While snoring in Owen’s Cross Roads, AL is one of the main signs of sleep apnea, you aren’t guaranteed to have sleep apnea if you snore. But regardless of whether it’s induced by sleep apnea or not, snoring can be disruptive and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. And it can impact the sleep of your partner, roommate, or other people in the household as well.
Dr. Elizabeth Duling offers Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) for patients suffering from snoring and sleep apnea. If you or your partner notice that you’ve been snoring, it’s time to come in for an evaluation. Even if your snoring isn’t caused by sleep apnea, an oral appliance can be beneficial for controlling your snoring.
Why Am I Snoring?
There’s a very small difference between just snoring and having sleep apnea. Both things are caused by the soft tissues in the back of your throat. This tissue causes your airway to be partially blocked. Breathing vibrates these soft tissues, which is what causes the sound of snoring that you’re used to hearing.
For a long time, snoring was just thought of as a domestic issue. Popular culture has joked about it and the other partner is the victim, having to sleep on the couch because of the sound of the snoring. But now, it’s much less likely to be something used as a joke. Snoring can be a sign of a serious disorder.
The severity of snoring occurs on a scale. It can be a very slight vibration of your tissue all the way to full-on death by asphyxiation. In between these two are many variations. Lesser snoring is towards the non-severe end, and towards the other side, it’s what’s called apnea. Apnea is what we call periods of complete closure of your airway.
Why Can Snoring Be Dangerous?
The reason snoring is so dangerous is that, even at its mildest, part of your airway is being blocked. Muscles and tissue in the back of your throat relax when you’re sleeping, making your airway smaller. The vibration of these parts is what causes the sound of snoring.
The more relaxation of your muscles there is, the smaller the airway becomes. Various pitches of snoring can occur as well. When your airway is smaller, the movement of air speeds up, causing different pitches of sound.
When sleep apnea occurs, it’s because the throat tissue is completely relaxed and fully closes off your airway for periods of time. Your tongue may relax enough to touch the back of your throat. Periods of silence correspond with this because your airway is completely blocked.
Your body then panics, realizing that you can’t breathe. The body arouses itself, but you don’t fully awake. You simply fall into a period of less-deep sleep, which is why your sleep quality is so harmed by sleep apnea. In sleep apnea patients, these occurrences can happen 40-60 times per hour!
At this level, you’re suffering from severely disrupted sleep. Your overall quality of life deteriorates. Serious health problems can develop, like heart attacks, strokes, or high blood pressure. You’re at more risk just going about your daily life as well. You’re more likely to fall asleep at inopportune times, like when you’re driving.
The way you feel throughout the day is one of the better indications of whether your snoring is serious. If you’re exhibiting sleep apnea symptoms like frequent headaches upon waking, depression and irritability, and feeling tired even when you’ve had a full night of sleep, you should talk to your dentist about the possibility of sleep apnea.
Treating Snoring With Dr. Duling
Whether it’s mild snoring or sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy can help. Talk with Dr. Duling about your symptoms and see whether oral appliance therapy is right for you. Call us or schedule an appointment online to get started.