Chapter -5 Sleep Apnea / Snoring

Why do people snore?

Snoring is the sound made by vibration of the tissue in the mouth, nose & throat. It is caused by turbulence inside the airway during breathing. The turbulence is caused by a partial blockage anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. The restriction is usually always there but becomes worse while we are asleep.

What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe.
  •  It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.
  •  It occur in any age group, but prevalence increases between middle and older age. 

Snoring VS obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Snoring itself is not a health concern , but snoring associated with OSA has to be diagnosed and treated.

Warning signs of sleep apnea. 

  1. Loud and chronic snoring.  
  2. Choking, or gasping of air  during sleep.  
  3. Long pauses in breathing. 
  4. Daytime sleepiness. 
  5. Sleeping while watching tv or driving.

Negative health  effects  associated with OSA? 

  • Fluctuating oxygen saturation in brain .
  • Increased risk of stroke. 
  • Mood changes / impaired concentration. 
  • Disturbed sleep of the bed partner. 
  • Increased risk of diabetes mellitus. 
  • Risk of  heart disease.   
  • Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident. 

What is sleep study?

A sleep study is the most accurate test for diagnosing sleep apnea. It records what happens with your breathing while you sleep. You can have your sleep study at a time when it is convenient to you, and in the comfort of your own home.

Treatments for sleep apnea  

Medical appliances  (CPAP) continuous positive airway pressure is a stranded treatment option for moderate to severe cases of OSA.CPAP provide a study stream of pressurized air to patients through a mask that they wear during sleep. Patients can choose from numerous mask sizes and styles to achieve a good fit.

Dental appliances 

An oral appliances is an effective treatment option for people with mild to moderate OSA who either prefer it to CPAP or are unable to successfully comply with CPAP therapy. Oral appliances look much like sports mouth guards, and they help maintain an open and unobstructed airway by repositioning or stabilizing the lower jaw ,tongue , soft palate or uvula . They are intended to treat both snoring and sleep apnea. They should always be fitted by dentists who are trained in sleep medicine. We are among very few dentist in chennai who offer this services to OSA patients .

Surgical methods – Surgery is a treatment option for OSA when noninvasive treatment such as CPAP or oral appliances have been unsuccessful.  

Lifestyle changes 

BEHAVIORAL CHANGES – Weight loss benefits many people with sleep apnea,and changing from back – sleeping to side – sleeping may help those with mild cases of OSA. 

OVER THE COUNTER REMEDIES – External nasal dilators strips, internal nasal dilators, and lubricant sprays, may reduce snoring, there is no evidence that they help treat OSA. They may even mask the problem by muting the loud snoring that is a warning sign for sleep apnea.


Keep Smiling & Stay Happy

Dr. Gnanaraj Jayabal
Dental & Implant Surgeon
Denticare Chennai

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