We see patients every day who ask us if there is anything we can do to help with their spouse or partner’s snoring. The answer is yes, we can. Oral appliances are extremely effective for reducing or eliminating snoring. There is however, a condition called sleep apnea that needs to be addressed first. Sleep Apnea often occurs in combination with snoring and can be a serious health concern.
Snoring is produced by vibration of the loose tissue at the back of the throat. It’s very common in adults for both men and women. Generally snoring doesn’t pose a problem for the person who is doing the snoring, rather for other people who hear it.
Sleep Apnea is a condition that occurs in people who snore, and is defined by the presence of several episodes per hour where breathing doesn’t occur and oxygen levels drop. Sleep Apnea contributes to high blood pressure because the heart has to work harder, which can ultimately lead to heart disease. Patients with Sleep Apnea often complain of daytime fatigue and drowsiness, which can be dangerous in a number of common daily activities like driving for example.
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 the patient is 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.
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.
If snoring or Sleep Apnea are a potential problem in your family, call U Shine Dental today. Click here to request an appointment or call (905) 303-9355.

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