Snoring, while often joked about, isn’t funny!
In reality, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and excessive snoring that interrupts sleep can indicate a serious disease which can 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.
A successful treatment to combat excessive snoring and sleep apnea is the use of a dental snore appliance. Such devices are carefully designed and adjusted to reposition the jaw slightly down and forward. Often they are slowly adjusted to an optimum position, by a dentist, over a period of several weeks. The 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.
The 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 a dentist fitted, custom made, oral appliance, dentists can minimize or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea in many mild to moderate cases. If you have more severe sleep apnea and 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. Treatment with dental appliances is often covered by medical insurance.
If you have questions about sleep apnea or excessive snoring please contact us. We are appy to discuss your options.
Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg Dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry,