Snoring has more to do with dentistry than you might think. In fact, a dentist could be the ideal professional to finally find out how to stop snoring. At Matthews Family Dentistry, we offer treatment for this condition to help you and your loved ones to get a good night’s sleep at last.
Snoring can stop your partner from sleeping or interrupt your own sleep. Several issues can cause snoring. These include mouth anatomy, nasal congestion, sleeping on your back, or drinking alcohol. Among these causes, the most serious contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a chronic problem in which you stop breathing temporarily during the night due to the muscles in the throat causing a blockage of your airways. Once your brain detects that you have stopped breathing, it wakes you up to trigger your breathing again. You may not even notice that you awaken during the night.
When your sleep cycles suffer, you could end up with one of the most common complications of obstructive sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness. This issue is more than the drowsiness you may feel after a big lunch. It’s a dangerous condition that could compromise your ability to drive a vehicle or operate machinery at work safely. Treatment for sleep apnea and snoring can prevent these problems.
At some point, almost everyone experiences snoring, but some people are more likely to snore and have sleep apnea than others. Risk factors include the following:
Even if you don’t have any of the above risk factors, you should still talk to your doctor or dentist if you snore. You may still have sleep apnea or another treatable problem.
Identifying chronic snoring is the key to getting treatment for sleep apnea. Snoring produces other symptoms aside from keeping your partner awake. It can also produce some of the following symptoms that you may notice during the day, even if you don’t have anyone to tell you that you snore at night:
If you are at risk for sleep apnea or your partner complains of snoring, you should talk to your doctor or dentist to refer you to a sleep physician for a sleep study.
A sleep study is the only way to tell whether snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. During the study, you spend the night at a clinic where your breathing, heart rate, brain waves, oxygen levels, movement, and more are monitored. The results of this study will determine if you have sleep apnea, which will allow you to pursue methods to stop snoring.
There are several ways to possibly stop snoring. However, because snoring has multiple causes, not every method will work for every patient. Some possible ways to stop snoring include home remedies such as not sleeping on your back, not drinking alcohol, and losing weight.
Another medical option may require you to wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to bed every night. This device keeps air pushing into your airway to prevent the blockage that stops you from breathing. However, some patients may not be able to sleep well while wearing the mask. Sadly, some even stop using this treatment option due to the discomfort.
Surgery to change the structures of the upper airways is another – more drastic – medical option. Depending on your oral anatomy, the surgeon may tighten the muscles in your throat to prevent obstruction, use radiofrequency to shrink tissues in the airway, or move the jaws forward to open the throat.
While lifestyle changes don’t cost anything and medical interventions can help in severe cases, there is a middle ground where you can get treatment for moderate levels of sleep apnea without wearing a CPAP or getting surgery. A dentist can fit you with this alternative, an oral appliance.
While the options may seem confusing, you will have help from your doctor and the results of the sleep study in finding the best option for you. The sleep study will determine how severe the sleep apnea is, which can help the doctor or dentist find the right treatment.
Oral Appliance Therapy for sleep apnea is a recommended first treatment for patients who have mild to moderate severities of the condition. The function of this appliance works similarly to jaw surgery without the invasive changes to your upper and lower jaws. Oral Appliance Therapy fits into the mouth to gently move the lower jaw forward. In pushing the jaw forward, the appliance creates a larger opening in the airway, reducing the chances of obstruction.
Many patients have success with Oral Appliance Therapy, especially when they cannot or do not want to use a CPAP. Plus, this treatment can help individuals who don’t have sleep apnea but still suffer from snoring problems.
To get Oral Appliance Therapy, you first need to consult with a dentist to get a sleep study referral. Then, you can find out if you qualify for this treatment alternative to CPAP or surgery. Sign up for our no-cost sleep apnea consultation to find out more about how to stop snoring.
If you have trouble snoring or are concerned about sleep apnea, contact us at Matthews Family Dentistry for a consultation. We may help you find a treatment to stop snoring and protect yourself from the potentially dangerous consequences of sleep apnea. Don’t forget about us for your general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry needs, too. We’re here to help preserve your dental health through our professional treatments and care.