This blog is Part 2 of two snoring blogs which run through some important points about obstructive sleep apnoea. Last week we began the conversation about snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. We covered the following topics: what is obstructive sleep apnoea, how do you get obstructive sleep apnoea and the signs of obstructive sleep apnoea. Now we are ready to discuss: how can I reduce symptoms, why manage obstructive sleep apnoea with oral appliances and other ways to manage obstructive sleep apnoea. If you suspect you or someone you know may have this condition please call your medical doctor or call us at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538 and we can put you in touch with some amazing experts in this field.
How can I naturally reduce symptoms?
Holistic and natural remedies for snoring are gaining popularity. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea can have a huge effect on the quality of your sleep, emotions and relationships. Here are some tips to help reduce symptoms:
- Lose excess body weight. Extra weight around your neck squeezes puts pressure on the muscles which hold your airways open during sleep. By losing weight, you could allow your airways to open up.
- Manage sinus problems or allergies. You can take a hot shower before bed or use a humidifier if your nose feels clogged up. If your nose is blocked, you are more likely to snore as you cannot breathe properly through your nose.
- Limit alcohol or sedative medications because they can relax the muscles which hold your airways open. This means you are more likely to snore during your sleep.
- Sleeping on your side instead of on your back. Lying on your back allows your tongue and soft palate to collapse towards the back of your throat. This blocks your airway, making you struggle to take a breath.
Why manage obstructive sleep apnoea with oral appliances?
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea can be treated using oral appliances, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or through surgery. A sleep study will be required to diagnose whether you have obstructive sleep apnoea and its severity. If you have mild obstructive sleep apnoea, your dentist can manage it with an oral appliance. Oral appliances are easy to wear and can be issued and monitored by a trained dentist in co-operation with an ENT or sleep disorder doctor. Your dentist will assess your teeth and jaw position by taking moulds and x-rays. They will then design and choose the right appliance for your mouth. It will take a bit of getting used to, but these appliances are worth the effort and perseverance. They can really make a difference to your life by controlling your snoring and sleep apnoea. You wear them at night and they hold your airway open while you sleep. Oral appliances help to bring your lower jaw forward, lift up the soft palate of your mouth and hold your tongue forward. Often it is the tongue position which makes the biggest difference when considering airway obstructions. Your dentist will review your oral appliance regularly to make sure it is working properly and tackle any comfort issues early on. A common side effect is your bite may change – this is something you may want to discuss with your dentist prior to starting treatment. Lastly, you may want to use oral appliances with or without surgery or a CPAP machine.
Other ways to manage obstructive sleep apnoea
A CPAP machine is a common way to manage snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. This will involve wearing a mask over your nose at night. Air under pressure is pumped through this mask to help open your airways while you sleep. You are more likely to choose this option over an oral appliance if your obstructive sleep apnoea is moderate or severe. If your condition is more severe, surgery could be your best option. Surgery is the invasive option but it is effective. It can involve: opening the breathing passages in your nose, removing tonsils or excessive tissue at the back of your throat, bringing your upper and lower jaw forward or even pulling your tongue forward.
I hope you have found these last two blogs helpful. Snoring is a field of study which involves many healthcare practitioners. It is important that you find yourself a good team that can help your manage your condition. If you have any questions or need a local family dentist, give us a call at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.