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Are you tired of getting hit, pushed and prodded during the night because you are keeping your sleeping partner awake while you snore?  Are you tired of waking yourself up from your own snoring or having to sleep in another room because of your snoring?   Or, are you the innocent “victim” who cannot get a good night’s sleep because your sleeping partner is snoring so loud that you are sure the neighbors can hear it?  In either case, you are not alone.  In fact, 67% of people snore which means that probably just about all of us are affected by snoring as either the snorer or as the frustrated bystander who is affected by it.  Not only is snoring unpleasant, it is also a risk factor for sleep apnea as it is estimated 80% of snorers have some form of sleep apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep) which can contribute to a laundry list of health conditions including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, impaired memory, impotence, depression, gastro-esophageal relflux disease (GERD), weight gain and headaches.

With the obnoxiousness of snoring and all of the medical conditions associated with snoring, you might be wondering why people snore in the first place.  Snoring is usually caused by the narrowing of the airway in your throat by the tongue or the soft palate and uvula (that thing that hangs down like a speed bag off of your soft palate).  As you sleep those tissues become more flaccid so the airway narrows and as air is forced through by breathing, those tissues vibrate and create that endearing snoring noise.

Thankfully, there is a revolutionary way to treat snoring.  It is called Nighlase™ and it is performed in the dental office by a trained dentist with a Fotona® Lightwalker® laser.  The procedure involves shining laser energy on the soft palate, uvula, and base of the tongue which causes the tissue to tighten, shrink and become more firm, opening the airway.  How does it do that?  The laser energy penetrates about 100μm into the tissue, warming the tissue, causing immediate collagen shrinkage and stimulating the production of new collagen.  In fact, in many cases you can see the soft palate raising and tightening during the procedure.  Nightlase™ involves three 20 minute treatments over the course of two months and the maximum effect is about 30 days after the last treatment as collagen remodeling can continue up until then.  Best of all, no anesthetic is needed and patients feel little discomfort.  Post-operatively, patients may feel like they have a scratchy throat (like at the beginning of a cold) for a couple of days after each treatment.  While  some patients have reported no increase in snoring after 18 months following Nightlase™, most patients will need a “touch up” treatment every 6-12 months to maintain the results.

Nightlase™ has been in use in Europe, South America and Canada since 2010 and has more recently been introduced in the United States.  It has proven to be a safe, effective and non-invasive way to treat snoring and sleep apnea.   As more dental offices adopt lasers into their practices and patients experience the treatment, Nightlase™ is generating quite a buzz in the news across the United States as access to this treatment is spreading.

Currently, A+ Dental Care is the only practice in the greater Sacramento area with the Fotona® Lightwalker® and the capability to perform the Nightlase™ procedure.   So if you are tired of being tired and having your quality of life disrupted by snoring, it’s time to see how  A+ Dental Care and Nightlase™ can help you.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep!

Dr. Chris Cooper

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