Snoring is often discussed with a humorous attitude and is even the butt of jokes on TV and in movies. If you snore frequently and loudly enough to disturb your partner and others in your household, chances are they don’t find it funny. The trouble is, despite its annoyance, many people don’t consider snoring a serious problem – at least not one that requires professional attention. However, the truth is that snoring can prove detrimental to your overall health, especially if it indicates obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is often the result of oral and throat tissues collapsing into your airway as you sleep. This partial obstruction forces your breath to pass through a much smaller airway, which leads to increased air pressure that vibrates your throat tissues, producing a loud noise. Besides the noise, snoring can force you to work harder to breathe while you sleep, which can have serious and immediate effects on your overall health and well-being and lead to premature aging.
In some cases, the obstruction will completely block the airway and lead to the cessation of breathing. Known as obstructive sleep apnea, this condition causes you to stop breathing momentarily until your body is forced to wake up and breathe again. This cycle can repeat itself (sometimes hundreds of times a night), stopping you from reaching the deep levels of sleep that you need to rest and rejuvenate.
The Importance of Proper Airway Function
From birth until well into adulthood, your airway is an important gateway into your overall health. During infancy, the development of the airway can be influenced by the use of bottles and pacifiers, as well as finger or thumb-sucking and lip-tucking. Other factors include muscle habits such as mouth-breathing and reverse swallowing, which can concretely and negatively impact the formation of the airway in the future. When not addressed, these factors can lead to chronic sleep breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea, as well a host of other complications.
Airway Obstruction and Behaviour Disorders in Children
The story of Connor Deegan, a 10 year old boy who exhibited aggressive, temperamental and even suicidal behaviour because of sleep and breathing disorders.
Treating Snoring & Sleep Apnea
To diagnose sleep apnea, patients often must spend a night or two in a sleep study to be observed by a team of sleep experts. For a more convenient experience, we offer a take-home sleep study that helps you assess your risks of sleep apnea while sleeping comfortably in your own bed. The good news is that many patients can find relief from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea with a small, comfortable, custom-designed oral appliance. Unlike the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that is often prescribed for sleep apnea, a custom-made sleep appliance fits over your teeth to support your lower jaw and help keep your airway open.
We now offer Panthera sleep devices, as well as TAP appliances, snoring and other myofunctional appliances. We also can provide temporary sleep appliances while patients complete their dental work, and they can be made on the spot!
If you suffer from snoring or believe that you may have sleep apnea, then seek treatment as soon as possible to address the threat to your overall health. To schedule a consultation or sleep study, call Lawson Family Dentistry in Urbandale, IA, today at 515-278-4366.