Snoring And Apnoea Blog

Dental Treatment For Snoring And Sleep Apnoea

Posted on Fri, Aug 19, 2011

Dental treatment for snoring and sleep apnoea (correctly known as Oral Appliance Therapy) is now a recognised form of treatment for sleep disordered breathing conditions including snoring and sleep apnoea.  In fact, according to The Academy of Sleep Medicine, the leading international sleep-medicine body, OAT is endorsed as first line treatment for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnoea.  In more severe cases, CPAP is still the recommended and generally more successful form of treatment. 

At The Sleep Therapy Clinics we conduct detailed diagnostic sleep studies on each patient to determine precisely what the nature and severity of their condition is.  The results of the sleep study are then reviewed by an independent specialist sleep physician who will determine and prescribe an appropriate form of treatment.

If oral appliance therapy is prescribed, we can introduce patients to some of the most highly qualified dentists in this specialised field.  Where CPAP is indicated, our own nurses are able to provide caring, ongoing treatment.  If necessary, we can also provide referrals to expert surgeons whenever surgical intervention is necessary).  The important point is that our patients truly get the treatment which is best for them — not just the treatment which a dentist, surgeon or CPAP merchant wants to sell.

Oral appliance therapy involves the custom fitting of specialised dental devices known as Mandibular Advancement Splints or Mandibular Repositioning Devices.  As their name suggests, these devices move and hold the mandible (lower jaw) and connected tissue clear of the airway while the patient sleeps.

When properly prescribed and fitted, OAT is extremely effective.  This, combined with the discreet nature and easy portability of the device (it can be kept under the pillow until ‘lights out’ or carried in a toiletries bag when travelling) makes OAT a popular treatment option.

OAT can sometimes also be used for ‘severe’ apnoea sufferers.  In these cases, the patient will almost certainly get a better result (as in, a reduction of the number of apnoeic events per hour) while using CPAP.  But when the patient cannot comply with CPAP, or when lifestyle issues such as travel, camping, power supply etc make it difficult to use consistently. 

In these situations, OAT will generally NOT deliver quite as good a result — but dramatic improvements will still be achieved.  It is certainly better to get at least this degree of improvement via OAT if CPAP is not suitable, rather than getting no treatment at all. 

For more information about OAT, call The Sleep Therapy Clinic on 1300 246 6371  for a free, no-obligation chat with a friendly treatment coordinator.

Tags: OAT, dental treatment for apnoea, dental treatment for snoring, oral appliance therapy

CPAP Or Dental Treatment For Apnoea And Snoring?

Posted on Fri, Jun 10, 2011

One of the most common questions we hear is “Which is better?  Constant Positive Airway Pressurisation or Oral Appliance Therapy?”   (Oral appliance therapy, or ‘OAT’ is the technical name for dental treatments for snoring and sleep apnoea).

As with most things, the simple answer isn’t all that simple.  Most practitioners agree that CPAP is the ‘gold standard’ treatment for sleep disordered breathing conditions, because the nature of the treatment (i.e., gentle inflation of the airway to hold the airway walls apart) virtually ensures the treatment will be effective. 

This is the case, no matter how severe the SDB condition is — which is why the Academy of Sleep Medicine proposes CPAP for all cases of ‘severe’ sleep apnoea.  OAT is endorsed only for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnoea.

And while we agree with this absolutely, we’ve found this is only a guideline for a number of reasons…

First, because CPAP (like any treatment) is only effective if and when it’s being used.  If the patient can’t or won’t comply with the treatment (i.e., wear the mask etc while asleep) then obviously they will get no benefit from CPAP treatment.  In cases like this, oral appliance therapy can be an excellent alternative.

In most the cases OAT will NOT achieve the same degree of improvement as CPAP … but properly fitted appliances are still capable of achieving clinically significant improvements. 

Indeed, we’ve seen many cases where the patient went from sleeping with CPAP for only 4 hours per night to sleeping with their oral appliance for 8 hours per night.  So, even though the improvement was not as great, the longer period of use was more than enough to compensate.

But having said severe apnoea sufferers can sometimes be successfully treated with OAT, it’s important to note that the opposite also applies.  Sometimes even simple snorers cannot be successfully treated via oral appliance therapy.  This is typically due to structural abnormalities in the nasal passage, upper airway or oral cavity.  Surgery may be necessary to correct these issues — or the patient may choose to wear CPAP, even though the severity of their sleep disorder does not typically call for this form of treatment.

The bottom line is, you need whichever treatment is best for you — and the best treatment is the one which is effective AND tolerable.  That’s why it is so important to arrange your treatment through a practice which offers a full range of treatment options.

For more information about CPAP or oral appliance therapy, call The Sleep Therapy Clinics today on 1300 246 637 for a free, no obligation discussion of your options -- or ask a question via our contact form here.  

Tags: CPAP, OAT, dental treatment for apnoea, dental treatment for snoring, oral appliance therapy