Ever woke yourself up with a snore? Awaken in the morning not very well rested after a night’s sleep? Or maybe you’ve felt your partner’s elbow nudge trying to get you to roll onto your side?
Snoring is a common condition that can affect almost anyone, from young children to older adults. The sound results from obstructed air that is trying to flow in and out of your mouth and nose. The soft palate, or soft part on the roof of the mouth, vibrates (and makes the snoring sound) as your body works to inhale and exhale. Nasal problems, throat issues, and glands can also cause the snoring sound.
While snoring can stem from a number of reasons, some dental or mouth problems can make things worse.
Wisdom Teeth Causing Your Snoring?
If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed, you may experience trouble when they try to emerge in the back of your mouth. Often, wisdom teeth are in a difficult position within the jaw or don’t have enough room to fit with the rest of your teeth. As a result, some wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle or only come through part of the way.
Some patients who experience partially erupted wisdom teeth will experience swelling and discomfort. When the tooth is only partly emerged, a flap of soft tissue is created covering this partial tooth. When this tissue becomes swollen and infected, it is known as pericoronitis. Symptoms of pericoronitis can include a bad taste in the mouth, pain, tenderness, and snoring.
Pericoronitis causes patients often to sleep with their mouths open and, coupled with the inflammation; this can result in snoring. Patients suffering from partial exposure of a wisdom tooth or pericoronitis should see their dentist. Delayed treatment can cause further infection.
Snoring Caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
When the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is misaligned, a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can result. The TMJ is located on the side of the face, just in front of the ear where the ear and lower jaw meet. Alignment of this joint is important for all teeth to be well aligned.
Patients suffering from TMD may grind or clench their jaw during the night. The result is waking with a headache or dull pain in the face. Also, this misalignment can mean that the lower jaw is too far back in the mouth. Overnight, the jaw muscles are trying to support an improperly positioned jaw. As these muscles relax during sleep, the tongue is naturally placed in a position too far back in the mouth. The resulting obstruction in breathing can cause you to snore.
Tongue and Jaw Obstruction Causing Snoring
Some snoring conditions are more than just a nuisance; they can cause serious risks to your health. In the case of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the upper airway is partly or completely blocked during sleep. Patients that suffer from OSA may stop breathing entirely for several seconds, waking with a loud gasp or body jerk.
Many aspects of the mouth can cause OSA, including the tongue and jaw. As a person sleeps, the tongue and lower jaw relax, usually backward. The tongue and jaw, when in this relaxed state, can block the airway, which leads to snoring and can make sleep apnea worse.
One common remedy to alleviate snoring is the use of a mandibular advancement device (MAD) or oral appliance. This molded device holds the lower jaw in a forward position and also brings the tongue forward. The result is an elevated soft palate that helps to open the airway.
Your dentist can offer further advice to help you control snoring. Even if a dental issue isn’t the cause of snoring, snoring can result in dry mouth. As snore sufferers are trying to breathe, the mouth is also struggling to produce enough saliva. Dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay, mouth sores, bad breath, and gum disease.
Contact us if you are concerned about snoring – we can help!