During sleep the throat muscles relax in everyone. However, with some of us many physical and anatomical conditions exist to further restrict the entrance to the breathing passage. Medications like sleeping pills, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants and alcohol can make the breathing passage even more likely to restrict.
At times these restrictions can cause tissues to reverberate causing snoring. Often these same restrictions result in a condition where breathing stops momentarily and the person awakens to resume breathing. This condition is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea and a disturbed pattern of sleep can have significant health consequences. A sleep study is generally performed and the frequency and duration of apnea is studied and quantified. The data then establishes the diagnosis and severity of sleep apnea. For moderately severe to severe sleep apnea a CPAP device is often prescribed. There are some patients with anatomical abnormalities that may require a surgical correction.
But for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring simple appliances to advance the jaw during sleep provide the necessary relief. By advancing the jaw the base of the tongue and airway has the opportunity to expand allowing improved air flow. Often this is a much more comfortable alternative to some of the other means of treatment if the patient is judged to be a good candidate.