Didn't sleep well last night? You're not alone. A study from Laval University says 40 per cent of Canadians have some form of sleep disorder. With as many as one in four women and one in three men having a snoring problem, it's estimated that more than 2 million Canadians have sleeping disorders ranging from insomnia to snoring.
While snoring isn't usually something to worry about, if you, or your loved one, regularly snore at night, it can disrupt the quality of your sleep?leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems. Not to mention the relationship problems. If you're looking for effective solutions to help you and your partner sleep better at night, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us so we can help you assess the problem. At the very least, please read on.
Snoring typically occurs when there is an obstruction in your airway during sleep such as the tongue or soft tissues in the mouth. When tissues in the top of the airway hit each other, the resulting vibration causes a loud noise.
According to The Canadian Dental Association, snoring may be an indication of the underlying medical condition of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition associated with serious health conditions that include high blood pressure, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, depression and type 2 diabetes. People of all ages and both genders are affected by this disorder in which an individual stops breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can only be diagnosed by a proper sleep study at a qualified lab. No matter how bad the snoring may seem it may not necessarily be an indication of Sleep Apnea. The sleep study involves an over-night stay at the lab where you will be hooked up to many electrodes that monitor muscle movements and oxygen levels. You'll need to be asleep for at least 4 hours for the test to be accurate.
The U Shine Dental team work with the Team Maple Walk-in Clinic (Dr. Razzaq in our building) to expedite referrals for Sleep Studies where beneficial.
For mild cases, your snoring and Sleep Apnea can be treated with a dental appliance which holds your jaw forward creating tension on the tissue at the back of your throat. This holds your airway open and prevents snoring. The appliance has an upper and lower component attached by vertical struts which allow adjustment of the lower jaw.
For moderate and severe Sleep Apnea you may require treatment with a CPAP machine which holds your airway open with continuous air pressure. Air is drawn into a tube that you wear on your nose. This treatment will be directed and administered by the sleep lab and is the only 100% effective treatment for Sleep Apnea. In addition to the CPAP or possibly in place of the CPAP machine, one of the most common recommendations is weight loss.
Losing weight reduces the amount of tissue in the throat which can obstruct the airway and cause snoring. Once the sleep lab has controlled your Sleep Apnea you can try an oral appliance if the CPAP is cumbersome. However, you will need to have a follow-up sleep study to confirm that the Sleep Apnea can be controlled by the appliance.
The oral appliances are quite effective for reducing snoring. The appliance is designed to allow for changes in the lower jaw, and if snoring continues with the appliance further adjustments usually solve the problem.
As far a comfort goes, there is no getting around the fact that there is something in your mouth, and that takes some getting used to. Most patients take a few or so to become accustomed to the appliance. Motivation comes from other people in the house that will sleep more soundly without hearing any snoring. It also comes from feeling well rested the next day in the case of Sleep Apnea.
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