If you or someone you live with has a snoring problem, you already know how it can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. You may think you have to resign yourself to snoring — or go to a sleep specialist for a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device — but the dentist can offer an effective alternative.
Many people who try a CPAP device find it difficult or uncomfortable to use. Fortunately, the dentist offers an effective alternative to cure snoring problems. Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about snoring therapy.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is usually caused by a condition called sleep apnea. About 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, most of whom have obstructive sleep apnea. This means that your airway becomes obstructed during sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by:
- Age (it’s more common in older people)
- Being male
- Being overweight or obese
- Taking sedatives before sleep
- Drinking alcohol before sleep
- Thicker neck circumference
The muscles in your throat become too relaxed while you sleep and block your airway, causing you to gasp for air five to 30 times an hour, all night. While you breathe, the restricted airway vibrates, which creates the unpleasant sound of snoring.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
You may not be aware you have sleep apnea, especially if you’ve never had a sleep study. Symptoms that can indicate you may have sleep apnea include:
- Sore throat when you wake up
- Dry mouth when you wake up
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased energy throughout the day
- Headaches in the morning
- Tossing and turning during your sleep
- Sleepiness throughout the day
- Poor concentration, moodiness, or irritability during the day
Poor sleep has a substantial impact on your performance during the day. It also presents risks to your health: people with sleep apnea are more likely to have cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and stroke.
Dental therapy for sleep apnea
Dr. Sokoly can fit you for a custom oral appliance, known as a mouthguard, to wear while you sleep. The appliance is designed to fit snugly around your teeth and push your lower jaw forward, which keeps your airway open and prevents you from snoring.
Compared to CPAP devices, most people find oral appliances to be a preferable option. CPAP devices make noise, which can keep your sleeping partner awake. They’re also difficult to adjust to wearing, which means that many users don’t have good compliance.
Oral appliances or mouthguards are much easier to wear. They’re also more portable than a CPAP device, which means you can take it with you if you have to travel.
Whether you’ve previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea or not, sleep apnea is a potentially serious health problem that prevents you from functioning at your best. To learn more, or to set up a consultation, call Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental at 202-280-2428 today, or request an appointment online.