Research proves bite correction can relieve sleep apnoea, improving your health and quality of life.
Sleep is an essential function of the human body. However, thousands of people suffer from a lack of sleep for various reasons. This can cause serious health concerns as well as a considerable depreciation in their quality of life. One of the leading causes of sleep deprivation is sleep apnoea; a disorder which causes sufferers to stop breathing several, and sometimes even hundreds of times in their sleep each night.
During a sleep apnoea episode, a sufferer is forced awake by the brain so as to start breathing again, repeatedly interrupting sleep. This condition can lead to exhaustion, irritability, diminished memory and other sleep deprivation-related medical issues. Recent research points to dentistry as a solution for sleep apnoea.
What is sleep apnoea?
There are two types of sleep apnoea. Central sleep apnoea, which occurs when the brain is unable to send proper signals to keep the body breathing, and obstructive sleep apnoea which is more common and caused by throat muscles relaxing and obstructing the airways.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) or temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can cause sleep apnoea. TMD is a dysfunction of the joint where the upper and lower jaw meet, causing pain, headaches and sometimes sleep apnoea.
Learn more about how Dr Jim Ironside can help combat sleep apnoea here.
How can a dentist help?
TMD typically presents as a malocclusion in the form of an underbite, overbite or crossbite. By correcting this, your dentist could simultaneously end your sleep apnoea.
Dr Ironside at Ironside Advanced Dental recommends a full consultation and examination to properly diagnose TMD and sleep apnoea. An oral examination can determine the extent of your malocclusion and also determine if the malocclusion is causing TMD symptoms or sleep apnoea.
Dr Ironside also takes every step to ensure sleep apnoea is correctly diagnosed, and in turn correctly treated. He recommends attending a sleep clinic where sleep patterns can be observed by a professional and sleep disorders can be identified and correctly diagnosed along with their underlying causes.
Sleep apnoea treatment
Dental treatment for sleep apnoea requires the correction of the malocclusion. The most common treatment is through a corrective dental appliance. The appliance holds the jaw in place and gradually corrects your bite.
The treatment and the dental appliance are tailored to suit each patient’s unique condition. Treatment length also varies from one patient to another depending on the severity of the TMD and how the appliance is used.
Do I Have Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea or TMD is not easy to diagnose by yourself as the symptoms may easily be related to another illness. As such, these conditions can easily go untreated for a number of years.
If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, you may be a silent sufferer of sleep apnoea. We would encourage you to visit our Sydney dental practice for an assessment.
- Feeling of sleep deprivation
- Jaw clenching (facial or jaw pain)
- Reduced lung capacity
Although sufferers may not remember the sleep apnoea episode they will show signs of sleep deprivation which include; exhaustion, irritability, body aches, constant sleepiness and depression.
As these symptoms may not seem connected, it is always worth mentioning them to your dentist whether you have one or a combination of symptoms, especially if you suspect you may have sleep apnoea.
TMD dentists in Sydney
If left untreated, sleep apnoea can be destructive to your health.