Tag Archives: snoring

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.

My Wife’s Worried I’m Going to Die in My Sleep

Can you help put my wife’s mind at ease? She’s convinced I’m going to die in my sleep because she says I stop breathing. Obviously, I’m not or I wouldn’t be alive, but I can’t convince her. The last two nights she didn’t sleep because she kept watching me breathe and shaking me awake when she thought I’d stopped. I can’t keep going like this and neither can she. She wants me to see a dentist for sleep apnea but I think I’d know if something like that was going on.

Alan

Dear Alan,

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

Let’s pause a second and think about the fact that our wives love us so much they’re willing to lose sleep out of fear we’re not okay. Though, their worry can drive us what my daughter calls “banana balls”, the intent is something to be grateful for.

As to whether or not you can stop breathing in your sleep without realizing it, you actually can. In fact, patients with sleep apnea can do that many times a night without knowing.

Here’s what happens. When someone lays down, especially on their backs, the muscles in the back of their throat can sometimes relax, partially blocking the airway. This often results in snoring because you end up vibrating the muscles. You may ask your wife if you sometimes snore. Though, I’m pretty sure she’d have complained about that by now so you’d know.

What you’re likely dealing with is something known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is when those muscles completely block the airway. You stop breathing, but your brain realizes that and then jolts you awake. Though, you don’t wake up all the way, which is why you don’t realize it’s happening. Instead, you wake up just enough to adjust your mouth and thereby your throat and start breathing again.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

mandibular device

Many patients have found relief from sleep apnea by using a CPAP machine while they sleep. But, they’re loud and bulky so just as many patients hate them. Instead of a CPAP, I prefer to start with using a mandibular advancement device, such as the one pictured directly above. They fit a lot like a sports mouth guard and have much better patient satisfaction.

It gently glides your lower jaw into proper position while you sleep, thereby keeping your airway unobstructed giving you a great night’s sleep. If this works for a patient, there’s no reason to try something else.

So, while you don’t feel there’s a problem there could be. It wouldn’t hurt to have a sleep study done because as you’re not likely to die in your sleep from it, sleep apnea does cause heart problems.

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

Can a Dentist Really Stop Sleepiness?

I feel a little foolish contacting a dentist about this, but I’m absolutely desperate. I am exhausted all the time. I’m getting plenty of sleep so that is not the problem. Yet, when I wake up I feel like I’ve hardly slept a wink. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being kidnapped by interdimensional aliens at night, like that Star Trek Next Generation episode. My friend at church told me that she was having the same thing and her dentist gave her something to put in her mouth while she slept. Ever since then, she’s been well rested when she wakes up in the morning. Can a dentist do that for me too?

Sleepy Sarah

Dear Sleepy Sarah,

Child sleeping mouth open
Sleep Apnea can Cause Excessive Sleepiness

I’m sorry you’re feeling so exhausted. That’s a horrible way to exist because you so often feel like you’re having to drag yourself through life just to barely keep up. It’s a chore just to put one foot in front of the other. Being sleepy has a negative impact on just about every part of your life— family, work, even your health.

Fortunately, there’s no reason to feel foolish in asking a dentist for help with this. There is a good possibility you’re suffering from sleep apnea. A dentist is the perfect person to go to for treatment.

Sleep Apnea and Exhaustion

With sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat close up, cutting off your oxygen. This stops you from breathing momentarily. Your body, recognizing this, startles you awake just enough to get you breathing again. This can happen over and over throughout the night. No wonder you’re tired when you wake up!

You’ll likely need a sleep study to see if this is what’s going on with you. Often you can get your doctor to write you a prescription for the study so it doesn’t cost you very much. If it turns out you do have sleep apnea, your friend is right. A simple orthotic device from your dentist may be all you need to get you back to a full night’s rest.

Dr. Bader is a big believer in starting with the least invasive treatment first. This device is like wearing a custom-fitted sport’s mouth guard. But, it’s designed to gently move your jaw into a position which keeps the muscles in the back of your throat from obstructing your airway. This gives you all the oxygen your body needs along with a full night’s rest.

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

I’m Tired All the Time – Help

I’m tired all the time, even during the day, even during a good night’s sleep. I’ve been to doctor after doctor. They say I’m fine. I’m not. I can barely stay awake some days. I know you’re a dentist, not a medical doctor, but I’m hoping you have an idea outside of the box. I feel like all the doctors are doing is checking off boxes. I feel stupid asking, but I’m desperate.

Julia

Dear Julia,

I’m sorry you’re facing this and feeling not listened to during a difficult time. The first thing I’ll ask is if your doctor checked your thyroid levels and if he did it using free T3 and free T4 readings? If he hasn’t, start there. If he already has, then I have a strong suspicion you have sleep apnea.

You can learn more about this condition on our “Sleep Apnea Page”.

Three illustations: Mild sleep apnea Ileft), Obstructive sleep apnea (center), Repaired sleep apnea (right)

If you look at the three images above, it will give you a good understanding of what could be going on with you. The first image (on the left) shows a mild blockage of your breathing passage. This generally causes snoring. I don’t know if you’re a snorer or not, but that is often one of the first signs of someone struggling with sleep apnea. The center image shows a bigger blockage. This is known as severe sleep apnea.

What’s happening is your breathing passage is being blocked, cutting off your oxygen. Your body subconsciously recognizes this is happening and startles you awake so your passage will open again. This can happen hundreds of times a night. You won’t even realize it’s happening.

If that’s what going on, no wonder you’re exhausted!

Do You have Sleep Apnea?

The first thing you’ll want to do is have a sleep study done. This is usually covered by insurance with a prescription from your doctor. Most are willing to write one without any fuss.

With a sleep study, you’ll be monitored for an evening and they’ll observe your sleep patterns. If you have sleep apnea, they’ll be able to tell you.

From there, it’s just a trip to your dentist where he can custom design an orthotic device to move your jaw into its appropriate place to keep your breathing passage clear while you sleep. Because it’s custom fit for your bite, it will be perfectly comfortable.

Don’t try to do this with a cheap over-the-counter orthotic. It can do serious damage to your bite, leading to TMJ Disorder.

I hope this helps you get the relief you need. This blog is brought to you by Newton Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.

Why Send Me to a Dentist for Being Tired?

I’m a little frustrated. I’ve been telling my doctor I’m tired all the time for months. He did some blood work where everything turned out fine. Now he’s not taking me seriously. I persisted, but he said to see a dentist about my sleep habits. What would a dentist have to do with that?

Miriam

Dear Miriam,

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

I would be willing to bet that your doctor wants you to get a sleep study done, though usually that is done through a prescription from your doctor. Your dentist can get you a sleep study too. It mostly depends on what your insurance requires.

The study can help reveal if you have sleep apnea. As the picture above states, snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. So is being tired. That’s especially true if you wake up tired after a full nights sleep.

How Can a Dentist Help Sleep Apnea?

If sleep apnea is the cause of your exhaustion, your dentist can custom design an orthotic which will position your jaw in a proper position so that your body receives the proper amount of oxygen while you sleep. This will allow you to wake refreshed, probably for the first time in a long time.

You’ll want to get your bite evaluated as well. Some recent research has found a link between TMJ Disorder and sleep apnea.

I haven’t examined you, so there is no way I can begin to tell you if either is an issue for you, but those would be some reasons to see your dentist.

I know it’s frustrating when your caregivers can’t seem to figure out what is going wrong with your body. Some medical practitioners go into medicine thinking we know most things and can fix people. When they bump up against something that doesn’t fit with what they know, they get frustrated as well. Some react to that by making the patient feel like it is in their head.

It might help you to see a holistic dentist. They’re a little better at working with people who’ve had trouble diagnosing what’s going on with them. That’s more because they consider the whole body’s health and not just your teeth.

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

Can You Save My Marriage?

I’ve been married for a few weeks and haven’t slept since. My husband snores like you would not believe. I’m becoming grumpy. We had our first fight and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t so sleep deprived. My sister said her husband used to snore and her dentist stopped it. I’m not sure how a dentist can fix that, but I’m willing to try anything.

LeeAnne S. – Colorado

LeeAnne,

First, I’ll say congratulations on your marriage! Don’t worry about the fight. All couples fight.  The important thing is to keep remembering why you love one another.

If your husband is snoring, it’s possible the cause is sleep apnea.  It has to do with the muscles relaxing at the back of his throat. A dentist who treats sleep apnea can custom fit an oral device that will gently reposition his bite so the passageway is cleared, stopping the snoring.

On top of you getting some sleep, your husband will start feeling more energetic as well.  He won’t even realize it, but sleep apnea will interrupt his breathing and sleeping pattern over and over throughout the night.

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

Got Kicked Out of My Hotel Room for Snoring

I was on a trip with a bunch of girls from my dance team. Apparently, I snore…a lot. It was so bad, they kicked me out of the hotel room we were sharing. I had to sleep in the hall. I didn’t realize my snoring was so bad. What can I do?

Monica R. – TN

Monica,

If your snoring is that bad, you likely have what’s called sleep apnea. If you click on the link, it will take you to my website where I explain it more in depth.

What I’ll tell you here, is there is usually an easy solution. A dentist can custom fit an orthotic device that will tip your jaw forward just a tiny bit. It’s about the size of a sport’s mouthguard and very comfortable.

Repositioning your jaw keeps the muscles in the back of your throat from shifting into your breathing passage, causing snoring, and in the worst cases, moments where you stop breathing.

As an added benefit, you’ll find that you’re much more rested when you wake in the mornings.

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

 

Why do I snore?

I went to an overnight party and my friends all said I snored. It was really embarassing. Why do I snore? Can I stop it?

Mandy – Denver

Mandy,

I’m sorry your felt embarassed. You should know a lot of people snore, so you are definitely not alone.

You can also know that snoring is generally a sign you have sleep apnea. That’s when the muscles in the back of your throat relax, which causes vibration. That vibration is the sound of your snoring.

If your mom takes you to the dentist. He or she can give you a mandibular device. That’s just a fancy word for a mouthpiece you can wear while you sleep. It will keep you from snoring.

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