If you’re a snorer, you could have an underlying health problem called sleep apnea. There are different types of sleep apnea, including obstructive, central, and mixed, with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) being the most common.
During obstructive sleep apnea, your airway partially collapses, which makes it difficult for air to go in and out, which can lead to the vibration that causes snoring. But what does your dentist have to do with sleep apnea and snoring?
Your dentist may be able to help treat your sleep apnea—read on to find out how!
Loud Snoring Is a Symptom of Sleep Apnea
Not everyone who snores will have sleep apnea. However, about half of the 90 million people in the United States who snore will have obstructive sleep apnea . Since snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, getting an evaluation by a sleep specialist can help you determine if you have sleep apnea and if you need treatment. Depending on your diagnosis, your dentist may be able to help treat your sleep apnea and potentially reduce or even eliminate your loud snoring and associated symptoms.
Oral Appliance Therapy May Help
While some cases of sleep apnea are treated with what’s called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, these machines can be cumbersome and noisy to use at night. For those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy with your dentist may be able to help.
On oral appliance is a device that’s custom made for your unique smile and fits in your mouth to help reposition your jaw. It’s worn like a retainer every night to adjust your jaw so your airway remains open and allows you to get a good night’s sleep. Oral appliance therapy can dramatically improve your quality of life by reducing your sleep apnea symptoms .
The Risks of Ignoring Snoring
Ignoring snoring as a result of its connection with sleep apnea can be dangerous to your health. Sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea, has been linked to a variety of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks . This is because the cessation of breathing in OSA prevents your body from getting the proper amount of oxygen it needs, and prevents you from truly resting at night. The result can be daytime fatigue, obesity, mood disorders, and even an increased risk for accidents. If you’re a nightly snorer, following up with a specialist for a diagnosis and treatment could help save your life.
Do You Snore?
If you snore, it could be time to follow up with your dentist. Your oral healthcare professional can recommend you to a sleep specialist to see if you could be suffering from sleep apnea. Your dentist can then work with your physician to create a treatment plan with oral appliance therapy if you qualify. Follow up with your dentist today to discuss your snoring and if it could be related to OSA!