Who, at one time or another, hasn’t suffered loss of sleep due to the thunderous snoring of a spouse, a sibling, or a housemate? Or maybe you yourself are the guilty snoring party, keeping friends and family tossing and turning into the night.
Old-fashioned snore cures have proved less than ideal—often consisting of ineffective home remedies or uncomfortable breathing devices. But now, some doctors are proclaiming a simple injection or a laser treatment could be the catalyst to well-rested, snore-free nights for you and your loved ones in the future.
New cosmetic snore cures like Snoreplasty, Palatal Implants, and Laser Snore Surgery are turning the reality of snoring into a forgotten dream. If you or someone you know has a snoring problem, keep reading to learn what the cause may be, and if one of these modern cosmetic snore cures can help.
Rumored snoring causes have included everything from the common cold, to intense dreams, to the onset of old age. In actuality, people snore when their airway becomes obstructed or narrowed while they sleep. A narrower air passage requires breath to be pushed in and out of the throat more forcefully, causing the soft palate tissue to rattle or vibrate in a noisy manner.
Snoring is most often caused by alcohol consumption before bed, obesity, abnormalities in mouth and nasal anatomy, and conditions like sleep apnea. However, we can also become prone to snoring when extreme congestion restricts our airways, or in old age as tissue breakdown occurs and respiratory problems can be greater.
Alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol causes the mouth and throat muscles to become very relaxed. Drinking also inhibits our body’s natural ability to fight off airway obstruction. This combination explains why snoring is common after a night of drinking.
Obesity. While being overweight or obese is not a direct cause of snoring, snoring is more common in obese individuals. If someone is carrying extra weight in the neck and jaw area, this can encroach on their airway when they’re lying in bed, making breathing more difficult during sleep.
Anatomy. From person to person, many anatomical differences may exist in the structure of the mouth, throat and nasal passages which can increase or decrease snoring problems. Some individuals might have larger soft palates, larger tonsils or throat tissues, or a deviated nose septum which can hinder their breathing during sleep and increase the likelihood of snoring.
To correct snoring issues caused by a deviated septum or other mouth and throat abnormalities, patients can seek help with a licensed otolaryngologist or even a cosmetic plastic surgeon specializing in facial procedures.
Sleep Apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that can cause loud snoring, as well as extreme exhaustion and other health problems related to lack of sleep and lower oxygen levels in the blood. Sleep apnea causes an individual’s airway to become fully or mostly obstructed to the point that breathing stops. When a sleep apnea patient’s airway is blocked and oxygen is cut off, the increase of carbon dioxide forces them to wake from deep sleep and breathing to resume. This process can repeat several times in a night, causing disruptive, broken snoring and a serious sleep deficit.
Depending on the cause of your snoring, one of the modern snore cures below could be just what you need to sleep soundly and silently!
Snoreplasty Injections. Snoreplasty is a non-surgical snoring treatment that is administered by injection. Snoreplasty was first developed and explained in 2001 by Dr. Eric Mair, a prominent North Carolina otolaryngologist and pulmonologist.
During a snoreplasty treatment, the patient’s soft palate is injected with a scarring agent, sodium tetradecyl sulfate, causing the tissue to harden and palate tissue vibrations to stop. The injected solution is also used in sclerotherapy injections to treat varicose veins.
Snoreplasty injections can be performed in a matter of minutes. Local anesthesia is used to prepare the palate for injection, so snoreplasty patients should experience no pain during treatment. After snoreplasty injections, the soft palate tissue starts to heal, causing fibrosis or hardening of the soft palate tissue. This makes the palate tissue less susceptible to vibration during breathing, and subsequently, reduces snoring for the patient.
While results may differ, most snoreplasty patients will require 2-3 treatment to see long-term snore-free results. After treatment, patients may experience minor snoreplasty side effects like a sore throat, and/or discomfort in the roof of the mouth. Some snoring may still occur in the first couple nights after initial treatment.
Palatal Implants (Pillar procedure). The next step up from snoreplasty is palatal implants, a minimally invasive snore cure often called the pillar procedure or pillar implants. Snoring is treated by literally implanting tiny "pillars" made of polyester filaments or fibers into the soft palate at three points. These palate pillars are meant to literally support and strengthen the soft palate so that tissue vibration and snoring won’t occur.
According to the procedure website, the rate of complications from the pillar procedure is less than 1%. Of that small percentage, partial extrusion, or the protruding of an improperly placed pillar implant through the soft palate surface may occur. This can be corrected by the pillar implant surgeon or specialist who performed the snore surgery by removing and replacing the faulty palatal implant.
Like snoreplasty, palatal implants are not recommended to treat sleep apnea. Patients should always consult with a doctor or otolaryngologist first to identify the cause of their snoring condition, and to find out if palatal implants are an appropriate snore treatment for them.
Laser Snore Surgery. Clinically known as laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP), laser snore surgery involves using a laser to minimize the size of the short palate, and possibly to remove the uvula. This is intended to open up patients’ airway more, and reduce tissue vibration—both should lessen snoring conditions.
Laser snore surgery hasn’t yet been properly evaluated as a sleep apnea treatment, and thus is not recommended for that purpose. Possible risks of laser snore surgery include bleeding, infection, increased nasal congestion and temporary pain. More than one laser snore surgery session may be required to achieve the snoring relief you need.
Similar to this procedure is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). The palate and throat tissue targeted for removal with UPPP is the same as with laser snore surgery. However, UPPP involves a surgeon manually removing excess tissue from the palate and throat under anesthesia—to open up the patient’s airway further, get rid of throat obstructions, improve breathing and decrease snoring.
Other possibilities for snore treatments include:
If you have a snoring problem that can’t be fixed by reducing alcohol consumption or sleeping on your side, we recommend going to see an experienced ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or an otolaryngologist in your area. By examining your mouth and nasal structure and asking you a series of questions about your snoring condition, they should be able to deduce the cause of your snoring and advise an appropriate snore cure for you.
If your snoring is caused by a deviated septum that requires corrective nose surgery, a consultation with a board-certified rhinoplasty surgeon may be a proper avenue to a snore cure as well.
No matter what the cause of your snoring is, there are medical professionals and appropriate snore cures available today to ensure snoring doesn’t keep costing you and others valuable sleep.
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