Of all the things you might consider unhealthy habits, snoring isn’t typically one of them. Loud, annoying, and possibly a deal-breaker in some relationships, but most people who snore occasionally don’t rank it as a health risk. For many, however, chronic snoring can have cumulative effects on different aspects of their health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. When it’s severe enough, it can even be just one of several warning signs of a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. At our Lafayette, LA, dental office, we’ve helped many patients overcome snoring and address their chronic sleep apnea with the help of custom-designed sleep appliances.
Not like regular snoring
Snoring comes in all degrees, from minor noises that sound like heavy breathing to raucously loud disturbances that wake everyone in the house. Sleep apnea, which describes the repeated obstruction of your airway while you sleep, causes a distinctive pattern of snoring. The noise grows increasingly louder as your airway becomes more clogged by oral and throat tissues. At its peak, the snoring will stop as the airway becomes completely obstructed. The silence continues for several moments, until your body panics and clears the airway. As you settle into your normal sleep breathing pattern again, the cycle will repeat itself (sometimes, up to hundreds of times a night).
What sleep apnea means
Sleep apnea literally means the cessation of breathing while you sleep, and its impact is much more severe to your health and wellbeing than just a typical snoring habit. For example, snoring and sleep apnea both make it harder for your body to receive the oxygen it needs. This can have a lasting impact on your cardiovascular health if not addressed as soon as possible. In the case of sleep apnea, though, the complete cessation of your breathing means you receive significantly less oxygen throughout the night, while the increasingly loud snoring indicates that your body has to work even harder for the little oxygen it does receive.
Your dentist has a solution
Fortunately, many patients can solve their chronic snoring and/or sleep apnea problems with the help of a custom-made appliance. The appliance will be designed to support your lower jaw in a comfortable, but slightly forward position. This prevents mouth and throat tissues from collapsing into your airway while ensuring the walls of your airway remain open and clear. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and currently rely on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, then a custom sleep appliance could prove to be a more comfortable alternative solution to the CPAP’s machine and mask.
Your snoring could be serious
You may not think it’s a serious issue, but ignore snoring long enough and it might have a bigger impact on your quality of life than you would have expected. To learn more, or to schedule a dental consultation, call the office of Michael J. Young, DDS, in Lafayette, LA, at 337-237-6453. We proudly serve patients who live in Breaux Bridge, Broussard, Scott, Youngsville, and all surrounding communities.