If you have been referred to our office for treatment or are coming in for a pre-treatment assessment:Your visit to our office will include a thorough history and head, neck and throat evaluation to assess your situation. This information is correlated with testing to establish an accurate diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment options. We will coordinate your care with your physician to help resolve the snoring or apnea condition.
The treatment option we offer is oral appliance therapy. Based on your specific circumstances, oral appliance therapy can be a very effective solution for treating snoring and sleep apnea. We have been treating patients with snoring and sleep apnea conditions with oral appliance therapy with outstanding results.
We believe our first responsibility is to inform and educate our patients.
We review the evaluation findings and explain the risks, benefits and reasonable expectations of the different treatment options with each patient. We guide patients in deciding which oral appliance will be most effective and comfortable for their situation. Then we work closely with the patients for a 3-4 month period to ensure the comfort and effectiveness of their treatment.
Thereafter, patients are seen at least once a year to assess their progress. This comprehensive approach is important to achieving a successful treatment outcome.
If you are not sure that you have sleep apnea or snoring problems but are experiencing difficulties, with daytime sleepiness or waking during the night, the following information may help.
Consult a Physician
All snorers should be evaluated by a physician or sleep disorders specialist before pursuing treatment, especially if they:
- Wake unrefreshed in the morning,
- Fall asleep easily during the daytime at inappropriate times (while watching TV, reading, driving or in meetings), or
- Have periodic stoppages of snoring or breathing during sleep, as observed by their bed partner.
- A complete medical history and a history of your snoring and related symptoms.
- A complete physical examination to assess the presence of obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders or health problems.
Use these 4 Strategies to Minimize Snoring
These strategies may reduce or eliminate your snoring. No matter what treatment you pursue for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, these recommendations will have a positive effect on its outcome.
- Sleep on your side to counteract the effects of gravity and reduce or eliminate snoring.
- Normalize your weight to reduce snoring and apnea symptoms.
- Relieve nasal congestion to help decrease snoring. Nasal sprays can be prescribed by your physician. (Note: Over-the-counter nasal sprays should not be used longer than a few days.) Nasal strips which increase nasal air flow may also be beneficial.
- Avoid alcohol or sleeping pills within four hours of bedtime. Both will cause relaxation of the soft tissues and muscles in the airway and will make sleep apnea or snoring worse.
Snoring is a problem that affects 67% of adults. It is conservatively estimated over 120 million people in the United States snore every night. Snoring can cause disrupted sleep for both snorers and their sleeping partners and it can lead to health problems.
Snoring is the harsh sound that occurs when the tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth vibrates against the back of the throat. During sleep, throat tissues, the tongue and the muscles that line the airway all relax, narrowing the airway. Air passing through the narrower airway cause the tissues to vibrate against each other and create the snoring sound that can grow louder during sleep. Snoring may also be an indication of a bigger health problem; sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow into the lungs. This airway blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body. When that happens, the brain alerts the muscles in the airway to tighten up and unblock the air passage. This leads to a cycle of blocking and unblocking the airway and causes significant disruption of sleep.
The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:
- Loud snoring
- Restless sleep
- Periodic stoppages of breathing
- Significant daytime sleepiness
- Irritability or personality change
- Difficulty concentrating and poor memory
Note: This information is intended to help individuals manage their snoring and/or sleep apnea. It is not to be used as a guide for self-diagnosis or to recommend a particular treatment. Dr. March recommends consulting a physician for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.