Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), also known as sleep apnea, is when breathing is impaired to the point that it becomes very shallow or stops during sleep. This serious but common condition affects more than 12 million Americans.
Pauses in breathing during sleep can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, which is disruptive to those affected. Because sleep is disrupted several times a night, the affected person often feels extremely tired, even after they think they have had a good night’s sleep.
Because this condition is present during sleep, many patients are unaware they have sleep apnea. But, there are some other symptoms associated with the condition, including
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a gasping or choking sensation
- Restless sleep patterns
- Sore or dry throat upon awakening
- Morning headaches
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness, even after a full night’s rest
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist who can provide a polysomnogram test. A polysomnogram test aids in the diagnosis of sleep apnea and is either performed at home or a sleep center. If the test confirms sleep apnea, a personalized treatment plan is created.
For patients who do not have severe sleep apnea, surgical intervention may not be necessary. Changes in lifestyle behaviors, use of a CPAP machine, or application of a dental device that opens the airway while you sleep are all common nonsurgical treatments. For those who are experiencing severe sleep apnea, or for those with whom conservative treatment methods proved ineffective, a surgical procedure may provide the best option.
You may be a candidate for the surgical treatment of sleep apnea if
- Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, alcohol avoidance, smoking cessation, or side sleeping, are not enough to correct the sleep apnea.
- Your CPAP machine or another breathing device proves uncomfortable or ineffective.
- You experience pain or discomfort while using mouthpieces.
Your oral surgeon will discuss the best treatment method for your sleep apnea condition during your initial consultation.
For most patients, the goal of surgical treatment of sleep apnea is to widen the breathing passages by repositioning the upper and/or lower jaw. Depending on the severity of your condition, this procedure may be performed in our office or a hospital.
Central Washington Oral & Facial Surgery performs the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, including the surgical treatment of sleep apnea. If you think surgical treatment is right for you, we encourage you to give us a call to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting you.