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How My Dentist Helped Me Stop Snoring

July 31, 2012

A dental patient shares his story of how Dr. Reese helped him sleep better at night After an initial sleep study, it was determined that a snoring appliance might help me sleep better at night by snoring less. I knew I was waking up sleepy everyday, but I kept going by drinking coffee and energy drinks all day long. One day I was in Dr. Reese's office and he asked me if my wife ever complained of me snoring at night. I didn't really know why he was asking, but I answered him anyway. Not only had my wife complained, but everyone I'd ever slept in a room with since college had commented on how loud my snoring actually was.

Dr. Reese said that snoring was caused by a partially closed airway that occurs when I sleep. He said that snoring was possibly only the outside appearance of other more serious internal issues such as low oxygen which can lead to problems with digestion and can even cause a stroke. Whoa! He had my attention now. I asked him what he could do about it and Dr. Reese mentioned something called a snoring appliance. A snoring appliance is like a retainer you wear that keeps your lower jaw protruded, allowing your airway to stay open all night long. But before I could be diagnosed, I needed to have a home sleep study.

I've heard about sleep studies at hospitals where you have to go and spend the night taped up to a bunch of large machines that go beep in the night. When Dr. Reese told me I could do a sleep study in my own home I was amazed. His friendly staff showed me how to attach the home sleep study unit to my chest and how the sensors worked and attached. It was really pretty easy and didn't feel that uncomfortable at all. I took the unit home and put it on that night. I was a little nervous, but soon I was asleep - but the machine was working all night long.

The home sleep study unit is called the the Braebon Media Byte, Jr. and it records oxygen levels, chest movements, audio (like from snoring), and heart rate. The information is all recorded in that little device and then transferred to a computer for the doctor to analyze in the morning. Dr. Reese informed me that my oxygen levels dipped below normal levels several times during the night and my audio levels indicated very loud snoring. He recommended I get fitted for a snoring appliance so that's what I did.

A few days later I got the snoring appliance and Dr. Reese made sure it fit my mouth. It did and I was excited to try it out that night. The doctor mentioned it might take some getting used to or might fall out at night, but I had no problems adjusting to having it in my mouth. I had wore a retainer after getting braces when I was a child so this was no different. It never fell out of my mouth and in the morning I woke up feeling refreshed and rested. However, the biggest test was with my wife, who said she noticed a dramatic decrease in my snoring.