Frequently Asked Questions about Sleep Disorders

What is a sleep disorder?

A sleep disorder is any disruption of sleep patterns serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning.

What are the signs of a sleep disorder?

Sleep disorders can result in tiredness. feelings of depression, anxiety, stress & irritability, aggressive behaviour and memory & concentration difficulties

What causes sleep disorders?

A number of factors can contribute to sleep disturbance including a lack of regular exercise, stress, shift-work and ageing. Some sleep disorders are caused by dental problems including snoring, or the pain resulting from a TMJ disorder or a misaligned jaw.

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

An accurate diagnosis of sleep disorders is important for treatment. Diagnosis can involve several medical professionals and assessments.

How do dental problems cause sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders can be the result of dental conditions including, misalignment of the jaw, snoring, sleep apnoea and bruxism.

Should I be concerned if I have sleep disorder symptoms?

Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and compromised function and performance. If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder, you should seek advice from your treating medical practitioner.

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

If sleep disruptions are significant enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor will determine if there is an underlying cause for your sleep disturbance and if further investigations are warranted.

How are sleep disorders related to dental concerns diagnosed?

Dental sleep medicine specialists, specialise in the diagnosis and management of sleep-related disorders caused by snoring, obstructive sleep apnoea and TMJ disorder. Diagnosis involves a comprehensive examination of the mouth, teeth, bite and jaw position. Additional investigations including x-ray, MRI and CT scanning may also be required.

What is sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is an obstruction of the airways caused by a collapse of the tongue and soft palate onto the back of the throat.

What are the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

Obstructive sleep apnoea can present as loud, chronic snoring, frequent pauses in breathing during sleep, gasping, snorting or choking during sleep, daytime exhaustion, experiencing shortness of breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat when you wake up.

What is snoring?

Snoring is the snorting or grunting sound made during sleep. These sounds occur when the respiratory structures are obstructed, causing the movement of air in the throat to vibrate.

Can snoring be treated?

Because there is often more than one cause for snoring, a multifaceted approach to treatment is recommended.

Should I be concerned about my snoring?

Snoring and sleep apnoea is serious. Untreated, it can interrupt sleep as many as one hundred times a night. Simple changes to your sleep routine, health habits and sleep position may reduce your snoring.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism refers to the involuntary, habitual action of grinding the teeth, or clenching the jaw.

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism or bruxing, can occur while awake or asleep. Whilst the cause of bruxism is not well understood, daily stress may be the trigger for most sufferers. Bruxism can also be caused by an abnormal bite.

What is sleep disorder breathing treatment or CPAP?

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP is a treatment used in the management of obstructive sleep apnoea and uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open.

Why is sleep disorder breathing treatment / CPAP necessary?

Sleep apnoea is an obstruction of the airways caused by a collapse of the tongue and soft palate onto the back of the throat during sleep. The air pressure provided by the CPAP machine holds the airway open – preventing this collapse.

Is sleep disorder breathing treatment / CPAP a cure for sleep apnoea?

CPAP cannot cure obstructive sleep apnoea – it only treats the symptoms. For this reason CPAP treatment must be used continuously during sleep, every night.