Sleep apnea – a breathing condition that prevents oxygen intake – may be the culprit. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Headaches in the morning
- Daytime exhaustion
- High blood pressure
- Waking up and choking or gasping for air
- Inability to recall important details/clouded memory
Snoring affects more than 45 million people in the United States and may cause sleep apnea. Dr. Darryl Azouz at Serenity Dental in Rocklin can help.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused by a narrowed airway. When air travels through a constricted airway (instead of a broader one) it moves faster. All of the soft tissues of the throat, such as the tonsils, soft palate, and uvula vibrate as the air quickly moves through the passageway. The vibration is the sound of snoring.
Why would a person have a narrowed airway that causes snoring? Sometimes the reduction in airway diameter is the result of a large tonsils, excessively flabby tissue due to being overweight, or even from a long soft palate or uvula. However, the most common reason for airway narrowing is when the tongue relaxes too much during sleep, which causes the tongue to get sucked back into the airway with every breath. Snoring like this can lead to sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is an obstructive condition where the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow into the lungs. Once this happens, the harder one tries to breathe, the tighter the seal around your airway becomes. When the airway is blocked, the brain and body don't get enough oxygen, which results in the brain alerting the airway to tighten up and unblock the air passage which causes intense sleep disruption. This leads to a process of blocking and unblocking of the airway that causes non-restorative sleep, as well as snoring.
Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can cause:
- Marital and relationship issues: Loud snoring disrupts not only the patient's sleep but the sleep of others in the household. Sleep apnea and the interruption of rest causes frustration, impatience, and anger in even the most solid relationships.
- Loss of productivity at work and home: If you're exhausted, how are you able to focus, do a good job, or accomplish your goals? Sleep apnea can cause loss of productivity and can negatively effect income, relationships, self esteem, and health.
- Vehicular accidents: If you suffer from sleep apnea or snoring, your risk of having an automobile accident is three times greater than the general population. If you or your sleeping partner doesn’t receive enough rest, your risk can increase to seven times that of the general population.
- Heart attack, stroke, or possibly death: There are an estimated 38,000 people in the United States who die each year from the effects of snoring and sleep apnea. Those who suffer from this issue have higher incidents of elevated blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
- Impotence: According to a study by Dr. John P. Mulhall at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 24 out of 30 men suffering from obstructive sleep apnea also suffered from erectile dysfunction.
- Depression: Snoring and sleep apnea may cause depression, due to increased health issues, accidents, relationship discord, and loss of productivity.
Serenity Dental Provides Effective Solutions
The Serenity Dental Team offers a cost-effective, non-invasive solution for sleep apnea and snoring at our Rocklin dental practice. Treatment may include a custom oral appliance worn at night to effectively reduce snoring and sleep apnea. Oral appliances like Silent Night prevent snoring by gently positioning the lower jaw so that the airway stays open, preventing the soft-tissue vibrations that cause snoring. The Serenity Dental team management approach, which includes your primary care physician and sleep specialist, will result in the effective managing of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Dr. Darryl Azouz and the Serenity Dental team in Rocklin will determine the type of intraoral appliance option that will work best to alleviate snoring and sleep apnea and provide the good night's sleep you deserve.