Our evaluation process provide solutions for this complex problem
We still do not really understand the full importance of sleep. However there are a number of things that happen when we have poor sleep.
1. Daytime sleepiness and lethargy.
2. Morning headaches.
3. Poor focus or concentration at work or school.
4. Poor memory.
5. Mood swings, anxiety or depression .
6. Increased blood pressure or difficulty controlling blood pressure.
7. Difficulty controlling diabetes.
8. Difficulty preventing weight gain.
Sleep is the time when your body rests and repairs itself. Without good sleep our bodies do not repair and we start to experience more disease and more pain. It is during sleep that our breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature all reduce. It is also when we stabilize blood sugars and change our metabolism, this prevents weight gain.
Charlotte de Courcey-Bayley is a member of the Australian Sleep Association, and one of very few dentists who is accredited by the ASA to fit snoring and sleep apnoea Splints.
Sleep apnoea or obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep disorder. 2% of middle aged women and 4% of middle aged men are thought to suffer from OSA. The vast majorityof people are undiagnosed as the symptoms of this problem can come on very slowly and many people do not think to discuss sleep problems with their doctor.
OSA happens when the muscles in your airway relax enough to allow your airway to close, cutting off oxygen to the body. Your brain detects the drop in oxygen, causing you to wake often with a gasp. Because the 'arousal' (as it is called) is very short you are often unaware that it has happened.
However, when arousal happens many times an hour during the night the quality of your sleep is very poor. Understandably you will wake feeling tired in the morning.
Would you like to know how we can help?
The team available to help you:
• Our dentist, accredited in the fitting of anti-snoring dental splints.
• Sleep physician, a medical specialist whose practice is limited to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.
• Ear, nose and throat surgeon.
• Buteyko breathing trainer
Recognising sleep disorders can actually be quite difficult as people will rarely discuss their sleep problems with their dentist. However, because our patients visit us two or three times a year a dentist is well placed to recognize the early signs of sleep problems. A common symptom of sleep disordered breathing problems (SDB) is tooth grinding or clenching. So patients might report to us broken teeth or waking with sore jaws. They may have gum disease of gum recession. Headaches first thing in the morning are common. Finally because we check your medical history every six months we can see if there are changes or problems controlling your blood pressure or any type of diabetes.
A thorough dental examination by an experienced dentist will often show tell-tale signs of airway obstruction and snoring problems.
If I suspect a problem, and your 'sleep history' is confirming it then I will suggest some simple testing using specialized equipment. This will evaluate your nasal and oral airway for obstruction. With all this information I can make a suggestion as to who in our team is most appropriate to assist you and how to get started.
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During normal sleep the muscles of the tongue and soft palate work to hold your airway open. However for some people these muscles start to lose their tone (firmness) and the diameter of airway reduces. The narrow airway makes breathing more difficult and the loss of tone in the muscles of the airway allow the tissues to vibrate. This vibration creates the snoring sound. Snoring sounds may be made in the nose or in the mouth, either behind the tongue or from the soft palate.
If the tissues relax enough, the airway closes off. This is called: obstructive sleep apnoea.
Drinking alcohol makes the muscles more floppy and snoring will be louder.
Lying on your back allows the tongue to fall back in the mouth or the jaw to drop open making the snoring worse. Loud snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnoea, but sometimes it is just loud snoring.
Loud snorers can wake themselves because of the noise. This creates many of the same symptoms we see in obstructive sleep apnoea.
• Daytime sleepness, driver fatigue and car accidents.
• Memory problems.
• Poor functioning at work 'Brain fog'.
• Susceptibility to stress and irritability.
• Weight gain.
• Blood pressure and heart problems.
• Recent research shows a possible link to snorers being more likely to suffer a stroke.
One of the largest concerns of a snorer is the strain it puts on ther relationship. It isn't much fun being kicked out to sleep on the lounge or in the spare bedroom or sleeping alone.
Are you prepared to risk any of these problems? Maybe you are already noticing some of these signs. Read on to see how a dentist can help
This video explains in detail how apneas and snoring are produced while you sleep. See and hear as respiratory flow, respiratory effort, brain waves, and snoring sounds are matched together to illustrate the effects of this disease. When you've viewed this video, you'll have a much better understanding of what's going on within your own body.
Epworth Sleepiness Scale. How likely are you to dose off or fall asleep? [pdf 182KB] Download
Do You Think You Have a Sleep Disorder? Print the Sample Sleep Diary and bring it to us [pdf 182KB] Download
Common Signs of a Sleep Disorder [pdf 102KB] Download
Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep [pdf 103KB] Download [From the National Institute of Health, USA. Copies of the complete pamphlet can be found at www.nhlbi.nih.gov]
Designed by Angelica Olaya