You snore like a saw cutting big, heavy logs. Or so you’ve been told — more than once — by your sleepy companions who can’t catch a wink, thanks to your Zzzs. Until you heard their complaints, you thought you slept snore-free. But if you wake up during the night or feel sleepy during the day, your snores might be interrupting your own sleep, too.
At Georgetown Orthodontics in Washington, DC, we know how disruptive snoring can be to your sleep and to the sleep of those around you. If you snore, our expert orthodontist, Dr. Maya V. Oliver, may recommend a Herbst appliance to quiet your night-time breathing.
Why you snore
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 37 million women and men in the United States snore regularly. When you fall asleep, your throat, tongue, and other soft tissues in your mouth relax. As you inhale air, it can vibrate against those relaxed tissues, creating the “sawing” sound that’s keeping your companions awake and annoyed.
In about half of snoring cases, the soft tissues actually block your airway, causing pauses in your breathing called apneas. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to disturbances in mood and cognition and even to a heart attack or stroke.
You’re more likely to snore if you’re overweight because the fatty tissue on your neck may press against your throat, narrowing your airway. Other risk factors for snoring include:
- Drinking alcohol before bed
- Sleeping on your back
- Deviated septum or nasal polyps
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Common cold or nasal infection
- Being sleep-deprived
If your partner notices that you stop breathing when you snore, or if your snoring wakes you up, ask Dr. Oliver for a sleep apnea evaluation. Other symptoms that should bring you in for an assessment include being sleepy during the day, having brain fog, or feeling angry or depressed.
How to stop snoring
To put an end to snoring so you and your household can sleep soundly through the night, Dr. Oliver recommends a prescription-only Herbst appliance. This custom-made device, which you wear while you sleep, places your jaw in a more forward position so the air you breathe isn’t obstructed by the soft tissues in your mouth.
The Herbst appliance fits over both your upper and lower teeth, and the two parts are connected by an adjustable metal hinge. Dr. Oliver fine-tunes the hinge so your jaw is kept in a healthy, forward position. If you tend to sleep with your mouth open, Dr. Oliver may advise you to use orthodontic rubber bands to keep the device closed so your lips create a seal.
After you brush and floss your teeth at night, you simply insert your device. The Herbst appliance reduces snoring and also resolves mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep soundly, all around
Once you’ve adjusted to your Herbst device, no one will awaken to your snores anymore. You get more oxygen while you sleep — meaning better quality sleep and no brain fog the next day — and your partner doesn’t have to listen to that old saw.To find out if you’re a candidate for better sleep for all by using a Herbst appliance, contact us today. You can reach Dr. Oliver by phoning our staff or filling out our online form.