This is one of the most common problems worldwide. Snoring occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax during sleep and narrow the passage through which you breathe. As the air passes through this narrowing, the soft palate and uvula vibrate and produce the sound of snoring. The airway can be further narrowed due to:
- Poor muscle tone (after alcohol or sedative use).
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
- A long soft palate or uvula.
- Blocked nasal airways from polyps, a deviated septum, allergies or a cold.
- Excessive weight causing tissue at the neck to be bulky and flaccid.
- Tissue swelling from cigarette smoking.
However, snoring can be treated medically.
Somnoplasty is a new technique to treat snoring painlessly. It involves placing an electrode for a brief moment into the soft palate to locally reduce the quantity of tissue. As it heals over the next few weeks and the soft palate shortens and stiffens, the vibration of the soft palate decreases and snoring is eliminated.
In selected cases, laser treatment is the best choice. It is done using a high-intensity laser beam to trim and reshape the uvula and soft palate.
Wearing a dental appliance at night can also offer another solution. Molded to the teeth, this appliance keeps the lower jaw in a forward position during your sleep therefore decreasing your snoring. This appliance is often used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.