Snoring happens when the muscles and soft tissue in your upper respiratory tract relax, causing your soft palate and the mucous membrane in your throat to vibrate.
When your tongue muscles relax and the tongue slips back, it can obstruct your throat so the breath cannot pass through. This means you can actually stop breathing for a period of time, starving your body of life-giving oxygen.
If your snoring causes you to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds more than 5 times per hour, you have sleep apnoea. This means your brain is being starved of oxygen, and it’s highly likely that over time you will experience a range of health problems as a direct result (eg hypertension, increase risk of stroke and heart attack).
What causes snoring/sleep apnoea?
Anything causing airway (throat) narrowing will increase the risk of snoring and sleep apnoea.
You are more likely to have sleep apnoea if you are obese as excessive fat tissue around the throat area will contribute to airway narrowing.
Smoking, alcohol, age and some genetic factors are all linked to increased risk of snoring and sleep apnoea.
What are the treatment options?
- lifestyle changes: lose weight, stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake
- Stop snoring mouth guards, snoring chin straps, anti-snore pillows and snoring masks (CPAP)
- Er: Yag Laser
How does Er: Yag laser work for snoring?
The heat from the laser beam helps to contract the skin and tighten the collagen tissues. This in turn helps to maintain a more open airway at the back of the throat.
What does the treatment feel like?
You will feel a warm sensation at the back of your mouth, but this is not uncomfortable. The treatment takes between 20 and 30 minutes.
What results can I expect?
You should feel an immediate tightening of the tissues and a contraction at the back of your throat after the first treatment, because the collagen strands shrink as they are heated. This could trigger an immediate improvement in the level of your snoring. However, the full effect of the treatment will be felt after the third month, when collagen regeneration is at its peak.
Are the results of treatment permanent?
You can expect the benefits of the treatment to last about a year. Gradually, over time, the density of the collagen fibres will reduce again, and the skin will start to sag. Maintenance treatments every 6 months are recommended, as they will help boost collagen growth and maintain the strength of your skin.
What side effects can I expect?
You may have a sore, ‘scratchy’ throat for a couple of days after treatment, but this should resolve without further treatment.
- Step 1: Consultation
- Your practitioner will assess you to determine your level of snoring. Some cases are too severe for laser treatment, so it’s important to seek treatment early, while the non- invasive option is possible.
- Step 2: Treatment
- The soft tissue at the back of your throat and the roof of your mouth will be tightened in a 2-stage laser heating process that takes about 20 to 30 minutes. This is not painful, but you will feel some warmth as the laser heats the skin and soft tissue. The skin begins to tighten immediately and you may feel a contraction at the back of your throat.
- Step 3: Walk Away
- Your treatment is complete, and you may resume your normal routine. You may feel that you can draw in a deeper breath, and the back of your throat may feel more open.
- Step 4: Maintenance
- After your initial course of three treatments over two months, a maintenance treatment every 6 months will boost new collagen growth, and help maintain the strength of your skin.