Does Excessive Snoring Always Mean Sleep Apnea?

Mar 06, 2023
Does Excessive Snoring Always Mean Sleep Apnea?
Excessive snoring is an unusual symptom and many people think it means you have sleep apnea. Learn more about why this may not be the case.

It’s not usually a good sign when you have excessive snoring. But before you automatically assume that the snoring is sleep apnea, you might want to fully investigate your health to rule out other causes.

Sleep apnea is the most common cause of snoring during sleep, but it’s not the only cause. Get an evaluation by a dentist to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea. The providers at Whole Body Dental in Bellevue, Washington, explain more about excessive snoring and its causes.

The forms of sleep apnea

There are actually a few different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, also known as OSA, is the most common. Some of the causes of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a thick neck circumference
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol before bed

These factors can cause your airways to become blocked temporarily during sleep, and trigger sleep apnea. There’s also another less common type of sleep apnea known as central sleep apnea. This means your body is resistant to the signals to maintain your breathing during sleep.

Are there other causes of sleep apnea?

Biological factors are typically behind most cases of sleep apnea. However, sometimes other things can cause it as well. 

You are more likely to experience sleep apnea if you sleep on your side or take certain medications that slow your breathing, such as opioids. Mild sleep apnea or temporary symptoms may be resolved by something as simple as a medication switch.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The symptoms of sleep apnea are recognizable. Some of the symptoms you may experience can include the following:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Headaches, especially in the early hours after awakening
  • Restless sleep
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Reduced focus

In children, you may also observe behaviors such as sluggishness or sleepiness (especially in the classroom), poor school performance, difficulty swallowing, and sweating a lot at night. 

How to get an evaluation

If you think that you or your child might have sleep apnea, the dentist can help. Dentists can detect changes in your airways that suggest sleep apnea. 

You may need to do a sleep study. This often involves wearing a sleep watch, which tracks your breathing through the night, including any episodes in which you stop breathing. If you have many such episodes, it may be enough to diagnose you with sleep apnea.

How we treat sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, you might assume that the only treatment option is a device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system. However, you can also get a device from the dentist that keeps your airways open during sleep.

If you’re worried you have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist about it as soon as possible. Contact the providers at Whole Body Dental or request an appointment online.