What Causes Snoring?


Snoring occurs when the soft tissue structures of the upper airway collapse onto themselves and vibrate against each other as we attempt to move air through them. This produces the sound we know as snoring. Large tonsils, a long soft palate, a large tongue, the uvula and excess fat deposits in the throat all contribute to airway narrowing and snoring. Usually the more narrow the airway space, the louder or more habitual the snoring.


Is Snoring Serious?


Medically, yes! It disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of appropriate rest. When snoring is severe, it can cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.

Gary Greenberg, D.M.D., F.A.G.D.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the tongue and soft plate collapse onto the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway causing airflow to stop. When the oxygen level drops low enough, the brain moves out of deep sleep and the individual partially awakens. The airway then contracts and opens; causing the obstruction in the throat to clear. The flow of air starts again usually with a loud gasp. When the airflow starts again you then move back into a deep sleep. The airway muscles collapse, as you awaken with a gasp. The airway clears once again as the process repeats itself. This scenario may occur many times during the night. The combination of low oxygen levels and fragmented sleep are the major contributors to most of the ill effects that the sleep apnea patient suffers. In addition to excessive daytime sleepiness, studies show that sleep apnea patients are much more likely to suffer from heart problems (heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension), strokes, as well as having a higher incidence of work related and driving related accidents.



Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances are worn in the mouth to treat snoring and OSA. These devices are similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. Oral Appliance Therapy involves the selection, design, fitting and use of a custom designed oral appliance that is worn during sleep. This appliance then attempts to maintain an opened, unobstructed airway in the throat. There are many different oral appliances available. Approximately 40 appliances have been approved through the FDA for treatment of snoring and/or sleep apnea. Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other means of treating OSA. These means include general health, weight management, surgery or CPAP.
               Oral appliances work in several ways:

  • Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
  • Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue

Dr. examination

Dentists with training in Oral Appliance Therapy are familiar with the various designs of appliances. They can determine which one is best suited for your specific needs. The dentist will work with your physician as part of the medical team in your diagnosis, treatment and on-going care. Determination of proper therapy can only be made by the joint consultation of your dentist and physician. Initiation of oral appliance therapy can take several months to complete. Your dentist will continue to monitor your treatment and evaluate the response of your teeth and jaws.




Gary Greenberg, D.M.D., F.A.G.D. | 913 Old Liverpool Road, Liverpool, NY 13088 | 315.422.1788




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