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Sleep Apnoea & Devices

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Two out of ten Australian adults will experience snoring during their lifetime. Snoring usually causes no significant medical problems, however for some people it may lead to a more serious medical condition known as ‘Obstructive Sleep Apnoea’.

Sleep Apnoea is caused by soft tissues in the throat, including the tongue, collapsing against the back of the throat. This obstructs the upper airway and air flow is reduced.

Symptoms and signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea :

  • Morning headaches
  • Tiredness on waking
  • Choking or gasping during the night
  • Sore, dry throat on waking
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory deterioration
  • Anxiety or depression

What is the best treatment for snoring and sleep apnoea?

A dental sleep appliance is generally regarded as the most effective treatment for snoring, with the least amount of side-effects. Studies have demonstrated that the appliance is by far more effective than surgical treatments. Surgery is only around 55% effective with significant potential side-effects including severe post-operative pain.

It is a very simple procedure to have a dental sleep appliance made. The first appointment with the team at Dentistry in Canterbury will be for 10 minutes to have upper and lower impressions taken. Then we send that off to the ‘Sleep Laboratory’, where the appliance is made, then 2 weeks later we will try in the appliance and adjust if needed to feel more comfortable.

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Grinding Splints

Bruxism / Grinding Splints

Do you clench or grind your teeth? Did you know that 1 in 3 people damage their teeth during sleep, most are unaware that this is occurring.

The habitual clenching and grinding of teeth is a common condition in over 30% of the population, also know as ‘bruxism’. Most people are unaware that apart from normal chewing, their top and bottom teeth should not touch. They are often surprised to discover that their teeth are frequently closed together during the day.

Common causes of bruxism are still being studied, but a combination of physical and psychological factors are believed to contribute to bruxism:

  • Physical stress such as illness, nutritional deficiencies or dehydration, particularly in children
  • Psychological stress, anxiety and tension in adults and children
  • Studies have shown that night bruxism is a sleep disorder
  • Other abnormal anatomy of the teeth or jaws (including ‘high spots’ on fillings) that can cause an improper occlusion (your bite) and lead to bruxism behaviour

Excessive clenching and grinding is not a healthy action and over a period of time can cause damage to your existing natural teeth and dental work such as crowns, veneers, fillings and implants. This will often result in further extensive repairs and/or restorative treatment on your teeth.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Pain in the teeth and sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Chronic facial pain with tension headaches and migraines, caused by intense muscle contraction, as well as earaches
  • Worn down or flattened tooth surfaces, which may reveal the yellow underlying tooth structure known as dentine
  • Microfractures of the tooth enamel
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth with possible damage to the tooth sockets
  • Stiffness and pain in the jaw joint muscles; this can cause restricted opening of the mouth and difficult chewing. Sometimes, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ or jaw joint) may suffer damage that is slow to heal.

Protecting teeth and restorations is generally regarded as one of the most important services that a dentist can provide. The only solution that is available, is a custom-fitted dental splint, which provides total protection of the teeth while sleeping when the forces of bruxism are at their greatest. It can potentially save patients thousands of dollars in future dental treatment. The custom-fitted dental splint is a small, thin mouthguard, made from high standard materials, that fits snugly over the teeth. It is a very simple procedure to obtain a splint, by taking an impression of your teeth which only takes around 5 minutes, it is then sent off to our laboratory to be custom made and within 2 weeks you will then have a 20-minute appointment with the team at Dentistry in Canterbury to fit in the splint.

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