Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Treatment in Townsville

Do you or your partner snore, or have trouble breathing in the night? The problem might be related to the position of your jaw or the alignment of your teeth.

Find out more about snoring and sleep apnoea treatments at North Queensland Family Dental. Call us on 07 4755 2055 or book a consultation.

What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?

Almost half of adults snore occasionally, and around a quarter snore habitually. If you’re one of them, there’s a chance you might have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

This condition is believed to affect up to 80% of snorers and involves the repeated blocking of the airway during sleep. This can cause pauses in breathing of 10 seconds or more, and this can happen to some people up to 300 times per night.

If you think you or someone in your family might have sleep apnoea, book a consultation at our Townsville clinic. We can run tests to find out whether your symptoms are due to OSA or another problem, and we’ll discuss the treatments we offer to help reverse or manage the condition.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Sleep apnoea is most commonly associated with snoring. Snoring happens when the airway muscles fail to function normally, causing loud vibrations to resonate when air passes through the soft palate at the side of the throat. If your tongue also falls back over the airway and stops you from breathing, apnoea is occurring.

Besides snoring, there are other signs that could indicate your sleep is being disturbed. Sleep apnoea symptoms can be separated into direct effects (those that occur during sleep) and knock-on effects (usually noticed during the day).

Nocturnal symptoms include:

  • loud and persistent snoring (usually identified by a partner)
  • choking or gasping for air
  • waking up or having to urinate during the night more than usual
  • bed wetting (more common in children).

Daytime symptoms may include:

  • waking up feeling un-refreshed
  • dry mouth and/or sore throat
  • morning headaches
  • excessive fatigue
  • daytime sleepiness
  • prone to irritation and mood swings
  • lack of concentration
  • memory loss
  • weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • anxiety, depression and other mood and behaviour changes.

What causes OSA?

Anyone can suffer from sleep apnoea, although the risk factor increases with age and can be influenced by certain physical attributes, medical conditions or natural dispositions.

The most common risk factor is being overweight. More than half of people diagnosed with OSA are categorised as overweight or obese on the body mass index (BMI). As soft tissues in your neck expand, this can cause your throat to become blocked, making it more difficult to breathe. This can also happen if you have a naturally large neck, a large tongue, or a tumour or other growth in your throat.

Besides these common causes, you’ll also be at higher risk of OSA if:

  • you smoke
  • you drink excessive alcohol
  • you’re a male over the age of 65
  • you have recessed or narrow jaws
  • you have crowded teeth
  • you have a nasal obstruction, such as a deviated septum
  • you have enlarged adenoids or tonsils (most common with child OSA).

How is OSA diagnosed?

If you think you might have sleep apnoea, make an appointment at our Townsville clinic to talk to one of our experienced dentists. We’ll ask you questions to help us understand what you’re experiencing and we’ll carry out a full oral health assessment to determine if the problem may be related to a jaw or bite issue.

If we need to know more about your OSA symptoms, we may recommend a sleep study carried out in partnership with a local sleep clinic. This will be conducted in the comfort of your own home. The results will allow us to diagnose the severity of your condition and to recommend appropriate treatments.

What are the treatment options?

Depending on what’s causing your sleep apnoea and how severe it is, we may be able to offer treatments at our dental clinic, to suggest lifestyle changes that could help you to manage your symptoms, or to refer you to another medical professional.

Dental treatments

If you have mild to moderate sleep apnoea, we may be able to treat it using a dental appliance called a mandibular advancement splint (MAS).

This is a custom-made oral appliance that you should wear during sleep. It pushes your lower jaw down and forwards, which has the effect of pulling your tongue forwards and tightening tissues in your airway to prevent it from being blocked. This should help you to breathe uninterrupted.

If your OSA is caused by an issue with your jaw or your bite, we may recommend orthodontic treatment.

Medical treatments

If you have more severe sleep apnoea, we may refer you to a doctor who specialises in OSA treatments.

The most common treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device. This involves wearing a face mask while sleeping, which feeds a continuous airflow to prevent your airway from closing.

If your OSA is determined to be caused by an excess of tissue in your throat or sinuses, or a problem with your jaw, your doctor may suggest surgery to clear the airway resistance.

Lifestyle changes

We can also advise you on a number of home remedies or changes you should make to your daily habits that could help to reduce your symptoms, or even make them go away altogether. These may be done at the same time you’re receiving other OSA treatment.

They include:

  • losing weight
  • giving up smoking
  • avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills and sedatives
  • getting regular exercise
  • not eating or drinking close to bedtime
  • maintaining a regular sleeping routine
  • not sleeping on your back (a positional appliance can help with this)
  • sleeping with your head or upper body slightly elevated
  • using a nasal spray or similar product to help your nasal passages stay open.

To book an appointment, contact us today.