Do Snoring Splints Work?
Posted by: Jodie Blades Diploma Level 3 in Dental Nursing
Medically reviewed by: Dr Shan Lam BDS (Bris)
Snoring affects over 40% of us! - But snoring doesn't have to take a toll on marital intimacy
There are varying degrees and varying types of snoring: it can be ‘simple’, or it can be symptomatic and may require further exploration. Regardless, there are a number of conditions associated, including:
- diminished energy
- lack of concentration
- increased risk of stress
- reduced libido
- high blood pressure
It’s also important to consider the lack of sleep on the bed partner’s behalf which can also be dangerous for their health and wellbeing. Many cases are reported by the bed-partner, with the snorer having very little awareness of their bedtime activities. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation survey found that nearly 25% of couples sleep separately as a result of sleep issues. Which can take its toll on lasting love and intimacy.
Choosing between losing sleep and sleeping apart can be difficult—but there is a third option: to seek help from your dentist!
What causes snoring?
When we sleep our muscles relax. This can result in the soft tissues in the throat vibrating, causing that familiar, fateful snoring sound! for the most part, snoring is caused by isolation (simple snoring). In these cases, it is often the bed-partner that suffers, with the snorer unaware that they are causing such a disturbance. However, it can also take place as part of a more serious condition, obstructive sleep apnoea, which can be potentially life-threatening if not treated correctly.
What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?
OSA is a serious condition where, for short periods of time, the airway becomes blocked during sleep, cutting off oxygen reaching the lungs. There are two types of breathing disruption associated with OSA:
- Apnoea – where the muscles collapse sufficiently enough to cause a total blockage of the airway for 10 seconds or more
- Hypopnoea – partial blockage of the airway that causes an airflow reduction of more than 50% for 10 seconds or more
During an episode, the lack of oxygen triggers your brain to pull you out of deep sleep – either to a lighter sleep or to wakefulness – so your airway reopens and you can breathe normally. People with OSA may experience repeated episodes of apnoea and hypopnoea throughout the night. These events can occur as often as once every one or two minutes in severe cases.
How can your dentist help?
Your dentist arguably over your GP has a larger initial part to play.
As snoring is typically caused by the lower jaw dropping back during sleep, the easiest way to stop it is to prevent the jaw from slipping backwards. This can be achieved with a device called a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS). Sleepwell is a device Dr Shan Lam can provide.
The most clinically proven MAS for the treatment of snoring & mild to moderate sleep apnoea, the Sleepwell is a two-piece device that is fully-adjustable by the wearer, and designed to hold your lower jaw forward.