Snoring can be a warning sign that normal breathing is not taking place during sleep. The actual snoring sound is produced from the vibration of the soft palate and sides of the throat when the air rushes against them. The sound of snoring occurs when the airway collapses and the muscles fail to maintain their normal function.
Snoring may be indicative of sleep apnea, a cessation of breathing during sleep, which can put a great strain on the cardiovascular system. Sleep apnea, left untreated, increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Besides snoring, other common symptoms of sleep apnea include morning headaches, dry mouth and throat, excessive daytime sleepiness sudden short-of-breath awakenings, and a loss of interest in sex.
Once diagnosed, snoring and sleep apnea can be treated several ways:
- Oral Appliance Approach. A dental appliance is made to wear during sleep that gently moves the lower jaw forward causing a positive change in tongue position. While many appliances are available to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, only Dr. Geare can properly select and fit the type of appliance that you need.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. An air compressor and mask delivers pressurized air through the nose while you sleep. This opens up the airway from the inside – as if the air were an internal splint.
- Surgery. Surgery is the most invasive method of treatment and is performed only in cases of severe obstruction when excessive tissue reduces the airway space.
If you experience any symptoms associated with snoring or sleep apnea, consult with Dr. Geare. They can work closely with the diagnosing physician to implement and manage the prescribed therapy.