There can be no doubt that snoring is annoying and can keep everyone in a home from getting the sleep they need. But snoring may be a sign of a far more serious problem. If someone in your home snores, even if it is you, contact Schuessler Orthodontics at (405) 939-4068 for your visit with our dentist. Dr. Schuessler and his talented staff can tell you more about our options for snoring treatments in Stillwater, OK.
What Causes Snoring
Snoring is caused by a narrow airway. This narrow airway restricts airflow, which causes the air traveling in it to become turbulent. The turbulence in the air causes the airway to vibrate, which is what we hear as sound.
The vibration can occur at any point in the airway, including the nose, the soft palate, or the throat.
Narrowing in the airway can be caused by many things. Some people will snore only when they have congestion in their nose or throat. Others may have anatomically narrow airways at different points. Inflammation caused by dryness, smoking, or irritation can also cause the airway to narrow.
Narrowing worsens during sleep because the muscles that support the airway relax. Gravity pulls the airway closed when you’re lying down, especially where tissues can sag down, such as the soft palate, tongue, or throat. Narrowing can be worsened by weight gain, which can increase the size of the tongue and add weight to throat, pushing down on the airway.
Dangers of Snoring
Snoring is often thought of as a nuisance or joke, but it can actually have serious consequences. If you snore:
- Neither you nor your partner sleeps well
- You’re not getting enough oxygen during sleep
- You may be at increased risk for stroke
Snoring causes trouble in relationships because neither person is sleeping well. The partner may think the snorer is sleeping soundly, but they are experiencing a chronic oxygen shortage and their snoring may wake them up many times, though they may not know it.
Snoring can increase your risk for stroke. That’s because the vibrations in the throat cause tiny injuries to the arteries in your throat. These injuries scar over, hardening the arteries and collecting clots that can become dislodged and travel to the brain.
Our caring orthodontist and his team understand that many patients (and their partners) find snoring to be a common nighttime annoyance. Snoring is typically caused by obstructions in the airway, such as collapsing tissues in the throat, large tonsils or the tongue rolling back in the throat. As airway muscles relax during sleep, these tissues can narrow the upper airway and result in snoring. To ensure that you and your loved ones can sleep peacefully through the night, our orthodontist may recommend a snoring treatment. Our most common snoring treatment is oral appliance therapy. For this treatment, we will provide you with a custom-made oral appliance, which you wear only while you sleep. The snoring appliance works by ensuring that your airway stays open and free of obstructions while you sleep. This may be accomplished by preventing the tongue from rolling back or holding your jaw in a position that prevents the airway tissues from collapsing. We will make certain that your custom snoring appliance fits effectively and comfortably to minimize snoring and allow you to sleep peacefully.
If you snore frequently, we encourage you to contact our office today to learn more about snoring treatment and schedule your next visit with our dentists. We are eager to care for you!