Oral Surgery Treatments For Sleep Apnea

Posted on: 30 December 2019

The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is a common treatment for sleep apnea. It delivers humidified air into your airway to keep it open. Unfortunately, many people are unable to tolerate wearing the CPAP mask, so for them, alternative treatments such as oral surgery may be a better option. Here are some procedures your dental surgeon may recommend for your sleep apnea. 

Soft Palate Surgery

During this procedure, your dental surgeon modifies your soft palate by removing excess pharyngeal tissue so your airway is wider. Your tonsils may be removed, and your uvula and parts of your soft palate may be reduced. This surgery is known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the management of obstructive sleep apnea.

This surgery may be very effective in managing mild obstructive sleep apnea; however, it may not completely resolve the symptoms of severe sleep apnea. In order for your dental surgeon to determine if uvulopalatopharyngoplasty would be the right procedure for you, he or she may recommend that you undergo a sleep study. After your sleep study, the sleep specialist will tell you if your apnea is mild, moderate, or severe. Your sleep specialist can then discuss the results of your sleep study with your maxillofacial dental surgeon.

Jaw Osteotomy

Also known as a maxillomandibular osteotomy, a jaw osteotomy is typically reserved for the most extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea. During this procedure, your dental surgeon repositions your jaw to make your throat and airway bigger. You will need to get your jaws wired shut after this surgery; however, the wires will be removed after a few days or so.

You will also need to consume a soft diet for a few weeks following your surgery. It may take months for your jawbones to heal, but the surgery is very effective and it will lower your risk of apnea-related complications such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, shortness of breath, loud snoring, and daytime sleepiness.  

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, snore loudly, or wake up multiple times during the night choking and gasping for air, make an appointment with an oral surgeon. After a comprehensive examination, the oral surgeon will develop a surgical treatment plan to treat your sleep apnea. After successful surgery, you probably won't need to use a CPAP machine when you sleep.

For more information, contact a clinic like the Center For Oral & Facial Surgery of Memphis PLLC.