If you are snoring so loudly that you’re waking yourself up at night, it might be a symptom of sleep apnea. In addition to loud snoring, this condition is marked by daytime drowsiness and frequent sore throats or headaches upon waking. It occurs when the patient stops breathing for brief periods repeatedly during sleep.
Sleep apnea is correlated with a number of serious health concerns, including high blood pressure, obesity and stroke. Sleep apnea may even put a patient at increased risk for sudden death. Therefore, it’s important to get treatment for this condition if you have it. Don’t ignore your symptoms and hope they’ll go away. If there is any evidence that you may have sleep apnea, you should complete a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis.
After you have a conclusive diagnosis of sleep apnea, your dentist may actually be able to give you some relief from the symptoms. The apneic episodes are often caused by positioning of the tongue or jaw too far rearward, prompting the soft tissues at the back of the throat to collapse and cover up the opening of the airway. Therefore, an oral appliance that holds the jaw and/or tongue in a forward position during sleep can prevent the apneic episodes.
Your dentist can custom design such an appliance to fit the unique structure of your mouth for maximum comfort. Speaking of comfort, oral appliance therapy tends to be more comfortable than a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, which is also very effective for eliminating the conditions that cause sleep apnea. However, patients are typically more likely to use the oral appliance than the CPAP mask, which many describe as cumbersome and disruptive to their sleep itself.
Loud snoring isn’t just a nuisance. It can indicate a more serious problem such as sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with this condition, consult with our office to learn about the treatment options that can help eliminate your symptoms and restore your restful sleep.