While you are sleeping, the most embarrassing thought is to be told that you snore. When you snore in your sleep, it can mean that there is something wrong if your normal breathing periods are being obstructed, such as with sleep apnea. Chances are you may not be as healthy as you think. The next time you are told you snore, don’t get embarrassed, seek treatment from your dentist in Grandville. Your dentist, who is trained in sleep apnea, can evaluate you for a special oral appliance for sleeping. Oral appliances have been effective for many people who snore, including those suffering from mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder that is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath.” Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happens as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disruptive breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting while not enough oxygen is entering the body.
By sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart the breathing process. People with sleep apnea will partially wake up as they struggle to breathe, and loud snoring or choking sensations often accompanies this. Because people with sleep apnea do not always wake up completely during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder, causing it to remain undiagnosed.
What Causes Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
When you are asleep, the muscles and soft tissues in your throat and mouth relax. The lower jaw and tongue drop back, blocking the airway opening. As the airway narrows, there is an increase in the velocity of air flowing through as you breathe, which causes the tissues in your mouth begin to vibrate, resulting in snoring. The sound you hear when someone snores is actually the sound of the tissues in your mouth and throat vibrating.
In severe cases, the collapse of the upper airway is so complete that the lungs may not receive oxygen for up to 30 seconds, which is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea. In response to the deprivation of oxygen, your body triggers an internal alarm, which partially wakes you up. This is usually accompanied by loud gasps for air that can last for 3 seconds or more until you fall asleep and the cycle begins again. Snoring can also be affected by diet, health, lifestyle, age, weight, environment and other factors.
Oral Appliance for Treatment
An oral appliance is a device that is inserted into your mouth when you are sleeping to help you stop snoring. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has recently identified oral appliances as an effective treatment for snoring and sleep apnea. An oral appliance is a device offered by your dentist that is fitted into your mouth to prevent snoring. It does so by preventing your jaw and tongue from dropping back into the throat while you are sleeping.
A durable device, provided by your dentist, oral appliances have multiple uses including snoring problems, bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ. The snore guard’s unique inner lining is softened by heat during the fitting process and is custom fitted to your individual needs. It fits snuggly over your top teeth while you sleep and is designed to prevent your tongue from dropping towards the back of your throat, which helps to keep your airway open, effectively relieving the main cause of snoring.
If you snore or someone you know snores, visit your dentist in Grandville today for further consultation. Oral appliances are comfortable, FDA approved, and easy to wear so that you can end your snoring problems and achieve a better night’s sleep.