Prevalence of Probable Obstructive Sleep Apnoea risk and Severity in a Population of Dental Patients

dentistObstructive sleep apnoea is a major cause of morbidity, and a significant cause of mortality throughout the world, furthermore it is the most common medical cause of daytime sleepiness.

Its common symptoms are daytime sleepiness, impaired vigilance, cognitive performance, driving accidents, depression, disturbed sleep, and hypertension. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, unrefreshing nocturnal sleep, nocturnal choking, nocturia, and decreased libido.

While most people who have these symptoms often seek help from doctors, some often mistake these symptoms as related to dental problems, so they seek help from dentists instead. An article published at Sleep & Breathing noted that while dentists represent an important resource for identifying people at risk for primary snoring and sleep apnoea, less than 50% of dentists are capable of identifying the common signs and symptoms of sleep disordered breathing.

The article contains a summary of the study which assessed the prevalence of probable obstructive sleep apnoea/sleep disordered breathing and symptoms associated with this condition in a population of dental patients using a validated questionnaire and software that could be administered in a dental office.

This study is a retrospective analysis conducted at two dental practices using questionnaire responses obtained from 175 men and 156 women, and sleep study data obtained in the patient's homes from 75 men and 30 women with a portable recorder. The results? Around 46% of the men and 19% of the women studied reported snoring frequently or always. Of the 67% of the men and 28% of the women identified as having a high pre-test probability (high risk) of having at least mild sleep apnoea, over 33% of the men and 6% of the women surveyed were predicted to have moderate or severe sleep apnoea.

The subjects were subgrouped into 105 patients who were classified as high risk who completed an overnight sleep study. Among this lower population, 96% had an apnoea hypopnea index (AHI) greater than five events per hour. Seventy percent of those predicted to have moderate or severe OSA by questionnaire had an AHI greater than 20.

Thus this study shows that dentists could provide a valuable service to their patients by incorporating sleep apnoea screening and treatment into their practice. Dentists should be constantly educated about managing sleep apnoea among their patients. Also, dentists should be aware of risks when administering sedation dentistry, especially on patients at high risk for sleep apnoea.

Further information about this study is provided in this link:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18398630

Image courtesy of Artur84/ Freedigitalphotos.net

Somnowell Inventor - Visiting Professor Simon Ash FDS MSc MOrth BDS

Prof. Ash is the inventor of the highly successful SOMNOWELL Chrome device for snoring and sleep apnoea.

The Somnowell Chrome is made to exacting standards in the Somnowell laboratory under the supervision of Visiting Professor Simon Ash. Prof. Ash and his master technicians create each Somnowell Chrome device using their wealth of experience and expertise.

Prof. Ash works at the forefront of his profession. He is a Consultant and Specialist Orthodontist with over 30 years clinical experience, with a special interest in sleep related breathing disorders, TMJD, and bruxism. He currently works in Harley Street London and two private hospitals in London as part of a multi-disciplinary team managing snoring and sleep apnoea, and is Visiting Professor of Orthodontics at the BPP University.