Snoring can be a headache for the snorer and the poor snoree, the person subjected to the obnoxious nighttime noise. But there’s more to it than that. Snoring can indicate a condition called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. If your sleeping pal tells you that you hold your breath during sleep; if you wake up suddenly, choking and gasping for air; if you’re irritable, forgetful, and tired all day long, you might have obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
I’m Dr. Peter Pate, a Buckhead Atlanta dentist. While I can provide checkups and dental crowns with the best of ‘em, I also help people stop snoring and overcome sleep apnea. You see, in some cases, obstructive sleep apnea can be corrected with an oral appliance.
When you sleep, soft tissues in your mouth and throat can obstruct airflow. Snoring is actually the sound made when these tissues vibrate while you breathe. Sleep apnea occurs when airflow is completely obstructed for periods of 10 seconds or more, repeatedly during sleep.
In some cases, the soft tissues cause blockage because jaw muscles relax and allow the mandible, or lower jaw, to move slightly backward. Try it now. Push your jaw backward using just your jaw muscles. You can see how airflow is inhibited. Move the jaw forward, and it’s easier to breathe.
I usually recommend the TAP appliance. Some people refer to the appliances as snoreguards or sleep guards. If you snore or exhibit the symptoms I discussed in this article, give me a call. We’ll sit down and talk about your concerns, then discuss how to diagnose and treat snoring and sleep apnea. You deserve to sleep well and enjoy high-quality days. I want to help.