Snoring by itself is not considered a disease, but it should be considered more seriously when it is accompanied by apnoea or pauses in breathing lasting for more than 10 seconds.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a respiratory disorder that prevents the patient from sleeping well at night and is characterised by the repetition of more than five apnoeas for each hour of sleep.
Most significant symptoms of apnoea:
The patient's partner plays a major role in detecting apnoea, as the patient is very rarely aware of the problem. The partner notices heavy snoring, frequent position changes and pauses in breathing that end with a louder snore than usual.
It is advisable to perform a sleep study which will tell us whether the patient has this disorder and the level of severity, which will determine the best treatment option.
Serious cases of apnoea are usually treated with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) at night during sleep. This is a device that transmits a continuous pressure to the airways through a nose mask, preventing the airways from collapsing.
Mild apnoea or snoring is usually treated with a MAD (Mandibular Advancement Device) that the patient uses for sleeping. This device keeps the jawbone pushed forward and the airway open. There are many types of MAD. Most are made of hard plastic, cover the top and bottom teeth and are designed to be comfortable for the patient while he or she sleeps.
These devices are made and placed by dentists after obtaining a mould of the mouth. When it is made, the device must be fitted to provide maximum benefit and comfort for the patient.