Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Appliances
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea occurs during sleep when some of the muscles in the airway and throat relax. When this happens the soft tissue in this air space may collapse and close, obstructing the airway. An apnoea event occurs when there is obstruction of the airway for ten seconds or longer.
Can a dentist fix my snoring?
There are three main treatment methods for obstructive sleep apnoea. These are continuous positive airway press (CPAP), surgery and oral appliances.
- CPAP is very effective at treating obstructive sleep apnoea, but long term compliance is a problem for some people as it can be difficult to sleep with. It is made of an air pump and mask which are joined by a tube that delivers air under low pressure into the open airway, which makes it easier to breathe. Surgery can be quite effective in many cases where suitable.
- Oral Appliance therapy is a simple and effective way to treat sleep apnoea. The appliance is designed to position the lower jaw forward and help prevent the collapse of the soft tissues that obstruct the airway during sleep. It is best suited to people who have good dental health and who do not have a pre-existing problem with their jaw joint.
What types of oral appliances are there?
A simple and common way to treat snoring and sleep apnoea is through the use of oral appliances, commonly called Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS). These appliances are similar to a mouthguard and reposition your jaw so your lower jaw is pushed forwards, making it easier for your airways to function while you are asleep, which in turn, will also stop your snoring. As you will be required to wear these in your mouth while you sleep it is essential that they are comfortable as well as effective, which is why it is crucial that a dentist fits your splint as over the counter devices can be uncomfortable and inconsistent.