Is there a Health Hazard?
Snoring is not only a social nuisance, but may be a sign of other significant problems affecting the health of the snorer. Snoring may be the sign of more serious problem: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (the involuntary cessation of breathing).
“Sleep apnea not only ruins your sleep, but your health,” according to Dr. Roger Crumley, an Otolaryngologist at the University of California, Irvine. “When you stop breathing your blood pressure rises, and your heart works harder. As a result, apnea may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and lung problems.”
70 Million Americans
Wake Up Tired!
The compromised quality and amount of sleep directly affect the energy, concentration and alertness of the snorer. This can result in loss of productivity and affect one’s ability to perform their work, including the ability to safely operate a car. Life Magazine reports “nearly two-thirds of Americans say sleep deprivation affects their work, which translates into a $70 billion loss in productivity. There are wrecked careers and wrecked cars.” Dr. William Dement, Stanford University sleep expert, estimates that 38,000 people die each year from the consequences of sleep apnea. Another 24,000 die in accidents caused by sleepiness.
Beyond the symptoms experienced by the snorer, the quality of the sleep of the bed partner is frequently affected as well, resulting in their fatigue, headaches, mood and anxiety swings, and loss of productivity.
Many Sleep Physicians recommend CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) as their first choice in treating snoring. A CPAP is an air pump device attached to a mask, worn over the nose. It delivers continuous pressure blowing the airway open through the nose. It is extremely effective in the elimination of snoring, as well as Sleep Apnea. However, it has patient compliance of only 30%-50% due to it’s bulky size (traveling can be difficult), uncomfortable nature, eye irritation, nasal congestion, neck pain, lack of sex appeal, and a sense of suffocation.
MRD (Our treatment)
The Sleep Physicians’ second choice in treatment is the non-invasive, MRD (Mandibular Repositioning Device). This oral appliance is custom made for the patient. This appliance resembles an upper and lower orthodontic retainer hinged together to hold the jaw forward. When a person’s jaw is held forward, the tongue, surrounding muscles and tissues also move forward. The airway is therefore opened in the majority of people.
There are a number of dental appliances available. They range from temporary, one-size-fits-all devices to long-lasting, custom-fabricated and adjustable appliances. The long-lasting appliances should be a Dentist’s first choice. Advantages include comfort, safety, durability and ease of portability. Due to their adjustable nature, these appliances treat a greater range of Snoring and Sleep Apnea, and have proven to be more comfortable to the TMJ (the jaw joint). Please call us if you would like to schedule a consultation.
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