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How a Dentist Can Help You Stop Snoring: Exploring Oral Appliance Therapy

dental snoring

Do you feel like sometimes the only possible solution to your partner's snoring is earplugs? Are you the snoring partner? Snoring is definitely one of the most underrated causes of chronic exhaustion and other sleep disorders. What can your Auburn dentist do for you? How can we help you with your snoring and sleep apnea?

If your partner has begged you to get new pillows, try every sort of DIY solution to your snoring, and it's still the cause of sleep disturbances, fatigue, and sleep apnea, you might want to ask a trained dental health specialist about how a custom oral appliance can help.

Join us in reviewing alongside Dr. Luminita Markham all about night guards and snore custom oral appliances that can help you and your partner recover all that sleep you've lost to snoring.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

This sleep disorder describes a brief interruption in someone's breathing during sleep. It may repeatedly happen while the patient sleeps, numbering all the way up to the hundreds of occurrences.

The most common type of Sleep Apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), though there are also central and mixed variations. The main difference is that OSA occurs when the upper airway remains blocked either partially or entirely during sleep.

As your body naturally compensates by forcing your diaphragm and chest muscles to increase airflow, you may wake up startled or with your body jerking a bit.

This condition is increasingly present in men, but it can still affect women and people of all ages. Sleep Apnea holds a strong relationship with snoring as the latter is one of the most prevalent symptoms displayed by patients suffering from OSA.

What Causes Snoring?

Before we discuss remedies for snoring, let’s explore what causes it in the first place. The vibrational sound we know as snoring is the result of obstructed airflow through the mouth and nose. This obstruction can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Narrowed nasal passages: Issues with the nose or sinuses can cause snoring. For example, some patients find they only snore when they are sick or suffering from allergies. Additionally, those with nasal polyps or a deviated septum may snore frequently.
  • Genetic factors: If a patient has excess tissues around the airway – such as a long uvula or soft palate – it can cause the passageway to narrow, resulting in snoring.
  • Lack of muscle tone: Poor muscle tone can cause the throat and tongue muscles to become too relaxed during sleep. When this happens, the muscles can collapse, fall back, and obstruct the airway. This condition is more likely to occur in patients who take sedatives such as sleeping pills or those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Enlarged tissues: If you have enlarged tonsils or adenoids, you are more likely to snore. Additionally, patients who are overweight can develop bulky tissues in the throat or around the airway, which can lead to snoring.

How to Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Many people do not realize that a dentist can play a crucial role in snoring prevention. Oftentimes, the first line of defense against snoring is oral appliance therapy.

Similar to a sports mouth guard, a custom appliance fits comfortably over the teeth. Dr. Markham can fabricate a mandibular advancement device (MAD) that will gently move the lower jaw forward into a more favorable position, which will prevent the soft tissues from obstructing the airway.

Many times, these custom guards can also keep the tongue away from the back of the throat as well.

The American Sleep Association (ASA) recommends patients wear a mouthpiece to improve their situation. It's not just about reducing sleep apnea and snoring. Many patients wear these appliances to help with their teeth grinding or Bruxism.

All these problems damage your dental and overall health, so you can be sure our team is invested in helping you find a solution. Considering how useful these devices can be, you might be relieved to know you could get a set without a prescription. Still, is it better to buy an over-the-counter solution or a custom-made appliance?

Custom Vs Store-Bought

There are plenty of pre-made and “boil-and-bite” mouth guard options available. While these can be effective for some patients, they are generally more bulky and cumbersome than a custom snore guard. This model is a one-size-fits-all type of solution. They are relatively inexpensive and widely available in most drugstores.

Stock mouth guards come in various sizes but only for your upper teeth. Their pre-made configuration and set size may prove uncomfortable to many patients as the appliance won't provide a tight fit.

When you have a custom guard crafted at Maidu Dental, it will be made specifically for your oral anatomy. Therefore, it is much more sleek and comfortable than the “one size fits all” options found in stores. This is probably the best option for patients who struggle with sleep apnea and snoring. Besides, many dental insurance plans cover these appliances in full or at least partially.

How to Know if Oral Appliance Therapy is Right For You

Before crafting a custom device for you, Dr. Markham will assess your unique needs during an initial consultation. After examining your teeth, soft tissues, jaw joints, and facial muscles, she will be able to establish whether this treatment will be effective for your situation.

She can work closely with your physician, as well, to personalize a comprehensive plan that will help you improve your sleep quality.

Patients who play active or contact sports will require sturdier options, not to mention that such an appliance will generally help you maintain your teeth in good shape even as some sports accidents happen.

Contact Us Today

Oral appliance therapy is a conservative, simple way to address an aggravating problem. To find out if a custom mouth guard is right for you, schedule a visit with Dr. Markham at our Auburn, CA practice. Call us at (530) 823-8771 or contact us online.

 

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