Dentists are warning people against a rise in DIY treatments for sleep apnoea.
It’s estimated that up to 30% of men and 9% of women in Australia suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea. In recent years, dentists and doctors alike have seen an increase in sleep disorders like sleep apnoea, likely linked to the growing issue of obesity amongst Australians.
Not only is sleep apnoea one of the most common causes of loud snoring and poor sleep habits, but the condition can also result in a range of adverse health effects – from excessive tiredness to increased difficulty losing weight, depression, and diabetes.
Increase in DIY sleep apnoea treatments
As more people learn about the dangers of leaving sleep apnoea untreated, many are resorting to DIY measures to curb its ill-effects. This has been helped by a flood of direct to consumer, “boil-and-bite” treatments – where cheap oral appliances made of plastic are boiled and then moulded to your bite – and claim to improve your sleep apnoea symptoms.
Risks of DIY sleep apnoea treatment
But these quick-fix solutions aren’t without their risks. DIY oral treatments without proper dentist supervision can result in long-lasting damage to your teeth and mouth. Moreover, this damage may not show up until much later down the track once it’s too late to remedy. Some of the biggest risks raised by dentists include:
Lack of proper sleep apnoea management
Without proper management of your condition by a medical professional such as a dentist, it’s unlikely you’ll be truly treating the cause of your symptoms. Boil-and-bite appliances have been known to improve the snoring aspect of sleep apnoea, without actually treating the condition itself. As a result, many people are led to believe they’re cured when in fact they’re not.
Potential damage to your bite
While it can often seem unmovable, it is common knowledge that placing an oral appliance in your mouth for extended periods of time will lead to change in your occlusion or bite. While this isn’t always an issue, without proper monitoring, major changes can go unnoticed and lead to long term damage. This is especially common among DIY appliances as they often fail to properly cover all the surfaces of your bite, resulting in uneven occlusions.
When you go to your dentist for your oral appliance, you know you’re getting a professional service designed to treat your unique case. Because of this, many medical-grade appliances are custom-fitted to your mouth, ensuring the material is properly adjusted, comfortable and suitable for your mouth and teeth. When it comes to off-the-shelf options, they are more likely to be made of inferior material and poorly shaped for your teeth. This only increases the risk of poor treatment outcomes.
When patients have previously experienced TMJ/TMD issues, visiting a dentist is vital when considering oral appliance therapy for sleep apnoea. This is because a dentist is able to determine a baseline of your jaw’s range of motion, the health and strength of its surrounding muscles, and any other signs of dysfunction. Without this kind of assessment, an oral appliance has the potential to exacerbate joint troubles further.
Why a dentist is best for treating sleep apnoea
When it comes to sleep apnoea oral appliances, dentists are best positioned to treat your needs. Not only does your dentist have the skills and experience to manage your oral health, but they have the expertise necessary to determine the best appliance for their patients.
Treatment for Sleep Apnoea Darwin
At Extreme Dentistry, we use the MDSA® Appliance, in which a mouthguard supported splint is inserted into the patient’s mouth to reduce snoring and sleep apnoea. It is one of the leading mandibular advancement devices available, especially for mild to moderate cases, and has been subject to extensive scientific and clinical trials.
If you have any questions regarding sleep apnoea treatment options or would like to book in for sleep apnoea dentist treatment, contact us at Extreme Dentistry today.