Emma was a patient that was previously treated for sleep apnea with an intraoral appliance. The appliance was worn at night in order to pull her jaw forward and open her airway. Emma opted for this appliance due to the simple fact that she didn’t want to wear a CPAP machine every night. The appliance helped Emma sleep better, though she still was tired throughout the day. She found herself nodding off at work, and in some cases, she found herself heavy-eyed while driving. While this appliance was an effective solution to open Emma’s airway at night, she was still experiencing a constricted airway. The reason that Emma was having difficulty remaining awake during the day was due to chronically reduced airflow that was causing less oxygen in her blood.
Since the intraoral appliance didn’t completely resolve Emma’s airway restriction problem, she was happy to hear about NightLase Snoring and Apnea Treatment. NightLase is a special laser treatment that warms up the soft tissue that is located at the back of the throat, which then tightens the collagen within the tissue. Collagen is a specific protein that is found in the body that works to hold tissues together; however, as we age, the production of collage declines. As a result, tissue in the throat may begin to droop, blocking the airway. This tissue can be tightened and lifted with laser therapy, allowing the airway to be opened again.
With NightLase, there is no anesthesia, cutting, or tissue that needs to be removed. Like other patients, Emma reported that she felt slight heat where and when the laser was applied. For the full treatment to be delivered, it takes three different sessions that are two weeks apart. Each session is tailored to the patient’s individual needs, level of sensitivity, and amount of tissue that needs to be treated. Treatments tend to last as long as a year, which means that for several months after that, the airway of the patient remains open, allowing the patient to breathe easier during the day and at night.
In some cases, the NightLase treatment can be used to reduce the size of an enlarged uvula, which is the plump tissue that hangs down near the back of the throat, so that the airway can be opened even more. When the airway is enlarged more, the gag reflex can be reduced and swallowing can be improved.
NightLase is an excellent option for individuals like Emma who refuse or struggle to wear a CPAP. It is a self-pay treatment, but it is affordable. In fact, it is half the price of existing intraoral appliances and roughly the same amount that insurance will reimburse for appliance therapy. For comprehensive structural corrections, it is just a fraction of the cost.
If you or a loved one has symptoms that are related to sleep-disordered breathing like snoring, multiple waking episodes, morning headaches, brain fog, excessive daytime sleepiness, waking with a dry mouth, inability to concentrate, or irritability, then it is imperative that you get examined by a professional. Sleep apnea, which is considered the most severe kind of sleep-disordered breathing, is a chronic medical condition that is affecting more and more individuals every day. This condition deprives a person’s body of important oxygen, leading to serious health issues.
For more information, contact us at Fountain of Youth Dental.