If you suffer from sleep apnea, this breathing disorder could be impacting your emotional, mental, and physical health. In this post, our Timmins dentists talk about sleep apnea and when surgery may be needed to treat it.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder that can be described as brief and often frequent interruptions during sleep.
If your airway gets partially blocked, the palatal tissues vibrate, producing a sound that can be recognized as snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the airway gets blocked completely for a duration of time.
As you could imagine, this condition has significantly negative effects on the physical, mental, and emotional health of patients. There are lots of different treatment methods out there, such as oral appliances and CPAP machines. In rare situations, surgery might be required. We’ll explain the reasons why later in this post.
How Sleep Apnea Impacts Your Health
Tired, but can't sleep? Sleep apnea can cause a variety of serious mental and physical health problems that can result in several symptoms, such as interrupted sleep in the short term and it could put you at risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, and eventually, premature death.
Symptoms & Signs of Sleep Apnea
If obtrusive sleep apnea goes untreated it can put you at risk for a range of health conditions, including:
- Awakening with a headache or dry mouth
- Lack of energy
- Extremely loud snoring
- Problems with memory, or memory loss
- Heart attack
- Cardiovascular disease
As many know, snoring can also cause sleep problems for a spouse. However, there is hope that the right treatment method considers the patient's needs and effectively resolves this medical condition.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
There are lots of successful treatments for sleep apnea. Depending on your requirements, a dentist might be able to recommend:
These custom-fitted oral appliances can shift your tongue and lower jaw muscles to help keep the airway open. This helps airflow and prevents you from waking during the night.
Known as Continuous Positive Air Pressure Machines, these electronic devices use an internal fan to draw air inside. The air is then humidified and pressurized before being sent to the user through a connective base and face mask, which they breathe through.
At Hollinger Dental Group, our dentists prefer to take a non-invasive approach to dental care, reserving surgery for rare cases that can’t be successfully treated with other methods.
When Surgery is Needed to Treat Sleep Apnea
If no other treatment options have worked, one or more surgeries might be recommended. Surgical options include:
- Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction to straighten a bent or deviated nasal septum.
- Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR) to shrink and tighten tissues in and around the throat.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to remove and reposition excess tissue in the throat and widen the airway.
- Hyoid Suspension to pull the hyoid bone (located in the neck) forward and secure it in place, enlarging the space for breathing in your lower throat.
- Maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement (MMA) for people with severe sleep apnea. The bones of the jaws are cut and will heal over months.
These are several surgical procedures that might be able to effectively treat sleep apnea. Your dentist might suggest a less common one based on your case and needs.