NightLase® treatment may help ease your snoring or sleep apnea.

NightLase® is a safe, non-invasive laser treatment for the soft palate, the back of the tongue, and the floor of the mouth. If you snore or have a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, this procedure may help! We’re pleased to offer NightLase at Winchester Dental. Kelly Richardson, DDS explains how it works.

How does NightLase® treatment work?

Using LightWalker technology, our laser enables the targeted tissue to reform its collagen and tighten. It doesn’t cut or burn; it just tones the collagen and makes it firmer. This opens up your airway to help you breathe more easily, and to reduce your snoring.

Can NightLase® help patients with obstructive sleep apnea?

This treatment can help ease OSA symptoms, but it’s not a cure. If you use a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) device for obstructive sleep apnea, you may need to continue doing so. NightLase treatment could be an additional option to help open up your airway and reduce your symptoms.

If you snore but don’t specifically have sleep apnea, this treatment may also help you. However, remember that many people who snore don’t realize that they might have an underlying issue. If you know you snore, we recommend and will help you arrange to do an at-home sleep screening. This will help you identify any potential serious issues that you and your doctor should know about before you pursue any snoring treatment.

Is it safe for both adults and children?

Yes, both adults and children can benefit from this type of treatment.

How long does a full course of treatment take?

Depending on their specific needs, most patients can expect to schedule three to five visits over a period of six to ten weeks. The spacing between appointments is necessary because it takes 21 days after a treatment for tissue to tone and reform. We schedule these visits as carefully as we can so there is no lag time.

Is there any discomfort involved in NightLase® treatment?

During the procedure, the laser produces about as much warmth as you’d expect during a hot shower. Afterwards you might experience irritation or tickling in the treated areas, but not to the point of a sore throat. There is no numbing or anesthetic required, and the treatment doesn’t cause any severe discomfort. You’ll be able to communicate with us throughout the procedure to ensure your comfort.

How soon after a procedure can patients resume their usual routine?

Right after your visit, you can go back to work, school, or any other planned activities. There are no post-operative instructions.

Is the laser safe?

The LightWalker® laser is safe, and does not produce harmful or cancer-causing radiation; it only works to reform and tone the targeted tissue. (It’s different from our cold laser, which is equally safe, and helps with pain and healing but does not reform tissue.)

How long do the effects of an initial treatment course last?

If we’re treating general snoring, you can expect to schedule a follow-up treatment course once a year. For those with sleep apnea, we recommend that you have another treatment course every six months. Over time the treated tissue softens, and this is why it should be redone.

Can this treatment replace oral appliance therapy?

Not necessarily. If you wear an oral appliance to help with your snoring or sleep apnea, we’ll reassess your need to continue wearing it after your first course of NightLase treatment.

(You can read more about oral appliance therapy options for snoring and sleep apnea here.)

What else should patients know about NightLase®?

Many patients have reported that their daytime breathing is better after just one NightLase treatment visit! Better daytime breathing carries many potential health benefits, such as improved daytime wakefulness, and better focus and memory. If you’d like to know more, please schedule a consultation and we’ll be glad to answer all your questions.