Our treatment approach for snoring and sleep apnoea
Lotus Dental has always been dedicated to holistic and integrative dentistry, and this also shapes our approach to breathing and sleep disorders. We work closely with related service practitioners to identify the treatment approach for each individual – there is no ‘one size fits all’.
Diagnosis of sleep breathing disorders
We start with a full inspection of your teeth, jaw, nose and throat looking for:
- enlarged tonsils
- any visible nasal obstructions such as polyps or a deflected nasal septum
- long and flabby soft palate
- untreated ‘bite’ issues where the lower jaw is set backwards
- a narrow upper jaw due to mouth-breathing as a child
- previous orthodontic treatment that may have reduced the space available for the tongue
- signs of untreated allergies or nasal conditions
- other physical factors that might be causing or affecting the condition.
In conjunction with the oral examination we go through a detailed questionnaire with you (or the parents, if a child) which gathers information including general health, life style, exercise, sleep patterns and so on.
Tests and referrals
- If sleep apnoea is indicated we offer a home sleep study to our adult patients, to help determine the appropriate treatment. In the case of children we refer to a Sleep Physician.
- Airway volume, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are tested using a capnometer by Breathing Therapist, Dr Rosalba Courtney.
- If allergies appear to be an issue, we refer to an Allergy Specialist for testing and treatment.
- If the tonsils are enlarged we refer to a Naturopath to reduce their size with the help of diet changes and herbal supplements.
- If there is severe obstruction in the airway we refer to Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons who can help with prescription drugs or surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids, straighten a deflected nasal septum or sinus, remove nasal polyps, and so on.
Lotus Dental, in conjunction with our integrative practitioners:
Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS) to move the jaw forward in sleep
In our experience, patients with mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnoea generally respond best to dental appliance therapy. The Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS) is used to reposition the lower jaw (bringing it forward) and increase the airway volume.
Everyone has a unique mouth and jaw, so we have an splint made specially for you. We use a mould to take an impression of your teeth, and once the splint has been received we fit it and adjust it very precisely: it needs to move your jaw forward to an functional position while still being comfortable. The device has a screw adjustment which allows fine-tuning over the next few weeks.
We also explain how to clean and care for your splint to get the best performance and long usage from it.
Over-the-counter splints are not as comfortable, because they aren’t made for your unique bone structure or professionally fitted.
In cases of severe sleep apnoea a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine may be needed, which is made available by a sleep clinic.
Light Wire orthodontics to expand the dental arch
Airway improvement using orthodontics
If the jaw is narrow, there isn’t enough room for the tongue and therefore the airway in narrower. We may suggest maxillary expansion to create more room for the tongue and increase airway volume. This can be done in several ways but we generally use a Light Wire appliance to gently expand the dental arch and relieve the issue of air flow.
Orthodontic treatment such as braces or Invisalign may be needed after airway expansion to align your teeth.
Other airway improvement
Highlight Xlear is a natural nasal spray with Xylitol – it is antibacterial and conditions the mucosa.
Our in-house naturopaths have experience in diagnosing and treating allergies.
The importance of breathing though the nose can’t be underestimated. What causes mouth-breathing and why does it matter?
We work closely with Dr Rosalba Courtney DO PhD, who offers a range of breathing assessment services and breathing therapy techniques, including The Buteyko Method, Remedial Breathing, Breathing Biofeedback, Breathing Mindfulness, Pranayama and Intermittent Hypoxic Training.
Breathing therapy may be appropriate for people with conditions such as mouth breathing, sleep apnoea, asthma, hypertension, anxiety and panic disorder, sinus congestion and gastro-reflux disorder.
Breathing therapy is available for both adults and children as breathing courses, classes or individual sessions.
Our dentists have experience in sleep and breathing-related problems in both adults and children, and we work integratively with other practitioners.
Call us at Lotus Dental in Sydney on 02 9953 5153 or send us an email to make an appointment. We’ll discuss and diagnose the cause(s) of the problem, and identify a treatment approach and options for you or your child.