper and lower teeth and advances your jaw forward so the lower teeth end up in front of the upper teeth to prevent soft tissues from collapsing and obstructing your airway.
The second type of device is a tongue retaining mouthpiece. They’re similar to MADs, but they also hold your tongue forward. As a result, they prevent both your soft tissues and your tongue from obstructing your airway, helping you to breathe easier as you sleep.
Benefits to sleep apnea treatment
Sleep apnea can range from mildly irritating to majorly distressing. Although you may appear to have had a full night's sleep, sleep apnea can result in you waking several times during the night. This means you're not achieving refreshing REM sleep, so you’re exhausted during the day.
Plus, if you share a bed, you may find your partner’s sleep is also disturbed, which can put major strain on a relationship.
Pursuing sleep apnea treatment will help you sleep better, which will let you – and your partner – feel more rested and enjoy life more.
Why choose Smile Team for sleep apnea treatment?
Our experienced orthodontists work with reputable and experienced sleep doctors and surgeons in the area. Together, we offer a range of treatments from jaw expansions in growing children with sleep apnea to mandibular advancement splints and jaw surgery planning in adults with sleep apnea.
If you’d like to learn more about how we tackle sleep apnea, contact us here or call 1800 7 6453 8326 today.