Many people snore loudly, preventing spouses or loved ones from getting a good night’s sleep. Forty-five percent of adults snore at least occasionally.
Snoring occurs when the narrow airway of the palate or back of the tongue vibrates as air passes through. A more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can arise when loud snoring is interrupted by episodes of stopped breathing, as the airway becomes completely blocked. The brain becomes starved of oxygen, and it reacts by partially awakening the person, alerting him or her to reposition the jaw to open up the airway. This cycle may happen dozens of times during the night. During these obstructive episodes the heart strains to pump harder. This can cause serious health effects such as irregular heartbeats, elevated blood pressure and heart enlargement. With such fragmented sleep, patients are also sleepy during most of the day.
Loud snoring and obstructed breathing is more frequent in males, overweight persons, and those with a larger neck size or a recessive lower jaw. Snoring and sleep disorders generally worsen with age. Medical advice should be sought for heavy snoring or suspected obstructive sleep apnea. A snoring child should also be thoroughly examined for deformities of the airway.
Fortunately, the majority of those with snoring or sleep disorders can be helped. Once Dr. Stout has evaluated you by examination, X-rays, and often a sleep study, he can identify the cause of snoring and determine which treatments are best suited for your condition.
Lifestyle Changes. We recommend adopting an active lifestyle, taking part in daily exercise, and losing excess weight. In addition, we may recommend treatments to improve nasal airflow with humidified air, nasal decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal steroids.
CPAP Device. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is a mask and airflow device that maintains the airway opening during sleep. CPAP machines are quite effective, but they can be clumsy to use, and many patients are not able to tolerate the devices.
Snoring Appliance. An oral appliance is a mouthpiece that is inserted before going to sleep and acts to maintain the position of the lower jaw and prevent the tongue from falling backward during sleep. Oral appliances are also very effective in the treatment of sleep disorders. They are generally better tolerated than CPAP machines and more convenient for travel.
Recontouring of the soft palate. Removal of the uvula and shortening the length of the soft palate may improve snoring greatly. This can easily be performed under sedation in our office.
Nasal airway surgery. Mouth breathing caused by obstructed nasal passages nearly always worsens snoring and sleep apnea. Surgeries of the nasal tissues and passages are designed to eliminate obstructions in the nasal airflow.
Corrective jaw surgery. This brings the jaws and the tongue forward to open up the airway and improve airflow. They are reserved for patients with severe OSA.
Few things in life are more pleasant than a good night’s sleep. If you suffer from significant snoring or sleep disorders, Dr. Stout will find a treatment that helps you stop snoring and start getting a great night’s sleep.
"Dr. Stout and his staff were wonderful. They made every visit pleasant and the results were fantastic. I am proud to smile again!"
- Marilyn T.,
"I heard horror stories about having oral surgery with just Novocaine. Not me. I was asleep and I didn't feel a thing!"