Sleep apnea affects and estimated 22 million Americans each year. It is estimated that another 80 percent of cases remain undiagnosed. While most people are familiar with treatment with a CPAP machine, some cases of sleep apnea are much more obstructive and require the skilled hand of an oral surgeon.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause many serious cardiovascular problems if left untreated. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue blocks the back of the throat while you’re sleeping. This causes the person to stop breathing, decreasing the amount of oxygen available to the body. Many people are able to successfully alleviate the symptoms and issues associated with sleep apnea by using a CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through the nasal passage. However, some cases are more severe and will require oral surgery.
There are several surgical options to treat sleep apnea. Using oral surgery as a means of treatment is to reshape the palate, making blockage by the tongue much more difficult. One procedure, uvulo-platao-pharyngo-plasty, can be performed by a surgeon or laser assisted. This procedure reshapes the soft palate and throat. Another option is use of a radio-frequency probe to tighten the soft palate alleviating the cause and symptoms of sleep apnea.
For more complex cases where the alignment of the jaw must be corrected orthognathic surgery might be the best course of action. If symptoms cannot be alleviated with an oral appliance that repositions the jaw while you sleep, your oral surgeon may recommend this invasive surgery that will permanently reposition the jaw.
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea and the symptoms it causes, give Dr. Sedaros a call. He uses state of the art technology to diagnose your condition and will only perform treatments based on your individual needs. If you have questions about how this disorder is affecting your sleeping and waking hours ask your doctor about your options today.