Recent polls show that over 80 million people in North America suffer from regular snoring. The habit can develop owing to structural discrepancies in the mouth, obesity, other health complications or a combination of these. Although snoring is not itself life-threatening, it can be annoying as it affects the quality of sleep of the individual and his/her bed partner, and may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is indeed a life threatening condition.
Most Common Reasons for Snoring
Snoring is typically caused by narrowed airway passages. The muscles and soft tissues of the mouth are too relaxed and obstruct the flow of air through the mouth and nose. The breathing process is labored, and results in vibrations of the respiratory structures including uvula, tongue and cheeks. Other causes for snoring may include the following:
• Overweight or obesity
• Excessive alcohol intake
• Certain medications
• Sleep Apnea
• Throat weakness
• Misaligned jaws due to trauma
• Extreme stress
• Sleeping on the back causing the tongue to drop down during sleep
Methods to Correct Snoring
Patients, who experience chronic snoring, may benefit from mandibular advancement device (MAD) also often referred to as night guards. The appliance is made of durable plastic and allows the patient to breathe easily during sleep. It is typically fitted over the lower arch of the teeth, and is designed to widen the passageway, permitting the free flow of air.
Some patients may experience slight discomfort for the first few nights as they become accustomed to the new device. The feeling is temporary, and it typically diminishes over a short period of time. Patients, who suffer from persistent allergies and congestion, often report improvement while using the night guard. Sleep deprivation is reduced resulting in increased energy throughout the day and decreased irritability. MAD is comfortable to wear and most patients are able to tolerate the treatment well.
An appointment can be scheduled at the convenience of the patient to evaluate and construct MAD specifically tailored to the patient’s needs. Preliminary impressions or study models may be taken at the time of visit to further determine the necessity of the device and to help with creating a proper treatment plan. Each patient is educated about the use and correct care of their night guard.
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