Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes heavy snoring and interferes with your ability to breathe. This decline in oxygen causes your brain to wake you up long enough to take a breath. This can happen 30 times an hour throughout the night and results in a wide variety of medical issues that threaten your health.

But why see an oral surgeon for treatment? Because obstructive sleep apnea is linked to how specific structures in your mouth and throat relax during sleep. Who better to visit for an issue like OSA than a physician who specializes in oral health?

Our team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada, with offices in Summerlin and the East Side of Las Vegas, is led by Harvard-trained surgeons who are well-known experts in their field. These talented physicians offer outstanding treatment for a wide variety of oral and dental issues, including OSA.

We’re happy to provide information about the various therapies we offer for OSA that don’t include a cumbersome mask and noisy CPAP machine.

What causes sleep apnea?

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when muscles in your throat and mouth relax during sleep.

Central sleep apnea

This type of sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn't send the right signals to muscles that control your breathing.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome

Individuals with complex sleep apnea syndrome have both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Our specialists here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates provide treatment for the obstructive type of sleep apnea (OSA). This kind is related to over-relaxation of the muscles that support the soft palate, the piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the tongue, and the walls of the throat.

What are the health complications related to OSA?

When the muscles affected by OSA relax during sleep, your airway narrows and may eventually close momentarily. When your brain takes note of declining oxygen levels, it startles you awake for an instant, and you reflexively take a breath. This can occur thousands of times throughout your sleep cycle.

These actions cause the snoring, gasping, and choking noises related to OSA and the feeling that you’ve not rested at all when you get up in the morning.

Other problems linked to OSA and the resulting lack of restful sleep include:

Individuals with OSA can also have trouble breathing during surgery while under sedation or general anesthesia. Certain medications, notably opioids, also depress your respiratory rate, and OSA can worsen those effects.

How do you treat OSA?

Our specialty team offers several treatment options for OSA. We start with a thorough exam that helps identify your best treatment options. This evaluation may include imaging studies and an overnight sleep study.

Once the results are known, we generally start with the most conservative therapies available for treating OSA and recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) during sleep. This is a standard treatment for OSA, but many find the requirements of wearing a mask and using a machine all night uncomfortable and less than restful.

As an alternative, your provider may suggest using a dental device that wears much like a sports mouthguard and pulls your jaw slightly forward during sleep. This prevents airways from closing. These devices, known as mandibular repositioning devices (MRDs), are fitted for comfort.

Your oral surgeon may also recommend a surgical procedure to remove or reposition excess tissue that’s causing blockage of your airway during sleep.

Our specialists at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates are equipped to offer traditional surgical approaches versus other methods that may include using a laser or a technique known as radiofrequency ablation to tighten the affected tissue.  

Depending on your evaluation results, we might recommend a procedure to correct jaw irregularities responsible for OSA. Rest assured that we continue to work with you to find the best treatment option available for your circumstance.

For outstanding care that includes several treatment options for sleep apnea, schedule a visit at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada today.

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