What Is the Most Effective Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea?

What Is the Most Effective Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea?

November 1, 2022

What Is Sleep Apnea?

It is a sleeping disorder that features breathing problems when sleeping at night. Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing for several seconds or minutes when they sleep. When you have this sleeping disorder you may not always know that your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep. However, the consequences of disrupted breathing patterns will be evident in your general health.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs due to the repetitive collapse of the upper airway during sleep, leading to an obstruction of the airways.

How Do You Know You Have Sleep Apnea?

At Iocca Family Dentistry, we encourage patients to visit dentists near them for diagnosis to determine whether or not they have sleep apnea. It is the surest way to know that you have a sleeping condition. Afterward, you can liaise with our dental team to figure out different treatment protocols for your sleep apnea, including oral surgery in Jackson, MI. Still, the following symptoms are typical among patients with sleep apnea:

  1. Loud snoring at night – enough to wake your partner.
  2. Morning migraine headaches
  3. Repeatedly gasping for air at night
  4. Waking up with a sore throat and intense thirst
  5. Excessive daytime sleepiness
  6. Fatigue even in the morning
  7. Memory and concentration problems
  8. Severe mood swings, anxiety, and depression

Treating Sleep Apnea Through Oral Surgery

Not all oral surgeries near you are ideal for treating sleep apnea. Among the many approaches that medical experts can take to treat obstructive sleep apnea, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP or UP3) is the most common. It is a type of surgery that entails remodeling or removing the excess tissue from the throat area to open the upper airways. The surgery should help alleviate some of your symptoms, particularly loud snoring. UPPP surgery is ideal for patients with:

  1. Thick, long, or problematic uvula – is the soft tissue that hangs down in the throat at the back of your mouth.
  2. Remodeling or reducing the soft palate – the tender tissue at the roof of the back of your mouth.
  3. Tonsils and adenoids – are extra tissues in your throat.

In some cases, the oral surgeon may determine to reduce your tongue if it contributes to obstructing your airways. While it may be overwhelming to think about undergoing such a surgery, you will not be in pain. Being under anesthesia numbs your mouth while calming your body and brain.

What Should You Anticipate Regarding the Surgery?

The recovery period after oral surgery for sleep apnea should last about 2-4 weeks. It is dependent on the amount of dental work regarding tissue removal. Therefore, you must make several adjustments to support your recovery period during the first-month post-surgery. Some adjustments include:

  1. Eating soft foods only
  2. Rinsing your mouth with salt water after every meal
  3. Keeping a clean mouth to prevent infections
  4. Staying hydrated to overcome increased dryness in your mouth and airway
  5. Resting your voice to avoid straining your throat during the recovery period

Must You Get Surgery for Sleep Apnea?

Oral surgery is not the first line of treatment that a dentist near you will recommend for sleep apnea. If anything, dentists result in oral surgeries when non-invasive methods for treating sleep apnea do not work to relieve the symptoms. Some of the non-invasive treatment protocols you must try before surgery involve making lifestyle adjustments or using customized oral appliances. They include:

  1. Losing weight – applies to overweight or obese patients
  2. Changing your sleeping position – avoid laying on your back if you have obstructive sleep apnea. Incorporating more pillows in your bed can increase your comfort levels and reduce obstruction in your airways.
  3. Wearing a night guard when you sleep – is an oral appliance that helps keep your jaw open, disallowing the collapse of the throat muscles that can obstruct the airways.

What Happens If You Leave Sleep Apnea Untreated?

Although snoring at night may be laughable, it may just be the beginning of many other health complications. Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition, usually when left untreated. Some of the adverse consequences of not treating sleep apnea are:

  1. Heart attacks and strokes
  2. Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  3. Amnesia
  4. Severe depression
  5. Chronic insomnia