While snoring is a common problem for many people, it can also be a sign of other major health complications. It is estimated that more than 80 million people in North America snore while sleeping, which not only affects the quality of sleep for the snoring person, but also that of their loved ones and other family members. Luckily, there is a way to treat chronic snoring.
What causes snoring?
Snoring can be the result of several factors. Typically, it is caused by the relaxing of muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth, which makes the air passage smaller.
The decrease in space through the airway makes it harder for each breath to get through. When it does get through, it moves over the soft tissues in the mouth and throat and causes a vibration that results in the snoring sound. Other causes of snoring may include:
- Excess body weight
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain sleep aides or sedatives
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
What is a Mandibular Advancement Device?
If you snore at night, then a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may represent a solution and a better night’s sleep! The MAD is a specially designed dental device that gently helps keep the lower jaw, or mandible, in a forward position, which increases the space between the airway passage and helps you breathe better so you can get a full, quiet night’s rest.
Some devices also stop the tongue from falling back over your windpipe. Dr. Stefano will fit these special appliances to meet your individual condition.
Is a MAD comfortable?
The answer is simple: YES! A mandibular advancement device is made to be comfortable, so you can sleep without even noticing you’re wearing it. It does not prevent you from breathing with your mouth open and will even eliminate snoring for patients with sinus congestion or allergies.
You may experience some slight stiffness of the jaw for the first few mornings after wearing the device, but this feeling is only temporary, and will go away after you wake up and remove it.
To learn more about a mandibular advancement device, contact our practice and schedule an appointment and consultation.
OSA Is a Serious Condition
Do you suffer from OSA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) syndrome has been linked to excessive tiredness, depression, and reduced resistance to infection.
When left untreated, OSA can increase the risk of heart attack, hypertension, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, catching colds, and even death.
It can have a significant impact on quality of life when it places unnecessary strain on relationships between bed partners, family, and the workplace.
If you have OSA or display symptoms of OSA such as loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and witnessed apneas, it is essential that you seek the right treatment option.
What causes OSA?
During sleep, muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissue (or flesh) at the back of your throat can sag, and narrow the airway. Incoming air then makes the tissue at the rear roof of the mouth (the soft palate), the flap of skin hanging from the palate (uvula), and the throat vibrate ... a sound we know as snoring.
Loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious problem: OSA. This is where the airway becomes completely blocked and breathing stops. The brain then detects the lack of oxygen and prompts a momentary arousal to draw breath.
Although OSA sufferers may experience hundreds of apnea episodes per night, they are unlikely to remember any of them. In fact, if the sufferer lives alone or sleeps separately, he or she may not be aware of the condition even after many years.
Did You Know …
- Regular snorers have a 33% increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Patients with OSA are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack
- 40-80% of stroke victims also suffer from OSA
Lattimore J et al. J Am Coll Coridal 2003; 41: 1429-1437
- Do you snore?
- Are you often tired or sleepy during the day?
- Have you ever been told you stop breathing while you sleep?
- Are you currently being treated with medication for high blood pressure?
- Is your BMI greater than 35?
- Are you age 50 or older?
- Is your neck circumference greater than 40 cm?
- Are you male?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you may be at high risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.