Snoring affects millions of people of all ages, both male and female. Approximately one in seven North Americans have a chronic sleep disorder. Oral appliance therapy is the most common treatment for the most severe snoring problems. Treatment procedures range from changing your sleep patterns to utilizing orthodontic-related appliances that help open the airways during sleep.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused by the vibrations of your soft and/or hard tissue palates; these vibrations occur because of increasingly narrow air passages. When air passes through these passages, a “flapping” sound occurs because the tissue is soft in nature. Surgery (to alleviate the snoring) is not always successful, however, because the sound may not originate from the soft palate; the snoring sometimes originates from tissues in the upper airway.
Common risk factors for snoring:
- Health Problems
- Obstructed Nasal Passages – Deviated Septum
- Poor Muscle Tone of the Tongue
- Daytime Fatigue
- Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of apnea. In all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer.Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the most common is usually caused when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep.
With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.
Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children.
Fatigue, day time sleepiness, irritability, depression, headaches, impotence, high blood pressure and motor vehicle accidents are risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea.
Treatment options for sleep apnea include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), oral appliances, and surgery. Your medical doctor will recommend the treatment of choice based on your sleep studies.
The Best in Oral Appliances
A mouthpiece, sometimes called an oral appliance, does not cure Obstructive Sleep Apnea however it may help in preventing the apnea and/or snoring from occurring during sleep. Two thirds of the patients report a significant improvement using oral appliances.
A dentist/orthodontist is the best person in delivering oral appliances to the patients because they can monitor the changes that occur to the dentition. Furthermore, they can fabricate an appliance that will fit most comfortably and therefore, is used more regularly for ideal results.
The appliances of choice in our office are the Klearway™ and SomnoMed™ appliance. These appliances are reported to be one of the most effective appliances since they allow for progressive activation. This is significant because it allows a period of getting used to for comfort as well as being able to achieve the most possible advancement of the lower jaw for maximum results.
Our Consultation Phase
During the initial consultation and examination with the orthodontist, the use of the oral appliance and procedures involved during the follow-up visits will be discussed.
After four months of appliance wear you will be referred back to your medical doctor for follow-up sleep study to assess the effectiveness of the appliance.
What to Expect During a Consultation
- An initial consultation appointment with the orthodontist to discuss the use of Oral appliances for Sleep Apnea.
- A records appointment to take radiographs, molds of the teeth and bite registration to fabricate the appliance.
- Insertion of the appliance appointment within 2-4 weeks. Instructions regarding appropriate appliance wear.
- Regular follow up appointments to improve fit and effectiveness of the appliance.
- Four months later, an appointment to go back to your medical doctor for a follow-up sleep study.
- One year later, a follow-up appointment for the assessment of symptoms, appliance wear and dental occlusion.
Don’t hesitate to speak with Dr. Shojaei about any concerns you may have with your sleeping.