Snoring is part of the human condition – and more than half of us snore at some time or another. Moderate, rhythmic snoring is usually not harmful to your health, though it can be an annoyance to a bed partner or anyone else within earshot. But when snoring becomes more pronounced and irregular, it can interfere with deep, restful sleep, and it may be a symptom of a more serious health condition such as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. The sound we call snoring is created when moving air vibrates soft tissues within the throat During normal breathing, the force of moving air isn’t enough to cause these vibrations, but when you sleep, the muscles of the throat and soft palate—the area known as the roof of the mouth—begin to relax This relaxation can create a constriction of the airway, which increases the force of the moving air As this higher pressure air moves through the narrowed throat, those same soft tissues that caused the constriction may start vibrating As constriction increases, so does the work of breathing, and the volume of the snoring Snoring may also be caused by blockages of the nasal passages. Those with a deviated septum or a broken nose are more likely to snore, and congestion caused by colds or seasonal allergies may create snore-inducing constrictions or blockage. Snoring often becomes more prevalent with age, and certain behaviors can cause or worsen snoring Carrying extra weight can lead to increased snoring, because there is more fatty and soft tissue in the throat area Having a “nightcap” before before bedtime can cause snoring, because alcohol will relax the throat muscles Sleeping on your back allows soft tissues of the throat to fall backward and obstruct the airway Eating large, fatty meals before bedtime can increase snoring
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common of the two. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans suffer from OSA, but as many as 80 to 90 percent go undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep apnea is considered to be a disease, and if left untreated, it can create serious health problems. The condition known as OSA is created when tissues in the lower throat collapse at intervals during sleep, blocking the airway to the lungs and halting the normal breathing rhythm. Here’s how it usually happens: On its way to the lungs, air passes through the nose, mouth, and throat (known as the upper airway) Under normal conditions, muscles known as dilators work to keep the soft tissues of the throat from collapsing into the airway as a person breathes If these muscles become too relaxed during sleep, the soft tissues of the mouth and throat will collapse backward and block the airway Enlarged or excess soft tissues can increase the likelihood of blockage occurring Blockage causes a temporary stoppage of breath, or apnea, and halts the supply of fresh oxygen to the body The apnea causes blood oxygen levels to drop, and creates a buildup of carbon dioxide in the lungs In a… Continue reading
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is a proven, comfortable and non-invasive sleep apnea solution. It involves a custom-fitted mouthpiece that is worn during sleep to help keep the airway open and prevent the tongue from blocking the airway. Comfort • Use • Effectiveness Comfort Most patients find OAT to be a more comfortable and convenient therapy than a CPAP machine and mask. Most patients find oral appliances are easy to use and not cumbersome while sleeping. Oral appliances are also excellent for those who travel, as they pack small and require no electricity. Studies show that compliance with OAT and wearer satisfaction with these devices are significantly higher than with CPAP. An oral appliance resembles a sports mouthguard, and is worn during sleep. These devices move the lower jaw forward, and to lift the base of the tongue forward and away from the back wall of the throat to keep the airway open. Oral appliances should be custom-fitted and adjusted by a qualified sleep medicine dentist to ensure optimum results, safety and comfort. Periodic follow up examinations are needed to ensure the appliance is performing properly. The appliance is not designed to improve restricted nasal breathing, which is caused by a deviated septum or other nasal blockage, but many oral appliance users experience a significant reduction in chronic nasal congestion. The majority of patients are able to fall asleep easily while wearing an oral appliance, and after an initial adjustment period of just a few weeks, find they do not want to sleep without the appliance. Because the airway is now open, the body responds quickly and experiences deeper, more refreshing sleep. If a patient forgets the appliance, or chooses not to wear it, they quickly return to previous patterns of poor sleep. A patient’s bed partner can see the… Continue reading
The Dental Sleep Medicine Office of Howell A. Goldberg D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine
Dr. Howell Goldberg specializes in the treatment of sleep disorders such as disruptive snoring and sleep apnea through the use of comfortable, non-invasive oral appliances. With two decades of experience in the field, he is able to provide safe, effective and comfortable forms of oral appliance therapy.
Dr. Goldberg and his staff provide a full range of sleep disorder evaluation, referral and treatment services, working hand-in-hand with a network of sleep physicians and sleep laboratories to find the best solution for each patient. From initial consultation to follow-up monitoring, we are here to assist you on the path to better sleep and better health.