Snor­ing... w ho s uf f er s ?

Central Leader - - Health & Beauty -

Does a chronic snorer keep you or the fam­ily awake? Rather than en­dure the rau­cous noise any longer, many tired bed part­ners re­sign them­selves to an­other night in the spare room or worse still, on the couch.

With to­day’s busy lifestyles, we owe it to our­selves to get the best sleep pos­si­ble and wake up feel­ing alive and re­freshed. Snor­ing is the car­di­nal sign of a partly ob­structed up­per air­way and can be an in­di­ca­tor of more se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tions.

Dr Greg Reynolds is a den­tist who be­came in­ter­ested in such sleep and breath­ing dis­or­ders some 10 years ago. So in­ter­ested, that he went back to med­i­cal school and com­pleted two mas­ters de­grees, ma­jor­ing in ‘ sleep medicine’.

Th­ese days Dr Reynolds’ en­tire prac­tice is fo­cused on help­ing those who suf­fer from chronic snor­ing and the more se­ri­ous breath­ing dis­or­der, ob­struc­tive sleep ap­nea ( OSA).

Loud snor­ing fol­lowed by a si­lent pe­riod be­fore an alarm­ing gasp­ing or chok­ing episode is the char­ac­ter­is­tic sign of an ob­struc­tive ‘ ap­nea’, lit­er­ally mean­ing “ without breath”. OSA can have se­ri­ous health con­se­quences by rais­ing blood pres­sure and dis­rupt­ing qual­ity sleep.

World­wide and here in New Zealand, up to 90 per­cent of OSA suf­fer­ers re­main un­di­ag­nosed and treated. Re­cent ad­vances mean that this con­di­tion can now be suc­cess­fully treated, rel­a­tively sim­ply.

For some pa­tients, a sur­gi­cal so­lu­tion may be suit­able, but for more and more peo­ple a custom- made den­tal de­vice is prov­ing to be the most ef­fec­tive way of manag­ing chronic snor­ing and less se­vere de­grees of OSA. Th­ese oral ap­pli­ances, called ‘ Mandibu­lar Ad­vance- ment Splints’, are worn at night and com­fort­ably en­large the air­way and hold it open. Repo­si­tion­ing the lower jaw ( or mandible) for­ward brings the tongue for­ward, away from the back wall of the throat and soft palate.

This ef­fect al­lows one to sleep more soundly and re­duces the soft tis­sue vi­bra­tion of snor­ing and air­way ob­struc­tion.

Al­though car­ry­ing ex­cess weight can con­trib­ute to in­creased snor­ing, the shape of the face and jaws is of­ten the main cause when the mouth is too small to ac­com­mo­date the bulk of the tongue. The most com­mon place for air­way nar­row­ing caus­ing snor­ing is at the back of the tongue.

Who else is in a bet­ter po­si­tion to eval­u­ate the mouth and fa­cial struc­ture than den­tists with the ap­pro­pri­ate train- ing and ex­pe­ri­ence?

Re­cent med­i­cal re­search has shown that the lat­est ad­justable den­tal ap­pli­ances are bet­ter ac­cepted by pa­tients with snor­ing and less se­vere OSA than the more in­va­sive sur­gi­cal or con­tin­u­ous pos­i­tive air­way pres­sure ( CPAP) op­tions. Af­ter a com­pre­hen­sive sleep and clin­i­cal as­sess­ment, Dr Reynolds will dis­cuss the range of dif­fer­ent treat­ment op­tions avail­able to those who tol­er­ate snor­ing and sleep­less nights.

For snor­ing and sleep ap­nea so­lu­tions, call for an ap­point­ment for you and/ or your part­ner with Dr Greg Reynolds BDS DipBus MScMed( Sleep Medicine) MMedSc. Phone Somnodon­tics on 480 2204 for both North­cote and New­mar­ket clin­ics. E- mail: info@ somnodon­tics. com.

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