Stop Snoring Week: What is snoring & OSA?

Stop Snoring Week: What is snoring & OSA?

As a highly common ailment, affecting nearly half of the population, snoring can heavily impact a person's life. Not only can it lead to a number of side effects for both sufferer and bed partner, it can also be a symptom of something more sinister - obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) - a potentially life-threatening condition.

Thankfully, once correctly diagnosed, there are several treatment options available to patients. Before discussing these, it is first important to understand what snoring and OSA are - and their causes. 


Definitions
 

Snoring: simple snoring is the noise resulting from a partial closure of the airway during sleep. As we fall asleep, our muscles relax. For snorers, this causes the lower jaw to drop back and partially obstruct the airway.

The reduced airflow then leads to the soft tissues in the throat vibrating, causing the snoring sound. Left untreated, snoring can result in: diminished energy, reduced libido, lack of concentration, and increased risk of stress.
 

OSA: Less often, snoring can take place as part of a more serious condition - OSA. This is the medical term for the repeated collapsing of the airway during sleep, resulting in complete (apnoea) obstruction of airflow for 10 seconds or more. Simply put, a person suffering from OSA will stop breathing for periods of time during sleep.

Sufferers can be categorised as mild, moderate and severe, depending on the incidence of apnoeic episodes per night. Consequences if left untreated include: increased blood pressure, heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, and extreme daytime sleepiness. Crucially, those suffering from OSA are often unaware that they stop breathing for periods of time.


Treatment
 

It is not uncommon for those suffering from snoring to consult their GP for advice. This typically leads to suggested lifestyle changes, including: weight loss, different sleeping positions, staying well hydrated and avoiding alcohol. Whilst these are important and will likely have a positive impact on snoring, they are unlikely to completely eradicate the problem - especially in the case of OSA. 

Many people are unaware that dentists play a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of snoring & OSA and can provide a number of  dental appliances to combat the problem, known as a mandibular advancement splint (MAS). Such appliances are designed to prevent the lower jaw from dropping back during relaxation (sleep), in turn keeping the airway open and oxygen saturation high.

The use of MAS has been clinically proven to have a significant impact on snoring, with many dentists throughout the UK being trained to provide these appliances to reduce snoring. As part of the screening process, your dentist will ask you to complete a short questionnaire that assesses the quality of your sleep, as well as your level of tiredness in certain scenarios.  There is also a section for your bed partner, if you have one, to complete. The results will be used to rule out OSA by determining your risk level. If you are suspected of suffering from OSA, your dentist should refer you on to your GP for further investigation - a non-invasive sleep study, which will accurately measure your sleeping patterns and oxygen saturation levels.
 

Where can I find dentists offering treatment?

To take the effort out of searching for a dentist offering MAS treatment, you can use our handy Find a Provider search tool - located here. Ensure that the Sleepwell box is selected (removing other selections), enter your postcode, and discover available clinics nearby. You can then book an initial consultation with a trained dentist. If your dentist pushed you to read this article - speak with them, they will likely have an interest themselves, or, if not, an understanding of who locally can provide such treatment for you.

Ultra-strength clear retainers

Ultra-strength clear retainers

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We walked, we conquered...we're at it again!

We walked, we conquered...we're at it again!

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Want to stop snoring? See your dentist

Want to stop snoring? See your dentist

Want to stop snoring? As a condition that affects over 40% of the population, it is no surprise that the majority of us have been impacted by snoring in some way, shape or form. Left untreated, snoring can lead to a number of side effects....

Made in Sheffield - S4S Dental Laboratory

Made in Sheffield - S4S Dental Laboratory

With our entire workforce based in Sheffield and a long history of providing quality products, we knew there wouldn't a be an issue being awarded Made in Sheffield status. That doesn't mean, however, that we aren't proud of receiving it!

Sleepwell - new look, same great product

Sleepwell - new look, same great product

At S4S, we are constantly looking for new and effective ways to help our providers advertise treatment in their practice. As such, we are excited to reveal our new Sleepwell video & logo!

Patient education video

Designed for use in your waiting room and on your practice website, this video introduces the Sleepwell treatment and, more importantly, indicates that dentists can help them to seek treatment.

You can download the video via Dropbox below, or view sharing options via YouTube here.

 

New logo

Developed as part of a new collection, this Sleepwell logo ties in with our current colour scheme of blues and greens -  now replicated across all logos - and also presents a cleaner font.

Download this logo for use on your own practice website.



Support materials

In addition to our new Sleepwell video & logo, we have also revamped our existing marketing materials. This includes new patient education leaflets, posters, and pre-screening questionnaires. Request our new materials here.

 

Not yet a Sleepwell provider?

The most clinically proven MAS for the treatment of snoring & mild to moderate sleep apnoea, request a free info pack for your practice below.

 
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Team of the Year 2017: Highly Commended!

Team of the Year 2017: Highly Commended!

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Meet Our Ortho Team

Meet Our Ortho Team

We introduce the key members of our team who are responsible for producing our first-class range of orthodontic appliances...

      Bruxism Awareness Week   By Matt Everatt, Technical Director at S4S Dental Laboratory, and co-founder of Bruxism Awareness Week.    A condition more commonly known as tooth clenching and/or grinding, bruxism affects many people who have very little awareness of the condition itself, let alone the - often simple – solutions available. Matt Everatt, co-founder of Bruxism Awareness Week, discusses why the event was created and how you can request your free information pack to help educate your patients.   As a dental professional with over 20 years’ experience, and a sufferer myself, I have come across hundreds of patients who suffer from bruxism. Alarmingly, the majority of these patients suffer in silence, without knowing who to go to to seek help and unaware that there are simple solutions.  A patient, Elizabeth from Accrington, demonstrates the general lack of information available: “For years I woke with pain in my jaw and a dull headache that gradually faded. I was unaware that my symptoms were caused by grinding my teeth…”  Realising just how little awareness there was amongst both the public and dental professionals, something had to be done. Bruxism Awareness Week was launched in 2010, with the explicit aim to enlighten sufferers as to the nature of their condition, and encourage them to contact their local dentist for simple, swift and straightforward treatment.  Bruxism - the clenching and/or grinding of teeth (mainly nocturnally) - is thought to affect over 80% of the population, to some degree. Many people go undiagnosed because a) they don’t realise they are actually doing it, and b) symptoms such as headaches, neck aches, jaw pain and poor sleep quality, which this activity leads to, are not usually associated with the condition so are often not mentioned by sufferers to their dentist.  As well as a lack of public awareness, there is also a lack of awareness within the dental profession. In many cases, a simple dental splint like the SCi (Sleep Clenching Inhibitor) - worn whilst sleeping - can reduce the intensity of bruxism and therefore relieve the associated symptoms. The feedback from patients and dentists alike is compelling. “I don’t wake with any pain or tenderness in my head or neck. I am sleeping so much better”, says Mr Fitzpaterick from Surrey.  As with the previous campaigns, hundreds of dental practices nationwide will be receiving information and promotional packs to enable them to raise awareness in their practices. Hopefully, in the process, we will be able to help hundreds of undiagnosed bruxism sufferers to seek and receive treatment.   Bruxism Awareness Week runs from Saturday the 21st of October through to the 28th. S4S Dental Laboratory are offering bruxism information packs out to any practice that is keen to get involved.     Visit us  here  to request your FREE information and patient education pack.       Who we are:  S4S Dental Laboratory  S4S is a unique and award-winning UK dental laboratory, focusing on providing solutions to many medical and dental conditions through dental splint technology. Focusing on  snoring and sleep apnoea , bruxism, and  orthodontics , including  Smilelign  clear aligners, you can read more at   s4sdental.com  .  Contact: Sarah Bailey, Communications & Marketing, on 0114 250 0176 or sarahb@s4sdental.com, for more information.

Matt Everatt - co-founder of Bruxism Awareness Week - talks about why there is a need for such an event.

Bruxism – a guide for the patient

Bruxism – a guide for the patient

An issue that affects over 50% of the population, bruxism (the clenching and grinding of teeth) can lead to a number of side effects for the sufferer, which can be both painful and persistent.

Possible symptoms of bruxism include:

  • headaches & migraines on waking
  • stiff neck and jaw
  • earache
  • tinnitus
  • poor sleep quality
  • damage to teeth

With the exception of tooth wear, there is nothing about the above list of symptoms that implies clenching or grinding of teeth could be the cause. Sadly, this is often the reason that bruxism remains one of the most overlooked and undiagnosed conditions in the UK, meaning that sufferers continue to experience discomfort.

A general lack of awareness of the condition means that it is common for those exhibiting the symptoms to consult their GP for advice, which typically leads to ineffective treatments that do not stop the pain from occurring. Thankfully, once correctly diagnosed, there are various treatment options available.

 

The cause of bruxism

Why bruxism occurs is not always clear, though there are a number of contributing factors that could suggest why you may be clenching or grinding your teeth:

  • Stress - it has been found that nearly 70% of bruxism occurs as a result of stress and anxiety. These conditions, whether job or lifestyle related, can often lead to disrupted sleep patterns and restlessness. 
  • Lifestyle - substances such as tobacco, caffeine and alcohol have all been linked as co-factors of bruxism.  As they are known to affect sleep, bruxism is significantly higher for individuals who use these psychoactive substances. 
  • Sleep disorders - snorers, obstructive sleep apnoea, or sleep paralysis sufferers are all more likely to suffer from bruxism. Of these, OSA seems to be the larger cause, as the snorting and gasping result in mouth movements and impact on the teeth.

 

Treatment options

Once identified as a bruxer, your dentist will likely suggest an occlusal splint for treatment. The most common form of treatment for bruxism, an occlusal splint is a device that slots on either your upper or lower teeth and prevents the two arches from contacting each other. This in turn inhibits the ability to clench, preventing grinding from occuring and the symptoms from persisting.

There are a number of occlusal splints available, one of which is the SCi (Sleep Clench Inhibitor). FDA-approved for the treatment TMJ & medically-diagnosed migraines, the SCi is available from a number of dentists throughout the UK. Alternative methods of treatment also include 'sleep-hygiene', cognitive behavioural therapy, muscle-relaxation, and even botox.

 

I think I'm a bruxer - where should I go?

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above and suspect that bruxism may be the cause – book a consultation with your dentist. They should be able to determine, from the shape of your teeth alone, whether you are a habitual bruxer. They may also feel around your jaw area and lower neck for tenderness.

As it is a private treatment option, it may be that your current dentist does not supply this treatment. If this is the case, there is an easy way to locate a dentist who does. Our Find a Provider search function allows you simply enter your postcode to discover SCi providers in your area. To find your nearest SCi provider and to book a consultation, click here.

 

Quality, innovation & customer service - come and see for yourself!

Quality, innovation & customer service - come and see for yourself!

At S4S, we are proud of our orthodontic team and the appliances they produce. We want to invite you to see just how good we are!

Members of the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) and DAMAS accredited, we offer a full range of orthodontic appliances and a wealth of experience. With a focus on first-class customer service, the dentist and the patient are at the heart of all we do.

Made in-house by our qualified, GDC registered technicians, we offer functional, fixed and removable devices that are made entirely to our dentist’s specification.

  • ‘Local service’ - offered to orthodontists and general dentists throughout the UK, no matter where you are based. We offer a freepost service with all impressions & appliances and are happy to pop in to your practice to discuss our products, anytime.
  • Quality assurance process – every appliance is checked by our GDC registered technicians to ensure the highest quality before it leaves the lab. To show our passion for customer service, every job also includes a technician QA card and we actively encourage feedback.
  • Experienced team – together, with over 30 years of experience, our ortho team offer bespoke designs that are tailored to you. They are readily available on the phone for any advice or design queries you may have to ensure that the end-product is made to your prescription.
  • Fast turnaround – our 48-hour retainer service means that we can help you treat your patients quicker. Our standard turnaround time for all appliances is 10 working days.
  • Digital Dentistry -  an innovative lab, we are able to accept digital cases via email, as well as offer a scan & store option – an accurate, convenient and risk-free way to store, view & archive impressions.
  • Smilelign clear aligners – showcasing our drive for digital dentistry, we are the exclusive providers of Smilelign clear aligners. Made entirely in our laboratory using the latest 3D CADCAM technology and software, we are able to help orthodontists and dentists provide alternative and cost-effective treatments for their patients.

To discover more about our full orthodontic range, request an info pack for your practice (including some great offers!), or even a visit from one of our client services team, click here

We're also going to be at the British Orthodontic Conference in Manchester from September the 14th - come and see us at stand 37!

Sleep breathing disorder testing carried out by NHS doubled in 10 years

Sleep breathing disorder testing carried out by NHS doubled in 10 years

The BBC reported that the number of tests carried out by the NHS to diagnose people with sleep disorders across England has doubled in the past decade.

NHS data shows that 147,610 sleep diagnostic tests were carried out last year - compared to 69,919 in 2007-08. Sleep tests are more commonly undertaken to diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) - the most common sleep disorder, according to the NHS. OSA occurs when the muscles and soft tissue in the throat relax, causing a blockage of the airways. The lack of oxygen to the brain causes those with the condition to wake up or have regular interruptions to their sleep. Common symptoms include loud snoring or gasping and grunting whilst asleep.

Matt Everatt – Technical Director at S4S (UK) Limited, a Sheffield based company who provide dental appliances to treat snoring and Sleep Apnoea, said: “In 2005, we set up the company to help patients in the UK get help for Snoring and Sleep Apnoea. Having worked in the NHS for around 10 years treating these patients, it was obvious that there were millions unable to get help, either because there were no sleep services in their local hospitals, or they simply didn’t know how.”

He went on to say, “It comes as no surprise to me that the figures for sleep testing have doubled in the last 10 years. In fact, I suspect that our work at S4S and the network of 2000 dentists that we have trained to screen for OSA has contributed to the number of referrals to the NHS. Sleep Medicine in the UK is often referred to as a ‘3rd World service’ when compared to the US, Australia and, indeed, Europe. We have worked hard over the past 12 years to get more patients screened for signs and symptoms of OSA. We even set up links with Philips Respironics several years ago to try and offer a cost-effective ‘Private Sleep Study’ in hope to get more patients tested - patients unable to get tested in the NHS due to access or waiting lists. It’s staggering that only 22% of OSA patients get treatment here in the UK. Access to treatment needn’t be an obstacle anymore. Up until recently, Sleep Physicians would usually only offer cPAP to OSA sufferers. Dental appliances, known as Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) are now used more regularly in NHS units, not only to treat simple snorers, but patients with severe OSA too. The devices, like the Sleepwell MAS, are not only clinically effective, patient compliance has now been proven to be higher than with cPAP in several studies.”

A local Sheffield MP, Meg Munn has spent many years of her career lobbying for Westminster to take a serious look at treating more OSA sufferers. In September 2016, she met Lucinda Roberts and Tamara Sandoul from the British Lung Foundation who presented a new report on the health economics of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). The report showed that treating OSA can generate direct health benefits to patients, and reduce costs incurred by the NHS, in comparison with not treating the condition.

Currently, only 22% of OSA patients are treated in the UK - but increasing diagnosis and treatment rates to just 45% could yield an annual saving of £28 million. This includes savings from reductions in road traffic accidents, heart attacks & strokes, as well as the positive impact on patients’ quality of life and improved survival rates. It is estimated that, if everyone with moderate to severe OSA was treated, approximately 40,000 road traffic accidents could be prevented - accidents that not only affect sufferers, but cause injury and death to others.

At Westminster Hall, Munn debated with the Health Minister on OSA and stated that as many as 40,000 lorry drivers may suffer from sleep apnoea, with one third of road accidents being caused by a working driver. In 2012, the number of people killed in road accidents was 1,754, with approximately 600 deaths involving people who drive for work.

Josie Beatson, from Sheffield, reported to the BBC that before receiving treatment for her sleep apnoea, the condition had a terrible impact on her life. She said: "It's embarrassing to be at work and have your colleagues wake you up because they can hear you snoring. The condition turned me into a recluse. I was so exhausted all the time that I didn't want to socialise, and, because of my loud snoring, I was too embarrassed to go and sleep at anyone else's house."

 

THE FACTS ABOUT OSA & SLEEP TESTING

  • Sleep tests are designed to identify sleep apnoea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing during sleep.
  • Only 22% of OSA sufferers are treated in the UK.
  • Sleep apnoea is a serious condition which can lead to other problems, such as: high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
  • An estimated 40,000 lorry drivers may suffer with OSA.
  • Approximately 600 people who drive professionally die in road traffic accidents.
  • Dental appliances such as a Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) are appropriate for people who snore or have mild OSA with normal daytime alertness. They can also be used as an alternative for people unable to tolerate CPAP [SIGN, 2003Lim et al, 2006].
  • Sleep quality and nocturnal respiratory function are both improved following the use of a MAS in people with OSA. They are effective, non–invasive, and easy to manufacture [Lee et al, 2009].

Further Study

The role of the dentist is crucial in the diagnosis and treatment of those suffering with snoring or OSA. S4S pride themselves on offering a comprehensive service that allows GDPs to get the training required to treat their patients. 

Presented by Professor Ama Johal, one of the leading clinicians in sleep related breathing disorders, Snoring: A Role for the GDP stresses the part the dentist has to play and covers: sleep related breathing disorders, clinical reviews of MAS devices, skills required to prescribe MAS devices, and more. Find more information at here.

Carrie Fisher: Sleep Apnoea

Carrie Fisher: Sleep Apnoea

It has been reported that Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnoea and "other factors", according to the Los Angeles County coroner. We discuss the condition, and the treatments available.

#LifeHacks – Something to Smile About

#LifeHacks – Something to Smile About

For National Smile Month, we are aiming to raise awareness of three all-too-common problems, providing medically-proven solutions – to help you give your patients something to smile about!