Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a condition where repeated partial or complete obstruction of a persons airway may occur during sleep. The condition can be serious if not managed correctly, and in extreme cases may result in accidental death.
One of the symptoms of OSA may include snoring (although snoring may occur alone, without associated OSA).
Risk factors that lead to development of OSA/ snoring include:
- Obesity/ being overweight.
- Night-time alcohol consumption
- Use of sedative medication (such as sleeping tablets/ anti-anxiety medications)
- Nasal congestion
- Enlarged tonsils
- Mandibular retrusion (a condition where the lower jaw is ‘further back’ than it ideally should be relative to the upper jaw, bringing the soft tissues of the neck closer to the airway, making it easier for the airway to become obstructed.)
While it is not appropriate for a patient to undertake treatment for OSA/ snoring with their dentist alone, fabrication of a dental device (snoring mouth guard) to help assist the management of OSA/snoring may be of benefit to patients undertaking treatment in cooperation with their medical practitioner or OSA specialist. Typical devices are worn at night to move the position of the lower jaw further forward, opening the airway and alleviating potential obstruction.
Such treatment should be undertaken in cooperation with a medical doctor and should be combined with other appropriate therapies such as weight loss programs, avoidance of drugs and alcohol that may exacerbate the condition, and cessation of smoking.