How can dentists help with snoring?
If you or your sleeping partner snore, chances are neither of you are getting a good night’s sleep. Even moderate snoring noise, 40 to 70 decibels, can be as loud as a vacuum cleaner running beside your bed.
Causes and effects
Snoring is caused by a partial obstruction of the airway. The blockage may be the result of one or a combination of these factors:
- Allergy or sinus infection
- Overrelaxed throat muscles
- Excess fleshy tissue in the throat
- Abnormal soft palate or uvula that narrows the throat and airway
Snorers and those nearby can lose hours of sleep each night. The cumulative effect of this loss of sleep has some serious health implications, including:
- Interrupted breathing
- High blood pressure
- Enlargement of the heart
- Higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Studies have also linked the loss of quality, deep restorative sleep to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Good news — an effective dental treatment
Dentistry offers good news for chronic snorers. The use of Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) has been highly effective in reducing or eliminating snoring in individuals.
OAT uses an oral appliance that is fit specifically for the patient, similar to an athletic mouth guard or retainer. Worn during sleep, it supports the jaw so that the airway remains open and unobstructed.
Fitting the appliance to your mouth
Your dentist custom fits the appliance by making impressions or a series of digital measurements to create a model of your mouth. The model then goes to a dental lab where the appliance is made. Finally, your dentist fits and adjusts the appliance for comfort and shows you how to use it to ensure it will function properly and eliminate snoring.
Advantages of oral appliance therapy
OATs have a number of advantages over other treatments. Small and portable, the appliances are easily incorporated into your lifestyle. They are also preferred by many snorers because they are:
- Quiet and unobtrusive with no other bedside apparatus required
- Easy to care for
- Easy to pack and use while travelling
Give the gift of a good night’s sleep to yourself and your sleeping partner. If snoring affects you or a loved one, a visit to your dentist may provide a lasting and effective solution.