Sleep therapies can be frustrating for those who suffer from severe snoring and sleep apnea. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 50-70 million adults have some sort of sleep disorder that causes snoring, a major indicator of obstructive sleep problems.
However, there is a distinction. Although many people snore, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. And, not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea, snores.
How you feel during the day will tell you whether you have severe snoring problems or sleep apnea. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day.
If you are like most people who have severe snoring problems, snoring can get in the way of your partner’s rest and affect your own sleep quality and health.
It's likely a solution will include the prescription of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It works by forcing a constant and steady air pressure into your body using a hose and wearing a mask or nose piece. Unfortunately there are problems with the device as it is not uncommon that the mask will leak, it's uncomfortable, cumbersome and many people have trouble falling asleep with something over the face. It is also a big problem for people with claustrophobia and can result in a dry mouth or nose.
Many people with severe snoring and sleep apnea ask the same question, "What if I can't tolerate my CPAP?"
There are alternative therapies that have proven to work well, such as the use of a dental sleep appliance. The appliance is designed to help control snoring and sleep apnea.
It’s custom made to fit your particular mouth and bite and looks a lot like a sports mouth guard. It works by positioning the lower jaw down and forward thereby helping to keep the airway open and preventing problems in breathing. Your dentist is able to fit and adjust the appliance to optimally open the airway.
Successful results from a study by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine showed that using the appliance significantly reduced sleep interruptions and snoring.
For more information about the dental sleep and snore appliances, please contact us. We are pleased to discuss this and any dental services from our office.
Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.