Snoring is a mild form of sleep disordered breathing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. First, it’s a serious nuisance that can lead to strife and even violence in your home. But it’s also a sign that you’re not getting enough oxygen while you sleep. Your breathing may even be stopping as a result of sleep apnea, which is deadly serious. But you don’t have to live with snoring. Effective and convenient treatments are available.
What Causes Snoring
Sound is vibration. In snoring, the origin of the vibration is soft tissues in your airway. These tissues may be in your nose, at the back of your mouth, or in your throat. But all of these tissues are set to vibrating by the same thing: your airway is too narrow.
- Developmental issues
- Weight gain
- Relaxed muscles
Many of these, you can work to change. Throat exercises can improve the tone of your muscles, so that even when they relax they do a better job of holding your airway open. You can lose weight. You can identify foods that cause swelling in your throat, and try to combat congestion as it arises. But you can’t do anything about genetics and development—that’s just become your anatomy.
One major contributor to these anatomical problems is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD). In TMJ, your jaw is displaced from its natural position, typically backward. Since the jaw is the primary support for the tissues of the airway, this leads to a narrowed airway and increased risk of snoring.
That’s where we come in, offering solutions designed to help you overcome the anatomical causes of your snoring.
Successful treatment depends on opening up your narrowed airways. The best way to do this depends on where your airway narrows. Nasal snoring can be corrected with nasal dilators or with surgery that corrects or eliminates blockages in the nasal passageways.
Snoring caused by tissues in your throat can be alleviated by opening up your throat. This can be done by repositioning your jaw using an oral appliance or through surgery. Snoring treatments have to be done in a way that acknowledges snorers either have TMJ or are at risk for TMJ. At the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, all appliances are designed to be therapeutic for your jaw as well as your airway.
In many cases, too, combining snoring treatment with changes in lifestyle can yield the best results.
The best approach to snoring treatment often requires a combined, multidisciplinary approach that looks at the problem from a number of angles.
But why treat this at all? Because it can be very dangerous. Snoring is a sign that you are not getting enough oxygen when you sleep, and as a result, you are probably not getting very restful sleep. You likely experience daytime sleepiness, which may be a sign that the problem is more than just snoring: a warning sign that you have sleep apnea.
But even if you don’t have sleep apnea, snoring can be dangerous. The persistent vibrations in your airway can damage blood vessels in the throat, causing scarring that leads to atherosclerosis, hardened arteries, which contribute to heart disease and elevated stroke risk.