OSA DIAGNOSIS (SLEEP STUDY)
If you suspect that you may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, the best thing you can do is consult your medical or sleep doctor about your concerns. To receive an accurate diagnosis, your physician may recommend that you go for a sleep study, or what is known as a polysomnography.
Administered by a qualified sleep physician, a polysomnography utilizes several physiological monitors to record your breathing patterns, brain and physical activity while you sleep. The study shows the number of arousal events that exceed preset markers, the frequency of which determines whether or not you have a sleeping disorder, and its level of severity. The sleep study can either be carried out at a sleep clinic or in your own home.
HOW CAN THE DENTIST HELP?
A dentist who is trained in sleep medicine and the use of Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is able to customize a dental device that not only alleviates your immediate symptoms like – snoring or choking – but also treat your condition over time. OAT is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment option frequently recommended for OSA patients who have problems complying with CPAP therapy.
The most commonly prescribed dental appliance is the Mandibular Advancement Splint/ Device (MAS/ MAD). The oral sleep device works by repositioning the lower jaw/ mandible (largest facial bone) such that it prevents your tongue from falling back and obstructing your airway during sleep.
The dentist who specialises in OSA treatment can supply, fit and periodically adjust the oral appliance, consisting of a set of splint for your upper and lower jaws.
Working closely with your medical practitioner or sleep physician, the dentist is able to employ clinically-tested Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) methods to recondition your breathing habit and restore your health in a safe and effective way.
Symptoms of OSA
Most people associate the sleeping disorder with its most common manifestation of loud and persistent snoring. There are in fact many signs and symptoms that accompany the OSA condition. The symptoms may be divided into two broad categories:
Nighttime and Daytime. The so-called nocturnal symptoms occur as a direct result of the sufferer’s airway being obstructed during sleep, such as snoring or choking. The daytime symptoms, on the other hand, mostly occur due to the sleep deprivation caused by the OSA condition.
Risks of untreated sleep apnoea and health complications
OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNOEA (OSA)
The time we spend sleeping is synonymous with the amount of rest we get and the rejuvenation that comes from it. However, patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea are deprived of the rejuvenating rest that only comes from deep sleep.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a potentially dangerous sleeping disorder characterized by frequent disruptions to normal breathing as the sufferer sleeps. Apnoea is a Greek word that means “without breath”. Known as OSA for short, the condition causes the patient’s airflow to either be partially or completely blocked for 10 seconds or more.
This occurs when the tissues around the windpipe – and surrounding muscles that keep the airway open – collapses during a state of relaxation (sleep) to such an extent that it obstructs the airway.
Although the breathing pauses only last for seconds at a time, apnoea episodes can occur throughout the night, thus preventing the person from reaching the deeper stages of sleep. While most adults require 8-9 hours of sleep every day, studies indicate that at least 20% of it should be spent in deep sleep, in order for the person to be refreshed and fully functional the following day. Obstructive sleep apnoea can affect both males and females, irrespective of age. Statistics however show that middle-aged men who are overweight or consume alcohol frequently are at a higher risk of developing the condition.