Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea: Understanding the Differences

Your dentist in Alabaster, AL, wants you to know about the differences between snoring and sleep apnea. Understanding why special treatment is essential for dental health and overall well-being. And remember, if you suspect that you or a loved one have sleep apnea, be sure to contact us for treatment.

What is Snoring?

Snoring is one symptom of sleep apnea, but it isn’t the same as sleep apnea. In other words, a person can be a snorer, but they might not have sleep apnea. But a person with sleep apnea almost always snores. Snoring is your body’s reaction to relaxing while you’re falling asleep or already asleep. It’s a vibration noise that happens as the passages in your airways narrow due to the muscles relaxing. Snoring is of little concern unless it’s disruptive to the sleep cycle of the person doing the snoring or their sleep partner.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition where the person actually stops breathing during sleep. Oxygen deprivation can damage heart tissue and lead to brain damage. It’s caused by a blockage in the airway—not just a narrowing—that prevents air from flowing into the lungs. This is why many people with sleep apnea frequently startle awake with a sensation of choking. There are other forms of sleep apnea, but the important thing to know is that it needs to be treated, whereas snoring doesn’t necessarily need professional treatment.

Contact your dentist for sleep apnea treatment in Alabaster, AL. We can help diagnose the cause and fit you with a dental appliance to help support proper oxygen flow as you sleep. This is a potentially life-saving treatment, so it’s essential that you are seen as soon as possible.

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