Sleep apnea is a problem for many people. New treatments for sleep apnea are now available from the AZ Sleep & Snore Center in Scottsdale. Dr. Roger Briggs, a veteran Scottsdale dentist, discusses the health problems associated with snoring, and a new treatment option, in this report.
Many factors can cause snoring, Dr. Briggs explains. Genetic factors can cause snoring. Nasal congestion can cause it. Crowded teeth can be a cause. Obesity is also a big factor. “Something as simple as the position that we sleep in” can cause us to snore. And snoring is not a joke. Dr. Briggs cites studies showing that the vibration from snoring can cause plaque buildup in carotid arteries. “Loud snoring can create cardiovascular problems and stroke.”
Sleep disorder breathing can be more serious than snoring. It can reach a level where it interferes with breathing, a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Briggs says that people who have snoring issues should see their doctors about the problem. Strokes, heart attacks diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, senility—these are all conditions that can arise from snoring problems.
As to treatment options, Dr. Briggs notes that CPAP therapy is the first item on most lists of treatment options. Continuous positive airway pressure provided by a CPAP machine can be an effective treatment for many people. Since 2006, an oral appliance provided by a sleep dentist is a recognized treatment option for people with moderate to mild sleep apnea. Another option is the use of lasers, and Dr. Briggs has found lasers to be an effective treatment option.
One type of laser is used to go into the back of the throat and remove part of a patient’s soft palate. Dr. Briggs says that there are only 100-some dentists currently using this laser in the United States. “It is a rejuvenating laser.” It changes the nature of the collagen in the back of the throat and causes it to rejuvenate itself. Each treatment takes no more than thirty minutes. Dr. Briggs says that some patients report immediate sleep improvement. A typical course of treatment is three sessions, but it may take as many as four or five treatments to get the right result. The laser has an 80% success rate.