How is snoring caused?
Snoring is caused by soft tissues vibrating in the upper air passage. While you sleep relaxation of the muscles in the airway causes a bottleneck to form, and can even lead to the airways becoming completely obstructed. In response to this the body increases the air velocity, which leads to vibration of the soft tissues and the sound of snoring.
According to research, approximately 40% of the population snore. The percentage of people who snore jumps up to 60% for men aged 60 and over, while other factors which can lead to snoring include alcohol consumption and obesity.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a medical disorder in which the sufferer will gasp and struggle for breath at times when they sleep. Other symptoms include drowsiness during the day or feeling as though you have not had a proper night’s sleep. In cases of sleep apnoea there is the option of anti-snoring devices.
If you suspect you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea you should consult a medical practitioner, after which you may then be referred to a sleep clinic for investigation. An important point to note is that all sufferers of sleep apnoea will snore, but not all snorers will have sleep apnoea.
What anti-snoring treatment is available?
Snoring can be prevented by wearing an oral appliance at night, which can be custom-made by your dentist. It will be made of two fine plastic sections which are linked by two connecting devices. They are fitted over the lower and upper teeth and the connectors lightly maintain the forward position of the lower jaw. Any time the mouth opens the lower jaw will be pulled further forward.
Is the device suitable for anyone?
This appliance will not be suitable for those who have few or no natural teeth. You should consult your dentist for advice on what would be appropriate for your situation.
How does the treatment work?
- You (and possibly your partner) will be given a questionnaire to complete by the dentist, who will then mould impressions of your lower and upper tooth arches
- The device can then be custom-built to suit your mouth. The appliance will take roughly two weeks to be constructed and will then be fitted by your dentist
- Initially, you will need to wear the device every night for about a week to eliminate the sound of snoring
- If the noise has not gone after this time you should return the device to your dentist for adjustments to be made
According to statistics, the device will completely eradicate snoring in 62% of cases. Unfortunately, in the remainder of cases it will merely reduce the sound or will not work at all.
Will the device require maintenance?
Regular maintenance of the appliance is required, although the number of appointments will vary from person to person. One factor which can affect the amount of maintenance required is grinding your teeth at night (bruxism).
Will it come with a warranty?
You should ask your dentist if your appliance will come with a warranty—some of them will come with a six months warranty for servicing and repair.