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FAQs


What causes snoring?

Is snoring dangerous?

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

How can snoring be treated?

Can anyone have these treatments?

Are there any other treatments available?

Are these treatments covered by insurance?

What causes snoring?

Snoring occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax during sleep and narrow the passage through which you breathe. As the air passes through this narrowing, the soft palate and uvula vibrate and produce the sound of snoring. The airway can be further narrowed due to:

 - poor muscle tone (after alcohol or sedative use)

- enlarged tonsils and adenoids

- a long soft palate or uvula

- blocked nasal airways from polyps, a deviated septum, allergies or a cold

- excessive weight causing tissue at the neck to be bulky and flaccid

- tissue swelling from cigarette smoking

- hypothyroidism

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Is snoring dangerous?

Snoring is both a social and a medical problem. It can be disruptive to family life, frequently forcing partners to sleep separately.

Snorers become unwelcome room-mates on vacations or business trips, and cause other family members sleepless nights which often leads to resentment resentment.

Snorers can sleep poorly and suffer reduced daytime alertness with a subsequent increase in traffic accidents.

In its most severe form, it is an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea when the airway completely but temporarily obstructs.

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What is obstructive sleep apnea?

If the airway occludes completely, there is no airflow and no snoring. This quiet interval ends when the snorer is aroused from deep sleep, reopens his airway with a loud snort and resumes snoring.

These frequent arousals deprive the snorer of deep, restful sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness with a tendency to fall asleep at work or while driving. There is also a higher risk of developing hypertension, heart attacks and strokes.

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How can snoring be treated?

Somnoplasty is a new technique to treat snoring painlessly. The procedure, done at the Clinic, involves placing an electrode for a brief moment into the soft palate to locally reduce the quantity of tissue. As it heals over the next few weeks, the soft palate shortens and stiffens, without causing any pain; the vibration of the soft palate decreases and snoring is eliminated. Done with local anesthesia, no pain is felt during the procedure.

In selected cases, laser treatment is the best choice. It is performed in the doctor's office, using a high-intensity laser beam to trim and reshape the uvula and soft palate. It is done with local anesthesia so no pain is felt during the procedure. There is throat pain for 7 to 10 days after the treatment. Occasionally, a complete cure involves one or two more treatments. Approximately 90% of treated patients report being cured.

Wearing a dental appliance at night can offer another solution. Molded to the teeth, this appliance will keep the lower jaw in a forward position during your sleep therefore decreasing your snoring. This appliance is often used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

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Can anyone have these treatments?

On your initial appointment at the Clinic, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire and have a medical examination to find out if there are conditions which make you a better candidate for one of the several procedures offered at our Clinic. Patients with suspected sleep apnea may be asked to undergo an overnight sleep study.

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Are there any other treatments available ?

A dental appliance worn while sleeping can sometimes be indicated. Fabricated to mold to the teeth, it keeps the lower jaw forward and eliminates snoring. Occasionally, it is prescribed to treat apnea as well.

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Are these treatments covered by insurance?

These treatments are not covered by the provincial health plan. If you have supplementary health benefits through a private insurer, you should check to see if these procedures are covered.

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