Snoring & Sleep Apnea: How They are Connected

Posted on: January 3, 2017

Sleep ApneaAs sleep specialists, our Chevy Chase dental office can help you with snoring & sleep apnea.  If this is something that you struggle with, it can be incredibly inconvenient. Snoring poses a problem since it can cause you to wake yourself up at night, preventing you from getting necessary rest.  It can also cause problems with a partner, forcing them to wear ear plugs or even sleep in another room.  Even if snoring does not particularly bother you, it can negatively impact your partner’s sleep, your relationship and quality of life.  This makes it an important condition to address, regardless of how trivial it may seem.

The connection between snoring & sleep apnea

If you snore, it is important to consider why you snore.  As with most things, there is a trigger and for many patients that trigger is obstructive sleep apnea.  This is a condition where the lower jaw falls backwards at night due to a lack of muscle strength.  As the jaw falls backwards, the tongue goes with it. The result is that the tongue will block your airway as you sleep.  Since the body needs oxygen, it responds by doing whatever it can to move the tongue out of the way.  This can create snoring and choking sounds.  This is completely different than the snoring that is caused by a sinus infection or annual cold.  While upper respiratory infections do cause snoring, this is temporary and should go away as soon as you feel better. The snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea will not go away unless you treat the condition by keeping your airways clear while you sleep.

How we treat snoring & sleep apnea –

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to treat obstructive sleep apnea so that you can stop snoring and start sleeping better at night.  If your partner has been complaining, do not ignore their request.  We have a non-invasive, comfortable, and simple method to solve the problem that will allow both of you to sleep better.  All you need to do is to schedule a consultation so that our Chevy Chase dental office can examine you and set you up with an at-home sleep study.  We will give you a small machine to take home along with instructions on how to hook it up so that we can get a report of how well you are or are not sleeping at night.  This is a more relaxing way to complete the test since you can do it from the comfort of your own home.  The next day, you will need to bring the results back so that we can review them and determine if you do indeed have sleep apnea.  If the test is positive, we will make an impression of your mouth and take measurements.  This information will then be sent to the lab so that a removable oral appliance can be created.  This device is small like a retainer and needs to be worn at night.  Unlike a bulky and loud CPAP machine, an oral appliance can fit in your pocket and does not make any noise, making it incredibly discreet.  It will hold your jaw in the forward position and, as a result, you can sleep better without the snoring.


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