What is SOLEA Sleep?
SOLEA® Sleep improves your quality of sleep by gently tightening tissue in your soft palate and reducing vibrations that cause you to snore. Unlike surgical procedures that require long and painful recoveries, SOLEA Sleep is a quick, comfortable, non-surgical procedure that is completed in a single visit. Enjoy rapid relief from snoring for you and your partner.
What causes snoring?
The primary source of snoring is the vibration that can occur when air flows past relaxed tissues in the soft palate. These tissues can become even more relaxed with age or weight gain.
How serious is snoring?
Snoring is often a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a serious condition that can be life-threatening. A dentist cannot diagnose sleep apnea, so we recommend that you consult a physician for further evaluation. SOLEA Sleep is a treatment for snoring only.
SOLEA laser absorption depth
Carbon dioxide lasers such as SOLEA provide the ideal absorption depth of 30-100 µm to quickly and efficiently target the lamina propria without damaging the underlying tissue layers in an undesirable way and without ablation or charring.
How the Technology Works
Laser irradiation of the soft palate heats the tissue, resulting in a rapid contraction of tissue collagen fibers once the temperature reaches approximately 60°C (140°F)2. Around this temperature, the cross-linking of collagen fibrils, which are the building blocks of the connective tissue of the soft palate, is disrupted. This localized disruption of collagen causes the underlying deeper tissue to pull back the overlying disrupted tissue inwards and forms new random cross-linking after cooling. (2) (3) (4)
As the tissue begins a remodeling phase, additional collagen is recruited around the new configuration that exhibits increased stiffness. The effect is similar to what is observed in scar-like tissue. This scar-like formation is characterized by reduced pliability of tissues in the palate and uvula, thus minimizing tissue vibration and snoring. These phenomena are typically associated with a longevity of more than a year. (5)
Summary of Graph
The plot above shows the absorption depth of light at different wavelengths in the oral mucosa. In order to produce a strong treatment effect, laser energy must be delivered to the collagen-rich lamina propria layer. The Nd:YAG (neodymium) laser wavelength is absorbed deep into the tissue, while the Er:YAG (erbium) laser wavelength is absorbed superficially. SOLEA's CO2 laser wavelength is absorbed in the correct depth to efficiently deliver energy to the lamina propria. (9)
(9) D. Fantarella and L. Kotlow, "The 9.3-pm CO 2 Dental Laser: Technical Development and Early Clinical Experiences."
J. Laser Dent. J Laser Dent. vol. 2222, no. 11. pp. 10-27, 2014.
Palatal snoring is the most common type of snoring, as well as the type of snoring treated by SOLEA Sleep. It is the sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in the soft palate, causing the tissues to vibrate. A loose, floppy palate partially obstructs the airway (as pictured below) and causes the common "fluttering" sound associated with loud snoring.
Tightening the Soft Palate to Reduce Palatal Snoring
SOLEA Sleep is a treatment for palatal snoring. This type of snoring is caused by a loose and floppy soft palate, causing an afflicted person to emit a "fluttering" sound while breathing during sleep, the sound we have come to know as "snoring.”
Solea Sleep aims to reduce palatal snoring by tightening the patient's soft palate. Studies of methods to use lasers in this manner date back to 2002. (1) Researchers initially sought to discover a less invasive alternative to uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a surgical treatment that involves excision of parts of the soft palate and uvula to open the airway. This led to the development of non-surgical treatment approaches that sought to contract tissue rather than remove it.
(1) Wang. et al. Laser Soft Palate "Stiffening": An Alternative to Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 2002.30:40-43.
(2) Wehrhan F. Schultze-Mosgau S, Schliephake H.6 Salient Features of the Oral Mucosa. 2009:83-99.)
(3) Hagios C. Lochter A. Bissell MJ. Tissue architecture: The ultimate regulator of epithelial function? Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci. 1998;353(1370):857-870. doi:10.1098/rstb.1998.0250
(4) Sionkowska A. Skopinska-Wisniewska J. Gawron M. Kozlowska J, Planecka A. Chemical and thermal cross-linking of collagen and elastin hydrolysates. Int J Biol Macromol. 2010;47(4):570-577. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2010.08.004
(5) Von den Hoff. Johannes & Maltha. Jaap & Kuijpers-Jagtman, Anne. (2013). Palatal Wound Healing: The Effects of Scarring on Growth. 10.1007/978-3-642-30770-6_14
Stages of Tissue Healing
The effect of the heating from the laser is a disruption of the cross-linking in the collagen network in the tissue. The tightening of the tissue occurs as the result of a wound healing response that generates new collagen and elastin.
Wound healing consists of three phases: inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. The maturation phase is the final phase of the wound healing process and involves collagen type Ill converting to collagen type I. The structure of type I collagen is similar to scar tissue and stiffer than type III collagen. This type of tissue change is associated with a lasting effect that is maintained for 12 months or more.
The Benefits of Restful Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
The Role of Dentistry in the Treatment of Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders Adopted by ADA’s 2017 House of Delegates
Sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) are disorders characterized by disruptions in normal breathing patterns. SRBDs are potentially serious medical conditions caused by anatomical airway collapse and altered respiratory control mechanisms. Common SRBDs include snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA has been associated with metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, dental, and other diseases. In children, undiagnosed and/or untreated OSA can be associated with cardiovascular problems, impaired growth as well as learning and behavioral problems.
Dentists can and do play an essential role in the multidisciplinary care of patients with certain sleep-related breathing disorders and are well-positioned to identify patients at greater risk of SRBD. SRBD can be caused by a number of multifactorial medical issues and are therefore best treated through a collaborative model. Working in conjunction with our colleagues in medicine, dentists have various methods of mitigating these disorders. In children, the dentist’s recognition of suboptimal early craniofacial growth and development or other risk factors may lead to a medical referral or orthodontic/orthopedic intervention to treat and/or prevent SRBD. Various surgical modalities exist to treat SRBD. Oral appliances, specifically custom-made, titratable devices, can improve SRBD in adult patients compared to no therapy or placebo devices. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) can improve OSA in adult patients, especially those who are intolerant of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Dentists are the only health care provider with the knowledge and expertise to provide OAT.
The dentist’s role in the treatment of SRBD includes the following:
- Dentists are encouraged to screen patients for SRBD as part of a comprehensive medical and dental history to recognize symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, choking, snoring, or witnessed apneas and evaluation for risk factors such as obesity, retrognathia, or hypertension. If the risk for SRBD is determined, these patients should be referred, as needed, to the appropriate physicians for proper diagnosis.
- In children, screening through history and clinical examination may identify signs and symptoms of deficient growth and development or other risk factors that may lead to airway issues. If the risk for SRBD is determined, intervention through medical/dental referral or evidenced-based treatment may be appropriate to help treat the SRBD and/or develop an optimal physiologic airway and breathing pattern.
- Oral appliance therapy is an appropriate treatment for mild and moderate sleep apnea, and for severe sleep apnea when a CPAP is not tolerated by the patient.
- When oral appliance therapy is prescribed by a physician through written or electronic order for an adult patient with obstructive sleep apnea, a dentist should evaluate the patient for the appropriateness of fabricating a suitable oral appliance. If deemed appropriate, a dentist should fabricate an oral appliance.
- Dentists should obtain appropriate patient consent for treatment that reviews the proposed treatment plan, all available options, and any potential side effects of using OAT and expected appliance longevity.
- Dentists treating SRBD with OAT should be capable of recognizing and managing the potential side effects through treatment or proper referral.