Snoring occurs when the tongue falls into the back of the throat. This narrows the airway and causes air to move quickly through the passage, resulting in the vibration of the uvula (i.e. snoring). Even though light snoring may not be life-threatening it is a significant concern/disturbance/interruption for your significant other. However, if your snoring advances into sleep apnea, that’s when you start getting worried and consult your doctor.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway completely collapses, blocking airflow into the lungs. It is a serious and life threatening condition. When the obstruction remains in place for more than 10 seconds and occurs more than five times per hour, the patient will usually suffer from chronic sleepiness, depression, high blood pressure, strokes, morning headaches and heart attacks due to hypoxia (a low level of oxygen during sleep).
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Sequence:
- Medical assessment by family doctor or sleep specialist, including sleep test.
- Referral and diagnostic reports sent to dentist (for mild to moderate OSA cases).
- Clinical dental examination.
- Fabrication and insertion of OSA appliance (follow up appointments are necessary).
- In severe cases, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or even uvula surgery may be considered.
If referred to our clinic for snoring and sleep apnea problem, Dr. Sunny takes the necessary measures to understand the severity of your case to be able to recommend the proper treatment plan. There’s usually a mouth appliance involved in the treatment of your case, to regulate your bite, your tongue and a smooth airflow. Dr. Yuen, follows up with you to make sure that your mouth piece is effective and that no further intervention is required. If you’re suffering from a severe case of sleep apnea, where a mouth guard is not an efficient treatment option, Dr. Yuen will refer you to a snoring and sleep apnea disorder clinic to further examine your case and take more appropriate measures.