While snoring is a common issue for many individuals, it could also indicate another serious health complication. At Korte Family Dentistry, we’re happy to offer you solutions for snoring prevention.
For many individuals, being able to obtain restorative sleep for the first time in a long time can really change their life. We have heard from numerous thankful partners who are no longer having to deal with being kept awake because of the snorer next to them.
Before diving into snoring prevention, first, you’ll learn what can cause snoring in the first place. Knowing the cause can help our dentist in Lincoln, NE, decide on the best treatment option possible for you.
CAUSES OF SNORING
Snoring can be caused by a multitude of factors, ranging from being overweight to having allergies or sleep apnea.
Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, which is a condition in which your sleeping is repeatedly and briefly interrupted, sometimes hundreds of times per night. Sleep apnea can range from mild to severe.
When you’re sleeping, your soft tissues and muscles in your mouth and throat relax automatically. Your tongue and lower jaw drop back, which helps block and reduce the airway opening. This can result in a velocity increase of air that flows through your airway when you’re breathing. The increased velocity can cause the soft tissues in your throat and mouth to vibrate, which presents itself in that familiar sound of snoring.
When it’s severe, the upper airway collapse is so complete; your lungs might not be receiving oxygen for seconds up to a minute or more. When this occurs, it’s known as sleep apnea. Your body responds to this oxygen deprivation by triggering an internal alarm that wakes you partially. You then struggle with loud gasps for air that could last several seconds until you go back to sleep and begin the cycle all over again.
Other Causes of Snoring
Certain conditions or lifestyle choices can lead to snoring, including:
- Drinking alcohol
- Excessive weight
- Older age
- Your sleeping style
- Being sleep-deprived
- Having nasal problems or a narrow airway
- Having a cold
What If It’s Caused by Sleep Apnea?
If you are struggling with sleep apnea, your tongue and throat muscles collapse onto the back of your throat, blocking your airway and making you repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night. If not treated, sleep apnea could cause various complications like headaches, excessive daytime fatigue, and memory loss. It can also increase your risk for serious health issues like:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
You clearly shouldn’t leave sleep apnea untreated. There are many individuals who snore, however, that don’t struggle from sleep apnea, but the only way you will know for sure is if you are tested.
SIGNS OF SLEEP APNEA
The following signs could indicate sleep apnea. You’ll want to contact our office if you experience one or more of these:
- Loud nighttime snoring
- Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- Headaches when you wake up in the morning
- Waking up short of breath during the night
- Extreme daytime drowsiness
- Choking or snorting sounds throughout the night (indicates a restart of breathing)
- Unintentionally falling asleep in the daytime
How Korte Family Dentistry Treats Chronic Snoring
Our dentist in Lincoln, NE, Dr. Allen Korte, might refer you to a sleep professional if he suspects you have sleep apnea. The sleep professional will perform an overnight sleep study on you to confirm whether you have sleep apnea or if your snoring is due to something else. Based on the study, they’ll be able to let you know if you could benefit from an oral appliance or a CPAP device.
CPAP: The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device uses a mask attached to a tube to blow pressurized air gently through your airway, keeping your throat open while you’re sleeping.
Oral device for snoring: Another option we may recommend here at Korte Family Dentistry to help you breathe better while you sleep is the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). This oral appliance helps ensure your breathing passages stay open while you’re sleeping. While you sleep, the MAD keeps your lower jaw in a forward position. This helps increase your airway passage, which can help with snoring and better breathing during sleep. It’s a comfortable device that you likely won’t even notice while you wear it.
Schedule Your Appointment With Korte Family Dentistry for a Snoring Evaluation and Treatment
To obtain more information about a MAD or one of our other treatment options for snoring and better breathing while you sleep, visit our website to schedule an appointment for a snoring prevention consultation.