Snoring & Sleep Apnea
The sound you hear when someone snores is literally the sound of their airway vibrating and collapsing. It is annoying and a major source of marital discord, affecting the sleep and quality of life of the bed partner as well as of the snorer1. Frequent snoring is common, affecting at least 45% of adult men and 30% of adult women2,3. In many cases, the snoring is ‘primary’ or not associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Nevertheless, given its impact on the snorer’s and his/her family’s quality of life, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that snorers without apnea be treated4. Oral Appliance Therapy is a highly effective therapy for primary snoring. The treatment protocol is simpler for snoring only, and the presence of sleep apnea must be ruled out by a board-certified sleep physician prior to therapy. High Country Dentistry can assist you in determining whether you have primary snoring and can treat you with a device to reduce if not eliminate your snoring. Click here to schedule a complimentary screening appointment.
Snoring isn’t just annoying, it can be deadly.
Important to note, not all snoring is benign! Snoring is the most noticeable sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a dangerous medical condition that restricts airflow during sleep.
When airflow is restricted during sleep it can lead to short pauses in breathing called apneas. In severe cases these pauses can last as long 30 seconds or longer! Or as many as 100 times per hour in extreme cases!
Cutting off airflow during sleep deprives the brain of oxygen, which triggers the body to partially wake up and begin breathing again. This results in the sleep cycle being continually interrupted throughout the night, preventing the sleeper from getting restful sleep. This puts stress on the heart and immune system and can lead to a range of other symptoms and conditions.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Daytime Sleepiness or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Restless sleep
- Gasping for Air during sleep
- Feeling irritable
- Night sweats
- Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- Headaches in the morning
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects an estimated 26-37% of American adults5,6. OSA can be life threatening if left untreated, yet it often go undiagnosed. Most people don’t even know they suffer from OSA, or the very real dangers they live with. For those with sleep apnea, collapsed tissue within the throat obstructs the airway resulting in interrupted breathing during sleep.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Pauses in breathing last at least 10 seconds.
- Severe cases may last up to 30 seconds.
- Pauses in breathing recur throughout the sleep cycle.
- Results in frequent awakenings and fragmented sleep.
- Loud snoring and snorting-gasping sounds may be present.
OSA is associated with these, often serious medical conditions
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Acid Reflux
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Erectile Dysfunction
If you already have one of these conditions, OSA can make it worse by placing additional stress on your body due to lack of restful sleep.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) uses a custom fitted dental appliance, similar to a retainer, to ensure unrestricted airflow during sleep. The device positions the lower jaw forward, which moves the base of the tongue slightly to ensure the airway remains open during sleep. The appliance fits in the palm of your hand, uses no power and has no hoses or pumps.
Do not mistake OAT with a drugstore snoreguard, which is not FDA cleared for treating OSA. Attempting to treat OSA with an unapproved device and not under the care of a trained professional could exacerbate the condition leading to potentially serious complications as well as an increased risk for undesirable dental side effects.
Our office has been DreamSleep Certified for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. DreamSleep is a national network of Dentists and Physicians working together to raise awareness and treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- https://www.uptodate.com/contents/snoring-in-adults ;
- Ramar et al. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring with Oral Appliance Therapy: An Update for 2015. J Clin Sleep Med. 11:773-827, 2015.
- Benjafield et al. Estimation of the global prevalence and burden of obstructive sleep apnoea: a literature-based analysis. Lancet Respir Med. 7:687-698, 2019;
- Peppard et al. Increased prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in adults. Am J Epidemiol. 177:1006-1014, 2013.