Understanding Your Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

More than 18 million adults in the United States have sleep apnea, a condition that can extend far beyond a lack of sleep. If

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has sleep apnea, the good news is that the diagnosis was made, which means your next step is to find a suitable solution. Treating your sleep apnea is incredibly important as the sleep disorder does far more than rob you (and your bedmate) of much-needed sleep — it can cast a wide net over your physical and mental health.

At Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada, our team of Harvard-trained doctors offers a wide array of surgical solutions that range from dental extractions to dental implants. And when it comes to sleep apnea, we provide long-lasting solutions that will have you sleeping, and breathing, easier.

Here’s a look at your treatment options for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea 101

As we’ve already pointed out, sleep apnea can be far more than an issue of lack of sleep, though that’s where the condition starts. With obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse while you sleep, preventing you from taking in oxygen. When your brain registers the absence, it rouses you so that you clear your airways again. 

Should this happen once or twice a night, sleep apnea wouldn’t be a terribly big problem.  Unfortunately, this can happen up to 400 times a night, which means you aren’t getting the restorative sleep you need.

Because of the lack of sleep, you may feel abnormally fatigued during the day, and you may also have trouble focusing or experience problems with recall.

Outside of these issues, sleep apnea can also contribute to more serious health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

In other words, finding the right solution for your sleep apnea is very important.

Finding a solution

One of the first lines of defense when it comes to resolving sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This machine is electrically powered, and you wear it over your face while you sleep. Though effective, the CPAP device isn’t for everyone, and many people have trouble with the noise and discomfort.

Another approach is an oral device that shifts your jaw or holds your tongue forward. Again, these devices can work, but they take some adjustment as you get used to wearing them.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting solution that doesn’t sentence you to a lifetime of oral devices, surgery may be just the ticket. At our practice, our surgeons have extensive experience helping our patients with sleep apnea overcome the problem using the latest surgical techniques available, including laser technology.

One of the more common procedures is a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, in which we remove or reposition excess tissue in your soft palate and throat that’s blocking your airways. 

We can also use a radiofrequency probe to tighten your soft palate.

Ultimately, your treatment will depend upon what’s causing your sleep apnea. If you’d like to explore your options, we’re happy to perform a thorough assessment of your sleep apnea, which may include an X-ray to determine the level of obstruction, a nasopharyngeal exam (in the upper part of your throat), or an overnight sleep study.

To get started on finding the right solution for your sleep apnea, please contact one of our two offices in Summerlin or Las Vegas, Nevada.

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