Snoring can disrupt your sleep or your partner's sleep. It can leave you feeling tired or as if you did not get a full night's rest. For some, snoring is a sign of a medical issue called sleep apnea. Now there are solutions available for effective snoring treatment. Dr. Stephen Gaines, of Sherwood Dental in Oakville ON, offers snoring treatment solutions with the purpose of restoring regular breathing during sleep.
When you sleep, snoring is the sound created when air cannot move freely through your nose and throat. This causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate, creating the sounds associated with snoring. For some patients, a cold, allergies, or environmental issues can cause occasional snoring, which is normal. Chronic snoring is not normal and may be a sign of a larger issue
. Snoring may be due to lax nasal or throat tissue. It may also be a symptom of sleep apnea.
Snoring versus sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea
is the most common type of sleep apnea. In this form, a blockage forms in the upper airway during sleep. This may be the result of the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing during sleep. The blocked airway causes pauses in breathing when the patient is asleep.
Patients with sleep apnea do not get enough oxygen. The body is forced to work harder to get air into the lungs. When the brain senses the pauses, it panics and sends out a rush of adrenaline. The patient begins breathing again, usually with a snorting or choking sound as breathing jumpstarts. The cycle of breathing pauses and snorting to resume breathing repeats numerous times every hour.
It is important to remember that snoring and sleep apnea are not the same condition. Snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea, but snoring alone does not automatically mean a patient has this medical problem. Other symptoms exist for patients with sleep apnea.
Treatment options for snoring and sleep apnea
Patients who snore or who are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms should consult with their physician to have the condition properly diagnosed. After a consultation and exam to assess your symptoms, a sleep study is performed to determine the severity of your sleep apnea. Once your condition has been confirmed, treatment options are discussed. The treatment or therapy used depends upon the severity of your condition. Regardless of the chosen method, effective snoring treatment and sleep apnea treatments have the same goal in trying to help you breathe better while asleep. This improves the quality of sleep and helps you feel more rested
. A treatment plan may include:
- Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, wearing nasal strips to sleep, changing sleeping positions, and avoiding or cutting back on alcohol or medications may bring about some improvement in snoring and quality of sleep.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines use forced air pressure open the airway.
- Oral appliances are similar to mouth guards and adjust the jaw to keep the airway clear while sleeping.
A CPAP machine is often recommended for patients with severe sleep apnea. Used while sleeping, this machine utilizes a mask and forced air to open the airway. Continuous air pressure flows through to keep the airway from collapsing while breathing. Patients breathe more naturally, stop snoring, and sleep more soundly. CPAP machines are effective treatments for sleep apnea and may be used in conjunction with other therapies for optimal sleep.
For some patients, an oral appliance may be used as an alternative to a bulky CPAP machine, especially for patients who have a less severe form of sleep apnea. Oral appliances are similar to mouth guards. They are custom created for each patient to fit the mouth and jaw properly. This comfortable appliance pushes the jaw forward slightly and presses the tongue down keeping the airway open. The device helps you breathe more freely without snoring or struggling to catch your breath. Oral appliances may be appropriate for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They are quiet, easy to care for, and portable.
If you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, contact
Sherwood Dental in Oakville, ON to schedule your appointment with Dr. Stephen Gaines. Let us help you sleep more peacefully. 844-951-8855.