Sleep Apnoea: What It Is and How Your Dentist Can Help

A common issue for people who have trouble sleeping is that their partner snores or suffers from sleep apnoea. These conditions can considerably affect the quality of sleep of both the sufferer and anyone sharing a bed or room with them. The good news is your dentist may be able to help.

What is sleep apnoea?

Snoring is the result of your neck muscles relaxing as you sleep, leading to the partial obstruction of your airway. The sound of snoring is caused by the vibrations on the back of your throat as air flows over it as a result of the partially closed airway. Sleep apnoea is a more serious problem than snoring as the airway is completely closed off, stopping the person from breathing for as long as ten seconds, or more in serious cases.

Sleep apnoea can range from mild, where it causes only minor disturbances to sleep, to much more serious consequences when a person goes longer without breathing. For example, headaches, memory lapses and day-time drowsiness can be symptoms of sleep apnoea.

Sleep apnoea can be picked up on as snoring follows a certain pattern; the person snores loudly, followed by silence. Then the person will gasp or even choke as they start to breathe again.

Other signs include:

  • Teeth grinding – people that snore or suffer from sleep apnoea often grind their teeth. Your dentist will pick up on signs of this as grinding leads to wear on the teeth, as well as receding gums and inflammation. Grinding your teeth can also leave you more at risk of cavities.
  • A dry mouth or sore throat in the morning.

How your dentist can help

As snoring and sleep apnoea are caused by airway obstruction, to help prevent these problems, your dentist can provide special dental devices that are designed to hold the jaw and tongue in a position that helps to prevent airway obstruction.

Somnowell snoring appliance

At Riverside Dental Spa, we offer custom-made Somnowell snoring appliances, which fit over your teeth like a mouthguard and prevent your lower jaw from dropping back as you sleep. By gently holding your lower jaw and tongue in ‘the recovery position’, the device helps to keep your airway open and prevent snoring or sleep apnoea.

For more information on anti-snoring appliances or to make an enquiry, please call us on 0800 0154 222 or email