If you snore, you’ve got a lot of company! Did you know that 45% of adults snore occasionally and more than 25% of us are habitual snorers? Also, more than half of men over sixty snore regularly. Although snoring can cause tension with a spouse or roommate, there’s no reason to be embarrassed.
What causes snoring? Snoring is often caused by poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat. It happens when your tongue falls backwards and touches the back of your throat where it can restrict normal airflow. When this happens, your tongue and throat vibrate with each breath, causing snoring. Sometimes large tonsils and adenoids can cause snoring.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
We all know what snoring is, but not everyone knows about a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It’s debilitating sleep disorder that can significantly affect all aspects of your life. It’s caused by relaxed throat muscles and snoring is a symptom.
With OSA, breathing stops and starts during sleep, repeatedly all night long. People with OSA can experience these additional symptoms:
During the night:
- gasping for air
- dry mouth
During the day:
- headaches upon waking
- sleepiness, tiredness, grogginess
- distraction & decreased focus
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Often a partner or spouse will notice your symptoms during sleep. You may notice symptoms that manifest during the daytime. As a dentist in Tigard, we can help.
We’ll evaluate your symptoms and medical history before referring you to a sleep specialist who will also evaluate your symptoms and medical history, plus your current physical health and perform a “sleep study.”
A sleep study analyzes both how you sleep and how your body responds to issues related to sleep. The study records your vital signs, the amount of oxygen in your blood, the air movement through your system, your brain activity, your chest movements, and your snoring. And if you do have OSA, it will determine the severity. The sleep study and the physical exam may also shed light on the cause of your OSA.
Oral appliances can help!
For many of our patients who suffer from sleep apnea, we prescribe an oral appliance called a mandibular advancement device. Also known as a dental sleep device, it is one of the most commonly used oral appliances. It looks like a sports mouthguard. Its function is to bring the lower jaw forward to help keep the throat muscles (which collapse during sleep apnea) tight, so that they can’t drop to obstruct your breath.
If you suspect you suffer from OSA, your first step is to call Total Health Dental at (503) 433-8256. We’ll do a thorough exam of your teeth, mouth, and jaw to determine whether you are a good candidate for a custom-fitted device.
While we create your appliance, you can do these things at home to get a jump on a good night’s sleep:
- Create a relaxing pre-bedtime ritual – reading or meditation is ideal. Avoid computers, laptops, & smart phones.
- Establishing regular sleep patterns – go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Even on weekends and holidays.
- Don’t nap.
- Keep your bedroom cool.
- Avoid heavy meals before sleep.
- Limit alcohol.
- Exercise – a 30-minute brisk walk each day, yoga classes, bike rides, or play your favorite sport (wear a protective mouthguard if there’s any chance of contact).
As a compassionate dentist in Tigard, we want you to get a good night’s sleep so that your days are productive, happy, and safe. We’re always here to help. New patients are always welcome too! Call (503) 433-8256 today!
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Treatment – A Recap
- Apnea means not breathing. So sleep apnea means not breathing when you’re sleeping.
- With obstructive sleep apnea, you may stop breathing for short periods of time.
- Sometimes when you do breathe, you may not be getting a full breath of air.
- Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men than women, and the rate of those affected increases after the age of 65 (both genders) and for women after menopause.
- Often people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea wake up frequently during the night.
- People who are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea are those who…
- carry excessive weight
- have other family members who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea
- still have their tonsils and/or adenoids, especially if they’re enlarged
- a particular jaw structure (small or in a less-than-optimum position).
- Symptoms include:
- loud snoring that can keep other family members or housemates awake
- gasping for air during sleep
- restless sleep
- interruptions in sleep – waking up throughout the night
- others noticing you’ve stopped breathing while sleeping
- excessive sleepiness and fatigue during the day
- foggy brain during the day
- morning headaches
- dry or sore throat upon awakening
- worsening memory
- lack of concentration.