Snoring is one of the most common and annoying problems treated every day by cosmetic dentists such as Dr. Larry Evola at Buffalo's Forestream Dental.
If you would like to learn more about snoring and snoring treatments, please contact Forestream Dental online today or call716-656-8686 to schedule your initial sleep apnea consultation.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Many people think that snoring is just something that they have to live with, and often times, spouses and partners just resign themselves to the fact that they will never get a full, un-interrupted night's sleep due to the lawnmower sounds made by the loved one lying next to them.
Simply put, snoring is caused by a partially obstructed airway. When we sleep, the soft tissue and muscles in our mouth and throat relax, causing the airway to become smaller. If the airway becomes small enough, your soft palate and uvula begin to vibrate when you inhale and exhale. These vibrations are the cause of much of the sound we call snoring.
According to sleep studies, almost 50% of the general population snores at least occasionally, and 25% of the population are habitual snorers. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), people who snore have three times as many automobile accidents as people who do not snore because snoring is a strong indication that you may suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea. This is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These episodes, called apneas, each last long enough so one or more breaths are missed and occur repeatedly throughout a sleep cycle.
Sleep apnea can reveal itself in a number of ways including:
- Sore throat
- High blood pressure
- Short term memory problems
- Poor job/school performance
- Restlessness and tossing and turning during sleep
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
People who suffer from snoring and sleep apnea lose so much sleep in a night that it affects their daily living and can lead to serious medical problems.
How Do I Know if I Snore?
If you share a bed or a room with another person, chances are you know if you snore. They'll tell you in some
way! If, however, you sleep alone, you might look for other signs of snoring. These include:
- You wake up frequently during the night for no obvious reason.
- You "sleep eight hours" but don't feel rested during the day.
- You wake up feeling as if you didn't sleep well.
- You often wake up with a headache or a sore throat.
If you suspect that you snore and you want to confirm your theory, you can set up a recording device to run
while you sleep.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that involves loud, chronic snoring. However, it's slightly different.
You snore because your airway has become narrow and air is having difficulty passing through. Snoring is
the sound that is made when the soft tissues of your airway and throat vibrate. With sleep apnea, the
airway closes completely, blocking airflow. In those moments, called apnea episodes, you stop breathing.
Your brain responds to the lack of oxygen by delivering adrenaline and other chemicals to rouse you.
This restarts breathing, all the while you may never wake up enough to realize what's happening.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
A trained doctor or dentist can loosely diagnose sleep apnea simply by reviewing your symptoms. To confirm
their diagnosis, they will likely order a sleep study. These tests may be self-administered at home or,
in some cases, may require you to spend the night in a special lab where your sleep is closely
monitored. Both forms of sleep studies involve wearing various monitors. These measure your breathing
rate, heart rate, and other vital signs. They may also record sound. A single-night sleep study is often
enough to accurately diagnose sleep apnea.
What Snoring Treatments Do You Offer?
At Forestream Dental Dr. Evola treats obstructive sleep apnea using an oral airway appliance. This
custom-made device is worn when you sleep. It fits comfortably in your mouth and positions your jaw and
tongue in such a way that your airway remains open. Oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea
is proven to work efficiently in most cases. It does not involve forced air, so is not associated with
side effects like sore throat, eye irritation, and other symptoms.
Is Snoring Normal?
Snoring is a sign that your airway is obstructed. There are many reasons this could happen. For example, you
might snore when experiencing allergies or when you have a cold. You may snore if you go to bed
extraordinarily tired or take sleeping pills to help you rest well. If you snore on a regular basis and
it is affecting your waking hours, it is advantageous to talk to your doctor or dentist to learn more
about what may be causing this habit.
Can Snoring be Treated without Surgery?
In many cases, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be corrected without surgery. In fact, sometimes it's
possible to eliminate snoring without any intervention from a professional. There are several factors
that influence snoring, including weight and lifestyle habits. Some people find that, when they lose
weight, they stop snoring. This is because weight loss can reduce the amount of fatty tissue that is
around the throat. You might also reduce or stop snoring by curtailing the use of sleep aids and the
consumption of alcohol at night. If you require clinical intervention for snoring, know that the first
approach is nearly always on the conservative side. Oral appliances are made to fit comfortably inside
your mouth and are easily removed when you wake up.
Depending on the severity of your snoring, treatment can vary greatly. Some people just need to make simple lifestyle changes including refraining from alcohol and caffeine at night, losing weight, changing position of pillows, or making dietary changes.
Other patients may benefit from a specially designed oral appliance, which prevents airway blockage. More severe cases may require surgery to prevent upper airway obstruction.
Dr. Evola, Buffalo cosmetic dentist, will perform a thorough examination, and after his evaluation is complete, he will sit with you and discuss which treatment options are best suited to your needs. Oral appliance therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating many of our patients. These FDA-approved devices treat snoring and sleep apnea by preventing airway obstruction and allowing you to breathe easily and continuously. Worn in the mouth like an orthodontic appliance during sleep, appliances keep the soft tissue from collapsing and interrupting normal breathing patterns. They can reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and hyoid bone into a certain position to keep the airway open. Your appliance will be custom made by using a mold to fit your mouth perfectly.
If you would like to learn more about snoring and snoring treatments, please contact LVI-trained cosmetic dentist, Dr. Lawrence Evola at Forestream Dental serving Buffalo, Amherst, Lancaster, or Williamsville, New York today to schedule your initial sleep apnea consultation.