Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is an undiagnosed epidemic in the Western world.
Those who have been diagnosed with this sleep disorder already and who have tried Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines and are intolerant of them, are showing a lot of interest. Those who snore and feel tired during the day, may or may not yet have OSA, but are showing interest due to the social and relationship price of snoring.
Knowing the level of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, if present, is vital. It may be mild, moderate, or severe to very severe.
What is obstructive sleep apnoea?
During sleep, the muscles that line the upper airways from the nose and mouth down as far as the voice box, relax and the diameter of the airway is reduced. Obstruction and/or muscular collapse of this airway causes total or partial blockage of air passing to and from the lungs. This results in lack of oxygen to the brain and all organs and tissues in the body.
The normal amount of oxygen dissolved in your blood while you are awake is over 95%. In severe OSA, that oxygen level can drop to extremely low levels of 70% or even lower. No wonder some people die in their sleep. All organs and tissues are damaged. OSA is potentially life-threatening, yet the person does not feel ill. They may just feel fuzzy-headed or tired all the time. Lack of oxygen to every part of the body during sleep affects all organs.
Implications of obstructive sleep apnoea
There are several implications of obstructive sleep apnoea, which include:
- Heart attack and stroke risk is much higher.
- Most heart attacks at night are because of OSA.
- Uncontrollable high blood pressure.
- Atrial Fibrillation.
- Dementia and cognitive decline.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Worse outcomes in cancer sufferers.
- Loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
- A higher chance of single vehicle fatal accidents.
- Industrial work accidents.
- Academic and work poor performance.
Maybe you think you are just a snorer. Snoring can certainly cause some relationship issues, but is now known to be a threat to heart health and your aorta and carotid arteries also.
Some who will approach us following this TV interview with Dr Chris Hart, will just be snorers and who suffer these relationship problems. Some of these will not have sustained much damage yet from their snoring. Many who snore do not realise they have obstructive sleep apnoea already.
Some who will have seen this TV interview with the inventor of the appliance and past CEO of Oventus Medical, Dr Chris Hart, will already know they have OSA. Some will already have tried CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) treatment and found they can not tolerate it, and some are still managing to wear it and are hoping for a more comfortable and convenient treatment.
While CPAP was for many years considered the gold standard in treating OSA, there is a very high drop out rate with up to 50% of users abandoning it by end of year one and up to 83% by end of year two. These machines are expensive and are of no use if not being worn.
A well fitting mandibular advancement splint (MAS) is far more likely to be worn all night, every night and is shown to be virtually as effective as CPAP in managing OSA. We are encouraging those who already have CPAP, to consider using it along with their MAS, as the two complement each other very well.
Cairns’ leading sleep dentist
Dental Sleep Med is a full service private dental practice with no affiliation with any sleep appliance manufacturers. We have a special interest in dental sleep medicine with over 40 years experience in the field.
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Why do we place more Oventus Optima O2 Vent sleep appliances than any other brand or style of MAS?
The O2 Vent appliance, like all other sleep appliances for OSA, pulls the lower jaw forward so the tongue does not drop back and block the airway. The unique element in O2Vent mandibular advancement splint, is the incorporated duck-bill and in-built airway that bypasses the oral sources of obstruction while helping nasal breathing. All other brands lack that.
Why have one professionally fitted as opposed to doing it yourself?
A sleep dentist will facilitate the full diagnosis. Assessment of where the obstruction and airway muscle sites of collapse occur. This will often involve teamwork with other specialists to whom we refer and with whom we work.
Full advice on home management and life-style adjustments to help with OSA. Nasal obstruction assessment and referral for management. Liaison with ENT specialist, sleep specialist, heart specialist and other necessary team members.
Is there any impending dental work needed that will change the shape of any teeth after your appliance is made, and render it no longer fitting
You need to know this before getting impressions done, as losing a tooth or having a crown, bridge or implant done after, will make the MAS not fit any longer. Even big fillings might cause it to not fit, if done after the O2Vent MAS is made.
Accurate impressions are essential to the appliance working properly. It takes a dentist years to learn these skills. Doing it yourself at home means the fit and function of your appliance is only as good as the impressions you take. Proper fitting of your appliance and physical demonstration of how to titrate it (adjustment) is something routinely done in-office. Knowing the right length of bands needed requires professional guidance.
Including and selection of the correct EXVENT Valve to use, an addition we add to every O2 Vent MAS that we fit, is essential.
Follow up to iron out any problems you may be experiencing.
Arrangement of follow up sleep studies and ongoing referrals to specialists if needed.
OSA, being potentially life threatening and highly likely to be life-shortening, is not something that can be treated without ongoing teamwork from the different medical professionals.
While a DIY O2 Vent may be cheaper than through a highly experienced Sleep Dentist, what price do you place on proper management of a potentially lethal disease?
Is a do-it-yourself treatment of something as serious as OSA in your best interest?
Your decision whether you go directly to Oventus for supply of the materials needed to take your own impressions or visit a Sleep Dentist.
If you are too far from Cairns for a physical visit, then the DYI option may be more useful for you. Please keep watching this space for potential TeleHealth consultations. If your choice is DIY, please contact Oventus directly on 1300 533 159 or on their website.
If your choice is to do it professionally, we do need to see you in person not by TeleHealth. If you see yourself being able to physically attend our dental office, however, there is no doubt that this is the best way to address your OSA or snoring. To book an appointment, please contact us today or call 07 4051 4580.