Dr. Jared Waite’s top priority is helping you achieve your best smile. He recognizes that your optimal dental health is a collaborative effort between himself, the Dental Care Team and you. He strives to provide comprehensive preventative, restorative …READ MORE >
Snoring is one of the signs of a more serious sleep disorder. Snoring is the harsh sound you hear when a snorer inhales during sleep. The noise occurs when the soft palate and uvula vibrate against the back of the throat or the base of the tongue.
As you fall asleep, the soft tissues at the back of the throat, the muscles that line the airway, and the tongue muscle all relax. As this occurs, the tongue drops back into the airway which causes it to narrow. As air passes through this narrower airway, it moves faster and causes the tissues to vibrate against each other, which creates a rattling or snoring sound.
Chronic snoring itself may actually be a cause of some cases of sleep apnea. Over time the vibration and the increased pressure against the upper airways as snoring people inhale may cause the soft palate to lengthen. This stretched palate is more prone to collapse and obstruction.
The most common form of sleep spnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. This leads to partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing that last at least 10 seconds during sleep. Most pauses last between 10 and 30 seconds, but some may persist for one minute or longer.
The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by alerting the body, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. This pattern can occur hundreds of times in one night. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often produces an excessive level of daytime sleepiness.
Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They then make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when their airway reopens.
While you are awake, you actively maintain an open air passage so you can breathe easily. During sleep, these structures relax. For non-snorers, the airway stays clear so air can move easily into the lungs. But for snorers, this is not the case, and it can have a significant impact on their sleep.
The sleep solutions we recommend are based on keeping the airway open with our custom oral dental appliances. These dental appliances reposition the tongue and lower jaw forward during sleep to maintain an open airway. Dr. Waite is trained in dental sleep medicine and knows how to select, fabricate, fit, and adjust these devices, which look like mouth guards, to help patients breathe freely during sleep. Follow-up visits and post-adjustment sleep studies help Dr. Waite determine if the dental appliance is effectively treating his patients’ sleep apnea.
Many people find it difficult to speak with their bed partner about snoring and sleep apnea. People who snore often have guilt about the noise they make at night. This should be addressed in an open and positive way. This may be a sensitive topic. The snorer may be defensive with emotions of guilt or denial. Remember, you’re having this discussion because you care enough about them to work through this issue so that you can return to happily sharing a bed in a pleasant way that strengthens your relationship.
Discussing snoring with a bed partner can be a difficult task. A person with sleep apnea may be particularly difficult to speak to because moodiness, irritability, and fatigue are the side effects of their sleep disorder. In some cases, the issues have such strong emotions attached that moving past these feelings can be a challenging task. In these situations, patients should not be shy about seeking help of a psycholologist, relationship counselor, or a psychiatric specialist.
Life before the sleep appliance, I was tired all the time. I was never rested. Plus, I had to sleep in separate rooms from my wife Now, I wake up in the morning refreshed. I feel more alert and rested. My wife and I now sleep together which is a good things for us.