Most people who snore do not have sleep apnoea, but chronic snoring that is loud enough to disturb others and which is characterized by frequent pauses in breath could need investigation. The most common form of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
People with OSA will often snore loudly and persistently, and will often pause breathing, sometimes for several seconds, multiple times a night. Breathing restarts with a loud gasp or snort that is enough to interrupt sleep but will not fully awaken the sufferer. Snoring is caused by muscles in the throat relaxing, partially blocking the airway, and vibrate creating a snoring sound. A sleeping partner often witnesses the signs of OSA, but people who sleep on their own will usually have other worrying symptoms. Signs include waking up with persistent headaches and experiencing extreme daytime sleepiness.
OSA can have serious ramifications for overall health as every time breathing stops, the sleeper moves from deep, restive sleep to lighter periods of sleep, reducing sleep quality. OSA can trigger the release of stress hormones that change how the body uses energy and increasing the risk of weight gain, skin aging, and memory loss. There is also evidence that OSA can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.
The proper treatment can reduce these risks. If you think you or another family member has OSA, it is important to seek help so you and others around you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and to protect your oral health.
When you visit City Dental for OSA, we can scan your upper airway to assess your anatomy and will determine the most effective treatment plan. Mild to moderate OSA is often treatable with a custom-made oral appliance and which is comfortable to wear. The appliance places the lower jaw in a slightly forward position, helping to hold open the airway during sleep, preventing the tongue from falling backward. A custom oral appliance can be a very effective and non-invasive method of treating snoring and sleep apnoea.
Sometimes snoring and sleep apnoea are worsened by a larger tongue or tonsils or are due to the shape of the head and neck. We frequently work with sleep physicians and Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeons, and if necessary, will refer you for further diagnostic tests and treatment.