The role of the Dentist.
It should be one of the first questions that a dentist asks his patient, “ Do you snore?” because a dentist can be of vital assistance in the recognition and treatment of snoring and sleep apnoea. He becomes part of a multidisciplinary treatment team to ensure your long-term health and well-being.
What Causes Snoring?
Sound is vibration. In snoring, the origin of the vibration is soft tissues in your airway. These tissues may be in your nose, at the back of your mouth, or in your throat. But all of these tissues are set to vibrating by the same thing: your airway is too narrow.
This narrow airway prevents air from flowing smoothly. The turbulence in your airway causes vibrations, and, therefore, the sounds that disturb everyone around you.
Causes of a narrow airway include:
- Developmental issues
- Weight gain
- Relaxed muscles
Many of these, you can work to change. Throat exercises can improve the tone of your muscles, so that even when they relax they do a better job of holding your airway open. You can lose weight. You can identify foods that cause swelling in your throat, and try to combat congestion as it arises. But you can’t do anything about genetics and development—that’s just become your anatomy.
Dangers of Snoring.
But why treat snoring at all? Because it can be very dangerous. Snoring is a sign that you are not getting enough oxygen when you sleep, and as a result, you are probably not getting very restful sleep. You likely experience daytime sleepiness, which may be a sign that the problem is more than just snoring: snoring can be a warning sign that you have sleep apnea.
But even if you don’t have sleep apnea, snoring can be dangerous. The persistent vibrations in your airway can damage blood vessels in the throat, causing scarring that leads to atherosclerosis, hardened arteries, which contribute to heart disease and elevated stroke risk.
Snoring can also cause such conflict in your household that it leads to arguments and even violence. Peace in your house depends on peace—and quiet—in your bed.
Don’t let snoring put your life and your marriage at risk.
Successful snoring treatment depends on opening up your narrowed airway. The best way to do this depends on where your airway narrows.
Snoring caused by tissues in your throat can be alleviated by opening up the airway passage. This can be done by repositioning your jaw using an oral appliance.
An oral appliance is both comfortable to wear and most effective in opening the airway and eliminating snoring.
It may even be recommended to replace a CPAP machine.
In many cases, too, combining snoring treatment with changes in lifestyle can yield the best results.
The best approach to snoring treatment often requires a combined, multidisciplinary approach that looks at the problem from a number of angles.