What are the benefits of NightLase® laser treatment for snoring?
As important as an attractive smile may be, our holistic dental practice focuses on more than just the appearance of your teeth and gums. Led by Dr. Terry Rose, the Smile in Style team in Sunbury and Moonee Ponds have considerable skill, knowledge, and experience to resolve a range of other conditions that are rooted in the oral cavity and interconnected tissues and structures. One procedure that we offer is the advanced, non-invasive, and gentle laser treatment to reduce snoring called NightLase®.
Mild snoring, on its own, is not dangerous to the snorer’s health. It can, though, be detrimental to relationships when partners and other family members do not get the restful sleep they need to work, parent, or study at their highest levels. Snoring can also be secondary to a dangerous type of sleep-disordered breathing called sleep apnoea.
Wake up to sleep apnoea risks and therapy
Commonly, patients with sleep apnoea are forced awake many times during the night. What happens is that overly-relaxed tissues in their throat block the airways. When the airways are blocked, oxygen levels fall and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rise. The rising CO2 levels prompt them to resume breathing. This represents a dangerous pattern that places significant stress on the heart and other organs due to a lack of oxygen. Since patients never feel they get a rested night’s sleep, they are at greater risk of driving accidents or on-the-job accidents due to chronic fatigue.
Fortunately, for mild snoring, Smile in Style is able to offer NightLase®. This laser therapy is designed to tighten the relaxed muscles and tissues in the back of the throat. In turn, by treating these tissues in a targeted manner, snoring can be reduced significantly.
In more severe sleep apnoea cases, main treatment options are CPAP face masks which pump positive pressure air to prevent the airways collapsing and/ or mandibular advancement plates. Mandibular advancement plates are a pair of plates worn in the upper and lower jaw. They position the mandible forward, effectively opening the airway at night. Many people find the CPAP face masks too uncomfortable to wear and a number of people also can’t tolerate the mandibular advancement splints. In severe cases Nightlase can still be used as an effective adjunct to CPAP devices or mandibular advancement splints.
At Smile in Style we usually have a consultation first to gain a history, get some idea of the severity of the condition affecting the patient, understand the treatment options and costs. Where we suspect there is a high chance of sleep disordered breathing we recommend the patient to see their GP to organise a referral to a sleep physician and have a sleep study done. Occasionally referral to an ear, nose and throat surgeon (ENT) may also be necessary if we think there are upper airway issues (e.g. sinus or tonsil infections). The results of the sleep study (and ENT assessment if needed) help us to choose the most effective treatment option for the patient.
How does NightLase® work?
In NightLase® treatment, the Dental Laser light is applied precisely to the soft palate and oral mucosal tissues. This low level laser safely targets the treatment area. The controlled energy generated by this laser technology stimulates the contraction of firming collagen proteins. This process causes the formerly lax tissues to tighten. The laser pulses are sufficiently gentle yet powerful to predictably and effectively alter delicate soft tissues without the risks of more invasive procedures.
Simple snoring cases take 3 visits spaced out a month apart. More advanced cases including severe sleep disordered breathing cases can take up to 6 visits spaced a month apart.
The results vary from person to person, and sometimes some patients will require yearly “maintenance” treatments to prevent snoring and other symptoms. Our patients also appreciate that there is no special preparation required prior to treatment and that NightLase® is a hassle-free alternative to low-compliance treatments like CPAP therapy.
Schedule an appointment at either our Moonee Ponds or Sunbury office. Phone 03 8400 4104 (Moonee Ponds) or 03 8001 6021 (Sunbury). You and your loved ones deserve uninterrupted, restorative sleep and are long overdue for some shut-eye!