Snoring is a problem that affects 67% of adults by the age of 40. It is conservatively estimated that 100 million people in the United States snore every night. Snoring can cause disrupted sleep for both snorers and their sleeping partners and it can lead to serious health problems.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow into the lungs. This airway blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body. When that happens, the brain alerts the muscles in the airway to tighten up and unblock the air passage. This leads to a process of blocking and unblocking of the airway that causes significant disruption of sleep.
The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping or choking at night
- Significant daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
Sleep apnea is a health problem that can be associated with high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke. It is important for patients to see a physician or a sleep disorder specialist if they are experiencing snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Oral Appliance Therapy
An oral appliance is a small, custom-made, acrylic device that fits over the upper and lower teeth or tongue (similar to an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard). This device slightly advances the lower jaw or tongue, which moves the base of the tongue forward and opens the airway. This improves breathing and reduces snoring and apnea. The appliance is fabricated and customized for each patient by Dr. Mirci, who is experienced in the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The appliance is usually well tolerated by patients. This treatment is most effective for people with snoring and mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, but certain cases of severe sleep apnea can also be successfully treated. The appliance can also be used with SPAP to decrease the air pressure.
Further Education & Reading
Instructions for your At-Home Sleep Study
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
By Dr. Murray Johns