Oral Medicine
Snoring

 

Snoring is a serious problem.  It can range from mild to severe and can seriously interfere with acquiring the necessary sleep each person needs to be healthy.  There is a score of medical complications that are attributed to the lack of adequate sleep.  The proper medical term for snoring is OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA.  The problem has been studied for years and there a myriad of ideas associated with the cause and cure of this medical condition.  In general the problem is the  AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION.  This can be caused by anatomical abnormalities such as swollen tonsils, being  excessively overweight causing a restricted airway  and the TONGUE..  The tongue is the major culprit. When you fall asleep the muscles of the throat , especially the tongue relaxes and the lower jaw retracts and further closes off the airway.  The soft palate and the tongue come in contact and close the airway or restrict the flow of air during normal breathing.  The airflow over the soft palate causes it to VIBRATE when you breath in.  You do not have to be sleeping on your back for  this to occur. You can be on your side or sleeping on your stomach. There are as many treatments  for snoring (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) as there are causes.  Some of the treatment methods are a C-PAP machine that BLOWS air down your nose to keep the airway PRESSUREIZED and thus prevent the airway from closing. These are expensive machines and often require that you undergo a SLEEP study before a certified physician prescribes this machine.  They are also difficult to wear , but most people learn to tolerate the machine because they do get a better nights sleep.   Other treatment methods involve surgery of the palate to remove the excessive tissue or Radiowave treatment that "HARDENS" the palate and makes it less flexible.  This reduction in flexibility helps prevent the fluddering that the soft tissue does that causes the OBSTRUCTION  and snoring.  The above treatments are usually performed by an EAR NOSE AND THROAT PHYSICAN.  Other anti-snoring treatments are performed by dentist. This involves manipulation of the JAW or Tongue to open the airway and prevent the OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA.  Each treatment has its merit however the opening of the airway by as simple means as possible is the best form of treatment.  It is the least invasive, requires no surgery and is usually the least expensive method of treatment.  Best of all it is perdictably successful.  Dentist have recently become involved in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea because some of the treatment methods involve taking impressions of the jaws and teeth. In addition  the manipulation of the jaw can help open the airway and reduce the obstruction of air flow in the throat.  This again is best done by a dentist. There are common appliances made by dentist and most of them involve moving the jaw forward  with the appliance either with a rubber band or a plastic covering over the teeth that when placed in the mouth causes the jaw to come forward thus opening the airway for better air flow.   They are effective but do not address the primary cause of the OBSTRUCTION OF THE THROAT.  This of course is   THE TONGUE.  The SLEEP APNEA APPLIANCE used here at the Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center is the TRD.   The initials stand for "Tongue Retention Device".    It is the most effective snoring device available because it deals with the priimary cause of the apnea which is the retraction and relaxation  of the tongue during sleep.   This device holds the tongue forward with a very slight pressure.  Once the patient has acclimated and become comfortable with the appliance the quality and duration of  sleep significantly improves.  The appliance is small enough to fit into a retainer case.   A special impression is taken along with a Registration of how you bite. These molds are then sent to a specialized lab that fabricates the TRD.  The TRD has several other positive attributes.  It acts as a NIGHT GUARD as well as an anti-snoring appliance.  Most importantly it opens the airway allowing you to sleep uninterrupted. The various stages of sleep that are necessary for good mental and physical health are allowed to progress normally without being interupted. Snoring causes you to awake .  The average SNORING person will wake 400-600 times in a single evening and rarely enter into the very important sleep stage called REM.  REM is the stage that initiates repair  of all your cellular functions.  If you want to be healthy and refreshed then you need to sleep. If you have a snoring problem or your spouce has a snoring problem keeping you awake as well give us a call and we will be glad to evaluate your Obstructive Sleep Apnea and educate you about the modern methods of treatment.


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