Oral Surgery as an Alternative for Treating Chronic Sleep Apnea

New research indicates that oral surgery can help sleep apnea sufferers for whom other treatment options have been unsuccessful.

Sleep Apnea Oral Surgery

A continuous positive airway pressure device, commonly known as a CPAP machine, is the most widely used treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, some patients are unable to tolerate wearing the CPAP mask through the night and ultimately abandon the device. For these patients, surgery can prove a welcome — and permanent — solution.

Sleep Apnea Poses Many Serious Health Risks

Untreated apnea can increase your risk of several dangerous health issues.

According to recent research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, if the condition isn’t managed, your risk of high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and even
heart failure increase significantly. Heart attacks and strokes are also more likely.

And you may be more susceptible to weight gain, diabetes, memory problems, headaches and other chronic medical conditions.

This condition, if left untreated, also may be responsible for work-related accidents andmotor vehicle accidents.

If you are unable to tolerate the CPAP mask, it’s important to consider alternative treatment. Oral appliances, like sports mouth guards, can provide an effective alternative for some patients. For others, however, they may be as unbearable as the CPAP.

Oral surgery is an effective means of treating this serious condition, and it eliminates the need to wear an uncomfortable mask or appliance at night.

Oral Surgery as a First Choice for Treating Sleep Apnea

Even if you don’t have an issue with wearing a CPAP or oral appliance while you sleep, you still may want to consider a surgical procedure.

Oral appliances and CPAP machines do nothing more than treat the symptoms of this sleep condition. They don’t address the underlying cause. Oral surgery effectively corrects the root of the problem so you aren’t faced with managing the condition for the rest of your life.

In addition, wearing a CPAP mask or appliance every night can lead to a variety of oral health problems. You may experience excess salivation or dry mouth, or develop temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain or dental misalignment.

Surgical treatment can help you avoid these dental issues.

What Type of Oral Surgery Is Right for Treating Sleep Apnea?

Several surgical options are available to treat sleep apnea. Your surgical procedure will be tailored to your specific circumstances. An in-depth examination identifies which facial structures contribute to your airway’s obstruction.

Surgery may be needed at any site along the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, tongue and throat. Excess tissue may be removed, or the hyoid bone in the neck or the jawbone may be repositioned.

If your airway obstruction is severe, a combination of procedures may be required to successfully treat your condition.

Although surgery of any type poses some degree of risk, untreated or ineffectively treated sleep apnea poses a greater long-term risk. Consequently, oral surgery presents a preferable — and safer — option for many patients.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah today to schedule a consultation. With offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, our experienced surgeons can evaluate your sleep apnea to determine if you may be a good candidate for treatment with oral surgery.