Snoring is a common condition that people of all ages often experience. In fact, The Sleep Foundation estimates that it affects 57% of men and 40% of women in the U.S. Essentially, snoring is a hoarse sound that occurs due to tissue vibrations as you breathe.
While some people snore every once in a while, others do so on a regular basis. In many cases, snoring is correlated to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you have OSA, your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while you sleep and interferes with your quality of life.
There are other conditions and factors in addition to OSA that may lead to snoring. Some of these include excessive alcohol consumption, nasal problems, sleep deprivation, and sleep position. If you’re a man, overweight or obese, have a narrow airway, or have a family history of OSA, you may be at a higher risk for snoring.
If you are a chronic snorer, a mouthguard may be the ultimate solution. Mouthguards are specifically designed to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching while you sleep. They can also protect you from injuries when you exercise and play sports. In recent years, many dentists have prescribed them to help with snoring.
Most snoring mouthguards are custom made for your unique teeth and jaw structure. If a dentist prescribes a mouthguard for snoring, you can expect them to make an impression of your mouth and send it off to a company or sleep dental professional who will manufacture it. It’s unlikely that they’ll tell you to purchase one over-the-counter.
When you wear a mouthguard, you’ll find that it moves your jaw to help separate the tissue that vibrates when you breathe in or out. The mouthguard should fit snugly but comfortably support your upper and lower teeth. This way it’ll move your lower jaw and tongue forward and keep it from obstructing your airway.
At first, the mouthguard may feel strange in your mouth. Fortunately, you’ll be able to get used to it fairly quickly. Once you notice that it’s working and offers a better night’s sleep as well as greater energy during the day, you’ll be glad to wear your mouthguard every evening. Remember, a mouthguard and Invisalign are not the same thing. Our friends and Midlothian orthodontists at RVO explain they are often asked if Invisalign can be substituted for a mouthguard; they cannot.
If a mouthguard does not do its job and improve your snoring, rest assured there are other options that can help. A CPAP machine may be a good idea if your snoring is the result of OSA. It delivers oxygenated air into your airways via a mask and tube. This can help you breathe more easily while you sleep.
In the event you’re overweight or obese, a dentist may suggest that you diet and exercise to lose some weight and naturally resolve your snoring issue. Surgery is usually a last resort and only performed if conservative measures don’t work. It can remove any sagging tissue that blocks your airways as you sleep. Our Pensacola Orthodontist friend, Dr. Clay Sims has worked with many patients in an effort to improve sleeping. Remember that not one size fits all to a solution for sleep apnea or a blocked airway.
If your snoring has interfered with your quality of life, don’t hesitate to contact River Run Dental today to learn more about how a mouthguard can help. You can call us at 804-335-0228. We look forward to hearing from you! We have offices in Midlothian, Richmond and Short Pump.