Frequently Asked Questions
What causes snoring?
Quite simply, snoring is caused by a partially obstructed airway. When you sleep, the soft tissue and muscles in your mouth and throat relax, causing your airway to become smaller. If your airway becomes small enough, your soft palate and uvula begin to vibrate when you inhale and exhale. These vibrations are the cause of the sound most people call snoring.
How common is snoring?
According to recent sleep studies, approximately 45% of the general population, 30% of men and women over age 30, 40% of the middle-aged population, and 6% of children snore on a regular basis.
Is snoring dangerous?
Forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25 percent are habitual snorers. According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), snorers have three times as many motor vehicle accidents as non-snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight persons and it usually grows worse with age. Snoring sounds are caused when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. There are patients whose snoring has decibel levels as loud as jet engines and even some who have had neighbors in the apartment or even the house next door call the police to complain about the noise.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, occurs when the airway becomes blocked due to a collapse of the soft tissue in the back of the throat and tongue, or enlarged tissue in the tonsils and adenoids. When the patient's airway becomes blocked, they are not able to take a breath. Because the brain and heart are deprived of oxygen, blood pressure and heart rate increases can put the OSA patient at risk for heart attack and stroke. The breathing pauses can happen hundreds of time during the night, causing a snowball effect that leads to lack of energy and daytime sleepiness.
Based on recommendations from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a physician is responsible for the diagnosis of sleep disorders and for recommending a treatment. Only a board certified sleep medicine physician can diagnose sleep apnea. Once a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea or a sleep related breathing disorder, a dental sleep specialist may provide treatment. A dentist assists patients in the selection and fitting of an oral appliance and provides long-term follow-up care.
Dr. Caven and his team can organize a simple home sleep test that will be reviewed by a board certified sleep medicine physician in order to get a diagnosis of your condition. Getting tested has never been easier.
Health Risks of Sleep Apnea:
Loss of short term memory
High blood pressure
Memory and concentration impairment
Mood swings/temperamental behavior
What are the Treatment Options?
Oral Appliance Therapy
How the Dental Device Works:
Dentists have pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea and sleep related breathing disorders. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. The device fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer and prevents the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. With an oral appliance, dentists can minimize or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea in mild to moderate cases.
Oral appliance therapy involves the selection, fitting and use of a specially designed oral appliance that maintains an open, unobstructed airway in the throat when worn during sleep. Custom-made oral appliances are proven to be more effective than over-the-counter devices, which are not recommended as a screening tool nor as a therapeutic option.
Dentists with training in oral appliance therapy are familiar with the various designs of appliances and can help determine which is best suited for your specific needs
The initial evaluation phase of oral appliance therapy can take several weeks or months to complete. This includes examination, evaluation to determine the most appropriate oral appliance, fitting, maximizing adaptation of the appliance, and the function.
Ongoing care, including short- and long-term follow-up is an essential step in the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy. Follow-up care serves to assess the treatment of your sleep disorder, the condition of your appliance, your physical response to your appliance, and to ensure that it is comfortable and effective.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy:
- Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find that it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimated to wearing the appliance.
- Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
- Treatment with Oral Appliances is reversible and non-invasive
There are dozens and dozens of types of appliances. Dr. Caven does an individualized assessment of each patient to help them determine which method would be the most effective. The types most often used by Dr. Caven are:
1. SomnoMed MAS - Dorsal Fin Appliance
The SomnoMed MAS - Dorsal Fin Appliance is a custom-made device, consisting of upper and lower dental plates with a unique patented fin-coupling component, which allows normal mouth opening and closing. If required, a part can be added to make the device adjustable. This feature provides incremental and adjustable levels of lower jaw advancement, which improves the effectiveness and comfort-level of treatment as the jaw is moved only as far as is required to alleviate snoring and reduce OSA. Key features and benefits of the device include: Permits normal mouth opening Allows speech and drinking Provides full lip-seal Easily adjustable Safe and effective Clinically proven Custom-fitted Additionally, the SomnoMed MAS - Dorsal Fin appliance is made from durable fade-proof acrylic that retains its shape and color for at least four-five years and is covered by a three year manufacturer's warranty.
2. Narval CC
The Narval CC is a new version of a mandibular repositioning device (MRD) created uniquely for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The patented Optimized Retention of the Mandible (ORM) articulation keeps the mandible in a forward position leading to an effective treatment solution.
- Computer-aided design (CAD) allows for a high degree of customization to fit the complex dental anatomy of each patient
- Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) using selective laser sintering of a biocompatible polymer material guarantees consistent, industrial-strength manufacturing
- Use of polyamide for a slim, lightweight device that is highly resilient and durable