Sleep apnoea treatment

Many people snore. In addition to the noise pollution for others – snoring can reach a volume of up to 90 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to a jackhammer – irregular and loud snoring in particular can also indicate a breathing disorder that is harmful to health: sleep apnoea syndrome.

About two to three per cent of the adult population suffer from it. Sleep apnoea means “cessation of breathing during sleep”. In the case of sleep apnoea, the airways of the affected person in the throat area are anatomically so narrowed that breathing is not only significantly more difficult, but even stops completely for seconds at a time. Characteristic are snoring sounds, in which pauses in breathing alternate with heavy gasps for air. The reason for this lack of breathing during sleep is constriction of the airways in the throat area, which can be caused organically, but also by medication, exposure to alcohol or being overweight (obesity).

Sleep apnoea leads to chronic oxygen deficiency in many organs, which is also responsible for heart attacks, for example. Those affected no longer sleep restfully and are constantly exhausted during the day. The resulting microsleeps can have fatal consequences, for example in road traffic.

The most common treatment is oxygen overpressure therapy with the so-called CPAP mask ( CPAP = “continuous positive airway pressure”). However, many sufferers do not get on well with the device, as it causes quite a number of restrictions to their sleeping comfort.

Protrusion splints against sleep apnoea: cost-saving alternative for more sleeping comfort

Oral and maxillofacial surgery has alternative ways to help, and that is via a jaw splint that displaces the lower jaw slightly forward. However, there must be no central causes of apnoea (due to cardiovascular disease) or temporomandibular joint problems, and the affected person must also still have at least ten teeth for the “anti-snoring splint” to stay in place.

In order for us to be able to make a protrusion splint for you, a precise diagnosis must first be made by a sleep physician, for example in a sleep laboratory. We will be happy to provide you with addresses in your area. After your splint has been created for you, another sleep lab visit will document exactly how far your lower jaw needs to be shifted by the splint so that you can sleep again without pauses in your breathing. Splint therapy is less expensive than the mask ventilator option. Losing weight is also usually recommended.

Another alternative: surgical mandibular advancement

If the mandibular advancement with splint and simultaneous weight reduction proves effective, but apnoea phases reoccur after successful weight loss without the splint, then a surgical mandibular advancement as in this example can be useful:

Here, one patient had significant breathing difficulties during sleep and daytime fatigue. The splint therapy was successful, but required permanent wearing of the splint, which put painful strain on the temporomandibular joints and thus continued to limit sleeping comfort. The patient therefore decided to have a surgical advancement of the upper and lower jaw, which, as can be seen in the three-dimensional volume measurement of the airway, resulted in a significant improvement of the air space in the nasopharynx.

For further information and personalised advice, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment. Appointments can be arranged by calling +49 (0)69 8405-1380 069 8405-1380

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