Help! snoring and then no breathing

Can you help me? My husband is a snorer. Although it makes it challenging I can deal with it. What’s got me terrified is sometimes I can tell he stops breathing. Then, he’ll snort and start again, but sometimes it takes a while and I start to panic. Is he in danger of not starting back? Some one told me this is a dental issue but I’m not sure how. Have you heard of this?

Lydia

Dear Lydia,

man snoring keeping wife awake
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring

It sounds like your husband is dealing with sleep apnea. This is a condition where the muscles in the back of his throat relax. In its mild form it causes snoring. In the more serious form it causes obstructive sleep apnea.

This is what you’ve been witnessing that’s been scaring you. His air passage becomes blocked so he stops breathing. His brain recognizes he no longer is getting oxygen and startles him awake. This can happen hundreds of times a night. He likely wakes up tired even after a full nights sleep.

Treating Sleep Apnea

The first thing you’ll want to do is get your husband in to see a dentist who treats sleep apnea. They’ll likely have him do a sleep study, which can be covered by most health insurance.

mandibular device
Mandibular device to treat sleep apnea

If it turns out he does have sleep apnea, in many cases it can be solved with a simple mandibular device like the one pictured above.

This will be custom-fit to your husband’s bite and then adjust his lower jaw ever so slightly in order to keep his air passage open and him breathing freely thoughout the night. He’ll finally get a good night’s sleep…and so will you.

This blog is brought to you by Newton Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.