Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) disrupts the sleep of an estimated 45 percent of adults, who snore occasionally. Regular, chronic snorers comprise 25 percent of adults, who disrupt their bed partner’s sleep. Chronic snorers often suffer from interrupted sleep, especially when sleep apnea jolts the sleeper awake gasping for breath.
Snoring treatment is part of our range of family dentistry services. We treat snoring and sleep apnea by fitting clear correct aligners that the patient wears during sleep. The aligners support the lower jaw in a gentle forward position. This reduces snoring and alleviates moderate-to-mild snoring.
Aligners are a proven alternative to a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device that forces air into the sleeper’s throat through a mask. CPAP machines do the job by preventing breathing interruptions, but come with inconveniences and drawbacks that have caused users to stop using them.
Causes of snoring
That rasping, harsh sound of snoring occurs when air passes through the relaxed tissues in the throat. Those tissues vibrate as the sleeper breathes. Snoring has serious health factors including heart attack, stroke, and other health problems associated with high blood pressure.
Snorers often feel tired throughout the day, have difficulty concentrating, and experience decreased blood oxygen levels. Then there’s a scary warning from the American Journal of Epidemiology: If you’re a regular snorer, you are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than a non-snorer.
You are more likely to snore if you:
- Are male – Snoring is more common in men.
- Are pregnant – Hormonal changes and weight gain cause snoring in women.
- Are overweight or obese.
- Have a family history of snoring—If you have a parent who snores, you are more likely to be a snorer.
- Drink alcohol or take sedative drugs—Alcohol, for example, relaxes the tissues, presenting a more favorable environment for snoring.
- Suffer from allergies, or have a cold—It’s all about congestion.
- Have a large tongue, adenoids or tonsils, or a deviated septum in the nose—Thicker, more dense tissue in the back of the throat is another cause of snoring.
What you can do for treatment to reduce or prevent snoring
If your snoring is either mild or moderate, there are measures you can take to get it under control:
1. Change your lifestyle: Lose weight. Don’t drink alcohol before sleeping. Change your sleep position. Side sleeping relieves the compression on your airways caused by sleeping on your back.
2. Take over-the-counter medication to clear up nasal congestion. Clear air passages prevent snoring and sleep apnea.
3. Wear nasal strips that adhere to the outside of the nose to keep nasal passages open.
4. Wear a clear aligner device fitted by your dentist.
The relationship between sleep apnea and snoring
Sleep apnea is commonly associated with snoring. If snoring is accompanied by any one of the following, it is time to get medical attention and be evaluated for sleep apnea.
- Breathing pauses during sleep.
- Snoring is loud enough to disrupt your partner’s sleep.
- Sleep is restless and interrupted.
- Excessive sleepiness during the daytime.
- Morning headaches or a sore throat when you wake up.
- Gasp, choke, or suffer from chest pain during the night.
- Elevated blood pressure.
There are surgical oral treatments that are minimally invasive and shrink or remove excess tissue connected with anatomical causes of snoring. They include:
- Removing the tonsils or adenoids
- Using laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty to reduce tissue in the soft palate.
- Straightening the deviated septum through septoplasty
- Using radio frequency waves to shrink excess tissue in the soft palate or tongue through septoplasty
If you or someone you love is suffering from sleep disturbance, Dr. Herbert has the sleep apnea treatment that can restore restful and silent sleep. Your mouth shape is unique, and we can craft a custom-fitted mouth device that will adjust your tongue and jaw position and open your airway for better breathing and snoring reduction.
Contact us to learn more. We’d love to hear from you and our friendly staff are standing by to answer any of your questions.