Sleep, when the body and mind are at rest, is a time to rejuvenate the body and organise the mind. In normal sleep, body temperature decreases, breathing rate slows and blood pressure decreases, before returning to a normal state upon waking.
Breathing needs to be constant and steady to allow proper oxygenation of the body.
When this breathing is interrupted, changes take place in the body. This interruption of breathing is called apnoea. During apnoea, there is no movement of the muscles of inhalation. Depending how blocked the airways are, there may not be a flow of air between the lungs and environment.
With obstructive sleep apnoea, a person stops breathing for a least 10 seconds but the body attempts to breathe. A person may wake up with a startle or jerking or increased tossing.
If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnoea can cause
- Memory loss
- Lung hypertension
- Heart attacks
How Dentists Can Help With the Treatment of Sleep Apnoea
Snoring is a sign of sleep apnoea and should be taken seriously. There is a need for dentists to treat sleep apnoea by helping to diagnose the problem and to refer a patient to sleep, physician. Dentists have the chance to save lives or improve patients’ quality of life.
An intraoral appliance is a well-recognised form of treatment. This is provided by the dentist on prescription by the sleep physician.
If you snore, perhaps you should consult us for guidance to treat the problem. Please contact our practice for a convenient appointment: 011 483 2281.