Focus on Smiles Blog

Friday, November 16, 2012

How Your Dentist Can Stop Your Snoring

Snoring and other types of sleep disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea, are due to changes in your airway during sleep.

During the day, your airway stays open with a combination of gravity and the action of your muscles, but at night gravity works to pull your airway closed, especially if you are overweight, and your muscles relax during sleep, especially if you drink alcohol in the evening or use sleeping pills. This combination can cause your airway to narrow, which creates turbulent airflow that vibrates the tissues of the airway, vibrations that can be heard as snoring.

Your dentist can help treat snoring by giving you an oral appliance that helps keep your airways open. When you wear the oral appliance at night, it will reposition your jaw, typically moving it forward. The tissues in your airway are attached to your jaw, and sometimes repositioning your jaw will open your airway enough to eliminate snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that results when the airway doesn’t just narrow during sleep, but collapses completely. This will cause your breathing to stop—your own tissues are literally choking you! To open your airways again, your brain must partially awaken. You might not be aware of it, but this may occur hundreds of times a night, preventing you from getting rejuvenating sleep.

The Canadian Thoracic Society’s guidelines for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) note that “Oral appliances are an appropriate first-line therapy for patients with mild-moderate [sleep apnea] with minimal daytime symptoms” and that “Oral appliances should be fitted by qualified dental practitioners who have undertaken special training in SDB.”

To learn more about snoring treatment, please contact Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko at Focus on Smiles in Edmonton, Alberta for an appointment.

posted by Admin at 9:11 AM


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