No one wants to share a bedroom with a loud snorer. Even though snoring is extremely common, it is hard for anyone to have to sleep though that distinctive sound. However, snoring can be more than just an annoyance. It can be a sign that the snorer has a case of obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, a serious condition that can affect the quality of life of the snorer. Your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, explain what causes sleep apnea and what options they can help you with.

The Cause of Snoring

Snoring occurs when the airway is partially blocked during sleep. As the air from the lungs passes over the obstruction, usually soft tissue of the throat, it vibrates. That vibration is responsible for the distinctive noise of a snore. Nearly everyone snores at one point or another, but studies have shown that nearly one-quarter of women and nearly half of men regularly snore.

Who Is Affected?

There are certain factors that can increase the likelihood of snoring. Obesity tends to lead to snoring, since overweight people tend to have more of the obstructing soft tissue in their throats. Pregnant women also snore frequently. Snoring becomes more common as people get older, and alcohol, drugs, and tobacco also increases the chances of snoring.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

While many people who snore are still able to get a full and relaxing night of sleep, many others suffer from OSA.  OSA can cause the full blocking of the throat during sleep, forcing the sufferer to wake up suddenly to breathe. Even though the sufferer may not be aware of his constant waking up throughout the night, he is, and that action prevents him from getting a restful night’s sleep. Not getting enough sleep, and no deep sleep, can have devastating consequences.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dentists are not certified to diagnose OSA. The best way to find out if you have the disorder is to have a sleep study at a certified sleep center. Many insurance plans cover visits. Once diagnosed, however, your dentist can offer several effective treatments, including making a specially designed oral appliance that will keep your airway open during the night, so you can finally get the sleep you need.

Ask Your Mansfield Dentist

If you have been diagnosed with OSA, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris will discuss all the options available to you. You can reach our Mansfield dentist office at (817) 259-1357. We happily provide comprehensive dentistry to patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian, the 76063 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.