Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

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05/01/2018

Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

As a condition that affects over 40% of the population, it is no surprise that the majority of us have been impacted by snoring in some way, shape or form. There are both varying degrees and varying types of snoring: it can be 'simple', or it can be symptomatic and may require further exploration. Regardless, there are a number of conditions associated, including:

diminished energy
lack of concentration
increased risk of stress
reduced libido
high blood pressure
As well as the impact to the snorer, a lack of sleep on the bed partner’s behalf is also dangerous for their health and wellbeing. Many cases are reported by the bed-partner, with the snorer having very little awareness of their bedtime activities.

Thankfully, there are many interventions that can assist with snoring. Before discussing these, however, it is first important to highlight the cause.
 

What causes snoring?

Once we are asleep, our muscles relax. This can result in the soft tissues in the throat vibrating, causing the familiar snoring sound.

However, this doesn't happen to everyone: there are a number of factors that can increase chances of snoring, including: obesity, gender, age, alcohol, and medication. For most sufferers, snoring occurs in isolation (simple snoring). In these cases, it is often the bed-partner that suffers, with the snorer unaware that they are causing such a disturbance. However, it can also take place as part of a more serious condition, obstructive sleep apnoea, which can be potentially life-threatening if not treated correctly.
 

What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?

OSA is a serious condition where, for short periods of time, the airway becomes blocked during sleep, cutting off oxygen reaching the lungs. There are two types of breathing disruption associated with OSA:

Apnoea - where the muscles collapse sufficiently enough to cause a total blockage of the airway for 10 seconds or more
Hypopnoea -  partial blockage of the airway that causes an airflow reduction of more than 50% for 10 seconds or more
Both of these problems can occur several times throughout the night and are most commonly recognised by loud snoring, paired with snorts, gasps, or laboured breathing.  This leads to disruption for both the bed-partner AND the sufferer, with the snorer often waking feeling tired due to a night with reduced oxygen intake.

There are many associations with obstructive sleep apnoea, and, due to fat distribution, middle-aged males are twice as likely to suffer from OSA in comparison to middle-aged females. The discrepancy does start to level out, however, believed to be due to hormonal changes after menopause.
 

What are the treatments for snoring?
Though many snorers and tired bed-partners typically look to their doctor for help when it comes to snoring, their dentist arguably has a larger part to play - initially at least.

As snoring is typically caused by the lower jaw dropping back during sleep, the easiest way to stop it is to prevent the jaw from slipping backwards. This can be achieved with a device called a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS). Available from trained dentists, there are a number of devices available, one of which is the Sleepwell.

The most clinically proven MAS for the treatment of snoring & mild to moderate sleep apnoea, the Sleepwell is a two-piece device that is fully-adjustable by the wearer, and designed to hold your lower jaw forward.

Holistically, however, there may be other behaviours that could assist with the problem, such as:

Sleeping position - lying on your back inevitably is the worst position for snoring. Trying different positions may have a positive effect.
Bed-time 'hygiene' - avoiding alcohol or caffeine in the evenings can help. Both muscle relaxants, they can increase the chances of snoring.
Weight-loss - holding excess fat around your neck can play a major role in both snoring and sleep apnoea.
 

I won’t see anyone else.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Even with having work done, Stuart made Phoebe (age 9) smile.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Hest Bank Dental Care has completely cured us of our previous loathing of dentists and dental practices…you know you are in safe hands and that the team do everything possible to relax you and ensure the treatments are as comfortable as possible.
Sandi & Polly Haythornthwaite
Wonderful as always! Thank you so much, no pain!!
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
The whole ambience is very pleasant, lovely waiting room and great views. Kate has done wonders with my teeth. A caring team where everyone works together.
Mrs. Light
I've been a patient for a few year's now and I have to say I've never felt so comfortable going to the dentist. The staff are very friendly and professional and go way beyond the call of duty.
Toby Bush
Love this practice! Total trust in your abilities and expertise.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Excellent dentist, lovely warm and welcoming staff. I love my Dentist Stuart, always chatty and makes you feel relaxed.
Shane
Always very welcoming, friendly and reassuring.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Absolutely wonderful service, caring & very professional staff x A*A*A*A*A* highly recommended - superb dentist -the best!
Emma T
I love the dentist.
H. Payne
I'm always put at ease by the compassionate, professional staff.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Very friendly staff, I wouldn’t change my dentist for the world.
A. Rashid
My dental nurse (Charlie) was excellent, it would be lovely to have her every time.
S. Todd
Lovely, relaxed appointment. Sofia was lovely and explained everything very well.
S. Hardie
Thank you for your expertise and kindness.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Very pleased with my first appointment, Sofia was very thorough and pleasant.
D. Mclaughlin
Everyone is always so kind, gentle and helpful. I have always felt that I’m in safe hands.
David Dale
Always a happy place, everything is explained in detail. Very pleased with service.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Always a pleasure to visit.
M. Caygill
Lovely, pleasant place to come – both staff and premises spotlessly clean.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Our whole family attend Hest Bank Dental Centre it is a fabulous, friendly and caring practice. The whole team make you feel very welcome at every visit. Highly recommend
Tracey
Bolton le Sands
I like the up-to-date technology.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Friendly and approachable (Stuart and Gen).
P. Gallagher
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I won’t see anyone else.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Even with having work done, Stuart made Phoebe (age 9) smile.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Hest Bank Dental Care has completely cured us of our previous loathing of dentists and dental practices…you know you are in safe hands and that the team do everything possible to relax you and ensure the treatments are as comfortable as possible.
Sandi & Polly Haythornthwaite
Wonderful as always! Thank you so much, no pain!!
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
The whole ambience is very pleasant, lovely waiting room and great views. Kate has done wonders with my teeth. A caring team where everyone works together.
Mrs. Light
I've been a patient for a few year's now and I have to say I've never felt so comfortable going to the dentist. The staff are very friendly and professional and go way beyond the call of duty.
Toby Bush
Love this practice! Total trust in your abilities and expertise.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Excellent dentist, lovely warm and welcoming staff. I love my Dentist Stuart, always chatty and makes you feel relaxed.
Shane
Always very welcoming, friendly and reassuring.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Absolutely wonderful service, caring & very professional staff x A*A*A*A*A* highly recommended - superb dentist -the best!
Emma T
I love the dentist.
H. Payne
I'm always put at ease by the compassionate, professional staff.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Very friendly staff, I wouldn’t change my dentist for the world.
A. Rashid
My dental nurse (Charlie) was excellent, it would be lovely to have her every time.
S. Todd
Lovely, relaxed appointment. Sofia was lovely and explained everything very well.
S. Hardie
Thank you for your expertise and kindness.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Very pleased with my first appointment, Sofia was very thorough and pleasant.
D. Mclaughlin
Everyone is always so kind, gentle and helpful. I have always felt that I’m in safe hands.
David Dale
Always a happy place, everything is explained in detail. Very pleased with service.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Always a pleasure to visit.
M. Caygill
Lovely, pleasant place to come – both staff and premises spotlessly clean.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Our whole family attend Hest Bank Dental Centre it is a fabulous, friendly and caring practice. The whole team make you feel very welcome at every visit. Highly recommend
Tracey
Bolton le Sands
I like the up-to-date technology.
Patient at Hest Bank Dental Care
Friendly and approachable (Stuart and Gen).
P. Gallagher