Does Snoring Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?

Snoring Therapy

Half the adults in the world snore and ten percent or more children nationwide snore on most nights. These people couldn’t all have a serious health condition…could they?

Snoring is the harsh noise that occurs when air passing through the back of the mouth is blocked to some degree. As you sleep, the throat tissues relax and upon breathing, these tissues start to vibrate, causing that irritating sound we know as “snoring”.

Snoring is not cute

Snoring varies from light, tolerable, even “cute” noises in children to absolutely annoying sounds that can be a severe nuisance to a partner or family member.

What causes snoring?

Several conditions can contribute to snoring. One common cause of snoring is allergies and sinus issues. Air cannot properly flow through inflamed or congested nasals. Another cause of snoring is the palate size. People with thick, soft palates have narrow airways, thus leading to snoring.

Watch alcohol and prescription meds

Some alcohol and prescription medications can temporarily cause snoring. Such items relax throat muscles so much that snoring occurs while the person is sleeping. Sometimes snoring will cease after the person stops drinking or taking the medication.

The element that separates sleep apnea-associated snoring from normal snoring is breathing cessation. If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing for a few seconds, and then resume breathing with a loud snoring sound or a choking sound. The breathing pauses can occur more than 30 times in an hour!

Additionally, you may stop snoring for a brief amount of time, and then start up again. There are various types of sleep apneas. Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed more in people who are overweight. Children who have large tonsils also have a tendency to develop the condition.

What to do about snoring

A person who is diagnosed with sleep apnea can take several avenues to treat it. First, they can try to change lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking. If those actions do not bring about any changes, then the person can try some devices that may help. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a mask device that allows more air to enter the nose. Patients can also visit a dental sleep specialist to adjust the device to its maximum effect.

What does sleep apnea treatment have to do with dentistry? Many of my patients who suffer from sleep apnea use oral appliance therapy which is offered at our dentist office in Chicago. With this therapy, we can help minimize or eliminate sleep apnea symptoms.

When all else fails, a dental sleep specialist may recommend surgery to correct the problem. Those seeking to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea can contact our dental office today.