Sleep Apnoea: What Is It & Should You Get Help?

Melbourne dentist treating sleep apnoea

You've likely come here because you're tired of being tired. Those of us who don't get quality sleep can find it frustrating to get the right answers about what is wrong and how to get help.

Many of us often we make excuses for poor sleep: "oh it's just stress" or "I'm too busy to think about sleep," and even "it's my kids!" All of these can be a factor in stopping you from sleeping blissfully every night, but there is something you can do about it. You need to work out if it really is important for you to lead a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life.

Why is it important to treat sleep apnoea or poor sleeping habits?

In short, poor sleep in the long run can lead to poor health. When you sleep it allows your body to rejuvenate, and if that’s not happening properly it more likely that you will feel tired all the time. Tiredness is just one symptom of a lack of quality sleep, here are some others that you may also identify with:
  • You can't stop your weight gain or it's harder to lose weight
  • You get sick easily or it takes longer to recover from colds and flu
  • Your blood pressure is going up and your GP wants to put you on blood pressure medication
  • You have had a stroke or a heart attacks or have been told that you at risk of having one
Our patients are shocked when they find out that sleep apnoea can do the same damage to your health as smoking. The good news is that treating your sleep apnoea can add up to 10 years to your life!
So ask yourself, what is 10 extra years worth to you? What would it mean to your children and family to have you around for 10 years longer?
Dr Ayesha Tiwary, Principal Dentist at Heidelberg Dentist
Call our friendly team on (03) 9459 6300 to book an appointment or find out more, or you can easily book your appointment online:


These symptoms may indicate that you have sleep apnoea

Asking the right question is the first step to success. We just need to find out why you (or your children) are not sleeping properly. We find these to be the most common signs to look for in adults:
  • Snoring, even if it is only softly
  • Waking up tired (even after a full nights sleep)
  • Consistently finding it difficult to fall asleep after 15-20 minutes in bed
  • Waking up with a headache or neck pain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Getting tired during the day despite sleeping the whole night
  • Breathing through your mouth during the day or when you sleep
  • Gasping for air when sleeping or choking (ask your spouse or partner if you do this at night)
  • Getting tired and / or sleeping as passenger in the car
  • Falling sleep while watching TV
  • Needing to wake up at night to use the bathroom
If you can identify with more than one of these symptoms, it is best for your overall health to talk to us about how you are sleeping at night. Call our friendly team on (03) 9459 6300 to book an appointment or find out more.

How can a dentist help treat my sleep apnoea?

Our patients think we're psychic when we ask if they have been having poor sleep between appointments! It's easy to forget that dentists are doctors who are trained experts with your mouth and parts of your body that connect to your mouth. It is in these areas where many problems that cause sleep apnoea begin.

Often we can see the signs of poor sleep on your teeth (signs of grinding, fracture marks, teeth constantly breaking, signs of large tonsils, narrow airways, tongue shape).

Some dental treatments can fail because of habits during your sleep, especially if you are clenching or grinding your teeth. The right combinations of symptoms that help us to better target our treatments to make a real difference to your life, beyond shiny white teeth.

These are just some of the reasons why our dentists can help diagnose and treat your sleep apnoea, whereas your GP may have missed it. This doesn't mean you have a bad GP, we're just good at different things.

I think I need to do something about this. So how can I fix my sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a condition for which there is no silver bullet. The good news is that there are a number of ways we can help you tackle your sleep issues and get you feeling brand spanking new again!

The first step is for you to take a sleep study. Sleep studies can be conducted in a hospital, which requires an overnight stay and potential out of pocket expenses if you don't have health insurance, or at home.

In-home sleep studies are easy to do. We have the machines to help you conduct an at-home sleep study and this method allows us to get your results quickly! It also allows us to assess you sleeping in your natural environment, rather than on an uncomfortable hospital gurney that you are not used to.

At this point we will have most of the information we need to determine the type of sleep problem you have and how to tackle it most effectively. Want to figure out if you have sleep apnoea or understand your treatment options? Call our friendly team on (03) 9459 6300 to book an appointment or find out more, or you can easily book your appointment online:

What are my treatment options for sleep apnoea?

Your treatment options could include one, or a combination of these sleep apnoea treatments:
  • Lifestyle changes: your routine before going to bed could be standing between you and quality sleep. Leading a busy lifestyle can often stop you from improving your quality of sleep unless you make a conscious effort. Download some easy-to-implement lifestyle changes to improve your sleep.
  • Sleep Appliances: whether you need them can only be determined when the cause of poor sleep is known, and been assessed. Oral appliances are not for everyone and there are a lot of different appliances that can be made. The use of these appliances is also best with lifestyle changes.
  • CPAP Machine: This will be recommended depending on your sleep study results. Often this has the most resistance as no one wants to “wear a machine to sleep”. Depending on your results this may be the best place to start, and along with lifestyle changes it may help you ultimately get off the machine.
  • Surgery: In some of our patients, the cause of the snoring or sleep apnoea is the result of a physical constriction of their nasal or oral airways. If this is the case for you too, you may need surgery to correct this. We work with great specialists in the area to help with this and will be glad to give you a referral if we think you need one.
Before you go rushing to buy a CPAP machine or an ill-fitting, off-the-shelf sleep appliance, talk to us to see which options would work best for you. It never hurts to have a chat, right?

Ok, I'm actually exhausted all day! So...what do I do now?

At Heidelberg Dentist we aim to improve your sleep not only for your oral heath but your general health. We always follow up with you to see what is working and what isn’t, until you see a difference!

If you have any of the symptoms above, then find out if something is actually wrong by seeing our approachable dentists. Call our friendly team on (03) 9459 6300 to book an appointment or find out more, or you can easily book your appointment online: