Snoring and Sleep Apnoea


What is sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea, also known as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), occurs when the muscles of the throat come together during sleep and end up blocking the airway causing irregular breathing. The blockage can occur for anything from a few seconds to a minute, at which point your brain will jolt you awake. This can result in regular interruptions of your sleeping pattern and lead to poor concentration and daytime fatigue.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of this disorder, although it's important to note that not all snorers experience sleep apnoea.

Other indicators include feeling drowsy, fatigued and weary during the day, waking up with a dry mouth or a headache in the morning, difficulty concentrating when awake, and frequent mood changes or irritability. 

Who is affected by sleep apnoea?

Snore Australia suggests that around 9% of women and 25% of men in Australia suffer from sleep apnoea. Over 70% of people who snore also have sleep apnoea. It gets more common with ageing and in obese people. Smoking, consuming alcohol and certain medications can also increase your risk of experiencing sleep apnoea. We recommend you see a sleep physician first to determine the cause and extent of your problem. 

What are the risks of sleep apnoea?

The most common effect of sleep apnoea is consistent tiredness and fatigue, which can lead to poor concentration and a reduced ability to perform routine tasks. 

How can sleep apnoea be treated?

According to the Australian Dental Association, the most effective treatment for moderate to severe cases of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP). This treatment involves wearing a mask while sleeping, which by establishing a continuous airflow prevents your throat muscles from closing. 

Many people with sleep apnoea are also very successfully treated with oral appliances. If you suffer from a mild to moderate sleep apnoea, an oral appliance may be the solution. We will take an impression of your mouth and make a custom fit appliance for you to wear when you sleep.

Other measures which can help include weight loss, reducing alcohol intake and smoking, using nasal sprays and sleeping on your side. The success of these measures varies from person to person.

Speak to our dentist about snoring and sleep apnoea.