Sleep apnea refers to a disorder in which patients experience pauses (apneas) in breathing during sleep. Apneas develop when the airway becomes blocked while a patient is asleep, making it challenging for air to pass into the lungs. Sleep apnea may affect a patient’s long-term health if not diagnosed and treated. At Park Cities Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates in Dallas, TX, our doctors can discuss your treatment options with you. In some cases, behavioral changes or nonsurgical methods can address your sleep apnea. In more severe instances, you may need surgery.
The most common sleep apnea symptoms can sometimes go unnoticed by the patient because they occur during sleep. It's important to visit an oral surgeon if you or your partner notices the following symptoms or changes in your behavior:
A sleep specialist must diagnose sleep apnea and then will refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment. Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, sleeping on your side, using a CPAP machine, or quitting smoking, are sometimes the only solution needed to treat sleep apnea. If none of these options work for you, our oral surgeons will most likely recommend surgery.
If your doctor determines surgery is the best choice for treating your sleep apnea, he will recommend one of the following:
UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty). UPPP is a surgery that removes or tightens the tissue around the throat and clears the airway. Certain other soft-tissue alterations, such as altering the tongue or soft palate, can also clear the airway.
Orthognathic Surgery. Corrective jaw surgery can reposition the jaws to create a better opening in the airway. This surgery is typically more involved and is thus only considered in severe apnea cases.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons have years of training and experience resolving sleep apnea. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are searching for treatment, we encourage you to visit our office for a consultation.