If you or your partner has a snoring problem, it likely means that you wake up feeling as though you’ve barely slept at all. Consistently poor sleep takes a major toll on both your physical and mental health, so you need a solution.
A sleep study can provide a medical diagnosis so you can continue on with treatment, but it possibly requires an overnight stay in the hospital, which might not fit into your schedule. But what if we told you that your dentist can fit you for an oral appliance that can solve the problem?
Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about snoring therapy and how it can help you finally get a good night’s rest.
Why people snore
Figuring out why you or your partner snores can sometimes take a little bit of effort. Often, we can identify people who are likely to have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause snoring. Some of the other telltale signs include:
- Waking up feeling unrefreshed
- Having morning headaches
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Waking several times a night, gasping and choking for air
- Loud snoring
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Mood changes
- Decreased interest in sex
If you have one or more of these symptoms — and especially if you have more than one of them — there’s a pretty good likelihood that you have obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in your throat relax too much while you sleep, causing you to lose oxygen. Your brain senses that you’re getting less oxygen, so it wakes you up. This can happen 5-30 times every hour throughout the night. It’s no wonder you wake up feeling unrested!
Risk factors for sleep apnea
Nobody wants to have sleep apnea, but it’s a very common condition. It affects about 25% of all men and 10% of all women. However, some people are more likely to have it than others.
Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Being male
- Aging (it’s most common in adults over age 50)
- Being of Black, Hispanic, or Native American descent
- Using certain medications to help you sleep
- Drinking alcohol regularly
- Having genetically narrower airways than average
You can and should try to keep your weight down for many reasons, including decreasing your risk of sleep apnea. But many of these other risk factors are beyond your control.
If you have sleep apnea and don’t seek treatment, you’re at risk of many additional serious health concerns, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
How snoring therapy can help
Dr. Sokoly provides treatment for snoring. First, he examines the size of your airways, which can often offer a good clue that you may have sleep apnea.
If he determines that you do suffer from sleep apnea, treatment consists of fitting you for a custom-made oral appliance that keeps your airways open during sleep. This appliance gently pushes your lower jaw forward while you sleep, which keeps your airways open and prevents snoring (as well as the loss of oxygen to your brain that goes along with it).
If you suspect that you or your partner might have sleep apnea, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly at Sokoly Dental. Contact his Washington, DC, office or schedule an appointment online today.