Sleep apnoea is a condition which affects a person’s breathing while they sleep and results in pauses in the natural breathing pattern.
There are three different types of sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common form and happens when the soft tissue at the back of a person’s throat relaxes while they sleep, blocking their airway. Second is Central sleep apnoea, which involves your central nervous system and happens when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. The third form is complex sleep apnoea, which is a combination of the first two forms.
Sleep apnoea can be caused by a number of different things such as your weight, genetics, gender, age or whether you’re a smoker. If left untreated sleep apnoea can result in sleep deprivation, fatigue, poor reflexes and poor concentration and can even lead to more serious problems such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes and high blood pressure.
However, your dentist can help you with the issue of sleep apnoea. Dental devices are available from your dentist to help you breath, which either fit into your mouth like a mouthguard and or fit around your head and chin, to help re-position your lower jaw. The two most common of these dental devices are the tongue retaining device and the mandibular repositioning device, which both open your airways by bringing either the tongue or lower jaw forward while you sleep.
Always remember to have any of these dental devices fitted by a practitioner practises in the area of sleep apnoea, as if they aren’t fitted correctly they can result in nausea, soreness or even permanent repositioning of the teeth, jaw and mouth. Also remember to go to your dentist for regular check-ups, so they can adjust the mouthpiece if it needs it and monitor any potential side effects.