According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30%-50% of the entire United States population snore throughout their lifetime. Most times, the snoring and sleep disturbances are signs of obstructive sleep apnea and other issues with your overall oral health.
The frequency and volume of your snore are critical as they can show whether you have obstructive sleep apnea or a potentially life-threatening condition. Sleep apnea can make your breathing shallow, or stop you from breathing. At this point, it is crucial that you consult your health specialist.
How Does Snoring Occur?
Snoring is the vibration of the tissues of the nose and throat, which results in a hoarse or harsh sound. Snoring occurs when your breathing is obstructed partially.
Does Snoring Indicate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Osa) All The Time?
While snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, other reasons may also cause it, including pregnancy, allergies, congestion, obesity, or even the use of alcohol.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Snoring during sleep\ difficulty concentrating
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headache
- Restless sleep
- Sore throat
- Waking up from choking or gasping
- Night chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Loud snoring that disturbs your partner’s sleep
How is Snoring Treated?
One of the efficient ways of treating the loud snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea is the use of an oral appliance. This plastic oral device helps to keep your breathing passages open as you sleep.
The other commonly known treatment for more severe cases is the use of the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure device). This is a mask connected to a tube that gently blows pressurised air through your airways to keep your throat open as you sleep.
Oral Appliance Therapy
This is an excellent way of treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea to help improve your daytime alertness, emotional stability, and concentration.
Oral appliances are highly recommended for people whose obstructive sleep apnea is as a result of a narrow airway or a tongue that falls back into the airway at night, obstructing their breathing.
This device efficiently repositions your jaws and stabilises your tongue, thereby enlarging the airway and preventing tongue obstruction to promote proper airflow during sleep.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
The oral appliance therapy eliminates most of the reasons for non-compliance with CPAP treatment. This procedure does not cause the feeling of suffocation, it is not noisy and is easy to travel with. Other advantages of oral appliance therapy include;
- Noninvasive: The process does not necessitate the need for surgery as fitting and following-up are quite simple.
- Aids compliance: Since the device is easy and comfortable to use, it enables you to comply with your regular treatment to eliminate the adverse health risks associated with sleep apnea.
- Ease of use: Some patients prefer using oral appliances for their sleep apnea because they are comfortable to wear. Also, it does not take them too long to get used to sleeping with the device in their mouth
- Small and portable: this equipment makes travelling with your sleep apnea treatment easy. Unlike the CPAP, these oral devices are small enough to fit in a carry-on bag or a purse.
- High success rate: Oral appliance therapy has a high success rate as the users do not have to worry about issues such as stuffy nose, rash around the mask area or dryness. All of these problems are avoided when they use oral appliance therapy.
How a Dentist Can Help Quieten Your Snore
Other than prescribing oral devices, your dentist may recommend other strategies to reduce your snoring at night such as;
- Losing weight
- Consuming little or no alcohol at night
- Avoiding sleeping on your back
- Eliminating or reducing the use of sedatives
Oral Appliance Therapy
The First Visit Procedure – Examination and Oral Impressions
On your first visit, your dentist will talk to you about the benefits of the treatment, including the cost of the therapy and any possible side effects. After that, they will conduct a complete clinical evaluation, which includes an examination of your teeth, tongue, jaw, and airway. After that, your dentist will take the impressions of your teeth.
Oral impressions are customised using digital and physical models of your teeth. The prints are then used to create a custom fitted mouthpiece. The models are sent to a lab where the oral appliance is made.
The Second Visit Procedure – Fitting Your Oral Device
Once the appliance is ready, you will go back to your dentist’s office for the fitting. During this visit, your dentist will fine-tune the device for maximum comfort and effectiveness. They will provide you with the necessary instructions on how to efficiently use the appliance as well as how to take care of it.
These visits are essential to ensure optimal fit. An effective oral appliance should be custom fit and attuned over time to guarantee maximum effectiveness. Your dentist may also schedule another visit for your sleep evaluation to determine the level of this therapy’s effectiveness. These follow-up visits are crucial to the success of your lasting treatment.
Benefits of using dental devices for the treatment of sleep apnea
Using dental devices is an excellent way to treat your snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea. Your symptoms and your quality of life will improve as long as you remain committed to your treatment and use it as advised by your dentist. Other benefits include;
- Helps you to sleep better
- Enables you to have more energy and alertness throughout the day
- People around you will sleep better with the absence of snoring
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.
Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics