Snoring FAQs

Answers to our most commonly asked questions


What causes snoring?

Snoring is caused by the vibration of airway tissue located at the back of the mouth, throat and nose. It happens as we breathe in and out. When we’re awake, muscles hold the airway open and there’s no noise. But sleeping relaxes these muscles and if they relax excessively – or if a person’s throat structures are particularly large – the airway collapses and partially obstructs air flow. Which makes the disturbing snoring sound. This can also happen if you’re overly relaxed or if your airway is  small.

In addition to throat structure, there are a number of other factors which can trigger snoring such as: age; excess weight; smoking; lack of exercise; excessive caffeine consumption – especially in the afternoon or evening; breathing through the mouth; and alcohol.

What are causes of airway obstructions?

Causes of airway obstruction include:

  •       aging leading to laxity of soft tissue in the oral cavity
  •       increased fat around the throat due to being overweight
  •       alcohol and other drugs relaxing muscles in the throat
  •       dropping of the tongue when sleeping on one’s back

Can snoring be cured?

Snoring can sometimes be improved without any treatment by losing weight, avoiding excessive alcohol, and sleeping on one’s side. If these simple measures are unsuccessful, there are now effective laser treatments available for snoring.

How can I relieve snoring?

Simple lifestyle changes can help stop or reduce snoring.


  • try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • sleep on your side – try taping a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side
  • consider asking your partner to use ear plugs if your snoring affects their sleep


  • do not smoke
  • do not drink too much alcohol
  • do not take sleeping pills – these can sometimes cause snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Sufferers of the condition can experience breathing pauses which last over ten seconds.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. The brain triggers the body to breathe again but this can cause you to wake up – often with a gasp or the sensation that you’re choking. Chances are you’ll fall back to sleep only to have the pattern repeat throughout the night, sometimes hundreds of times.

Not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnoea. However, when untreated OSA can have serious consequences for your health. But reducing or eliminating snoring can indeed reduce OSA. If we detect moderate to severe OSA during your consultation, we will refer you to a specialist sleep clinic.

Concerned about the health implications of snoring? Get peace of mind and a peaceful night’s sleep by booking a consultation today.

Am I at risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnoea might occur at any age. In the UK it’s most common in people aged between 30 and 60 with men twice as likely to have it than women. Children are more likely to develop the condition if they have enlarged adenoids and tonsils or if they are obese.

There are a number of other factors that increase the likelihood of developing OSA:

  • Obesity
  • Postmenopause
  • Large neck size: 17 inches or more
  • Later stages of pregnancy (it’s not uncommon for OSA symptoms to improve or disappear after the birth)
  • Conditions such as hypothyroidism and Down’s Syndrome
  • Conditions that affect your jaw, nose, tongue or airway
  • Having a set-back or small lower jaw, large tongue or tonsils, or a nasal blockage

Smoking, alcohol and the use of sleeping pills can aggravate OSA.

What happens if obstructive sleep apnea is not treated?

Though easily treated, when OSA is left undiagnosed and untreated it can have serious consequences for your health. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk of:

  • coronary artery disease
  • congestive heart failure
  • myocardial infarction
  • hypertension
  • stroke
  • insulin resistance
  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • sudden cardiac death

Excessive tiredness caused by disturbed sleep can also increase your risk of accidents.

Concerned that you might be suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea? Book a consultation today to see if you need to be referred to a GP or an OSA specialist.

What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?

Common symptoms of OSA include:

  • snoring
  • intermittent pauses in breathing while sleeping
  • frequently disturbed sleep
  • non‐restorative sleep
  • morning headaches
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • poor concentration
  • decreased libido
  • impaired memory
  • mood fluctuations.

People with OSA may experience difficulty in controlling additional medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

If you have any of these symptoms we warmly invite you to book a consultation today. 

What can I do to help with sleep apnea?

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnoea, there are some things you can do to help.

These may be all you need to do if your sleep apnoea is mild.


  • try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • sleep on your side – try taping a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side


  • do not smoke
  • do not drink too much alcohol – especially shortly before going to sleep
  • do not take sleeping pills unless recommended by a doctor – they can make sleep apnoea worse


The British Lung Foundation has local support groups and you can get travel advice from the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association.

Laser Treatment

What is laser therapy and how successful is it?

Nightlase therapy uses a gentle yet effective laser to gently and painlessly tighten and strengthen the collagen at the back of your mouth. This prevents the tissue from vibrating as you breathe – so you stop snoring and start breathing regularly while you sleep.

Thousands of people have already received Nightlase treatment for their snoring. We are pioneers in this treatment and are confident to report an excellent success rate of up to 90%, with at least a 30% reduction in a patient’s snoring.

What is NightLase® Snoring and Apnea Treatment?

NightLase® Treatment is a patented, fast, non-invasive and friendly way of increasing the quality of a patient’s sleep. NightLase® lessens the effects of sleep apnea and decreases the amplitude of snoring through the use of gentle, superficial Er:YAG laser light. No anesthesia is used in this treatment.

How does NightLase® Treatment work?

During NightLase® treatment laser light heats the tissue, causing tightening of the tissue which leads to an attenuation of the sound of the patients snoring and a lessening of the effects of sleep apnea. The procedure is performed in two simple steps:
Step 1: PRECONDITIONING The laser light preheats the tissue.

Step 2: TISSUE STRENGTHENING Laser light strengthens the tissue. A full course of NightLase® treatment is comprised of three separate treatment sessions over a six week period. The final result of the treatment has been shown to last up to a year. When the patients or their loved ones notice the effects erroding, another round of treatment can be performed.

Is it like surgery - will I need an anaesthetic?

Nightlase therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that requires no anaesthetic or recovery time. The treatment is pain-free and takes just 20 minutes. You simply lie back while the laser gently firms the area at the back of your mouth which causes snoring.

Is it complicated or painful?

NightLase® is easy for any doctor or dentist to perform and has an extremely high success rate in producing a positive change in sleep patterns. Research has shown that NightLase® reduces and attenuates snoring and provides an effective, non-invasive way to lessen the effects of sleep apnea.

NightLase® requires no device to be worn during sleep, involves no chemical treatment, and no anesthesia. It is a gentle and easy way for the patient and their loved ones to regain a good night’s rest.

Who administers the Nightlase therapy?

You’ll be in the safe hands of one of our skilled and highly trained dental surgeons.

Will I have to take time off work to recover from the treatment?

Nightlase therapy is quick and painfree so you’ll be able to go straight back to work after the treatments. You won’t require any medication during – or after – the therapy. You’ll be able to eat and drink normally afterwards too.

Why are Fotona laser systems perfect for NightLase® Treatment?

Fotona systems, like the LightWalker and Dynamis, enable a strong yet gentle Er:YAG modality which optimizes the length of every pulse. This mode allows for the superficial penetration of heat into tissue, without damage or adverse effects. It is gentle enough to be used on the sensitive tissue inside the mouth, but strong enough to provide clinically efficacious heating.

NightLase® Treatment parameters can be preprogrammed into the Dynamis or LightWalker, making treatments easy to perform.

Mandibular advancement device

What is a mandibular advancement device?

A mandibular advancement device looks much like a mouth guard that is commonly worn in sports. It’s made of two layers which are worn at night on your upper and lower dental arches, and has a soft inner liner to protect your teeth and gums.

It works by stabilising your lower jaw in a forward position to open your airway and stop the vibrating sounds made by snoring.

Make Your Appointment Today

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