Snoring is caused when air intake is restricted or obstructed and the soft palate vibrates during sleep. Note that snoring may be associated with sleep apnea, a momentary interruption of nighttime breathing. Since this interruption can keep you from getting adequate rest at night, ask a physician to examine you. For more information on the Internet, see The Apnea Patient’s News
There are two main ways to treat snoring. At night, you can wear a special anti-snoring device fabricated by your dentist. Or you can have surgery.
A dentist can construct a device that fits over your teeth and changes the shape of your air passage and the vibration pattern of your soft palate (located at the back of your mouth).
Somnoplasty is a relatively new procedure in which, after throat tissues are numbed, a small probe is inserted into the soft palate of your throat. When activated, the probe emits radio waves that kill cells in the inner layer of your palate. During the following week or two of healing, the remaining tissues shrink and a small amount of scar tissue forms. All of this tightens the palate, reducing its vibrations. Snoring is reduced or eliminated altogether.
The procedure is more comfortable and heals faster than laser surgery.
There is less track record with this procedure, so there’s less predictability of success.
After throat tissues are numbed, a laser is used to reshape the back portion of the soft palate. This reshaping enlarges your air passage and changes the vibration pattern of the soft palate.
Laser surgery has a good, long-term track record and a high predictability of success.
There is greater discomfort and a longer healing period than alternative treatments (see somnoplasty).
This procedure is generally performed by oral surgeons or ear, nose and throat (ENT) physicians.