Snoring / Sleep Apnea

Snoring is more than a social nuisance; it is the first indication of a far more dangerous disorder: Sleep Apnea. Snoring, although usually associated with someone who has sleep apnea, is not necessary for someone to have in order for them to stop breathing. The opposite however is not true; if someone is snoring they most likely have a sleep related breathing disorder or will develop one in the near future. Sleep apnea is characterized by stoppages in breathing during sleep, which is accompanied by loud, habitual snoring. Nighttime sleep is disrupted by this cessation in breathing that can last for 10 seconds or longer, often leaving the individual sleepy during the daytime. Sleep apnea can be mild or severe, depending on the length and frequency of stoppages in breathing while asleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea leads to impaired daytime functioning, high blood pressure, heart failure, and possibly stroke.

Oral appliances, sometimes called dental appliances, are intended to treat apnea by keeping the airway open in one of three ways: by pushing the lower jaw forward (a mandibular advancement device or MAD), by preventing the tongue from falling back over the airway (a tongue-retaining device), or by combining both mechanisms. Oral appliances are typically more effective for people with mild sleep apnea and for non-obese people but can, for some, be effective for moderate and severe sleep apnea. The most common type of oral appliance, a MAD is often adjustable so that the dentist can move the jaw further or reduce the advancement as necessary. The goal is to find the most comfortable and effective position for the patient.

For more information about sleep apnea,