Blog Posts by Geelong Smile Studio
Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
IN THE last blog post, we discussed how snoring is pathological and could be a sign of a very serious medical issue known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
What is OSA?
OSA is basically varying degrees of blockage of airflow, so that you actually stop breathing in and out.
In this circumstance, the best case scenario is that your brain tells you to wake up (often without knowing you've woken up) and you take a deep breath. The effect of this systemic stress on the body is extraordinary and can ultimately result in death.
The good news is an assessment of OSA is relatively straight forward.
Diagnosis of OSA
By looking for several positive predictors within your mouth and asking several questions in relation to your medical history, a dentist trained in sleep medicine, within minutes, can provide you with a very strong idea of whether or not you are likely to have OSA.
Just like a doctor will assess your blood pressure prior to prescribing anti-hypertensive medications, the diagnosis of OSA requires confirmation with a sleep study (polysomnogram) prior to prescribing the treatment.
Referral for Sleep Study
At Geelong Smile Studio, if we believe you could have OSA, you will be referred to a Sleep Physician (respiratory specialist) where a sleep study will be arranged.
The severity of the diagnosed OSA will determine the treatment prescribed.
Treatment for OSA
Severe OSA is a serious medical issue and treatment will be supervised by the Sleep Physician.
This treatment may involve assistance with night time breathing using a machine that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
Surgery may be considered in the most severe cases.
In mild to moderate cases of OSA, a sleep appliance can be made by a dentist and is worn over the teeth.
This appliance acts to hold the lower jaw and tongue forward and thus maintains an open airway whilst sleeping.
What to do if you suspect you may have OSA
If you suspect you may have OSA or your bed partner reports that you snore, gasp for air, or sleep restlessly, then the best decision you will ever make will be to talk to a suitably trained clinician.
Your life and other people's lives may depend on it.