Question: I am recently married and am in my seventies. I have a problem with snoring and it is creating problems with our sleeping. I have dentures on the top and my natural teeth on the bottom. My daughter brought over some information on this device that is supposed to help. Does it seem possible to have this done, especially at my age?
Thank You, Bert M.
Answer: We’re all familiar with the sound. But even though snoring is more a nuisance than a health concern, there is the possibility that it will develop into sleep apnea – a serious disorder in which the person snoring stops breathing several times a hour while sleeping.
Snoring affects more than 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women and tends to worsen with age. A narrowing of the airway passage between the back of the tongue and the soft palate causes snoring. Air then passes across the soft palate causing it to vibrate, which creates the sound we know as snoring. The level of snoring can be aggravated by excess weight, alcohol intake, smoking, allergies, use of tranquilizers, and sleeping on your back.
Sleep apnea occurs when the tongue falls back over the airway and blocks the flow of air. As a person tries harder to breathe, their airway becomes even tighter, until breathing stops altogether. This can happen a few times during a night’s sleep or 100 times an hour.
When sleep apnea causes air intake to be reduced, oxygen levels in the body will also decrease, which can be a precursor to heart attacks, strokes and other serious conditions.
Now there are dental appliances that can prevent snoring and sleep apnea. When worn these mouth devices position the lower jaw forward to open up the airway space. When the space is enlarged, the air flows smoothly eliminating the blockage and therefore vibration of the tongue. We will need to perform a thorough examination to rule out other conditions such as TMJ disorders. During the examination we will then determines the best positioning of your jaw for a free flow of air, and then an appliance is custom made for you..
We will then show you how to place the appliance in your mouth to keep your airway open while sleeping. The appliance will also prevent the tongue from falling back and blocking your airway.
You stated that you wear upper dentures. If these are loose then the device will not be able to stabilize. The dentures could be secured by placing a couple of mini-implants that I have described in previous articles. This way you will benefit from a snap fit of your denture when doing life during the day and have a much happier relationship with your wife because of a good night of rest.