Sleep Apnea and Snoring. Any Relation?

This is one of my favorite snoring videos from YouTube. Though a bit extreme, many of our patients have expressed their frustration with their bed partner’s snoring and apnea. This is an advertisement for a sleep apnea and snoring bed, but you get the message:

Snoring can be hazardous to your health!

Why do people snore?

Airway blockage causes snoring and sleep apnea example cross section of throat
Snoring happens when your airway narrows. As the air that you breath flows through this narrow passage the soft tissue starts to vibrate, much like a thin membrane that produces the sound in a musical instrument. Only, snoring is usually not a pleasant to listen to.

The decreased airway can be caused by many things including decreased muscle tone (age and physical condition), fatty deposits in the throat, and secretions or swelling or inflammation form colds or allergies.

If I Snore Does That Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?

No. Snoring does not mean you have sleep apnea. However there is a very strong correlation. A rule of thumb is if you snore on your back as well as sides then you probably have some form of obstructive sleep apnea and should consider being tested. You can click here for a Epworth sleep apnea self-test. What is interesting is if you have Sleep Apnea you don’t necessarily snore. So while snoring is an important piece of information when diagnosing sleep apnea, it is not the only thing sleep dentists and sleep physicians look at. The good news is many of the sleep apnea oral devices (made by sleep apnea dentists like Dr. Tsai) will minimize or even stop your snoring. Trust me when I say your bed partner will be thrilled!

What are Some of The Causes of Snoring?

Woman holding pillow over ears to block sound of husband snoring and sleep apnea
Most people claim that they don’t snore or if they do, they don’t think it is a problem for themselves or others. Whats interesting is when we ask their bed partner what they think about the snoring....see the video above for their response. The most common causes of snoring are breathing problems from colds and allergies and being over tired. However there are many other causes which make it difficult to accurately pinpoint what makes you snore.

Here are just a few of the more common causes of snoring*:

Breathing problems from allergies or colds
A structural problem inside your nose.
Tonsils and adenoids infection.
A significant weight gain.
Sleeping on your back.
Alcohol and cigarette use.
Certain medications (antihistamines, anti-depressants, etc.)
Getting older :)

What Can You do About Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

So what can you do? And how can we help? For snoring you can get fitted with a sleep apnea/snore device such as the somnodent. This device will shift your jaw forward while you sleep thus minimizing or possibly stopping your snoring. The entire process only takes a couple of visits to our office for evaluation, fitting and adjustments.

For sleep apnea first thing to do is fill out a
Epworth Sleep Apnea Screening Test (click here). If you score a 10 or higher on the Epworth Sleep Apnea Scale you should schedule an appointment to discuss having a sleep test (Polysomnogram or PSG). If you don’t score a 10 or higer on the sleep test you can still set up an appointment to discuss your sleep concerns with us.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Sleep Apnea Tests?

Unfortunately no, however
your medical health insurance plan will most likely cover the cost and we can assist you with the billing. If you don’t have medical health insurance or a dental plan there are many sleep clinics and centers that offer low-cost sleep tests.

Once you have completed a sleep test (PSG) and one of our sleep physicians has confirmed that you have sleep apnea we can discuss your
treatment options.

Treat Sleep Apnea & Snoring Without a CPAP Machine

Have Sleep Apnea or snoring questions? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Tsai. Or you can always e-mail or call us: 650-583-5880

Dr. Sherry Tsai provides an alternative to CPAP machines to treat Sleep Apnea and Snoring in Millbrae, San Bruno, Burlingame, San Mateo and the Bay Area

* Summary of snoring causes from from WebMD.

88 Capuchino Dr.  
Millbrae CA 94030

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