Snoring & Sleep Apnoea

Snoring can sometimes be an indicator of a bigger problem such as obstructive sleep apnea. The narrowing of the air passage characterises sleep apnea which causes breathing pauses of more than ten seconds at a time. When you breathe, the relaxed tissues may vibrate which makes a loud noise, known as snoring. Regular snoring partially blocks your airway but does not cause any significant breathing problems. So this is very different and should not be minimised to regular snoring.

People who snore may suffer from a few things:

Obstructed nasal airways

A deformity of the wall that separates one nostril can be one of the causes of the obstruction. Other temporary causes are hay fever or a blocked nose at the beginning of the spring season and pollination period.

Long soft palate

A long, more narrow opening from the nose into the throat acts as a noisy flutter valve during relaxed breathing during sleep.

Excessive bulkiness of throat tissue

Cysts and tumours are rare causes of a narrowing breathing passage, but being overweight is more common; excess soft tissue in the neck is often responsible for airway narrowing.

Symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Noticeable episodes of breath pauses
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • History of a stroke

Snoring can have detrimental effects -not only on your relationship with your partner, but more importantly on your health. Help is not far away. A simple device supplied by your dentist can help combat the condition instantaneously.

We at The Umhlanga Dentist can now assist you in treating your sleep apnoea and snoring through the use of an intra-oral appliance called the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD).

These appliances look similar to a mouth guard. They are worn at night and simply ease the lower jaw forwards which prevent the upper airway from collapsing while sleeping.

Studies have determined these devices predominantly increase the volume of the airway reducing both snoring and sleep apnoea.

The treatment involves taking impressions of your teeth. These impressions are then sent to a lab where the device is fabricated. At the next appointment the device is fitted in the mouth. This treatment takes a total of two appointments if other treatment isn’t required.