If sleep apnoea is affecting your wellbeing and your ability to get a good night’s rest, one of the treatment options available to you is a mandibular advancement splint (MAS). By using a mandibular advancement splint for sleep apnoea (OSA), you can treat the condition without medication and without the need for a CPAP machine. Some patients tolerate mandibular splints better than others. Let’s take a closer look at the sleep apnoea and when a mandibular advancement device (MAD) could benefit your condition.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
When a patient has OSA, their airways collapse at night when they are asleep. Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common sleep disorder and it causes you to stop breathing at night. It is a more common disorder than asthma, affecting one in every four males over the age of 30.
The muscles of your throat relax completely, obstructing airflow into your body. It is a repetitive action that can take place hundreds of times during the night. One of the clearest indicators that you are affected by this sleep disorder is snoring.
Other telltale signs of OSA include
- Daytime tiredness
- Memory and concentration problems
- Gasping or choking yourself awake
- High blood pressure
- Headaches in the morning
- Extreme mood swings
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
In most cases, the person who has OSA doesn’t know until their bed partner’s sleep is disturbed or they observe them gasping for breath.
The two primary methods of treatment are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or a mandibular advancement splint. A CPAP machine is not an option for everyone and generally, the first line of treatment is the use of a mandibular advancement splint for sleep apnoea.
How Does A Mandibular Advancement Splint Work?
Also called a mandibular advancement device, a mandibular splint works very well in patients who cannot tolerate CPAP and who have mild to moderate OSA.
How Do You Know How Severe Your OSA Is?
Mild OSA is typified by having five to 14 apnoeic episodes per hour. Moderate OSA is characterised by having 15 to 30 events per hour. If your condition is severe, you would have more than 30 in an hour.
How Does A Mandibular Advancement Splint Work?
A mandibular advancement splint is held in your mouth during sleep. It is comparable to a mouth guard.
For this reason, it is not suitable for patients who do not have teeth or who have poor dental structure. Mandibular advancement splints are comfortable and are made out of high-quality acrylic.
The mandibular advancement device holds your jaw and tongue in a forward position. It is fitted over your upper and lower teeth and it forces your lower jaw out further than your top jaw. Keeping your tongue and jaw in this position prevents your airway from being closed, allowing air to circulate properly.
It is always advisable to have a sleep study to make sure the device is working as intended.
What Are The Benefits Of MAS Compared To CPAP Treatment?
- Mandibular advancement splints are portable and do not require wires or a power source to work
- A mandibular advancement splint is more comfortable to wear and use
- A mandibular advancement splint is more practical and convenient than a CPAP machine
- A MAS does not make a noise and doesn’t disturb the person sleeping or the other people in the house
Because CPAP machines are more invasive, many patients do not use them consistently or properly. In our experience, patients who have mandibular advancement splints are more compliant with their treatment programs and thus have better treatment outcomes.
What Are The Risk Factors For OSA?
It’s possible for anyone to develop OSA, even children. However, some patients are at greater risk than others. Some of the risk factors for developing obstructive sleep apnoea include
The older you get, the more your risk profile increases.
Carrying extra weight
This condition is associated with patients who are overweight or obese, particularly if you are carrying excess weight around your neck.
There is a strong association between OSA and high blood pressure.
Men have been found to be two to three times more likely to develop the condition than premenopausal women.
Some people just have narrower airways than others. This can be a structural difference, or it can be the result of congestion or even asthma.
OSA has been found to run in families, so if a family member suffers from the disorder, you are statistically more likely to develop it.
The Importance Of Treatment For Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Sleeping in separate bedrooms is not a viable solution to the problem because OSA is associated with other health risks:
Problems with your cardiovascular system
Sudden and extreme changes in your oxygen levels cause stress on your cardiovascular system. Many patients who have OSA also have high blood pressure which puts them at risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Obstructive sleep apnoea can cause problems with your memory and concentration. In addition to subpar performance at work in your relationships, it can also put you at risk when you are driving or operating machinery.
Trying a mandibular splint for sleep apnoea is a non-invasive way to look after your health and get better quality sleep.
To find out more about a mandibular splint for sleep apnoea or to explore other treatment options, please give us a call:
Footscray: (03) 9068 5357
Niddrie: (03) 9068 5316
Caulfield North: (03) 9068 5355
Mandibular advancement splints for the treatment of sleep apnea syndrome
Obstructive sleep apnea
Mandibular advancement devices: obstructive