Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring? Sleep Apnea? Sleeping in Separate Bedrooms? Have a CPAP sitting in the Closet?

We would like to thank Lauren B. for this month’s question: “Is there anything that could help my husband’s snoring?” Lauren will be receiving a complimentary exam, digital x-rays, and teeth whitening at Kaufman Dentistry for her question.

First off, lets talk about what causes snoring and why it should be treated. Snoring occurs, in both men and women, when the tongue relaxes to the back of the throat and vibrates during breathing. These vibrations cause the noise we associate with snoring.

Though it might seem like more of a nuisance than a health problem, snoring can significantly affect the snorer’s quality of life. Snoring can prevent both the snorer and his partner from getting a good night’s sleep, and lack of quality sleep can cause daytime problems. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that 52% of car accidents are caused by driver fatigue. People who snore may not even notice that they aren’t sleeping well, yet they may notice being tired throughout the day.

Snoring can also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that can range from mild to severe. When a patient has sleep apnea, his tongue completely blocks his airway. The patient actually stops breathing for periods of seconds to minutes, depriving the brain and body of oxygen. This potentially very dangerous disorder has been linked to other conditions including high blood pressure, heartburn, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, uncontrollable weight gain, dental destruction, and impotence.  A simple home sleeping test through our practice can be utilized to determine whether a patient has sleep apnea and the best way to treat it.

Fortunately, snoring can often be treated rather simply and non-surgically. The most popular way to treat snoring is the mandibular advancement splint (MAS). This device is similar to a mouthguard, and it usually can be made in just a few appointments. With these devices, Kaufman Dentistry has had great success in reducing or eliminating snoring.

This same mouthguard-like device can be used to treat many cases of sleep apnea. For more severe cases, a continuous positive air pressure machine, or CPAP, may be used. The CPAP is a machine that blows air into the nose and prevents the airway from closing. Unfortunately, many people find it uncomfortable to sleep with a CPAP machine and they discontinue using it. Thankfully, many of these patients can often times get great relief with an oral device.

If you or a family member is having issues with snoring or daytime tiredness, please schedule an appointment with Kaufman Dentistry. Our experienced dentists have undergone specialized training on this topic, and many PPO medical insurances partially or completely cover the exam, the sleep test, and the oral device. No one should sleep poorly due to a treatable disorder. To schedule an appointment at our Culver City office, please call Kaufman Dentistry at (310) 838-7780.