Almost half of adults snore, and the problem can be worse among those who are overweight.
Snoring occurs as a result of a partial obstruction to the free flow of air through the mouth and nose; the sound is made when the uvula and soft palate vibrate as air passes over them. Snoring may get worse when the muscles in the back of the throat are too relaxed, either from drugs designed to bring on sleep or from alcohol consumption. Snoring can be linked to obstructive sleep apnea that has been associated with heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke.
Sleep apnea usually interrupts snoring with a period of silence when no air passes into the lungs. Typically, within a minute, the lack of oxygen and the increase in carbon dioxide awaken the patient and force the airway to open when the patient gasps for air.
Dentists like Dr. Deveaux, who have been trained in sleep medicine, can control snoring and sleep apnea with an oral appliance. CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy is the “gold standard” and preferred method of treatment for sleep apnea; however, some patients find the mask uncomfortable to wear every night and for these people an oral appliance may be the preferred method of treatment.