Do you snore whenever you fall asleep? Is it making your life more difficult?
Loud and constant snoring can be a headache in more ways than one. For starters, it can deprive you from getting a good night’s rest as you are jolted awake over and over. Snoring can also give your spouse or partner sleepless nights and even lead to relationship strife. Worse still, regular snoring could be a sign of several potentially life-threatening medical conditions.
Snoring in the US is more common than most people realize. Per a recent report, an estimated 44% of men and 28% of women between the ages 30–60 suffer from habitual snoring. Clearly, there is a serious need for medical devices, treatments, and sleep medicine to treat snoring. It’s no surprise then that anti-snoring devices come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. But the question is: can they really fix your snoring?
Over-the-Counter vs. CPAP Anti-Snoring Devices
Chronic snoring is not easy to treat as it might be the result of several different factors. The treatment suggested by doctors can vary depending on the root cause of your snoring. We can divide sleep disorder treatment devices for snoring into two main categories – over-the-counter (OTC) devices and prescription devices.
Regular snoring can arise if you are overweight, suffer from nasal obstruction or congestion of nasal passages, have an improper sleep position, overindulge in alcohol consumption, use certain drugs, or have a soft palate.
Many of these issues can be corrected through lifestyle changes, improving your sleep habits, or treating/managing the underlying medical condition. Doctors generally consider these as the less severe reasons behind habitual snoring.
The most common type of over-the-counter anti-snore device is nasal strips. They also include special chin straps and nasal dilators. Unfortunately, unless you actively address the underlying factor, these devices are usually not very effective at preventing snoring.
In nearly a third of all habitual snoring cases, the underlying cause is a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. The condition can be quite dangerous since it may lead to the following complications if left untreated:
- Lack of adequate sleep.
- Fatigue and poor quality of life leading to depression.
- High blood pressure.
- Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Type 2 diabetes.
As you can see, it’s quite imperative that you see a sinus specialist to reduce snoring. If it is caused by OSA, the doctor can suggest immediate corrective measures to prevent long-term damage to your health and improve your quality of life.
While milder forms of OSA can be treated through lifestyle changes, more severe forms may require the use of a prescription anti-snoring device to improve airflow. There are two main options:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
- Oral Appliance Therapy
Are CPAP Machines Effective Against Snoring?
Continuous positive airway pressure treatment is designed to reduce snoring caused by OSA. The medical device is made up of three main parts:
- A mask that is fixed over your nostrils and mouth using straps around your head.
- An electric motor that pumps air into the mask.
- A tube connecting the motor and the mask.
When you have OSA, the muscles at the back of your throat relax too much and your airways become narrow or close altogether when you breathe in. Having a soft palate or overextended uvula can increase your risk of having OSA.
As your body is deprived of oxygen, your brain sends an emergency signal to open your airway by giving you a quick wake-up call. People with OSA can receive such signals up to 30 times per hour.
The experience is so brief, most people don’t remember it once they are fully awake. A CPAP machine forces a gentle stream of air into your mouth at all times and prevents the airways from closing.
When used properly, CPAP machines can significantly improve the quality of your sleep and prevent snoring. With that said, there is a catch – for many people, proper use of the machine is almost impossible while sleeping.
Disadvantages of CPAP Machines
- Wearing the mask properly can be quite uncomfortable, especially in the beginning.
- They can trigger anxiety and severe claustrophobia in some patients.
- The mask may cause contact sores on the face.
- Common side effects include dry mouth, sore tongue, nose bleeds, and nasal congestion.
As you can see, CPAP machines, while quite effective in their own right, are not suitable treatment options for everyone. Many patients fail to grow accustomed to wearing a mask to sleep every night.
CPAP machines are not a one-time or short-term treatment and they cannot cure sleep apnea. You will have to use them all through your life to keep OSA symptoms under control.
Is Oral Appliance Therapy Effective Against Snoring?
Oral appliances for snoring are also called mandibular advancement devices. They are often recommended for patients who have milder forms of sleep apnea, or those who cannot tolerate CPAP machines.
You have to consult a dentist to get a custom oral appliance made for your mouth. The device looks like a mouthguard worn when playing sports. While you sleep, the device keeps your lower jaw pushed slightly forward to improve airflow and stop snoring.
Oral appliances are not perfect and may have some significant side effects, including:
- Changes in your bite.
- Pain in your jaws and teeth.
- Sore tongue.
- Loose teeth and need for dental replacement.
- Dry mouth or excessive drooling.
Due to their risk for side effects, oral appliances are not generally considered the first line of defense against sleep apnea-related snoring.
A Breakthrough Treatment for Snoring – Dr. Mandel’s Minimally Invasive Palatal Stiffening Procedure (MIPS)
For patients who are uncomfortable using CPAP machines or mandibular advancement devices or who fail to receive sustainable benefits from using these devices, surgery on the palate can be another option.
Dr. Mandel has developed an innovative new technique to provide lasting relief from OSA – it’s called the Minimally Invasive Palatal Stiffening Procedure or MIPS.
The procedure involves applying a laser to your soft palate and uvula. The laser causes minor abrasions on the surface of the palate and as they heal, the palate is naturally pulled inside/shrunk. Tightening the soft palate in this manner reduces the risk of vibrations around the spot in your sleep. A tighter palate and shorter uvula reduce your risk of OSA and snoring.
What Happens During a MIPS Procedure?
MIPS is a short, 3-minute procedure that you complete in the South Florida Sinus and Allergy clinic as an out-patient – no extended stay at the hospital is required. During the MIPS procedure, you will be kept on IV sedation while the doctor uses a precision diode laser on your soft palate/uvula.
In patients with more advanced structural issues, Dr. Mandel may combine the MIPS with a traditional nasal procedure on soft tissues for a more effective, long-term solution.
It’s quick and painless as there are no surgical incisions or excisions involved – most patients report a sore throat as the only side effect. That too should pass in under a week – most patients can resume their daily routine within a few days of the procedure.
After the MIPS procedure, the vast majority of patients experience results within one week – better sleep, improved breathing, and no more snoring. If you are tired of either snoring or having to wear nasal strips or strap a CPAP machine on every night, MIPS can offer you the freedom from discomfort you desperately seek!
Breathe Easier With Dr. Mandel’s MIPS Procedure for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Dr. Mandel is a double board-certified specialist in otolaryngology and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery with over 20 years of experience in minimally invasive procedures for sinonasal, sleep, and snoring disorders. MIPS is a lasting solution developed by Dr. Mandel that is helping thousands of patients achieve sustainable relief from snoring and sleep apnea.
The innovative MIPS procedure for obstructive sleep apnea is only available at the South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center. If you want effective, permanent freedom from snoring without the constant use of CPAP machines, you should schedule an appointment today by calling us at 954-983-1211.