Q: My husbands snoring is driving me crazy. One of my friends said you may be able to help. Can you?

A: The answer depends on whether your husband merely snores or has a condition called sleep apnea. Basically there’s snoring and then there’s snoring!

In serious cases, snoring indicates a condition called sleep apnea. This is a very serious condition if left untreated. It is characterized by episodes of explosive snoring followed by a cessation of breathing. The result is sleep deprivation.

This in turn causes fatigue during the day, irritability, and a risk of auto related accidents, stroke, heart attack and even death.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that must be diagnosed by a medical doctor.

In cases of simple snoring without the diagnosis of sleep apnea, dentistry may be of assistance. Dentistry has come up with an oral appliance worn while sleeping. It has the potential to reduce, sometimes altogether eliminate, raucous snoring.

It’s a simple device, rather like a mouthguard. It enlarges the airway by positioning the jaw slightly forward. The appliance is easily fitted in a couple of appointments.

Over time slight adjustments may need to be made but overall it should last a good long while. Persons who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea may also be candidates for oral appliance therapy. Although, for sleep apnea patients is important that the appliance be titrated and sleep studies be done to ensure it is working.

For patients with true sleep apnea, it is not good enough to reduce the snoring.

Don’t lose sleep over this as your dentist may be able to help you.