Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnoea


Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Snoring and sleep apnoea is a condition that may be experienced across all age groups. From young children to the older generation, snoring is not only interruptive to people nearby but it can also be a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) – reduced oxygen intake during sleep. With a reduction in oxygen, OSA can subsequently result in serious and life threatening outcomes.
Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

What causes snoring

There are many reasons people may snore:

Mouth anatomy

Factors such as the soft palate position and size and laxity of the tongue can impact the airway patency and result in snoring. In younger children the shape of the mouth and jaws may also impact how much air can enter.

Sleep position

Snoring is more commonly associated with a back sleep position due to the tongue pushing towards the airway.

Airway obstructions

Enlarged tonsils or adenoids is a common cause of snoring especially in children.

Nasal issues

Sinusitis, deviated septum, or enlarged turbinates are possible nasal conditions contributing to mouth breathing and snoring.


Being overweight may weaken the muscles around the airway and the tongue is more at risk of being enlarged, subsequently constricting the airway.

Signs of Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a period where there is a reduction or cessation in the oxygen intake. Common signs include gasping for air or a pause in breathing during the night.
People who experience sleep apnoea often have poorer quality sleep and may experience some of the following:

Assessing for Sleep Apnoea

If you are at risk of sleep apnoea, we can assess for any possible risk factors and dental signs. If necessary, we can refer you to see a sleep physician who may perform a sleep study. This will analyze the type of sleep you are having and record whether any apnoeas are occurring. A referral to an ENT may also be required in children or adults to assess for the likelihood of airway obstruction, and a joint approach to management may be necessary.

Treatment Options

Depending on the presenting signs and symptoms, management may be joint between different health professionals, including:

Mandibular advancement splint

A dental device which positions the bottom jaw forward during sleep to open up the airway.


A medical device prescribed by the sleep physician that is worn overnight to provide additional oxygen while sleeping.

ENT surgery

If significant airway obstructions are present including a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, adenoids or tonsils, an ENT surgeon may suggest removal of these.

Lifestyle changes

Altered sleep positioning, weight loss and a reduction in alcohol consumption may be factors that contribute to a reduction in OSA.

Book your dental health check

Get in touch to make an appointment with one of our friendly dentists. We can perform a thorough check-up and help answer any questions you may have about your oral health.