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It's Not Just Snoring: The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

May 05, 2023
It's Not Just Snoring: The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Snoring is annoying — and also a symptom. It could mean you’re congested, you consumed too much alcohol, or you have a serious health condition called sleep apnea. Find out what your snoring is trying to tell you and what your dentist can do about it.

Movies and cartoons love to poke fun at snoring — the gaping mouth and obnoxious rattling make for hilarious physical comedy. But the underlying cause of snoring isn’t so funny.

Whether you suffer from occasional snoring after a few too many beers or chronic snoring due to a structural issue, the sound you hear is a symptom of a deeper problem. The soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse inward and slap against one another as air struggles to squeeze past them. The bottom line is that loud snoring means your body is fighting for oxygen.

One of the most common culprits behind loud snoring is obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause complications if you don’t seek treatment. 

Many people use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices to keep oxygen flowing and prevent subsequent health problems. However, most sleep apnea sufferers don’t realize that a simple dental device works as well in mild-to-moderate cases. 

At Allison T. Moses, DDS, our team of experienced dental specialists understands the relationship between sleep apnea and your oral cavity. As part of our holistic approach to dental and overall health, we provide treatment for obstructive sleep apnea to our patients throughout Midtown Manhattan, New York, and New Milford, New Jersey. Here’s what you need to know.

When snoring becomes dangerous

While snoring indicates a struggle to get air in and out of your throat, not all snoring is dangerous. However, snoring every night can leave you with a dry mouth, a sore throat, and a headache. Beyond that, snoring disrupts your sleep — and your bed partner’s — so you may go through the day without adequate rest, putting you and others in danger if you operate heavy machinery or make critical decisions. 

Obstructive sleep apnea due to obesity, age, hormone fluctuations, and anatomical abnormalities can stop your breathing for 10-30 seconds at a time, up to 400 times a night. Several health conditions may be at risk if you ignore the problem, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cancer

Untreated sleep apnea also increases your risk for auto accidents, trips, falls, and other injuries.

Mandibular advancement device (MAD) for sleep apnea

Custom mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are lesser-known but highly effective treatments for sleep apnea. We custom-fit it to your mouth, providing a much more comfortable fit than over-the-counter alternatives.

MADs gently shift your lower jaw and tongue forward, which keeps your airway open as you sleep. 

One of the benefits of a custom MAD is its comfort. Since it hugs the unique contours of your mouth, it fits much better than a one-size-fits-all device. It’s also adjustable, so we can make tweaks to ensure it works well.

Another benefit of a custom MAD is that it's a non-invasive treatment option. Although sometimes necessary, surgical treatments for sleep apnea can be costly and have a lot of associated risks. Custom MADs, on the other hand, are low-risk and can be an alternative for those unable or unwilling to undergo surgery.

Finally, a custom MAD is easy to use. You place it in your mouth before bedtime and wear it throughout the night. With consistent use, it can significantly reduce snoring and improve your overall sleep quality.

You should visit us at Allison T. Moses, DDS, if you or your sleep partner notice the telltale signs of sleep apnea:

  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Abnormal breathing patterns that start and stop
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Nighttime chest pains
  • Mental fogginess
  • Morning headaches

Along with a dry mouth and sore throat, these symptoms could indicate obstructive sleep apnea. Call our friendly staff at either Allison T. Moses, DDS, location, or book an appointment online to find out if a custom MAD can help you steer clear of the dangers of snoring. 

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