Snoring is not funny. It's often joked about and presented as a comic behavior displaying boredom.
In reality, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and excessive snoring that interrupts sleep can indicate a serious disease and cause excessive daytime sleepiness, pauses in breathing, irritability and depression. Studies show that 30 to 50 percent of the people in the U.S. experience snoring.
Most sleep related breathing cases go un-diagnosed and untreated. A dental survey found that an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, according to the American Dental Association.
A successful treatment to combat excessive snoring and sleep apnea is the use of dental snore appliance. Such devices reposition the mandible in forcing the lower jaw down and forward slightly. It looks a lot like a sports mouth guard. Oral appliances are designed to help stop the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep. It assists in preventing problems in breathing.
American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has pioneered the design of dental snore appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea and sleep related breathing disorders. With an oral appliance, dentists can minimize or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea in mild to moderate cases. If you cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, then a dental appliance can be a life saver!
Dentists are often the first to recognize symptoms of sleep apnea since one of the symptoms can be tooth grinding (bruxing) during sleep. Your dentist may recommend further evaluation with a sleep monitor or referral to a sleep physician. The success rate of dental sleep appliances is very high in significantly reducing risks of dealing with mild to moderate cases of apnea. Treatment with dental appliances is often covered by medical insurance.
If you have questions about sleep apnea or excessive snoring, contact us and we will be happy to discuss options with you.
Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg Dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry,