Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea

Did you know that oral surgeons commonly treat patients with sleep apnea?

Sleep Apnea Oral Surgery

When you think of oral surgery, it’s likely that tooth extractions, dental implants and corrective jaw surgery come to mind first, but sleep apnea treatment also falls into this category.

This serious disorder can halt your breathing repeatedly throughout the night, and in some advanced cases, surgical treatment may be recommended.

When Is Oral Surgery Considered?

Conservative measures are usually taken first in the treatment of sleep apnea.

Patients are advised to consider lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.

For those with moderate to severe disorders, a device such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or dental splint appliance may be worn at night to help keep the airway open. Using one of these devices is an effective treatment method for many of our patients.

But some patients with this disorder cannot adjust to wearing a face mask or dental device at night. And CPAP machines don’t work for some patients. This may be due to their having a narrow throat, a deviated nasal septum or enlarged adenoids or tonsils, for example.

In any of these cases, oral surgery may be recommended as a treatment option.

Surgical Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Enlarging the airway is the goal of oral surgery for this disorder, and this may require any of a number of surgical approaches.

For some patients, it may be necessary to remove tissue from the top of the throat and rear of the mouth, often including the tonsils and adenoids. For others, jaw repositioning or surgically implanting plastic rods into the soft palate may be beneficial.

For those with deviated septa, nasal surgery can straighten the crooked wall between the nostrils. If none of these procedures is effective and all other treatments have failed, a tracheostomy may be performed to provide a new air passageway in the neck.

Prognosis of Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea

According to recent University of Alabama research, the effectiveness of sleep apnea surgery depends upon several factors.

The severity of the disorder affects the prognosis, and surgical treatments are often more successful in patients with milder conditions. Body weight also plays a part, with patients who are at less than 125 percent of their ideal weight generally having a more beneficial surgical outcome.

In addition, surgery may not be as effective for those who have other medical conditions or diseases.

Do you suffer from sleep disruption, headaches, extreme fatigue or jaw pain? If so, you may have sleep apnea. To learn about your treatment options, call to schedule a consultation with the experienced professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

We can help you overcome the many challenges associated with undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea through oral surgery.