Snoring is common and can be more than just a nuisance to partners and the family.
Almost half of all adults snore and 60% of men over the age of 60 years are habitual snorers. Snoring is more common in men than in pre-menopausal women. After the menopause, snoring in women approaches that seen in men.
Snoring can lead to excessive tiredness during the day where the body is unable to get adequate rest; in many cases sleep is achieved however it is the affect on one’s partners which drives the desire to seek treatment.
In more severe cases where excessive tiredness occurs during the day further assessment to check for mild or severe OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) is important.
OSA occurs when breathing is reduced to the degree where it stops during the night at various intervals causing the body to ‘fight’ for breath. This compounds a variety of medical problems including increased stress on the blood vessels and heart. Patients who have OSA may be completely unaware; it is important to manage such conditions via referral.
Treatment of Snoring
A dentist is well placed to screen you for the above problems. Advice includes:-
a) lifestyle changes like avoiding sedative medication and alcohol close to bedtime, regular exercise, losing weight and sleeping on one’s side.
If your snoring is worse when you’re sleeping on your back, you may find sleeping on your side beneficial (wearing a top with a pocket stitched between the shoulder blades and putting a tennis or golf ball in the pocket can help keep you off your back when you sleep).
If your snoring isn’t causing you health problems but is affecting your partner, asking them to wear ear plugs during the night this may be a cheap and effective way of resolving the issue.
b) Referral to your GP if you feel your medication may be contributing to your snoring, as they may be able to prescribe alternatives. However, don’t stop taking prescribed medication without first consulting your GP.
c) Screening for OSA and referral if needed.
d) Using a ‘MAD’ ( Mandibular Advancement Device). This device is worn at night and gently brings the jaw forward for better airflow during sleep thereby reducing snoring. The best ‘MAD’s’ are custom made to fit exactly and rely upon sound teeth for placement and use. Your Dentist will advise.
e) Soft tissue Surgery/Radiofrequency – ENT assessment via referral .
Studies show a high degree of success for treatment with MAD’S. A variety of custom-made devices are available and most patients report a reduction/ in snoring over time !
What do I do next if I wish to seek advice?
Please contact us for a dental check requesting assessment for snoring. In many cases treatment is successful with the use of MAD to alleviate the problem !