Snoring and Sleep Apnea, What’s the Difference?
Oral appliances made by dentists with specialized training can help treat people suffering from snoring or sleep apnea. These devices fall under the category Oral Appliance Therapy. Nowadays, there are many instruments for this purpose.
Partially blocked airway from the soft tissues of your throat causes snoring. Sounds that resemble a trombone or train are produced when the soft tissues vibrate. Believe it or not, some people have snore levels as loud as a jet engine. How does this affect our relations to other people? There are instances that some people’s neighbors complained to the police about the noise. Even marital relationships are heavily affected. According to a Mayo Clinic Study, partners of snoring people lose about an average of an hour of sleep a night. Studies have also shown that our motor skills can be impaired by repeated sleep interruptions especially to people who are legally drunk.
A much more serious condition called sleep apnea can be indicated by constant snoring. This happens when a person’s breathing stopped for more than 10 seconds at least 5 times per hour. How does this affect us negatively? Sufficient amount of oxygen is needed by our brain and the rest of our body to replenish and heal our cells. Serious health risks like stroke, heart disease, hypertension, heart attack and difficulty in breathing may be caused by decreased oxygen throughout the night.
CPAP is the primary treatment for people with sleep apnea. You put this mask over your nose and it will blow air into your airway which allows you to breathe normally throughout the night. But the downside is it is quite difficult to use. Only half of the patients prescribed with CPAP actually use the product. This is the reason for its poor compliance rate, despite its efficacy. People won’t get its benefits if they don’t use it. So are there other options? One of the treatments for snoring is the stop snoring mouthpiece.
According to a recent article in “Sleepmatters” published by the National Sleep Foundation, oral appliances have become a first-line therapy for the treatment of snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. Additionally, new parameters have been published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in the journal “Sleep” in February 2006. These new criteria state that for treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are recommended especially to those who prefer these and those who do not respond to CPAP. However, CPAP is still recommended by the AASM as the first-line of treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea before considering oral appliances. The good thing about these oral appliances is that they’re highly portable and easy to get used to.
What does this apparatus actually do?
This device stops snoring and many cases of sleep apnea by shifting your lower jaw forward in order to open your airway. Various types of oral appliances are available in the market today and they also differ in quality and capacity. Oral appliances that allow the best position to keep the airway open have the better quality. They are also more flexible in their adjustment settings so that comfort and efficacy can be fine tuned when needed.