The temporomandibular joints (commonly abbreviated as TMJ) are the two joints connecting the jawbone to the skull. While healthy TMJ will work painlessly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 10 million Americans suffer from some kind of TMJ disorder. A dentist can often successfully treat TMJ pain with treatments either…
Why Is a Snoring Treatment Necessary?
When there is an obstruction in the airway during sleep that results in loud sounds, snoring treatment from a dentist may be beneficial. Nearly everyone snores at some point, but for some individuals, it is a chronic problem. Although surgery may be recommended for severe cases, there are also oral devices that can reduce the disruptive sound and help you and your partner sleep better.
Signs of a sleep disorder
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder, characterized by deep snores followed by periods when breathing stops or nearly stops, which may cause sleepers to wake up with a gasp. When this breathing pattern occurs throughout the night, sleep is light and sporadic. Additional symptoms include the following:
- Chest pain in the middle of the night
- Waking in the morning with a sore throat or headache
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Chronic nasal conditions
Doctors may wish to speak with an individual, such as a partner or parent, if the issue occurs in children. Questions may include whether breathing stops at night or if there are behavioral problems at school.
Causes of snoring
There are four stages of sleep in each cycle, and most people go through four or five cycles per night. During the deeper sleep stages, soft tissues in the upper respiratory tract may vibrate, causing loud sounds. The anatomy of an individual’s mouth may also contribute to snoring. In the upper airway, the adenoids, nasal septum, tonsils, uvula, inferior nasal turbinates or base of the tongue may cause blockages.
Sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption before bedtime can also contribute to snoring, as both result in the throat muscles relaxing to the point that airways are obstructed.
Methods of diagnosis
In addition to reviewing the signs and symptoms, the doctor may request an imaging test. Thanks to technology, there are several options available. Computerized tomography, MRIs and x-rays can be used to check the structure of the airways for issues, such as a deviated septum.
Participation in a sleep study may also be recommended. Depending on the snoring severity, some studies may be conducted at home. In polysomnography, individuals are connected to a variety of sensors and observed overnight.
Devices for snoring treatment
Poor sleep impacts all aspects of a person’s health and daily life. OSA is a risk factor for stroke and cardiac disease. A dentist may recommend oral appliance therapy as a treatment for individuals with mild to moderate OSA.
Worn when sleeping, a mandibular advancement device fits like an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard. It supports the jaw, keeping in a forward position to help maintain open upper airways. This type of device is custom made to fit each patient’s mouth and is especially beneficial for back sleepers.
A continuous positive airway pressure machine blows air down a patient’s throat with continuous pressure, keeping the airways open during sleep. This device consists of a mask that fits over the mouth and nose, a motor that blows the air and a tube that connects the two components.
Before trying oral devices or conducting sleep studies for snoring treatment, a doctor may recommend lifestyle changes. These may include losing weight, changing sleeping positions and reducing sedatives.
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Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that is treated using oral appliance therapy. It occurs when your regular breathing is interrupted when you are sleeping. Sleep apnea affects people of all ages. If a person does not seek treatment for the condition, it can lead to several health problems, including high blood pressure, heart…
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