Dental sleep medicine is a specialised field of dental practice that deals with the use of oral appliances (eg: mouthguards) to treat sleeping disorders, including sleep apnea and snoring. The best form of treatment for each patient is usually co-determined by a dentist and a sleep physician.
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Sleep Apnea and Anti-Snoring Device
Sleep apnea, one of the most serious sleep disorders out there, is when a person’s breathing ceases repeatedly in their sleep due to a complete or partial blocking of their airway. The severity of the condition is dependent on the frequency and duration of ‘apnea’, which literally refers to “without breath”.
As foreign as sleep apnea sounds to you, it is actually more common than you think as most cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed. In fact, a study in 2016, by Jurong Health Services, has found that 1 in 3 Singaporeans suffers from moderate to severe sleep apnea, and 1 in 10 suffers from severe sleep apnea. Yet, up to 90% of the cases were previously undiagnosed.
What are some of the symptoms of sleep apnea?
-Headaches in the morning
-Dry mouth in the morning
-Excessive gasping or snoring during sleep
-Difficulty falling asleep
How is sleep apnea treated?
Depending on the severity of your condition, different treatments may be recommended. If you are suffering from a mild case of sleep apnea, your dentist may suggest that you wear an anti-snoring device during sleep. This helps to reposition your jaw and tongue to improve air circulation. However, a more severe case of sleep apnea would require more invasive treatments such as the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system, or surgery.