Do you or your partner suffer from breathing difficulties during sleep such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea?
You might be pleased to know that dentistry may have a solution for you. A series of oral devices or mouthpieces are now available and can be fitted by a dentist. These will address your snoring problems by preventing the lower jaw from dropping back during sleep, thereby preventing the closure of your airways, which will stop you from snoring.
Such a custom-made mouth piece is made from impressions taken of your teeth to ensure they fit you comfortably. Made from a hard wearing plastic, the mouthpiece is worn at night and works by holding the bottom jaw in a slightly forward position. This position opens up your airway significantly allowing you to breathe better and as a result sleep better too.
Please read below about how our Dentists can help you:
Snoring and your Dentist
– by Mario Correia – BDS MSc DPCD MFD RCSI MFGDP (UK) Dip Aesth Med QMUL – GDC No. – 83096
In my practice I have noticed an increase in patients enquiring about help with snoring. More and more people are seeking advice from the dentist rather than the GP. There is now greater awareness of the medical side effects of a disturbed sleep; with the advancement in Dental appliances, which means there is a need for more information on how your dentist can help.
If you are a habitual snorer, you not only disrupt the sleep patterns of those close to you, but you also impair your own sleep quality.
- Statistics from the Sleep Disorder Guide make for interesting and alarming reading.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes as well as 1,550 fatalities per year.
- As much as 30 percent of people aged thirty and above are snorers. The proportion rises to 40 percent when it comes to middle aged people.
- Two thirds of partnered adults say that their partner snores. When asked individually whether they snore or not, people responded with “yes” at a rate of 6 out of 10, or 59 percent.
- There is an approximate ratio of 2:1 sufferers of snoring amongst men to women. However, this gap catches up after women reach menopause.
- 5.6% of children snore habitually.
- Approximately one half of all patients who have essential hypertension are also afflicted witth obstructive sleep apnoea. In addition, approximately one half of all patients who have sleep apnoea have essential hypertension.
Snoring and dentistry
Snoring is caused due to a vibration of respiratory structures with the resulting sound produced from the movement of obstructed during breathing while asleep. One major predisposing factor for snoring is obesity. The excess fat deposits in the area of the neck and throat pressurize the tissues surrounding the airway causing it to narrow.
Snoring is more common in people with a large tongue, long soft palate, large uvula, or large tonsils. Snoring is also more prevalent in people with a receding chin because there is less space in the back of the throat for the soft tissues and tongue. Cigarette smoking can also cause increased nasal congestion and mucous in the air passages, with consequent increased snoring.
Snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnoea which is a serious medical condition.
There are various benefits to not snoring
Waking up refreshed
Lower incidence of Headaches due to lack of sleep.
Lower incidence of dry mouth and sore throat during the night
Less tiredness during the day
General fatigue due to a lack of natural uninterrupted sleep
Lower risk of obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Less incidence of being moody, irritable or depressed
Lower incidence of forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
Lower incidence of feeling run down
Role of the dentist
The diagnosis and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, other sleep disturbances or snoring conditions does not fall within the definition of the practise of dentistry.
Dentists play a role in screening of patients for signs and symptoms which may predict the presence of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
Provide and monitor oral appliance therapy
Monitor and treat potential side effects of oral appliance therapy
Dentists with appropriate training can construct oral appliances/devices for snoring and sleep apnoea. Much like an orthodontic retainer or an athletic mouth guard, the oral appliance is placed in the mouth. These appliances prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat to open the breathing passages during sleep. Adequate air intake is promoted by allowing normal sleep for those who suffer from snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.
At Dental Practice on the Green I undertake a screening to identify the risk of sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD’s). If you want to know more or have a chat, if you have concerns please call Dental Practice on the Green on 02088823909 where I have my clinic on a Monday 10-7pm. (Dental Practice on the Green, 33 The Green, Winchmore Hill, N21 1HS)
Mario Correia – BDS MSc DPCD MFD RCSI MFGDP (UK) Dip Aesth Med QMUL
GDC No. – 83096