Snoring is an extremely common problem that interferes with your and your partner’s ability to get enough rest. It may be an indication of an even more serious problem, since snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.
Just about everyone snores occasionally, but when it interferes with the quality of your sleep and leaves you feeling tired during the day, then it may be time for treatment.
What is snoring?
That loud sound that we’re all familiar with is caused when the flow of air from your mouth or nose to your lungs makes nearby tissue vibrate. People who snore a lot often have an excess of throat and nasal tissue that blocks the airway or have “floppy” tissue that’s more likely to vibrate.
Chronic snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that requires medical attention. It’s characterized by repeated episodes of pauses in breathing because of airway narrowing, collapse, or obstruction. This can occur hundreds of times a night and cause your heart to have to work harder.
What are some common causes of snoring?
Snoring and sleep apnea are caused when air isn’t able to flow freely through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. An obstruction causes turbulent airflow that makes soft tissue vibrate, which is what you or your partner are hearing when you snore.
Ongoing sleep apnea, with repeated stops and starts of breathing each night, creates an imbalance between carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream. The body isn’t taking enough oxygen in and isn’t allowing enough carbon dioxide to exit.
Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body to wake up in order to restart the breathing process. The effort to start breathing again often results in a sudden snoring, gasping, or choking sound.
People with sleep apnea are partially awake as they struggle to breathe, even though they may not be awake enough to remember this in the morning. As a result, many people who have sleep apnea aren’t aware that they have a sleeping disorder.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Chronic snoring
- Excessive sleepiness in the daytime, even after you’re spending enough time in bed
- Severe early morning headaches
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sore throat
- Gasping or choking sensation when waking
- Heartburn or a sour taste in your mouth at night
- Memory problems
- Tossing and turning during sleep
What are my treatment options for snoring and sleep apnea?
For many years, the main option for treating snoring and sleep apnea has been the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
However, many patients find the masks and airflow uncomfortable, the machines too noisy, and the entire apparatus to be cumbersome. Many give up on trying to use the machines, making them an ineffective option for long-term relief.
Fortunately, there are a variety of different options available to keep a snorer’s airways open during sleep.
Some of the best alternative options to CPAP including the following types of snoring treatment:
- Custom-made oral appliances – These dental devices can gently coax the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage during sleep. They’re custom-made for each patient and are gentle and easy to wear, allowing patients to avoid unwanted surgeries.
- Oral surgeries – These are more permanent solutions to treat snoring and sleep apnea. One type of surgery involves sectioning the lower jaw and pulling the bone that holds the tongue forward slightly. This type of treatment has an excellent success rate and can eliminate symptoms for good.
Where can I find the best snoring treatment in Boston?
Our Boston Center for Oral Health Diplomate of American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Carmine Morreale, is committed to serving the needs of patients with sleep disorders that can be treated with custom-made oral appliances and snoring mouthpieces. He provides effective, long-lasting sleep apnea and snoring treatment in Boston.
Boston Center for Oral Health will evaluate your symptoms and perform an examination to pinpoint the cause or causes of the airway obstruction that’s causing your snoring and sleep apnea issues. This will allow us to recommend the best sleep apnea and snoring treatment in Boston to help alleviate your symptoms. Our treatments are designed to help you get a better night’s rest while improving your overall well-being.
If you’re suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, schedule an appointment today!