Things That Go Bump in the Night: How the Dentist Can Help Snorers

Not all nighttime noises are made by bogeymen or monsters under the bed. Sometimes the source of the noise keeping you awake is within arm’s reach–and your dentist could help you put a stop to it.

If you or your spouse snores–30 to 45 percent of the population does–it’s possible that a good night’s sleep is just a dentist visit away. Snoring is often caused by a disorder called sleep apnea, which occurs because the tongue and throat muscles collapse into the airway at night, preventing clear breathing.

One treatment for sleep apnea is an oral appliance that can help keep breathing passages open at night. Once your doctor assesses your needs and medical history and determines that this is the most effective treatment, a dentist or orthodontist will customize an oral appliance to fit your mouth.

Non-dental solutions for sleep apnea include a device called CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) that keeps a stream of air running down the airway to keep it open. A surgical option is also available. If snoring is keeping you or your spouse awake at night, talk with your  physician or dentist about which option could be best for you.

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