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What is snoring?
The noise of snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissues in the upper airway. During sleep the muscles of the upper airway relax resulting in the formation of bottlenecks or even complete obstruction of the airways. The body reacts by increasing the velocity of the air which in turn causes vibration of the soft tissues which generates the noise of snoring.
Who is likely to snore?
Research has shown that approximately 40% of the adult population snore. As a person gets older the chances of snoring increases. (i.e. in men aged 60 this increases to 60%.) The chances of snoring are also increased if a person is overweight or drinks alcohol.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
This is a medical condition. People suffering from it are heard to gasp for breath while they are asleep. Additional symptoms are daytime drowsiness or the feeling of not having a full nights sleep. Where Sleep Apnoea is suspected an anti-snoring device may still be prescribed but it is essential that you consult your medical practitioner and if he confirms that Sleep Apnoea is suspected, that you are referred to the sleep clinic of a hospital for further investigation.
Not everyone that snores suffers from Sleep Apnoea – but nearly everyone who suffers from Sleep Apnoea will snore.
What help is available?
Your dentist could make you an oral appliance which is worn at night to prevent snoring.
This will consists of two thin plastic formings which fit over the upper and lower teeth. They are joined together by two connectors that gently hold the lower jaw in a forward position. Any opening of the mouth pulls the lower jaw further forward.
Can anyone use this appliance?
The appliance cannot be made if you have no natural teeth or only a few natural teeth. Your dentist will be able to advise if this is suitable for you.
What happens next?
Your dentist will ask you to complete a questionnaire (if possible with your partner) and then take moulds of your upper and lower tooth arches. Your appliance will be custom made to the moulds of your mouth and your dentist will fit it. (Allow about two weeks for your appliance to be manufactured.) You will be asked to wear it initially each night for a week to ensure that the noise of snoring has been eliminated. If after wearing it for a week the noise of snoring has not been completely eliminated your appliance should be returned to your dentist for adjustment.
Unfortunately it is not possible to guarantee that the appliance will work on everyone. Statistics demonstrate that in 62% of people that snore it will totally eliminate the noise of snoring. In the remaining cases the noise of snoring may be reduced or it will not work at all.
Does the appliance require maintenance?
The appliance does require regular maintenance but the intervals between maintenance periods are difficult to predict because they depend on the individuals case. If you grind your teeth at night the life of your appliance will be reduced.
Does the appliance come with a warranty?
Some appliances have an initial 6 months repair and servicing warranty from the date of manufacture of the appliance. You will need to discuss this with your dentist.