Ray Nunnery, DDS | Dentist in Walnut Creek, CA

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If you feel like you are always waking up exhausted, there might be a medical reason. Sleeping conditions such as snoring, and sleep apnea can get in the way of a good night’s sleep by limiting your oxygen intake as you sleep. So, if you feel like you just can’t seem to get enough sleep, you might need better quality of sleep as opposed to more time sleeping.

What Causes Snoring?

If you snore when you sleep, you are in the same boat as about two thirds of all Americans. The sound of snoring is caused by your tongue and tissues around your sinuses. When air can’t move freely through your mouth and sinuses, it causes these tissues to vibrate as air tires to pass through. The vibration is what creates that rumbling sound that can vary from fairly quiet to loud.
At its least concerning, snoring can be annoying and interfere with your partner’s sleep. On more concerning notes, snoring is a sign that air is not moving freely which could mean that air flow to the lungs is being restricted. Snoring is also linked to sleep apnea, a more serious condition.

Should I Be Worried About Sleep Apnea?

The reason sleep apnea is so concerning is because it restricts the amount of oxygen you get when you are asleep. If you believe sleep apnea is a cause for concern to your health, our dentist can perform an exam.

There are different forms of sleep apnea, the most common being OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea. This is characterized by the back of your throat being obstructed, or blocked, causing you to stop breathing. This causes you to wake up so that you can breathe.  

Health Concerns Related to Sleep Apnea

The sleep disruption that results from sleep apnea can be even more serious. Some studies have shown that it can shorten your lifespan by up to 12 years. The following health conditions can result due to different forms of sleep apnea:
• Abnormal Facial Growth in Children.
• Acid reflux.
• Alzheimers.
• Anxiety.
• Depression.
• Difficulty Controlling Diabetes.
• Headaches and Migraines.
• Heart Attack.
• High Blood Pressure.
• Impotence or Loss of Libido.
• Irritability and Aggressive Behavior.
• Loss of Focus and Memory.
• Stroke.
• Tooth Grinding at Night or Bruxism.
• Unusual Daytime Fatigue.
• Weight Gain.

Why Visit a Dentist for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea begins in the mouth and sinuses. Our dentist is an expert and our team can help you find a treatment that is best for you, so you can get back your restful sleep.
An example of some of the treatments we use:

  1.  Invisalign. Aligning your teeth isn’t just for cosmetic reasons. It changes the position of your entire mouth. This includes the jaw and tongue. Changing the position of your jaw and where your tongue rests in your mouth can open up your airway, and prevent blockage.

  2.  Nasal Breathing Exercises and Decongestants. One of the best ways to treat sleep apnea is by ensuring you get enough oxygen through your nose as opposed to your mouth. Nasal breathing can increase oxygen intake by up to 12%

  3.  Nightlase. This laser procedure shrinks the tissues around your throat to prevent obstructing your airway.

  4.  Oral Obstructive Sleep Apnea Device. This treatment involves a custom dental support that is similar to a mouth guard. Its purpose is to hold your jaw in a position that allows your airways to stay open.

Top 10 Tips On How to Stop Snoring

Snoring and sleep apnea go hand in hand. 67% of Americans snore, and over 80% of these Americans are affected by sleep apnea.
We’ve compiled a list of things you can do to get your snoring under control.

  1.  Nightlase
    One of the most successful treatments for snoring is Nightlase™ Laser Snoring Therapy. This is a nonsurgical procedure using a laser to tighten and shrink the soft tissues in your mouth. This allows your airways to open and remain open during sleep. Unlike CPAP machines which only help you breathe better when the machine is in us, Nightlase™ provides ongoing relief.

  2.  Anti-Snoring/ Sleep Apnea Devices
    Devices used for snoring and sleep apnea should be custom fitted and made by an expert. One-size-fits-all devices can cause pain or damage to your bite.

  3.  Invisalign®
    Aligning your teeth isn’t just for cosmetic reasons. It changes the position of your entire mouth. This includes the jaw and tongue. Changing the position of your jaw and where your tongue rests in your mouth can open up your airway, and prevent blockage.
  4.  Surgery
    Depending on the severity and specific cause of your snoring or sleep apnea, surgery treatments might be the best option for your case. A surgeon can change the structure of your nasal passages and sinuses allowing you breath better.

  5.  CPAP Machine
    A CPAP machine, short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, supplies oxygen through a sleep apnea mask through the night. While effective, the CPAP machine is often uncomfortable and many patients choose not to wear them, opting for other snoring aids and sleep apnea treatments instead.

  6. Change Sleeping Positions
    For some patients simply changing their sleeping position can dramatically help their breathing while asleep. If your snoring or sleep apnea is being caused by the back of your throat being obstructed or blocked when you lay on your back, turning onto your side can help alleviate the blockage.

  7. Change Your Habits/ Lifestyle
    Some habits that could be affecting your sleep include drinking enough water, limiting alcohol consumption two hours before bed, not taking sedatives, quitting smoking, and losing weight.

  8. Treat Allergies
    One contributing factor to your snoring could be mucus build up in the sinuses limiting airflow. This can be reduced by decongestants to make breathing easier.

  9.  Nasal Strips/ Nasal Dilator
    Breathing through your nose could increase your oxygen intake by up to 12%. This is why a nasal strip or nasal dilator can help lower your risk of sleep apnea by 3 times

  10. Sleep Apnea Pillows
    A pillow specifically designed for sleep apnea could help to hold your head in the proper angle and elevation to fight gravity and allow for better airflow.
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