Many people are not aware of the fact that they snore. It could take a nudge in the middle of the night from the significant other or a housemate telling you they can hear you from down the hall to alert you to this very common complaint. If nearly everyone snores, though, is there really an issue with it? Besides sleepless nights for both you and your roommate, there could be a significant underlying cause for snoring and Beyond Dental and Implant Center wants to warn you about it before it can become a serious problem.
What Causes Snoring?
The loud and aggressive snarl that can be associated with snoring is, in reality, the sound of the airway being blocked. While you are sleeping, your body relaxes, and this is no different inside the mouth. The tongue and throat will also relax, and if it becomes too relaxed, it could partially block your airway. The snore is the reverberation of the soft tissues as you try to breathe in and exhale. The more difficult it is for you to inhale, the harder you may try to breathe which usually makes the next intake more forceful. As a result, this can make snoring quite loud.
If an attempt to breathe fails, your body will usually wake you up so you can take a breath. It is, however, also one of the key indicators of a condition known as sleep apnea. If you have noticed you are waking up several times in the middle of the night gasping for air or have a constant headache accompanied by a sore throat and dry mouth, it may be a good time to give us a call so we can discuss the possibility of sleep apnea.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the more common forms and usually affects heavy smokers, the morbidly obese, and those who have chronic allergies. Snoring can also be seen in males over the age of forty and people who may have a family history. Though it may seem like something, you ignore since it is only snoring, in time it can advance into something dangerous, such heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and in the most extreme cases, death.
Depending on how often it is waking you up every night may indicate how far the condition has progressed. More than thirty episodes an hour is considered quite serious and should be mentioned at your next appointment. There are methods available as an option for help with breathing. Many people have already heard of the use of the continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine which keeps air flowing through a mask you sleep with on your face.
For others, there is also the option of getting a repositioning device (mouthguard or nightguard) that fits over your teeth and helps keep your airway open – this is known as oral appliance therapy. Another can actually be used to keep your tongue in a particular position, so it is less likely to obstruct your airway. These are good ways to treat moderate sleep apnea, but for more complicated cases, oral surgery may be a better consideration of your needs.
If you would like to learn more about how snoring and sleep apnea could be compromising your quality of life, please give us here at Beyond Dental and Implant Center a call at (972) 591-7520 to schedule an appointment or talk to someone who may be able to help you.