Loud snoring can be a nuisance and chase your partner or spouse into the other room to get some rest, but it can also indicate a serious medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea, or OSA.
What Is OSA?
Obstructive sleep apnoea is characterised by snoring, gasping or choking during sleep that indicates instances of interrupted breathing. These breath interruptions are often caused by excessive tissue at the back of the throat that blocks the airway once relaxation sets in.
When breathing is interrupted, the brain signals the body to wake up, disrupting restorative sleep cycles that have a negative impact on the body.
- Increased risk of stroke
- Diabetes complications
- Weight gain
- Mood disorders
- Difficulty concentrating
- Daytime drowsiness
- Heart disease
Fatigue can also make operating a vehicle more dangerous.
Who Is at Risk for OSA?
While anyone, even children, can suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, certain factors increase the risk.
- Being overweight
- Thick neck circumference
- Men have a greater risk
- People over 40
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Certain medications
Our team will provide guidance if you need a referral to a sleep clinic to diagnose sleep-disordered breathing.
An at-home sleep study or clinical sleep visit is necessary to accurately diagnose OSA. The results from the sleep analysis will be interpreted by a qualified sleep practitioner, and recommendations for treatment based on severity can be made.
Typically, the first line of treatment for OSA includes CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy using a machine and facemask that uses forced air to keep the airway open during sleep.
While effective in the treatment of sleep apnoea, CPAP therapy is difficult for some patients to get used to. It is common for patients to remove the facemask during sleep, prohibiting it from being effective for the treatment of OSA.
At St Mark Dental and Medical Group, we offer an alternative using oral appliance therapy called COAT, or continuous open airway therapy.
COAT Oral Appliances
For mild to moderate OSA, oral appliance therapy provides effective results for many patients. SomnoMed appliances are custom designed to fit the teeth and mouth snugly. COAT oral appliances work by gently repositioning the mandible (lower jaw) into a more forward position that removes the obstructive tissue from the back of the throat.
Many patients find COAT more convenient and comfortable, especially for those who travel. Of course, compliance is key, and your health will benefit most when the appliance is used regularly.
Contact Us to Learn More about OSA
We welcome new patients and our dentists, Dr Evet Ishak, Dr David Bashout and Dr Mina Azmi will explain your condition and treatment options clearly so that you can make an informed and confident choice regarding your health.
All treatment carries risks. Individual consultation is required with one of our practitioners to ensure that the treatment is right for you.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Contact us for more information. Rebates may vary depending on your individual health fund.