Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a condition where breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep due to a collapse of the upper airway
How is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) diagnosed?
In order to achieve an accurate diagnosis for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, you will be required to undertake a sleep study. This involves the monitoring of your sleep and recording of your breathing, snoring, oxygen levels, brain and heart activity, body position, and body movements throughout a normal night’s sleep. Recent advances in technology mean that, in most cases, this study can be performed in the comfort of your own home. Severe cases may still require an overnight study in a hospital setting. The results of your sleep study are sent to a sleep physician who provides a report to your treating dentist. Out-of-pocket fee for the study is normally $200-$300.
Once your sleep study results are reviewed by your dentist and you are found to be a suitable candidate for treatment, we will begin the steps to design and fabricate your Mandibular Advancement Splint.
What is a Mandibular Advancement Splint?
A mandibular advancement splint (MAS) is a small device used for the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. It is custom-made for the OSA sufferer and worn like a mouthguard.
Fitted to your teeth during sleep, the split works by moving the lower jaw forward from its natural position, opening up the airways, and greatly reducing the risk of airway obstructions and snoring.
How is a Mandibular Advancement Splint made?
The first step is to undergo a custom and detailed oral scan. As this scan will record your mouth and teeth as they are at that point in time, it is advisable that your teeth be in optimum condition. Any outstanding dental treatment should be carried out prior to the scan as doing so at a later date may affect the fit of your splint.
To construct your splint, we will perform a digital scan of your teeth and bite with the latest in impression-free technology. This involves a comfortable hand-held scanner that delivers accuracy and speed in developing a digital imprint of your mouth and allows us to send this to your lab for processing. No messy dental moulds, just a short appointment for a scan, and you’re on your way to having your splint fabricated. Your dentist will provide detailed instructions to the laboratory and they will put your personalised splint together in just over two weeks.
The final step is the fitting, where your dentist will make sure everything is just right for your treatment and will provide you with instructions to use your splint to the best of its ability. There are a number of different styles of mandibular advancement splints. Your treating dentist will discuss these with you and choose a style that best suits your mouth and jaw, and your symptoms.
OSA can increase your risk of :
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Reduced blood oxygen levels
How to decrease risk factors
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Avoid smoking
- Seek treatment for allergies that affect airways
- Sleep on your side rather than on your back
While snoring affects your quality of sleep, it can also affect the lives of those around you. Snoring, alone, does not indicate obstructive sleep apnoea, but a mandibular advancement splint may still be the answer. Snoring is often caused by a blockage in the airway and a mandibular advancement splint can help open your airway, reducing your chances of snoring and improving your quality of life and that of those close to you, including your partner or family.
At Smile Solutions, mandibular advancement splint treatment is performed by Dr Anthony O’Rourke.
Dr Anthony O’Rourke graduated from the University of Liverpool (United Kingdom) in 2005 with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery.
Initially Dr O’Rourke took a position in the National Health Scheme’s Vocational Training Scheme, which involved working in both emergency clinics and a family orientated practice. In 2006 he began work at a mixed private practice in Cheshire, UK.
When Anthony joined Melbourne’s Smile Solutions in 2014 he began focusing on digital dentistry and the use of CEREC in everyday dentistry. He thoroughly enjoys being able to offer all of his patients comprehensive care, whatever their needs may be – a service model pioneered by Smile Solutions with its full range of dental specialists working under the same roof.
Anthony’s areas of interest and expertise are in the fields of cosmetic dentistry, TMJ (jaw joints) and splint therapy, and digital dentistry. He is particularly skilled at treating nervous patients and has extensive experience in assisting Smile Solutions’ anaesthetist to administer sleep dentistry.
Anthony continues to pursue postgraduate education and has attended numerous further education courses in Europe and the USA. He has completed the Pankey Institute continuum at their Advanced Dental Education Centre in Miami.
- Tenderness or discomfort in teeth and jaw joints
- Excess saliva production
- Temporary or permanent changes to the position of teeth and occlusion (bite)
- Irritation of the soft tissue of the mouth
During your consultation, your dentist will discuss a personalised treatment plan with you, including the cost of the overall treatment. You will also be provided with the relevant item numbers which allow you to take the quote to your health fund to determine your coverage.
Continued Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Continued Positive Airway pressure involves wearing a mask attached to a unit that delivers air pumped under pressure forcing the airway open during sleep. CPAP is the treatment of choice in severe cases of obstructive sleep apnoea, however some may find it difficult to tolerate.
A number of surgical procedures are sometimes considered, including surgery to open breathing passages in the nose, removal of tonsils or excess tissue at the back of the throat, reduction of tongue size, or surgery to bring the upper or lower jaw forward.