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FAQ’s about snoring and OSA

  1. Are oral appliances effective?

    Oral appliances were first utilized in the 1930's to help people breathe properly during sleep. By the 1980's, physicians and dentists began to seriously study the effectiveness of oral appliances to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea and found them to be effective in many, but not all cases. Recent studies show oral appliances to be effective in treating snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea. The SomnoMed MAS™ has also been shown to effectively treat severe sleep apnoea in some cases.

  2. What is the SomnoMed MAS™?

    The SomnoMed MAS™ appliances are mandibular advancement splints designed to hold your lower jaw (mandible) forward while you sleep.

  3. What is an oral appliance?

    An oral appliance is a small device, similar to an orthodontic retainer or an athletic mouthguard. It is worn in the mouth during sleep to prevent the soft throat tissues from collapsing and obstructing the airway. Some appliances hold the lower jaw forward during sleep while others have direct effect on tongue position. Oral appliances relieve snoring any may treat OSA by realigning the jaw and/or tongue in relation to the head. Although oral appliances do not work on everybody, a well-made, well-fitted appliance may reduce or eliminate snoring, and may significantly relieve symptoms of OSA.

  4. My husband snores. Where can I find an oral appliance?

    Oral appliance therapy to treat snoring should be provided by an experienced dentist. Our dental professionals are qualified to assist you with your disorder. Our dentists work closely with sleep physicians to treat snoring and OSA in the most effective way. If daytime drowsiness is a concern, a referral to a sleep physician can be arranged through your family doctor or a sleep study performed through a sleep clinic which is then reported on by a sleep physician.

  5. What makes us snore?

    Snoring happens when air cannot flow freely in and out of your throat due to a narrowing of the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. While we sleep, muscle tone decreases throughout the body causing our muscles to relax. When your throat muscles relax, the soft palate and uvula (the fleshy structure that dangles from the roof of the mouth) vibrate as we breathe. Snoring tends to become worse with alcohol or sedative consumption, weight gain, a blocked nose and age.

  6. Are snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) related?

    While snoring is caused by a partial obstruction of the airway, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a complete closure of the airway during sleep. OSA results in repeated episodes of stopping breathing (apnoea) during which time you continue to make efforts to breathe. Loud snoring is a common symptom of OSA. The sound occurs as you briefly waken at the end of the apnoeic period and begin to breathe. Some OSA sufferers are described as making snoring or gasping sounds when they resume breathing. Snoring without apnoea is not usually harmful to your health and many snorers who have none of the above symptoms do not have significant OSA. However, some people with OSA are unaware they have it. Thus, careful medical attention is required to ensure the OSA is properly diagnosed and treated.

  7. How can I find out if I have Sleep Apnoea?

    Your family Physician or our dental professionals can refer you to a Sleep Specialist who will take a thorough medical and sleep habits history. The Specialist may then schedule an overnight sleep study called a Polysomnogram, which measures several bodily functions such as heart rate, oxygen saturation, EEG and any Apnoea episodes during the different stages of sleep. Dental Excellence professionals can also refer you direct to have a sleep study performed which is then reviewed by a specialist sleep physician. If this test shows severe apnoea, further tests and examinations can be performed to determine the true severity of the condition.

  8. I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea. How do I know if I have mild, moderate or severe apnoea?

    The most accurate way to diagnose sleep apnoea is with an overnight sleep study called a polysomnogram. Depending on the physician's preference, this study can be performed in the hospital or at home. It will objectively measure many parameters throughout the night that will aid the physician in determining the severity of the problem. Some of the important measurements include: how often breathing is interrupted, the quality of sleep, the oxygen level in the blood, the heart rate and excessive bodily movements. The severity of the sleep apnoea is determined by the assessment of these parameters and should be thoroughly discussed with you by your physician. The SomnoMed dentists at Dental Excellence work closely with sleep physicians and understand the details of the sleep study and how they affect the therapy.

  9. What does RDI stand for?

    The term RDI stands for Respiratory Disturbance Index and is a very important measure of the severity of the sleep disorder. The RDI is a number that represents how many times per hour breathing stops or becomes very shallow. This index is important because it is often associated with disruption of sleep and dangerous drops in blood oxygen levels. Most physicians agree that an RDI below 5 is normal while an RDI over 30 may indicate severe disease. Many times RDI is used interchangeably with AHI (Apnoea Hypopnea Index).

  10. What if I have a bridge or denture?

    Sufficient healthy teeth are required in order to use an oral appliance. Most devices require at least 10 in each the upper and lower jaws. The SomnoMed MAS™ appliances require fewer teeth to be effective. Patients with crowns or bridges can be successfully fitted with SomnoMed MAS™ appliances, and adjustments are made in the appliance to ensure that fragile crowns and bridges are not harmed. While patients with full upper or lower dentures cannot wear a MAS™ oral device, patients with partial dentures may be successfully fitted with an appliance as long as there are enough teeth to anchor the device. Please note: the dentures are not worn with the appliance.

  11. What will the dentist do?

    On your first visit, the dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and mouth and may use X-rays to confirm your oral health status. Dental impressions are required to fabricate a SomnoMed MAS™. They are taken, and sent to our laboratory where the appliance is made. Once custom made for you, the appliance will be inserted by your dental professional who will show you how to insert and remove it yourself, as well as how to clean and care for it.