It’s a bad idea to ignore persistent snoring, and not just because it stops those around you (as well as yourself) from getting a restful night’s sleep. But while others may complain when you are loudly sawing logs every night, snoring throughout the night can harm your health, quality of life and work productivity.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you have a type of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea: the repetitive and intermittent closure of the upper airway while sleeping), this can cause your snoring. OSA happens when the airways to and from the lungs are partially obstructed by the tongue or throat tissue, hampering breathing.
This condition can lead to changes in the nervous system, heart, brain, lungs, your blood circulation and possibly your systemic circulation if left untreated. You might find yourself waking up during the night gasping, feeling like you’re suffocating, or wake up in the morning with a dry mouth and headaches. Another symptom is if you experience excessive daytime drowsiness.
Of the options most commonly used, treatments for this sleep disorder include both continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines or dental devices such as a MAD (mandibular advancement device). A CPAP machine uses a mask that covers the nose (and sometimes the mouth) with tubes to blow air down the throat, but not everyone can tolerate a CPAP. And while uvulopalatopharyngoplasty UPPP is a common surgical procedure for sleep apnea, it can leave you with some scarring in the soft palate.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
A MAD eases the lower jaw forward by altering the position of the jaw, the tongue and other structures of the upper airway. It helps prevent chronic snoring and OSA. Designed to fit in the mouth and molded to your teeth while you sleep, it lessens breathing restrictions in the back of the throat while increasing the size of the upper airway. It is an effective solution to managing mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring.
There are boil and bite, semi-custom and custom MADs available. Boil and bite devices can be found online or at your local pharmacy. Semi-custom devices can be molded and sent out to be fitted, but your best option is investing in a custom dental mandibular advancement device. These offer a close fit and can be refined and refitted for maximum comfort as well as performance. You will want to have periodic checkups to make sure it fits properly.
MADs are especially helpful if you have a low body mass index, can’t tolerate a CPAP or have a high surgical risk. Ultimately, a mandibular advancement device can improve your sleep quality by lowering snoring and respiratory pauses so you can sleep.
Like the CPAP, you will need to keep your MAD clean. While the cleaning method you use needs to deodorize and get rid of germs, your device cleaning method might vary depending on its material. Cleaning can be as simple as brushing with a soft toothbrush and mild toothpaste or soaking in water, mouthwash or a partial denture cleaner.
A mandibular advancement device can be the next healthy step to help you stop snoring. If you are ready for a refreshing night’s sleep, please give our team a call to learn more. We’ll be happy to set you up for a consultation today!