Tooth Talks: Put that snoring to sleep

Q: My husbands snoring is driving me crazy. One of my friends said you may be able to help. Can you?

A: The answer depends on whether your husband merely snores or has a condition called sleep apnea. Basically there’s snoring and then there’s snoring!

In serious cases, snoring indicates a condition called sleep apnea. This is a very serious condition if left untreated. It is characterized by episodes of explosive snoring followed by a cessation of breathing. The result is sleep deprivation.

This in turn causes fatigue during the day, irritability, and a risk of auto related accidents, stroke, heart attack and even death.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that must be diagnosed by a medical doctor.

In cases of simple snoring without the diagnosis of sleep apnea, dentistry may be of assistance. Dentistry has come up with an oral appliance worn while sleeping. It has the potential to reduce, sometimes altogether eliminate, raucous snoring.

It’s a simple device, rather like a mouthguard. It enlarges the airway by positioning the jaw slightly forward. The appliance is easily fitted in a couple of appointments.

Over time slight adjustments may need to be made but overall it should last a good long while. Persons who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea may also be candidates for oral appliance therapy. Although, for sleep apnea patients is important that the appliance be titrated and sleep studies be done to ensure it is working.

For patients with true sleep apnea, it is not good enough to reduce the snoring.

Don’t lose sleep over this as your dentist may be able to help you.


Questions can be sent to Fred Eck, D.D.S. at Marco Dental Care, 950 N. Collier Blvd., Suite 305, Marco Island, or call 389-9400. Web site: He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Detroit Mercy and is licensed by the Florida State Board of Dentistry.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 1

libarsh writes:

Dr. Eck brings up a very important point. Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem affecting 18 million people in the United States alone and is related to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression and even erectile dysfunction.

While the primary treatment is CPAP (continuous positive air pressure applied through a nasal mask) oral appliances have been approved as the primary treatment in mild to moderate sleep apnea for patients who prefer them and as an alternative for those patients who cannot, for one reason or another, tolerate their CPAP units.

Specially educated and trained dentists work closely with sleep physicians as part of the treatment team for snoring and sleep apnea.

For more information, please visit and

Dr. Barsh

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