Zzz… zzz… zzz…
Snoring is bad enough when you’ve got someone you care about in bed with you trying to sleep, but they can’t because of the loud, guttural noises that struggle through your throat every few moments. Even if it’s unintentional, is that how you want to treat your loved ones?
What’s worse is that snoring can be a sign of a much more serious issue than just something that annoys your bedfellows. Excessive snoring is a symptom of a disorder known as sleep apnea, which involves shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. This produces an annoying sound, sure, but the bigger problem here is that you sleep for roughly a third of your life. If you don’t breathe normally during all that time you won’t get the amount of oxygen you really need and you’ll run into some big health problems down the road.
One night of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep won’t hurt much. But the effects of a less-than-ideal amount of oxygen add up over the weeks, months, and years to put you at much higher risk for developing high blood pressure, liver problems, stroke, and other complications. Possible short-term effects of sleep apnea include insomnia, headaches, and trouble focusing throughout the day.
So, if you’re a snorer, what can you do about it? Can a dentist cure your snoring?
What a Dentist Can Do for You and Your Snoring
Yes, a dentist can treat your snoring. They will most likely use one of two devices to do so: an oral appliance or a CPAP machine.
Oral appliances hold your jaw in optimal position, which allows more oxygen in and helps stop snoring.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines are typically used when oral appliances prove to just not be enough to stop snoring, or if a case of sleep apnea is obviously severe in the first place. These machines consist of a small motor that is attached to a hose that runs up to a facemask. It pumps air/oxygen up your nose and down your throat. CPAP machines cost between a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
But even if your case of sleep apnea is severe, don’t throw out your oral appliances just yet. Although CPAP machines are much more comfortable than they used to be, some users do still report discomfort. Such users can make themselves more comfortable by using an oral appliance in combination with a CPAP machine, because opening up your throat relieves much of the pressure.
Contact your local dentist to see if they can help with your sleep apnea.