Perhaps you snore or your partner snores. It can be irritating and frustrating at times. Did you know there is an illness called sleep apnea that can cause such chronic snoring? Sleep apnea by definition is a breathing disruption while sleeping. You can actually stop breathing for up 20 seconds in your sleep. Signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, not breathing for long periods of time, choking, snorting, gasping, and daytime drowsiness, to name a few. There are various causes for sleep apnea, such as excessive smoking and drinking, being overweight, and family history of heart disease or sleep apnea.
You could go to a medical physician to get diagnosed. But I bet you did not know you could be diagnosed and treated by your dentist. Dentists treat sleep apnea in various ways, depending on the situation. CPAP, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is a mask and headgear that blows pressurized air from the room onto your face to keep your passages open. Then there are oral appliances that push the lower jaw forward and keep the tongue in place, so it does not fall over the passageway, cutting off the air supply. A last resort is surgery. If the sleep apnea is bad enough it could be the only option. Dentist have several types of surgeries that work to open your airway.
If you feel you or someone you know suffers from sleep apnea, bring it up to your dentist. He could potentially help you with your problem.