Snoring is simply a vibration of the soft tissues of the upper airway as they collapse onto themselves as air moves within them. Large tonsils, a large tongue, and an excessive soft palate or uvula can contribute to snoring. Sleep apnea occurs when the obstruction gets severe enough to close off the airway for more than 10 seconds at a time, in which the body struggles to take a breath. The diagnosis must be made by a physician, but some symptoms include waking up gasping or choking, intermittent snoring following long pauses of quiet sleep, heartburn or acid reflux, morning headaches, increased blood pressure, daytime fatigue and sleepiness, and lack of concentration.
Treatment of sleep apnea has traditionally been done by either CPAP or what is commonly called the “hose on the nose”, or surgery of the palate or tongue. Today, we have options to treat mild or moderate sleep apnea by special retainer-like appliances that are worn inside the mouth to position your jaw to help improve your airway.
We offer a free consultation if you are interested in discussing your situation with Dr. Schumacher. After that, a comprehensive exam is necessary to diagnose your condition.