Have you ever suffered from the lack of a good night’s rest because of loud, excessive snoring from yourself or your sleeping partner? Snoring is a pervasive and common nuisance, but it can worsen with age and potentially impair the quality of your sleep. While it is mostly harmless, snoring can also be a symptom for a more serious, underlying condition such as sleep apnea.
There are many reasons why certain people snore. Snoring is generally more common in men and in overweight individuals, and can be a symptom for blocked airways in the nose and mouth. Allergies, deviated septums, large tonsils, excessive throat tissue and colds also contribute to habitual snoring. Consequently, treatments for snoring vary depending on its causes and can be prescribed by your dentist.
Excessive snoring is a symptom and indicator for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea describes a disorder where an individual stops breathing for short but frequent periods while asleep. The disruptions in breathing occur for a variety of reasons, including the brain failing to send the signals required for breathing muscles to continuously regulate respiration. In untreated sleep apnea, oxygen is prevented from flowing to the brain, and the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart failure increases as a result.
The goal of many sleep apnea treatments is to incorporate changes in behaviour that will promote better breathing. Such changes include permanent but healthy lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking and losing weight. Serious cases of sleep apnea can be treated by continuous positive airway pressure, in which a mask attached to a machine is worn over the patient’s nostrils. The machine provides consistent airflow through the nostrils and down to the lungs. Dental devices can also be prescribed to help keep airways open.
At Lacewood Square Dentistry, we can can diagnose sleep apnea, and help patients through the first steps of treatment. If you suffer from frequent sleep disruptions due to snoring or apnea, or know someone who does, feel free to book an appointment with us.