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Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Health Centre Albany Creek

Headache Prevention, Snoring, Sleep Disorders, Clenching and
Grinding, Jaw Joint Therapy, Breathe Well, Sleep Aponea

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Sleep Apnoea Brisbane

When you have sleep apnoea, you will stop breathing for a period ranging from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.

This will arouse you out of deep sleep. Even limited airflow causing a drop in oxygen in blood and brain will arouse you from deep sleep.

Sometimes the only symptom is a dull morning headache and maybe a stiff neck on waking. People say “Oh, I must have just slept badly or slept the wrong way” as if it is no big deal. These people are usually having a problem with airflow/breathing or/and bruxism/clenching muscle activity. Because it affects the quality of their sleep, sooner or later it will affect their health. After all, you spend a third of your life asleep.

Some people say they cannot be bruxing or clenching because they go to sleep with their teeth apart and mouth open. This is all very well but once you fall asleep, your higher brain shuts down and your autonomic nervous system takes over and your muscle activity is out of your control. Similarly, people say they can’t be bruxing and clenching because their partner says they snore. Every time you swallow, your jaw muscles contract and your teeth go together for anything from a second to a couple of minutes before relaxing again.

During this time, breathing stops! Usually a snorer cycles between snoring, swallowing, clenching, stopping breathing, opening mouth, gasping and starting snoring again.

People do this because they cannot breathe through their nose adequately so that enough oxygen gets in the blood and into the brain. The brain then switches to mouth breathing. Mouth breathing arouses the autonomic nervous system out of autopilot into primed mode.

The problem with ignoring poor sleep, bruxing, clenching and breathing disorders is that the constant longterm stress stimulates the adrenal and pituitary glands to secrete stressor hormones which keep the body primed in sympathetic mode. Lack of deep restful sleep prevents the brain from producing enough serotonin and growth hormones needed for repair and recovery. Chronic inflammation builds acidic wastes and muscle tension prevents proper lymph flow. Chronic pain or neurological symptoms can start. Eventually general symptoms can start to appear with metabolism and thyroid trouble, clinical depression, fibromyalgia and sympathetic dystrophy in various forms.

If you need a quality sleep, contact Albany Dental on (07) 3264 9590 and arrange your appointment.

What causes sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea effectively disrupts the sufferer's breathing – and rest – when they are sleeping. It causes the tissue and muscles around the windpipe to collapse, resulting in an obstruction of the airway at the back of the mouth behind the tongue. Sleep apnoea can result in either: (1) Complete obstruction where breathing is totally prevented for 10 seconds or more (known as an apnoea); or (2) Partial obstruction whereby the airflow is reduced by 50% or more for ten seconds or more (known as hypopneas).

The narrowing of the airway can be attributed to the problem of obesity. When excess fat around the neck region squashes the throat from the outside, it can close in and block off the airway. The throat becomes more vulnerable to this external pressure when the sufferer is asleep – and the throat muscles are at a relaxed state. The body can detect the narrowing of the airway and will wake the person up for a brief moment before suffocation sets in. After taking a few deep breaths, the person automatically goes back to sleep. This continuous cycle of waking and sleeping occurs many times throughout the night, thus robbing the sufferer of the restful sleep that his body badly needs.

Other causes that may constrict the airway resulting in snoring or sleep apnoea include enlarged tonsils or a back-set jaw.

What are the effects of sleep apnoea?

People who suffer from sleep apnoea generally feel very tired during the day because they are not getting genuine rest from their sleep. If their condition is not treated, sleep apnoea sufferers can be prone to depression, headaches and bad temper. They can even be a liability to themselves or others if they drive or operate any heavy machinery.

Sleep apnoea is further linked to serious health complications such as high blood pressure, heart problems and stroke. If you suspect that you have sleep apnoea, do not simply brush it off as fatigue or lethargy. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve or cure the condition. With treatment, you can get back the rest you need and the active lifestyle you once had.

Who does sleep apnoea affect?

Middle-aged men who are obese belong to the high-risk group. That said, there are people with normal BMI who suffer from the condition. Sleep apnoea may even affect children, usually those who develop enlarged tonsil during tonsillitis. It is found that sleep apnoea and snoring affects as many as 3 in every 1000 men.

Dental treatment for sleep apnoea

Our Brisbane dentists have the knowledge and skills to help treat your sleep apnoea or snoring problems. Depending on your specific condition, dentists may prescribe several treatment options in the form of mouthpiece appliances.

These are usually small plastic dental devices that are worn during sleep. Also known as mandibular advancement devices, they help to advance or thrust the lower jaw (mandibular bone) forward, so as to prevent the collapse of the soft tissues within the throat. The device may be used to either bring the jaw forward or lift the soft palate within the mouth.

From February 2006, the dentist-administered oral appliance is recognised as valid first-line treatment for sleep apnoea and snoring by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), the Australian Sleep Association (ASA) and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ). At present, only a few sleep dentists offer this specialised service.

Made from quality soft silicone materials, our dental devices are custom made and designed for optimum fit and comfort. They are moulded to fit perfectly in your mouth to hold your jaw in the proper position so that you can breathe normally – and without obstruction – during your sleep.

To find out more about our treatment options for your sleep apnoea problem, call Albany Dental at (07) 3264 9590.

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