Question: My child and my spouse both snore. I always thought that this was a normal thing, but someone mentioned recently that this can be a problem. Is snoring bad for you?
Answer: Snoring is very common, which may be why in the past it was never taken as seriously as it should be. We now know that snoring is often a symptom of an airway problem, which may include sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen. In children, sleep apnea can cause behavioral issues and poor performance in school and can even cause symptoms similar to those of ADD. Over time, a child’s brain development can also be affected. In adults, sleep apnea can lead not only to being tired during the day, it can also lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart conditions, and other serious problems.
Treatment for sleep apnea depends upon the cause. For children, if a small jaw is suspected, we provide a free orthodontic consultation to see if their lower jaw might be small or positioned back too far, or upper jaw too narrow, which can affect the airway. If a child is still growing, we can often use their growth to easily correct these problems with orthodontics and open up the airway without any other treatment needed! If large tonsils or adenoids are suspected, we will refer to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) to evaluate this. For adults with mild or moderate sleep apnea, we have dental devices available that are often covered by medical insurance and can help solve the problem.
If you suspect that a family member might have sleep apnea, we would love to help. At Oakwood Dental, we have a take-home sleep monitoring device that we can rent out to our patients, and results are read by an MD sleep specialist. Please give us a call for details! 419-562-4378.