‘Snoring is the sound made by air passing through a restriction in the airway, causing a vibration of the tongue and the soft palate. Usually our muscle tone prevents this narrowing of the airway but when the muscles guarding the airway relax during sleep, a narrowing of the airway and snoring can occur in some people. In severe cases the airway may block completely causing obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), where snoring is repeatedly interrupted by complete obstruction of the airway, a semi awakening results and breathing resumes. The effect is a reduction in the quality of sleep resulting in daytime sleepiness.
You may ask ‘ What’s a dentists role in stopping snoring?’
Most snorers can be helped using a simple device, custom fitted by your dentist to pull the lower jaw forward. A ‘mandibular advancement splint’ (MAS) pulls the tongue away from the soft palate and the back of the throat, opening the airway and preventing snoring. A simple way to test if a MAS is suitable for you is to lie on your back and completely relax your tongue jaw allowing yourself to snore. Now keeping completely relaxed and snoring slowly move your lower jaw forwards until you are unable to snore. This ‘advanced’ position of the lower jaw is the aim of a MAS.