Snoring is a problem that is exacerbated by increasing age, bodyweight, smoking and alcohol consumption. About 60% of men and 40% of women aged over 60 snore, which often leads to serious relationship problems. This annoying problem can be reduced with an anti-snoring device, also called protrusion splint (Somnodent®), which can be adjusted by the dentist to suit individual requirements.
People who snore are often affected by a sleep-related respiratory problem which, unlike snoring, can pose a serious risk to health. The most significant type of sleep-related respiratory disorder is obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS), in which closure of the upper airways occurs at the level of the throat during sleep. Those affected by OSAS often wake at night gasping for air. They do not enjoy deep, restful sleep and suffer from tiredness during the day. It has been estimated that around one-third of serious traffic accidents are caused by sleep apnoea sufferers experiencing daytime tiredness. In addition, OSAS can have a serious impact on the cardiovascular system.
As a basic principle, it is advisable for patients suspected of suffering from OSAS to undergo an examination in a sleep laboratory. In consultation with the laboratory, this appliance can be prescribed for use in minor to moderate cases of OSAS. It is a more comfortable option than the respiratory appliances normally in use.
We have familiarized ourselves with this field and undergone corresponding training. With a simple pulse oximeter, the pulse rate and oxygen saturation of the blood are monitored overnight. Analysis of the readings indicates whether the patient is suffering from a simple case of snoring or whether the presence of OSAS is indicated. In suspected cases of OSAS, the patient is referred to a sleep specialist.
The Somnodent® splint offers an ideal solution. The appliance can be worn without problems over a period of years and adjusted to suit individual requirements.