Snoring affects millions of people of all ages, both male and female. Oral appliance therapy is the most common treatment for the most severe snoring problems. Treatment procedures range from changing your sleep patterns to utilizing orthodontic-related appliances that help open the airways during sleep.
Common Causes of Snoring
Snoring is caused by the vibrations of your soft and/or hard tissue palates; these vibrations occur because of increasingly narrow air passages. When air passes through these passages, a "flapping" sound occurs because the tissue is soft in nature. Surgery (to alleviate the snoring) is not always successful, however, because the sound may not originate from the soft palate; the snoring sometimes originates from tissues in the upper airway.
- Health problems
- Obstructed nasal passages – deviated septum
- Poor muscle tone of the tongue
- Daytime fatigue
- Sleep apnea
Loud snorers may have a more serious case of blocked air passages, known as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). In these cases, the blockage of air is so great that no air can get through, causing repeated awakenings throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea can contribute or lead to many other conditions, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and depression, so it is important to be diagnosed by a medical professional if you experience any sleep-related symptoms.
At-Home Test to See if You Need an Evaluation
With more and more systemic diseased being linked to sleep apnea or snoring, the need for active therapies has drastically increased in recent years. A simple test to see if a dental sleep apnea appliance may be a benefit for you is as follows:
- Close your upper and lower teeth together and touch your chin to your chest. Observe how easy or difficult it is to breathe.
- Now close your upper and lower teeth together as if biting a thread and touch your chin to your chest. If you breathing is noticeably easier, then you should consider being evaluated for a dental sleep apnea appliance.