What Doctor Should I See for Snoring?
Do you or your partner snore while sleeping and the other one’s sleep is also disturbed because of it? Visit Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders. Our sleep professionals have the right solution for you. For more information call us at one of our clinics today or request an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX and Wausau WI.
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Snoring is defined as a grunting or snorting sound that occurs while sleeping. Its intensity and volume can vary greatly; sometimes it is soft, gentle, and almost inaudible, and other times it is sonorous, raucous, and horribly horrisonant. In severe cases, snoring can often disrupt others’ sleep and can pose a great disturbance for those who sleep in the same room as a snorer. People who snore regularly often report waking up with a sore throat as the constant vibrations can exhaust the muscles and irritate the soft tissues in the airways. Fortunately, sleep doctors can address this concern and improve the quality of sleep for the affected individual as well as their loved ones.
Although several factors contribute to snoring, its cause is the same in every situation: an obstruction in the airways. As we breathe in and out, muscles and tissues along the airways can block the flow of air, especially if they are saggy, deformed, or abnormally enlarged. When air collides with the obstruction, it causes the tissues to vibrate, which is heard as snoring.
Several issues can cause the airways to become obstructed, including:
– A deviated septum
– An abnormally long or large uvula
– The position of the tongue during sleep
– Misaligned jaws or teeth
– A narrow throat or airways
– Swollen tonsils
– Relaxed muscles due to exhaustion or medicine
– Specific sleeping positions
– Soft, untoned throat muscles
– Drinking too much alcohol (over-relaxes muscles)
– Exhaustion or lack of sleep
– Nasal congestion
While the majority of people snore quietly, some people are known to snore so loudly that it wakes up their partner—or even the person snoring! The reason some people snore louder than others comes down to the physical structure of their airways and other anatomical anomalies. When the passage of air is obstructed, it forces the person to breathe more deeply and with greater force, intensifying the vibrations and increasing the volume of the snores. This is also why some snores sound choked or labored; the reduction in airflow causes more frequent breathing, amplifying the vibrations.
Snoring is such a common occurrence that it can be difficult to know what type of doctor treats its related issues. Consulting a primary care physician is often a good place to start, but more often than not, if the snoring is severe enough to warrant treatment, they will more than likely refer the patient to a specialist. While some people may think of contacting a pulmonologist, as snoring involves the respiratory system, their area of expertise is on pulmonary diseases, such as asthma. It may come as a surprise to many that dentists are the most qualified professionals to address snoring problems. Because they have a wealth of knowledge in regard to the function and anatomy of the mouth and throat, dentists can prescribe custom-fitted anti-snoring mouthpieces and other oral devices to treat excessive snoring.
When visiting a sleep doctor for snoring, the first appointment often serves as a consultation. The patient and physician will discuss symptoms, the problems snoring causes for the patient and their partner, and how it affects their sleep. They will also go over medical history to rule out other causes and to determine if any preexisting conditions are involved. After the doctor determines the factors contributing to the problem, they can diagnose the severity of the problem and develop a treatment plan that would work best for the patient’s unique situation.
There are several treatments for snoring, including:
– Lifestyles changes (sleep hygiene, diet, exercise)
– Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
– Oral appliance therapy
– Oral surgery (only used in severe cases or when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief or negatively impact the quality of life)
If snoring is causing you to lose sleep, come to Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders to find the right solution. Our sleep specialists are experienced at treating disruptive snoring and can help you and your partner get a good night’s rest.