41% of people snore. Often a dentist can help.

1st October 2019 | Posted by: Vanessa Giraud

It’s a fact – people snore. But, while most of us snore from time to time, for some people snoring is a chronic problem. It can affect the health and wellbeing of the person who snores, as well as affecting other family members, and even work colleagues.

If you’re concerned about your snoring, or someone close to you snores, you may be surprised to learn that an appointment with the dentist can help. For many people, a dentist-fitted device that gently opens your airways, one that’s made specifically to address your breathing needs, can be life-changing!

two people snore in bed with white sheets

Why do we snore?

To understand why people snore, we need to understand what snoring actually is. Put simply, it’s the sound of soft tissues in the airways vibrating. During sleep, our airways may narrow because our muscles relax. So breath trying to pass anywhere between the nose, the mouth or upper parts of the throat can cause slack soft tissues to vibrate. While we’re awake, we maintain better muscle tone, but while sleeping it’s not possible to consciously prevent the vibrations that we call snoring.

What’s the difference between snoring and sleep apnoea?

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is also caused by the relaxation of muscles in the airways, as snoring is. However, the difference is that with sleep apnoea breathing actually stops because relaxed soft tissue blocks new air from reaching the lungs. Fortunately the brain automatically wakes the body up so the muscles of the airway tighten and the obstruction is cleared. Patients usually wake startled, with a snort, a gasp or a splutter.

Those who suffer from OSA, therefore, feel the ill-effects of interrupted sleep patterns during the day. Depending on how many times they wake during the night, sufferers report lack of concentration, exhaustion, increased irritability, and anxiety. It can have a devastating impact on day to day life, upsetting relationships at home, and decreasing productivity at work.

Is snoring really out of my control?

While we’re actually asleep there’s nothing we can consciously do to stop ourselves from snoring. Also we are born with genetic traits that may make us more likely to snore, such as a narrow airway, a large tongue or an overbite. However, there are factors we can take control of that mean we are less likely to snore.

A review of our life-style choices can be a first practical step to reducing snoring:

But I’ve already tried lots of so-called remedies…

It’s true that there are a lot of over-the-counter remedies and appliances at reasonable prices that offer solutions. If you’ve tried these devices or medications without a satisfactory result, it indicates you want to find a solution and would benefit from a professional evaluation.

A health-care professional brings a level of training and experience to a personalised solution a manufacturer of high-street products can’t have. As dental training focuses on the tissues of the mouth and the jaws, your dentist really can help you to understand what the problem is, and help you to reach a solution. Our aim is to help improve your quality of sleep, and therefore your quality of life.

Dentist April Halford fits Sleepwell™ appliances

SpaDental Tewkesbury dentist, April Halford, took additional training to evaluate patients with problems breathing at night and knows the difference a custom-made snore prevention guard can make to her patients’ lives.

April provides a mandibular advancement splint (MAS) called Sleepwell™ that the patient wears while sleeping. It is made by S4S dental laboratories, a leading UK provider of dental appliances.

April says: “All the patients I have fitted with a Sleepwell snoreguard have been delighted with the success of their treatment. They have reported a much improved night’s sleep for both themselves and their partner.

In fact, I have fitted one for my husband and can personally vouch for its success.

The clinical process required is simple and painless, involving only three short visits. The first visit will enable me to assess if the Sleepwell appliance is likely to be successful for you personally and if so, I would then suggest that you could go ahead with treatment.

It can make such a difference to your daily life, it is well with considering the benefits.”

An MAS helps maintain open airways by advancing the lower jaw slightly. Think of the splint as a sports guard, or tooth whitening tray, to wear over both the upper and lower teeth. Carefully calibrated for an individual fit, the lower jaw stays in a forward position, without force or discomfort.

S4S Dental Laboratory that manufactures Sleepwell™ splints states: “For many, a MAS can have a life-changing impact.”

What will the dentist do?

During an initial assessment April aims to determine whether or not her patient will benefit from using a Sleepwell™ appliance. In some cases, it is more appropriate for the patient to see their GP, for example when sleep apnoea is more advanced, or when medication affects sleep.

If April considers the patient will benefit from a Sleepwell™ splint, then she recommends a second appointment. She further examines the configuration of the patient’s soft tissue and lower jaw in particular, then takes impressions to send off to the laboratory.

The Sleepwell™ splint is ready for the patient after two weeks. April fits and adjusts the appliance, while explaining how to use and maintain it. It may take a little while to get used to wearing the splint at night.

Before you book a consultation, it’s good to know:

Get in touch with SpaDental Tewkesbury.

Find out how we can help you get a better night’s sleep:

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