When sleeping, the msucles and soft tissues in the throat, mouth, and nearby the trachea are relaxed.  This relaxtion shrinks the airway, hence increasing the breathing’s airflow velocity.  And with increased velocity comes a vibration of the soft palate and uvula.  This vibration is commonly known as “snoring” or “deep breathing” or “sleep apnea.”


Over 160 million people in North America snore, children and adults included.  Snoring not only disturbs the sleep cycle, but it can cause difficulty in breathing.  This struggle for breath can raise blood preessure, which can in effect damage the cartoid arteries and raise the risk of stroke.

Depending on the severity of the snoring, the soft tissues adjacent to the airways along with the tongue can cause partial or complete blockage of the airway in the trachea.  If this blockage lasts for greater than 10 seconds, it is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.


Your dentist and physician may recommend surgery to remove soft and hard tissue structures that impair respiration and inspiration.  This surgery generally shows a success rate of up to 40%.  Surgery however is considered invasive and is usually a last restort for sleep apnea.

Another method your dentist may recommend to prevent snoring is via a snoreguard.  A snoreguard is a custom made dental appliance that moves the lower jaw forward relative to the maxilla (upper jaw).  By moving the lower jaw foward, it increases the space in the trachea (airway tube), thus reducing the velocity of air expelled during breathing, and also reduces soft tissue vibrations.  In wearing a snoreguard, an upper and lower component is worn and connected via a connector.

If you feel you snore or have sleep apnea, your family dentist in Bellevue can help determine if a snoreguard is right for you.  Contact us at (425) 614-1600 if you have any questions on snoring and its effect your oral and systemic health.

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