We all need good quality slumber, around seven hours of deep continuous sleep, in order to be effective during the day. Conversely, poor sleep can lead to ill health.
However, a sound night’s sleep can be elusive for a significant number of people. Why? Because as we age, we can develop a night time breathing disorder which results in snoring at one end of the spectrum and sleep apnoea at the other. Both conditions are caused by the airway at the back of the throat becoming blocked.
Over the last few years there has been a growing recognition that orthodontists like myself can offer a service to patients who have sleep-related problems. In patients with severe sleep apnoea, the airway becomes fully constricted, the breathing stops and the brain sends out an emergency signal, causing a deep gasping for breath. This can happen several times an hour. A night time of interrupted sleep results in exhaustion. If left untreated, sleep apnoea can lead to cardiovascular disease, raised blood pressure and diabetes.
But help is at hand. Snorers and people suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnoea can have their disorder diagnosed and they can be prescribed Somnowell, known in the dental world as a mandibular advancement appliance (MAA).
The device fits snugly over your upper and lower teeth at night and helps bring forward the lower jaw in order to open up your airway. Made of a chrome cobalt alloy, which is impervious to bacteria, it’s comfortable and durable.
As an orthodontist, I spend my professional life providing dental devices, whether braces, aligners or retainers. Tooth and jaw movement, as well as cranio-facial development, are part of my specialist training.
So it’s very satisfying that in addition to improving patients’ teeth alignment I can now provide a service which helps improve night-time sleep. If you think this is something that might be of benefit to you, there are some FAQs on the Somnowell website. But of course, I can answer any questions you have too.