Sleep apnoea is a breathing condition that affects millions of people worldwide.
At All About Teeth, we offer our Queensland patients an opportunity to take back their quality of life by restoring their quality of sleep. Obstructive sleep apnoea can often be difficult to diagnose on your own which is why it is imperative that you come in to see us if severe snoring is starting to affect your daily life. While it is true that snoring is a common problem among many adults, it is also the hallmark symptom of sleep apnoea which is why so many people suffer silently with this potentially dangerous condition.
You might be wondering quite why you would need a dentist to treat your snoring and by extension your sleep apnoea. The answer is that as dentists we have a thorough understanding of the relationship between your jaws, nose and throat. This knowledge allows us to treat your sleep apnoea simply and effectively and to offer ongoing support to patients who suffer from severe snoring.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is not only something that causes concern but can also disrupt the quality of you and your partner’s sleep. Airway and breathing disorders are caused by an obstruction due to a deviated septum (your nose being bent), thin nasal passages, mouth breathing, misaligned bites, chronic allergies, slender jaws or a narrow throat and any combination of these factors. Snoring itself is caused by the vibration of the soft tissues at the back of your throat. During sleep, your muscles become relaxed and the structures in your throat then partially block your airway and result in the shuttering of these tissues and the sound that we associate with snoring. Typically, snoring is more prevalent in patients who are overweight and have too much soft tissue towards the back of their throats.
So what is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea refers to the condition whereby your breathing is stopped completely by a blockage in your airway and it can have far more serious consequences than simply snoring. Every time that you experience an apnoea episode, your breathing is halted and the brain sends a message to the rest of your body, telling it to wake up so that it can reopen the airway. In some cases, this happens several times in a night but you aren’t necessarily awake enough in order to know what has happened. Sleep apnoea causes constant interruption, night after night, and results in massive disruption to your natural sleep cycle that robs you of the requisite quality sleep in order to function properly during the day. Because sleep apnoea is often thought of as just snoring, it can go unnoticed and undiagnosed for many years.
Maybe you have already accepted the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with being asleep apnoea sufferer or perhaps it is something that has started recently either way, it is never too late to seek expert treatment for sleep apnoea.
The symptoms of sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea’s biggest and most obvious symptom is snoring but there are numerous other signs to look out for. If you find yourself waking up for no apparent reason several times during the night, experience excessive daytime fatigue or snore loudly then we strongly urge you to come in to see us as these are some of the clearest indicators of sleep apnoea. Additionally, if you toss and turn while you sleep and find that your breathing is disrupted or you gag or gasp for air, these are also signed that you may be suffering from sleep apnoea. If left untreated, sleep apnoea can cause a host of more serious health concerns such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, impotence and weight gain.
If you would like to know more about our sleep apnoea treatments or want to make an appointment with us, please click here.