Snoring can be defined as the sound emitted from the upper airway during sleep that comes from loose, relaxed tissues that vibrate while breathing. As many as half of adults sometimes snore. Infrequent episodes of snoring can be caused by weight gain, alcohol consumption, upper respiratory infections, or allergies. Snoring can lead to:
• Dry mouth
• Teeth grinding
• Sore throat
• Sore jaw muscles
• Relationship stress due to a bed partner being kept awake
Though some may consider snoring simply a nuisance, consistent, loud snoring is a sign of a problem.
No special test is needed to diagnose snoring, especially if the patient has a bed partner. Usually it is the partner that is encouraging the patient to seek treatment, if only to try and get a restful nights’ sleep for themselves! There are also snoring apps that can be downloaded to a mobile phone that will record the severity of a person’s snoring.
Most patients that experience severe snoring will ultimately undergo a sleep study. This is because consistent, loud snoring is a sign of a problem and usually the first symptom of UARS or OSA. In fact, approximately 50% of all snorers will eventually develop OSA. During any sleep evaluation, the severity and frequency of snoring is measured along with other sleep variables.
Snoring can be the first manifestation of sleep disturbed breathing. If left untreated, a vicious cycle of inflammation and progression to OSA can occur. It is optimal to begin treatment at this early stage before other health problems develop, including OSA. Similar to OSA, dental sleep therapy is an effective treatment and works by treating the REASON for snoring and not just the sound.
Dental sleep therapy involves the fabrication of a custom oral appliance. The appliance is worn nightly and works by maintaining the lower jaw in a more forward position. This removes the tongue and other soft tissues from the airway leading to decreased snoring and improved sleep, for both the patient and their bed partner!