A common and prevalent sleep-related breathing disorder, snoring is most usually found in males who are around 40 years old or more. But this doesn’t mean that younger people and women are not also highly likely to snore. Habitual snoring may be a primary problem (on its own) or it can be secondary in that it is related to another health disorder (such as obesity or sleep apnea).
Although it’s easy to diagnose snoring (roommates and partners know this!), treating snoring can be a much more difficult process. Determining the most effective treatment for people who snore means discovering what the source of the snoring might be in the first place. It is important that any person with habitual or chronic snoring should see a medical professional to rule out more serious health conditions and determine the best form of treatment.
Some people can treat snoring with simple, non-invasive methods such as applying adhesive nasal strips, wearing a mouthpiece, or even losing some weight. Other people who snore, however, may have a structural problem in their mouths that are causing the problem. In this case, surgical intervention may be the most effective course of action.
What is Laser Treatment for Snoring?
Many people snore because of excess weight that they carry in their necks, whether due to gaining weight with age or simply because of a structural predisposition. When the soft palate in the mouth or flesh in the back of the throat is enlarged, this can cause interference with breathing as the tissues of the mouth tend to fall into the airways and block the flow of oxygen during sleep.
Previously, the surgical procedures used to remedy this problem were extremely painful and invasive, literally cutting away the soft tissues and/or bones that lie on the roof of the mouth. The recovery time for these surgeries was long and the effectiveness was not very high. Many people continued snoring without any relief. The introduction of surgical laser treatments for snoring reduced some of the pain and discomfort of the procedure but still was not an ideally effective route.
Non-surgical laser treatments for snoring have been introduced in recent years, as more affordable, comfortable, and effective treatments to open up the breathing passages and reduce the sounds made during sleep. Laser treatments for snoring are typically performed at the office of a specialized dentist where the soft palate is heated with laser beams. The procedure is performed without anesthesia and generally the only discomfort might be related to a feeling of warmth on the area where the light is exposed. Most non-surgical laser treatments for snoring are given in a succession of three or four treatments in order to produce the most effective results.
How Does Laser Treatment for Snoring Work?
As the lasers are used on the soft palate or flesh on the back of the throat, the heat indicated that the laser energy is working to tone and tighten the tissue on the palate—without any cutting or tearing. As laser is used on the tissues, the collagen contracts and becomes denser. This procedure also has a tendency to reduce the size of the soft palate and uvula. Following the completion of the procedure, the sound of the snoring will naturally lessen because the airways are being opened up to encourage better breathing without any restrictions.
During a laser treatment session for snoring, the patient sits in a typical dental chair with the head back and mouth open. The treatment requires no anesthesia and is not painful but simply induces a sense of warmth. Following the procedure, regular activities can be resumed without any interruption to work or lifestyle. No down time or recovery time is needed.
Results for laser treatment for snoring are not instantaneous and may take a bit of time. Patients who receive non-surgical laser treatment for snoring may find a reduction in snoring happens within just a few weeks after the first treatment. Ultimately, however, the results of a complete treatment cycle of this type of collagen tightening are long lasting with very little inconvenience.
Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of non-surgical laser treatment for snoring, but the cost is usually very affordable (several hundred dollars on average for a full course of treatment). For many people, this cost is very minimal when compared with the promise of restored sleeping patterns without the inconvenience of a breathing machine or invasive surgery! And your dentist or oral surgeon is likely to provide a payment plan so that you can pay out of pocket on a budget.
Laser Treatment for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Some people who have snoring due to obstructive sleep apnea may use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to allow them to breathe regularly during the night without snoring. However, the use of this machine can be bulky and inconvenient, and many people don’t like it.
Non-surgical laser treatment for snoring may be a viable, affordable alternative to restore healthy sleep breathing and make it possible to sleep well without the need for an invasive machine. If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, your doctor should be able to work with you on a plan to introduce laser treatment for snoring with the goal of reducing or even eliminating the need for a CPAP machine in relation to obstructive sleep apnea.
For many people, the possibility of sleeping better without snoring is a benefit for the whole family’s health and well-being. Sleep deprivation can have a myriad of detrimental effects on the health and this painless, affordable procedure could change everything by reducing or completely eliminating snoring problems. Of course, as with any snoring solution, laser treatment for snoring may not work for everyone because it depends on the cause of the snoring the first place. Check with your doctor or specialized dentist to find out if non-surgical laser treatment for snoring is a viable option for you.