When we sleep, the muscles in our throat and mouth relax from all the work they do while awake. This can cause the airway to narrow or even close altogether, creating vibrations or noise while breathing. This is called snoring.
Bruxism can also cause snoring, leading to jaw clenching and relaxation of the facial and neck muscles. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to TMJ disorder and other symptoms of oral discomfort like teeth grinding and facial pain.
This may be a sign of a more significant problem, such as sleep apnea, which occurs when there is an obstruction in the air passage during sleep. Sleep apnea can affect a person’s long-term health and should be evaluated by a professional. If you have snoring issues, schedule an appointment for an evaluation with our dentist at T. Kirk Crane, DDS, as soon as possible.
The Causes of Snoring
In general, snoring is caused when the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses during sleep and blocks your breathing passages. This can be caused by various reasons, including excess body weight, drinking alcohol before bed, and your sleeping position.
One study found that overweight individuals and individuals who were taking certain medications were more likely to snore. In addition to making different lifestyle changes to address the underlying causes of sleep apnea-related snoring, you can also schedule a consultation with our dentist to see if oral appliance therapy could be an option for you.
Treatments for Snoring
There are several treatments for snoring, including mouthguards, laser snoring treatment, and surgery to remove tissue.
Mouthguards are made from molded plastic and prevent the tongue from blocking the throat. Custom-made oral appliances work to reduce snoring by moving the jaw forward during sleep. This opens the airway and prevents tissue from blocking it when the muscles relax while sleeping. These devices are customized to ensure a comfortable fit and can give you a good night’s sleep. A custom mouthguard can also treat teeth grinding and clenching.
Laser snore treatment is a medical procedure that uses a laser to reduce or eliminate snoring. During the procedure, the laser is used to heat and shrink the tissues at the back of the throat. By reducing the size of these tissues, the airway is opened up, and airflow is improved, reducing or eliminating snoring. Laser snore treatment is typically an outpatient procedure and does not require general anesthesia. The procedure can be completed in as little as 30 minutes, and patients can usually return to normal activities the same day.
Surgery for snoring is often a last resort for severe or more complicated cases. Tongue reduction surgery moves the base of the tongue forward to prevent airway obstruction. This procedure can be performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Recovery takes a few days and patients may experience some pain and swelling.
Snoring is also associated with many serious health problems that can have long-lasting effects on your general health. For the best dental care tailored to your needs, visit T. Kirk Crane, DDS, at 104 Exchange Pl, Suite A Lafayette, LA 70503, or call (337) 232-3873.