Snoring #4. What can be done about it? A daily series of blogs by Mike Dilkes, ENT-laser.
In #3 I talked about the presence of a long thick uvula and soft palate as being quite critical in the management of snoring. However many of my patients have fairly normal structures in the soft palate area. What I find much more commonly is a blocked nose, particularly at night. This leads to mouth opening and mouth breathing, a situation whereby the jaw bone moves backwards as the mouth opens (the jaw joint is a sliding joint). This narrows the retrolingual space as the tongue is attached to the jaw bone. Snoring is thus triggered. Nose unblocking treatment usually starts with sprays and tablets for rhinitis, progressing to laser turbinoplasty under local anaesthetic in clinic, to day case septoplasty under general anaesthetic in hospital.
Nose unblocking is also very important if the patient needs a mandibular advancement device to help treat their snoring, as these cannot be worn effectively if the patient is breathing through their mouth at night.