Snoring can be more than just noise, it can be a serious health issue. If you are experiencing daytime sleepiness, chronic fatigue, morning headache, irritability, impaired memory and judgment and mood disturbance, more than sound may be disturbing you. Loud snoring can be a signal that something is seriously wrong with your breathing during sleep. Excessive snoring may indicate obstructive sleep apnea, a condition caused by obstruction near the base of the tongue.
Sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing for periods of time, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. When you stop breathing, your brain wakes you up to save your life. This constant cessation of breath and consequent waking can have a devastating effect on health. People suffering from sleep apnea are rarely aware of having difficulty breathing. Usually it is first recognized by someone observing an episode. Other times it is diagnosed or suspected because of the lingering effects on the body. Many people begin to feel that the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance is normal! Sleep apnea can be confirmed with a sleep study that can tell us the severity of the problem.
The good news is that there are several ways to treat sleep apnea. Many patient's have CPAP's, which are a mask that forces air into the airway. However, the better news is that there are also dental appliances which are called mandibular advancement devices used to treat sleep apnea and snoring. These can be fabricated by dentists with special training in sleep disorders and sleep apnea. These appliances when correctly fabricated are much more comfortable and tolerable than using a CPAP.
If you have any questions or concerns about snoring or sleep apnea appliances, please feel free to call our office, 713-668-2289.
Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF