Snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound, due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. In some cases the sound may be soft, but in other cases, it can be loud and unpleasant.
Generally the structures involved are the uvula and soft palate. The irregular airflow is caused by a passageway blockage and is usually due to one of the following:
Throat weakness, causing the throat to close during sleep.
Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in the muscles.
Fat gathering in and around the throat.
Obstruction in the nasal passageway.
Obstructive sleep apnea.
Relaxants such as alcohol or drugs relaxing throat muscles.
Sleeping on one’s back, which may result in the tongue dropping to the back of the mouth.
Snoring during sleep may be a sign, or first alarm, of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).This can be a serious condition and should be checked out by a physician.
With this condition the airway closes completely during sleep ie the person snoring stops breathing intermittently.
Effects of snoring
Snoring is known to cause sleep deprivation to snorers and those around them, as well as daytime drowsiness, irritability,lack offocus and decreased libido. Multiple studies reveal a positive correlation between loud snoring and risk of heart attack and stroke Though snoring is often considered a minor affliction, snorers can sometimes suffer severe impairment of lifestyle. New studies associate loud “snoring” with the development of carotid arteryatherosclerosis the risk of brain damage and of stroke. Researchers hypothesize that loud snoring creates turbulence in carotid artery blood flow closest to the airway. Generally speaking, increased turbulence irritates blood cells and has previously been implicated as a cause of atherosclerosis.
Treatment for snoring
Revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage.
This is the reason snorers are advised to lose weight (to stop fat from pressing on the throat), stop smoking (smoking weakens and clogs the throat) and sleep on their side (to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat)
What can the dentist do
We can fabricate specially made dental appliances called mandibular advancement splints, which advance the lower jaw slightly and thereby pull the tongue forward, create the much needed space in your throat to stop any obstructions thereby treating the snoring and will allow the person to continue breathing peacefully as they sleep.
Mandibular appliances have been proven to be effective in reducing snoring and sleep apnea in cases where the apnea is mild to moderate. Mandibular advancement splints are often tolerated much better than continuous postive airway pressure machines.