Tired of Snoring?

If you have trouble with a spouse who snores, or if you yourself snore, you probably wouldn't think to see a dentist about the problem. And if you did, your dentist most likely would not be able to help you. Unless your dentist is Dr. Roger Riley, D.D.S. of Newport Beach (949-448-7667).

Dr. Riley has been practicing general dentistry for decades, but as of February 14, he gave it up to start a new practice, Resolving Obstructive Airway Resistance (ROAR), that will focus on treating snoring and related sleep apnea and will have offices in both Newport Beach and Mission Viejo.

Through the dental office might not seem the most obvious place to be treated for snoring, Dr. Riley says it should be. "Snoring is all about what goes on in the mouth and throat" he says, "and we dentists are the keepers of the arena." But for years, dentists weren't trained to recognize problems of snoring, but rather, were in the business of "finding holes and fixing them" he says. Now, a handful of dentists are getting involved.

Dr. Riley became interested in the treatment of snoring when he decided to do something about his own problem. "I've been a nuisance to my wife all of our married life," he says. Dr. Riley points out that snoring can be a serious detriment to quality of life, not just to the snorer, but also to whomever they share a bedroom with; snoring can prevent both people from remaining in the deep, restorative levels of sleep, which increases irritability and fatigue during the day as well as decreasing productivity, and even putting strain on the marriage. "But now, I can bring peace back to the bedroom," Dr. Riley says. Snoring and sleep apnea (a condition in which the snorer actually stops breathing for a period of time when the airway becomes totally restricted) are both caused by a deficiency in the oral airway that increases as the snorer falls deeper into sleep and the muscles relax impeding airflow. This block of airflow not only disturbs sleep, but can cause serious health problems, like increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and heart arrhythmia, since the temporary obstruction of air and resulting shortage of oxygen makes the heart and lungs work harder.

Dr. Riley's solution for snoring is completely non-invasive. He creates a mouth appliance, called a Mandibular Repositioning Device (MRD) made to fit the patients teeth, that forces the jaw bone slightly forward, tightening the muscles in the throat and around the airway. The MRD is small comfortable and is worn when sleeping. Dr. Riley happily demonstrates by putting his own in his mouth: "With this in, I literally cannot snore."