the consumer’s guide to non-surgical laser snoring treatments
The Laser Snoring Consumer Guide To Pain-free, Non-Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments For Effective, Long-term Relief From Snoring
By David Rodrick, DDS – Centennial, Colorado Laser Dentist
When you consider that more than 90 MILLION Americans suffer from snoring while they sleep,* it’s easy to see why modern, non-surgical laser snoring treatments have come on line as a welcome alternative for those who snore, or those who have to listen to a family member snoring all night. Of that population of 90 million who snore, roughly half (or approximately 45 million Americans), are what’s called “simple snorers” (mild snoring – less than 5 events per hour) or “primary snorers” (moderate snoring – between 5 to 10 events per hour). The other 45 million Americans may have some level of a serious sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).” The negative health problems that result from snoring make this a critical problem that must be addressed, or serious, long-term health problems can result.
There are many common sense reasons why people seek treatment to reduce or stop their snoring:
- Keeping spouses or family members awake all night
- Sleep deprivation for the person who’s snoring
- Oxygen deprivation for the person who’s snoring, which can lead to a whole host of health problems, including: high blood pressure, headaches & migraines, impotence, depression, increased incidence of heart attack and stroke, even death…
What’s the History Of Snoring Treatments?
Up until recently, the two main treatment options for getting snoring relief in adults have been limited to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines or an intensely painful invasive surgery to reduce the airway obstruction by literally cutting off soft tissue and bone on the roof of the patient’s mouth.
In the 1990s, Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments came on line as a third alternative for providing relief for snorers, and for their families. However, these surgical laser snoring treatments are painful enough to require narcotic drugs after the procedure, don’t help people stop snoring, and often do more harm than good.
Non-Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments Emerge As The New “Gold Standard” For Effective, Long-term Relief From Snoring
There HAD to be a better way to mitigate snoring than these first three options – and that came to pass with the introduction of Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments in 2013. Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments are an effective, comfortable, and affordable alternative to CPAP machines, traditional snoring mitigation surgery, and surgical laser snoring treatments
Two Types of Laser Snoring Treatments With HUGE Differences:
Know the Differences Between The Two Before You Choose A Laser Snoring Treatment
Since there are now two types of Laser Snoring Treatments (with VAST differences between the procedures and the results), consumers need to know and understand the significant differences between Surgical and Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments (as well as the use of CPAP machines or traditional laser snoring surgery).
How To Get Relief From Snoring:
A Quick Guide To the Four Types of Laser Snoring Treatments, And Their Pros & Cons
For those who snore and are looking for the right treatment to help them stop snoring, or those who are living with a person who chronically snores, here’s a look at the various treatments for snoring, and their pros and cons – so you can make an informed, educated decision on which snoring treatment to pursue.
Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments Are An Alternative to CPAP Machines.
Snoring Treatment Option 1: Sleep With A “CPAP” Machine
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy) machines are forced-air devices in which the patient wears a mask on their face while sleeping that attaches to a tube that administers pressurized air through the nose only if you are a nose breather but both nose and mouth if you breathe through your mouth, too. The air being forced down the snorer’s windpipe helps mitigate the diminished air intake and breathing difficulties that occur when a person has sleep apnea episodes throughout the night. Before a patient can get a CPAP machine prescribed, they must undergo under a sleep study before they can get a CPAP machine. A sleep study is done during an overnight stay at a hospital or a sleep center where a doctor can monitor your body while you are sleeping.
Medical research was underway in the 1980s and, in 1981, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine was introduced. The early CPAP machines featured huge facemasks with huge hoses that made it uncomfortable to sleep, plus the machines themselves were so noisy that they kept people awake – which is the wrong way to address snoring issues. New-generation CPAP machines have gotten smaller and better. However, patients who wear them still report numerous issues that disturb their sleep. The mask may leak and make it uncomfortable to breathe during sleep, and the tubes that connect the mask with the machine get in the way, making it hard for the sleeper to move or roll over.
Are CPAP Machines Covered By Insurance?
No, unfortunately CPAP machines are not covered by insurance.
What Are The PROs of CPAP Machines?
- Can improve sleep for people who don’t mind the mask, the tube, and the noise of the machine itself
- Variety of CPAP machines from which to choose
What Are The CONs of CPAP Machines?
- The better ones are expensive
- Must be used every night
- They are uncomfortable for some people
- It takes “light” sleepers time to get used to the mask, the tube, and the machine itself
- Air may leak from the mask
- Causes a dry nose, a dry mouth, a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and eye, skin & face irritation
- Requires a sleep study at a sleep research facility before you can get one
- Feels claustrophobic to some people
- Abdominal bloating (some air is forced into the stomach as well as the lungs)
- You’ll have to use this machine for the rest of your life
What’s The Cost of A CPAP Machine?
CPAP machines can cost as low as $400.00 and up to $2,000.00 depending on the model and the functions available.
Snoring Treatment Option 2: Traditional Snoring Mitigation Surgery
UPPP Surgery (formal name: Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) is the traditional way of cutting and/or remodeling excess tissue with a scalpel (knife) to open the airway. The tissues to be removed may be the uvula (grape-like structure that hangs on the back of the throat), the soft palate (back of the roof of the mouth), and the tonsils. Unfortunately, recovery is painful and it takes approximately three weeks. Swallowing is difficult; therefore, the patient may not be able to eat comfortably for up to a month. There also is risk of dehydration because it hurts to swallow. Dehydration may cause the increase of pain, bleeding, and it may delay the healing process. Only liquids or soft food can be taken for two weeks after the surgery. It is likely for the patient to feel discomfort when swallowing hot, spicy, or acidic food after surgery. Pain: After surgery, patients experience severe pain and a sore throat for several days. Earaches may appear for the first 1-2 weeks, and it will hurt to yawn. Coughing or sneezing may last for several weeks.
Is Traditional Snoring Mitigation Surgery Covered By Insurance?
No. Most insurance companies do not pay for the snoring treatments because they don’t see it as a health issue.
What Are The PROs of Traditional Snoring Surgery?
- It may increase the width of the airway at the throat’s opening
- Blocks some of the muscle action in order to improve the ability of the airway to remain open by eliminating muscles that close the soft palate and close the airway
- Improves the movement and closure of the soft palate
- May control/eliminate sleep apnea and snoring
What Are The CONs of Traditional Snoring Surgery?
- Extreme pain after surgery
- 50% or less effective over the long run
- It takes several weeks of recovery
- Trouble swallowing, drinking, or eating for weeks after the procedure
- Risk of dehydration
- Causes permanent physical disfigurement of the throat
- This surgery has potentially and serious complications, including risk of infection, bleeding, frequent changes in voice, and impaired sense of smell
- Failure and reappearance of sleep apnea for roughly 50% of patients
- If the procedure fails, the use of CPAP machines is less effective after surgery
What’s The Cost of Traditional Snoring Surgery?
Traditional Snoring Surgery costs anywhere from $2,000.00 to $10,000.00 and in some cases more.
Laser Treatments for Snoring
The next option for treating snoring is to use lasers to treat the snoring problem. Laser snoring treatments are continuing to see advances on a yearly basis – and it’s critically important to understand that there are two distinctly different ways of treating snoring with lasers: one method works, the other has limited success.
Anyone researching laser snoring treatments needs to understand the two types of laser snoring treatments, and what each involves, before pursuing a laser treatment for snoring. The two types of laser snoring treatments are:
- Surgical Laser Snoring Treatment
- Non-Surgical Laser Snoring Treatment
Snoring Treatment Option 3: Surgical Laser Snoring Treatment
Introduced in 1993, Surgical laser snoring treatments, known as LAUP, or Laser-assisted Uvulopalatalplasty, are very much like traditional laser snoring surgery, except that the procedures is done using a laser instead of a scalpel. Unfortunately, Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments are the most well-known of the two laser snoring treatment options. However, consumers need to know that SURGICAL laser snoring treatments have poor success rates, permanently disfigure patients, and are painful enough to require narcotic-level painkillers following the surgical laser snoring treatment. The surgical laser snoring procedure is performed with a CO2 laser. It is done with the patient awake under local anesthesia. A nose and throat surgeon (otolaryngologist) uses a CO2 laser to surgically remove the soft palatal, uvula, and in some cases, the tonsils. The laser cuts the tissue by burning it. First, local anesthesia is sprayed on the back of the patient’s mouth to cover the soft palate, uvula, and tonsils. Then, more anesthetic is injected into the uvula and when it takes effect, the surgeon makes two vertical incisions on the soft palate on one side of the uvula. There is a third incision that removes the tip of the uvula. Part of the soft palatal tissue is usually removed, too.
Are Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments Covered by Insurance?
No, insurance companies do not consider snoring a health issue. It is considered esthetic.
What Are The PROs of Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
There aren’t any.
What Are The CONs of Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
- Research has shown that the surgical laser snoring procedure (LAUP) has a high rate of failure and, in some cases, actually makes the patient’s condition worse, without reducing the snoring.
- The success of this procedure varies from patient to patient. It is not always successful the first time. Some patients may have to get the procedure done up to five times to be successful. It takes two to three weeks for the patient to recover.
- Narcotic-level pain medication typically required for at least two weeks.
- This is a difficult procedure to perform on patients who have a strong gag reflex.
- Change in voice
Tissue scarring also is a typical result that reduces the mobility of tissue at the back of the throat and that causes the following:
- Difficulty in swallowing for MONTHS after the procedure
- Liquids that are swallowed may go into the nose
- The pain is severe and the success over the long term is not satisfactory
- Requires a minimum of two weeks of recovery after surgery
- Sore mouth and throat after surgery for several days
- There may be complications such as bleeding
What’s The Cost of Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
The initial sleep disorder evaluation visit is $225. The total charge for each laser treatment session typically is $500.00. The average number of treatments for significant snoring relief is three. However, it may take as few as 2 treatments or up to a maximum of five. Each office treatment is scheduled 4 weeks apart. Full payment is required at the time of the initial evaluation and also before each laser treatment.
Snoring Treatment Option 4: NON-Surgical Laser Snoring Treatment (known as NightLase™)
Available in the United States since 2013 (and performed in Europe for five years), non-surgical laser snoring treatments are effective in solving snoring problems. Called NightLase™, this non-surgical laser snoring treatment is comfortable both during and after treatment, involves no surgery or burning, and provides long-term relief from snoring. The experience of a non-surgical laser snoring treatment involves a visit to a laser dentist’s office, where the patients reclines in a dental chair, and the laser dentist uses an Erbium laser to gently heat the soft palatal tissue without pain and disfigurement. The laser light is directed at the soft tissue area in the back of the throat …much like shining a flashlight. When patients are receiving a non-surgical laser snoring treatment, they experience the feeling of warmth on the area where the laser light is directed (the back of the throat). This feeling of heat is desirable, because it means the laser energy is working to tighten and tone the palatal tissue. This toning and tightening of the posterior palatal area reduces the intensity of snoring and helps to open the airway allowing patients to breathe easier. There is no down time after the procedure, and normal activities may be resumed immediately after the procedure without any restrictions. The patient’s family often will notice the difference a few weeks after the first treatment, though the best results are more evident after all three sessions are completed. The intensity of the laser is controlled by the dentist who uses on-the-spot feedback from the patient to determine what level is appropriate for each patient. There is no need for anesthesia. Three to four non-surgical laser snoring treatments are required with three weeks between each appointment to provide time for the collagen to reform and new collagen to be produced inside the soft palatal tissue and the uvula.
How Does the Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatment Work?
The NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring procedure uses focused Erbium laser energy to cause collagen contraction and the conversion of Type III collagen to Type I collagen in the soft palatal tissues. Type I collagen is more dense compared to the Type III collagen. The new Type I collagen that forms after the application of the Erbium laser causes the soft palatal tissue to tighten and tone up, which reduces the vibration that occurs during snoring. It also causes the soft palate and uvula to shrink in size, which helps open up the airway for better breathing for the patient. Research also shows that the Erbium laser thermally induced collagen tightening is long lasting and results in no scarring compared to surgical intervention, or other types of laser treatment
What’s The Cost of Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
A non-surgical laser snoring treatment typically costs $500 per treatment session (3 treatments usually required).
Are Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments Covered By Insurance?
What Are The Benefits of Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
- Snoring Relief Without Surgery: Chronic snorers can get relief without any cutting on the body or the roof of the mouth through the NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring treatment.
- A Virtually Pain-free Procedure: The NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring procedure is virtually pain free, both during and after the procedure. If the patient is uncomfortable with the intensity of the laser light applied during treatment, the dentist simply reduces the intensity of the laser light.
- Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments Actually Work: Unlike Traditional Surgery or Surgical Laser Treatments that don’t provide relief for chronic snorers, NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring treatments actually work. When the Erbium laser light is applied to the area in the back of the throat,, tissue that’s loose and vibrates (causing snoring) tightens up, and the tissue and uvula at the back of the throat actually shrinks, opening up the patient’s air pathway.
- Improved Sleep for Patients & Their Family: The NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring treatment provides relief to chronic snorers, and to the family members who have to listen to the snoring all night.
- A Viable Alternative To CPAP Machines: There are some people who simply can’t use a CPAP machine because they can’t tolerate wearing an oral appliance while trying to sleep. These patients are candidates for trying the NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring procedure.
- A Viable Complement To CPAP Machines: Chronic snorers who CAN tolerate a CPAP machine still find that the CPAP machine doesn’t provide enough relief. There are many cases where the NightLase™ procedure used in conjunction with an oral appliance or the CPAP machine provides the relief that chronic snorers need
- Improved Health from Getting Proper Sleep: Sleep deprivation takes a tremendous toll on the human body, and the mind.
What Are The Negative Effects Of Sleep Deprivation?
- Lower blood oxygen & reduced oxygen to the brain and body
- High blood pressure
- Hormone imbalances
- Headaches & Migraines
- Impotence & lowered libido
- Accelerated cellular aging
- Lowered brain function
- Lowered immune system
- Memory loss…and more.
What Are The Research Results of NightLase™ Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
Results from Europe, where non-surgical laser snoring treatments have been used for many years, show excellent results for this procedure. A study with 15-month follow up telephone reviews showed a 74% positive response to NightLase™ treatment, with 95.2% of patients stating they had a reduction in snoring, according to “laserandhealthacademy.com). Of that 95%, a total of 57.1 percent of respondents stated they had significant to excellent improvement in reducing their snoring. The result of the study stated that the NightLase™ non-surgical laser snoring was an effective. Source: Laser Health Academy 2013 Study
How Will I Know If The NightLase™ Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatment Works?
The simplest way to know that the non-surgical laser snoring treatment has worked is to do a before procedure-after procedure comparison. Before the procedure, patients should monitor their typical snoring, and compare it with how much (or how little) they snore after the procedure. If you’re thinking: “How do I monitor my snoring?,” there are several ways to monitor snoring. Sleep labs are available where you can go to a facility and sleep, and have your snoring and sleep apnea monitored. In addition, there are smartphone apps that work quite well. SnoreLab (for the iPhone) and SnoreClock (Android phone) are simple, cost-effective ways to measure snoring. Simply load these apps on your smartphone, place the phone on your night stand, and start the application before you go to sleep. When you wake in the morning, and turn off the app, it will provide statistics on your snoring for the entire night. These results can be emailed to yourself, or to your laser dentist for review and placement in your medical chart. One other word of caution: it’s widely known that sleeping on your back promotes snoring. When a person sleeps on their back, the tongue closes up the airway purely from the force of snoring and reduced oxygen. To do an accurate before-after comparison of snoring, make sure you are measuring your snoring from the same sleeping position.
How Do I Choose A Qualified Dentist to Perform Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatments?
If you choose to get a NightLase™ Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatment, make sure you are receiving the treatment from a qualified dentist who’s certified and properly trained in the NightLase™ procedure. Currently, there are only about 100 dentists in the United States qualified to perform this procedure. The Fotona laser company certifies the dentist to provide the procedure. Only after the dentist is certified is the dentist able to purchase the specific handpiece to provide NightLase™ to their patients. The course can only be taken after several days of training is complete on the Fotona LightWalker™ dental laser and then a two-day weekend course is taken on NightLaseTM and SmoothLaseTM and then the dentist is certified. You should ask to make sure your dentist has these qualifications first.
Laser Snoring Treatment Consumer Guide Summary
Snoring is not just an inconvenience; it causes legitimate and significant health problems for the snorer and those who are kept awake listening to the snoring. The four main treatments for snoring offer widely varying results. The most non-invasive and effective of laser snoring treatments is the Non-Surgical Laser Snoring Treatment known as NightLase. In addition, consumers need to be aware that there are two types of laser snoring procedures: Surgical Laser Snoring Procedures are painful and typically don’t work Non-Surgical Laser Snoring Treatments are effective, require no surgery, and allow snorers to get back to their lives and work with minimal interruption.
Dr. David Rodrick is an expert general & laser dentist in Centennial, Colorado.
About David Rodrick, DDS – Certified Laser Dentist Who Offers The NightLase™ Non-surgical Laser Snoring Treatment In Centennial, Colorado
Dr. David Rodrick has 30 years of experience as a dentist, and has been offering laser dentistry for 12+ years. He has a passion for making patients relax, and helping solve their dental problems using effective, comfortable laser dentistry equipment and techniques. He offers:
- General dentistry services
- Laser dentistry services
- Root canals
- Non-surgical Laser Gum Treatments
- Cosmetic dentistry & implants
- Teeth whitening
- Non-surgical Laser snoring treatments…and more.
Dr. Rodrick is both an expert general dentist, and is one of the leading laser dentists along Colorado’s Front Range. He was one of the first dentists to offer laser dentistry in Colorado. He earned an Associate Fellowship in Laser Dentistry by the World Laser Clinical Institute, and he also has completed extensive continuing education using “Fotona” dental lasers. In addition to his 30 years of experience in dentistry, Dr. Rodrick has completed close to 300 hours of continuing education in laser dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, laser endodontics (root canal therapy), and dental implants. He is a member of, and also has earned an associate fellowship in ASIRD (American Society of Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry). In 2005, he received an award from Nobel Biocare for excellence in dental esthetics.
In 2015, Dr. Rodrick was the first dentist in the state of Colorado to learn and perform a non-surgical laser snoring treatment known as NightLase™. Dr. Rodrick was born and raised in southern Illinois. In 1977, he moved to Denver and attended the University of Colorado at Denver — graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then attended the University of Colorado School of Dentistry and graduated as a general dentist in 1984. In 1985, he opened a solo practice in Centennial, Colorado.
Dr. Rodrick has a passion for laser dentistry for many reasons: “I am passionate about laser dentistry for so many reasons. First, laser dentistry truly offers the best quality of dental treatment available, with the least possible amount of discomfort for my patients. Second, by offering laser dentistry that’s more comfortable and effective, it keeps my patients coming back regularly to care for and maintain their teeth,” he said.
For information on Laser Dentistry in Denver, Englewood & Centennial, Colorado, please contact the dental practice of: David L. Rodrick, DDS, Experts in Laser Dentistry: 303.793.0793, or visit www.DrRodrickDDS.com.