Snoring? Don’t Fret—Your Family Dentist Can Help
Get your nighttime snoring under control.
We all need our sleep, and when we’re the snorer or lying next to a snorer, chances are no one is getting a lot of it. For the snorer, fits of obstructed breathing can leave you feeling fatigued in the morning, as your body struggles to fall into a good sleep pattern. It doesn’t get much better for those sleeping next to you, as snoring can be an annoyance that makes it difficult to doze off.
Snoring, however, is not just an annoying problem. When left untreated, it can represent a dangerous, if not life-threatening, condition. First and foremost, snoring is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The vibrations created by snoring can cause inflammation in the arteries, which can lead to atherosclerosis. Snoring also leaves you exhausted, which can result in low concentration and increase your risks of car accidents, which can be deadly.
How can your family dentist help with snoring?
Many people think snoring is harmless, and in some cases, this is true. But if you are snoring chronically and it isn’t just a result of a cold or congestion, you should see a sleep specialist to ensure your snoring isn’t a symptom of a more significant issue, such as sleep apnea. Snoring is commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea, where the muscles in the back of your throat relax as you fall asleep. When this happens, your tongue and the tissues in your throat begin to narrow. In extreme cases, your throat may close up completely, which can cause you to stop breathing.
In most cases, people with sleep apnea awaken when they stop breathing due to their brain’s fight or flight mechanism. The brain recognizes the danger and allows you to wake up just enough to widen your airway by repositioning yourself. Though you might not remember awakening, if you feel pretty tired the next day, this is likely due to the inconsistent sleep patterns stemming from the sleep apnea.
Often, a sleep specialist will prescribe the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for chronic snorers and those suffering from sleep apnea. These machines increase the air pressure within your throat so your airway doesn’t collapse as you breathe. Many people find they can sleep better with a CPAP machine, and their partners do too.
In other cases, your doctor may refer you to your family dentist, who can help fit you with a custom dental appliance. This appliance is worn in the mouth while you sleep, and it works similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard by supporting your jaw to keep your airway open as you sleep. When the airway doesn’t collapse and block the normal flow of breathing, you sleep better. And likewise, so does your partner.
Signs You Have a Snoring Problem
Those who live alone and partners of deep sleepers don’t always recognize they have a snoring problem. If you find you are often fatigued during the day or are having difficulty concentrating, it is possible you are snoring at night and don’t even realize it.
The following risk factors indicate a higher likelihood that you’ll suffer from snoring or sleep apnea.
- Sad but true, if you are male, you are far more likely to snore or have sleep apnea than women.
- Obesity causes a variety of medical problems, and snoring is one of them.
- Some people have long tonsils or adenoids or a long soft palate that can narrow the airway and cause snoring.
- Consumption of alcohol relaxes your throat muscles, thus increasing the risk of snoring.
- Those with structural defects in their airway (deviated septum) or those who suffer from chronic congestion are also at greater risk for snoring.
- If grandpa and dad snored, you might very well be a snorer too, as heredity is a risk factor for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
The following are common snoring symptoms.
- Restless sleep
- Sleepiness during the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Your partner notices your breathing stops as you sleep
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat when you wake up
- Choking or gasping at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above and also have one or more of the risk factors indicated, chances are you could benefit from a CPAP machine or dental appliance to help you sleep better.
Are you snoring in Greensboro, NC?
If you are snoring and need some help getting a better night’s sleep, Farless Dental Group can help you assess the situation. Contact us online to schedule an appointment with our amazing staff at our family dentistry clinic in Greensboro, NC. We are conveniently located in the Oakcrest Dental building and are ready to help you get to sleep and stay asleep better.