Sleep apnea occurs when we stop breathing in our sleep usually for 10 seconds or more.
When we are awake our brain keeps the muscles around our throat engaged and airways open. When we go to sleep though, these muscles are disengaged and our airways start to narrow which can cause snoring.

When the airways block completely, our body starves of oxygen and after a while, the brain realizes that we’re not breathing. This can result in a release of adrenalin into our body to wake us up and take a breath. (Ever woken up with a sudden loud snort?). Most of the time we don’t consciously wake up but we come straight out of the restorative stages of sleep to take a breath and then our body goes back to sleep and the cycle repeats over and over again all night. (No wonder you’re still tired after all this carry on all night!)
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Apart from waking up with bruised ribs Inflicted by a sleep deprived partner attempting to stop your snoring with a swift elbow to the mid-section, common symptoms include:
•   Snoring or choking in your sleep
•   Always tired regardless of how long you sleep
•   The ability to go to sleep any time any where
•   Poor concentration
•   Short term memory loss (keys, wallet etc.)
•   Frequent bathroom visits at night
•   Restless legs

What happens if I do nothing?
Chances are, you will be instructed to sleep in the spare room or on the couch.
The serious side is that if you have sleep apnea and you don’t treat it, you may be in a much higher risk of:
•   Stroke
•   Heart attack
•   Dementia
•   Diabetes
•   In ability to control obesity

Frequent, loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, a common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. The biggest indication is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day if you have simple snoring as opposed to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
However, snoring could be more than annoying – it could be a danger to your health. Click here to take a quick sleep questionnaire to see if you may be at increased risk of having sleep apnea.

The SomnoDent oral sleep appliance treats obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by advancing the lower jaw which keeps the airways open. The appliance is custom-made to fit your mouth and consists of upper and lower splint that cover your teeth and will be titrated to advance your lower jaw throughout the treatment process. As your jaw moves forward it, in turn, helps open your airway allowing you to breathe easier and sleep more comfortably for longer periods of time, helping you to reach deep, REM sleep.

Yes! In most cases, snoring is eradicated as soon as you start treatment.

Yes. If you have private health insurance they may give you a rebate for a portion of the device, depending on your level of cover.

Item numbers to claim through your Private Health: 015 and 984.

You can contact your health fund to find out how much the rebate will be based on your level of cover.

Most patients easily adapt to wearing a SomnoDent oral device at night. After wearing the device for a short period of time it will become part of your routine, and most people will hate to go to sleep without it after they realize how much better they feel in the morning (and how much better their bed partner sleeps as well).

Compliance rates for dental sleep therapy are much higher than for other forms of non-surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. In other words, patients are much more likely to use a dental device successfully than any other form of treatment. A recent survey of our patients indicated that 90% of SomnoDent patients regularly use their device.

Once patients experience better sleep and improved health associated with the use of a dental device, it is rare for someone to stop using it.

As with any medical treatment, there are possible complications or side effects of dental sleep therapy. Some patients may develop temporary side-effects such as sore jaw joints; excessive salivation; dry mouth; sore teeth; irritation of the soft tissues in the mouth and/or a slight change in their bite. These usually subside within a few weeks.

In some cases, a permanent ‘bite’ change may occur. However, a lot of the time the bite change is so mild that most patients do not notice it. The dentist can let you know if you are at risk of a bite change and how to minimise any changes.

Despite the above described side effects, however, obstructive sleep apnea may pose serious health risks and should be treated. It disrupts normal sleep patterns, can reduce normal blood oxygen levels, and may result in excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. Although some changes might be undesirable in certain patients, the effective treatment of a life-threatening disease such as sleep apnea supersedes the maintenance of regular bite. Even if major tooth movements are seen, the discontinuation of oral appliance treatment should occur only if the patient accepts another treatment form, such as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device, as directed by your physician.

Top 4 Tips For Keeping Your SomnoDent Clean

If you having recently become a SomnoDent patient, or if you are thinking about having this oral device improve your sleep by treating your mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), then you might be thinking about how best to keep the oral device clean. The acrylic and, in some cases, the soft liner of the SomnoDent have a very important job to do as they work towards moving the lower jaw slightly forward in order to prevent the soft tissue at the back of the throat area from collapsing the airway and obstructing airflow. It follows then that keeping your oral device in tip-top condition is going to be important. Here are 5 top tips on how to keep your SomnoDent clean.

1. Brush them gently
Keep your SomnoDent clean by brushing it with the brush enclosed in your retainer case and/or with a soft bristle brush. You will be able to remove your device every morning and carry out your own dental hygiene routine. This is a great time for you to clean your SomnoDent oral device as well. Don’t use toothpaste to brush your device, because the abrasives in toothpaste can cause scratches and potentially damage your device. Use a soft toothbrush, with gentle brushing motions on your device.

2. Only wear your SomnoDent on teeth that are clean
It is very important that you clean your teeth before you wear your device each night. Not only will you experience discoloration and strong odors, but you will also increase bacteria on your device if you do not wear your SomnoDent on clean teeth.

3. Keep it safe
Have you got into the habit of taking out your oral device and leaving them on your nightstand or next to the bathroom sink? This is one sure fire way for your device to breed bacteria. Always rinse off your device with water after they are removed from your mouth so that saliva doesn’t dry onto them. After you clean your device we recommend that you store them based on your device specifications. You can click here to read storage recommendations.

4. Avoid heat
To maintain fit and longevity of your SomnoDent oral device, avoid placing it in direct sunlight, leaving it in your vehicle, and/or hot or boiling water to clean your device.

The SomnoDent Avant device has a warranty of 3 years. However, depending on how well you look after the splint, it usually can last up to 5 years (the same life expectancy as a CPAP Machine).

The SomnoMed Avant is made from PMMA, BFlex ling and polyamide. All materials used have been biologically tested according to ISO-10993 and have passed, meaning there is very low chance of allergic reactions for a vast majority of patients.

It is recommended to store your SomnoDent Avant device in a dry container.

- Keep your device out of direct sunlight.
- Never use toothpaste on the device as it contains abrasives and may damage your SomnoDent.
- Never use hot or boiling water to clean your SomnoDent.
- Always brush your teeth thoroughly prior to inserting your device for the evening.
- Cleaning tablets containing active oxygen for dentures may permanently damage the plastic of your SomnoDent oral device. The use of any cleaning agents not recommended by SomnoMed will void the device’s warranty.

Travelling with SomnoDent
Travelling with your SomnoDent is as easy as packing your toothbrush. Be sure to place your device in carry-on luggage when flying to avoid extreme temperatures. During flights, it is suggested that you store your device dry in the container until you reach your final destination to avoid any security stops for liquids. When travelling in a vehicle, avoid leaving your device in a warm vehicle.

Although SomnoDent devices are effective in the vast majority of patients, there could be an occasion where the device is not working or is not meeting your therapeutic needs. In these occasions, please keep in close contact with your sleep dentist throughout the treatment process. If you feel that it is not working then the sleep dentist will need to evaluate the device and make any necessary adjustments.

If you made your appointment online, one of the friendly staff members at CPAP Direct would have asked you a series of pre-screening questions to see if you are a suitable candidate for a SomnoMed splint.

Some of the pre-screening questions you will be asked are:

1. Have you had a general dental check-up in the last 2 years?
2. Do you have any outstanding dental treatment to be done?
3. Do you have any loose teeth?
4. Do you have any major jaw joint (TMJ) pain?
5. Do you have more than 5 teeth in the top and bottom jaw?
6. Have you seen a sleep physician about your snoring / sleep apnoea?

Based on your answers, you will be allocated a 60 minute consultation to discuss your eligibility further with the dentist. Prior to your initial appointment, a treatment information and consent form will be emailed to you to read.

The dentist will review your sleep study, medical and dental history, and do a few simple tests to see if you are suitable candidate for a splint. (ie. check the range of motion of your jaw, check for any jaw issues). If you are suitable, they will then scan your teeth using a digital scanner. Two weeks later, your device will be fitted by the dentist and they will teach you how to insert and remove the device.

During the initial consultation, the dentist may decide to refer you for a full mouth x-ray (OPG) to check for any jaw issues. If you have previously had an OPG with your general dentist, please bring this along with you. Should you require a new OPG, you will be given a referral form for a free Medicare, bulk-billed OPG.

Please brush and floss your teeth prior to the appointment as any plaque on your teeth will affect the scan.

If you have previously had a full mouth x-ray (OPG) with your general dentist, please bring this along with you. Alternatively, if you know the name of the practice that you had the radiograph performed, the dentist will provide you with a form to complete on the day to allow them to have access to a copy of the radiograph.

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