Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

  • Posted on: Feb 20 2015

Don’t let snoring and sleep apnea prevent you from getting the sleep you need.

More than half of all adults snore at some point in their lives: some in quiet whistles every now and again and others like a nonstop Oriental Express. Snoring can be harmless and temporary, or habitual and severe-disturbing both those making the noise and any partners, family members, and roommates nearby. It may even be indicative of a larger disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring has the potential to prevent a good night’s sleep, cause headaches, and place stress on relationships and normal daily activity; that’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that there are many types of snoring solutions that can help. Oral appliances are one such option and Dr. Mulder can evaluate if they might be right for you.

Snoring

Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, creating hoarse or harsh sounds. During normal breathing, the muscles that control the tongue, throat, and the roof of your mouth (soft palate) hold the airway open. When you doze off, those same muscles relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they vibrate and may partially obstruct your airway.

The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful the airflow becomes. Tissue vibration increases, and your snoring grows louder. The factors that lead to narrowing vary: your mouth anatomy can play a role, so can nasal problems, alcohol consumption, and weight.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In severe cases, snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. When muscles relax too much, throat tissues obstruct the airway and prevent breathing.

The Mayo Clinic explains: “Sleep apnea is often characterized by loud snoring followed by periods of silence that can last ten seconds or more. Sometimes, complete obstruction does not occur, but rather, while still snoring, the airway becomes so small that the airflow is inadequate for your needs. Eventually, the lack of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide signal you to wake up, forcing your airway open with a loud snort or gasping sound. This pattern may be repeated many times during the night.”

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Sleep Apnea affects more than ten million people (according to the National Institutes of Health), disrupting sleep and causing headaches and lack of concentration. Untreated, sleep apnea can also cause long-term consequences from repeated oxygen deprivation including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, and weight gain.

Treatment

Treatment for snoring and sleep apnea can range from an airway apparatus to lifestyle changes or sleeping alterations. One effective solution includes wearing a special snoring device, or oral appliance, for the mouth and that’s where we can help.

Dr. Mulder can do a thorough examination to determine what causes your breathing blockage and what kind of appliance will help promote the free flow of air and eliminate the obstruction. (He might also recommend consulting a sleep disorder specialist before continuing with treatment if necessary.)

Dr. Mulder will work with you to find the most comfortable and effective treatment for your needs. The SomnoDent MAS, the Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP), and the Adjustable PM Ultra Positioner are custom, adjustable oral appliances-similar to a mouthguard or retainer-that are worn while sleeping. The appliances work by holding the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue and the soft tissue of the throat from collapsing into the airway. Most allow you to freely open your mouth, speak, and drink while wearing your splint.

Patient Friendly Solutions

All of the oral appliance’s Dr. Mulder works with are patient-friendly and excellent solutions for snoring and sleep apnea. Don’t let snoring disrupt your night’s rest any longer. Contact us to make an appointment.

(Also, if you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed a CPAP machine, but have stopped wearing it, we may have a more comfortable solution for you. Contact us today.)

Published by: Grand Rapids Dentistry Blog – A Life of Smiles
A Grand Rapids, Michigan based cosmetic, general & sedation dentistry

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