If snoring is a problem, this may help…
What is snoring?
Most of us are familiar with the noise that can be produced when someone is asleep. The sound is caused by turbulent airflow in the nose and throat that causes the soft tissues in these areas to vibrate.
Snoring is very common, and anyone can snore. Some studies estimate that 45% of men and 30% of women snore on a regular basis. People who typically don’t snore may find that they do when they have a viral illness, when they take certain kinds of medication or after drinking alcohol.
What Causes Snoring?
When we sleep, the area at the back of our throat can become narrowed. The movement of air through this narrowed space causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate, which creates the snoring sound.
The narrowing can occur in the nose, mouth or throat.
Is Snoring A Problem?
Often a person’s snoring is no greater problem than the noise itself: that is, it can be more of a ‘social’ problem rather than a health problem. It can of course cause sleep disturbances in the snorer’s sleep partner or other household members
However, snoring can also be a sign of a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which can have very serious health implications.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the airways narrow during sleep to the point of complete closure. Breathing is completely halted and the person awakes slightly in response to the brain’s need for oxygen. This awakening goes mostly unnoticed as it does not bring a person to a complete waking state- but it does disturb their deep sleeping state. These disturbances can happen many times each night. As a result, the affected individual often wakes feeling fatigued.
What Are The Health Problems Associated With OSA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is associated with greater risk of suffering cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.
What Can Be Done About Snoring?
It is a good idea to visit your medical GP to discuss your snoring. They may refer you to a sleep physician to diagnose the exact cause of your snoring or sleep disturbances.
If the cause is mild to moderate OSA, wearing an appliance such as a Mandibular Advancement Splint is a comfortable, non-invasive therapy that is very effective at maintaining open airways during sleep. This may allow your sleep to be undisturbed, restful and snore-free.
In moderate to severe cases of OSA, the gold standard treatment is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure) machine.
What is a SomnoDent Appliance?
The Somnodent Appliance is a type of Mandibular Splint that is used in the management of OSA.
It is a dental plate that is custom made to fit in your mouth comfortably, and is worn at night during sleep. It simply helps to position your lower jaw forward, which keeps the airway at the back of your mouth open. The appliance is designed to allow adjustments to occur: this means that the jaw’s position can be optimised for comfort and results.
How Dentists At Corinna Dental Assist In The Treatment Of OSA
Two of our dentists, Dr. Chris Hardwicke and Dr. Geraldine Ash, hold a Graduate Diploma in Dental Sleep Medicine. They liaise closely with local Sleep and Respiratory Physicians to provide treatment for patients with OSA.
If you’d like to learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnoea follow this link to a short interview with Dr. Hardwicke as he discusses OSA and the ideal approach to treatment.
Updated July 6, 2016