An oral surgeon may not be your first stop if you have obstructive sleep apnea. However, CPAP machines aren’t for everyone, and you may benefit more from a mandibular repositioning device, which improves airflow, or surgery to widen your airways. At Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada, the Harvard-trained doctors provide sleep apnea therapy and surgery. To learn more, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Summerlin or East Side Las Vegas offices.
Sleep apnea is a condition that interferes with your breathing while you sleep. If you have sleep apnea, you might stop breathing entirely or take shallow breaths. You may experience these disruptions to your breathing up to 400 times a night, and they last 10-30 seconds each.
Sleep apnea causes low-quality sleep. Even if you think you’ve gotten enough hours of sleep, you may feel unrested.
One sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. However, not everyone who snores has the condition.
Anyone can develop sleep apnea, but it’s most common among men who are overweight or obese, at least 40 years of age, and have a family history of the condition. Certain inherited traits, like a narrow throat or thick neck, can block your airways and lead to the development of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the oxygen you need and reduces your quality of sleep. Because of that, it can have serious health and personal consequences.
Not getting enough sleep can affect your mental health and cognitive ability. You may feel depressed or irritable, which can greatly impact your relationship with others. Poor sleep quality also makes it much harder to concentrate, which can lead to a decline in your job performance and unsafe driving.
When left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to the development of life-threatening health conditions, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. If you already have chronic conditions, they may worsen as a result of your sleep apnea.
Your oral surgeon at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada offers alternative treatment options for sleep apnea. To confirm a diagnosis of sleep apnea and determine the best course of treatment, your specialist performs a thorough examination. This may include an X-ray to measure the level of obstruction, a nasopharyngeal exam (in the upper part of your throat), or an overnight sleep study.
The first-line treatment for sleep apnea is usually continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP involves wearing a mask while a device called a CPAP machine blows air down your throat.
CPAP is common, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Many people find it uncomfortable and have difficulty sticking with treatment. If you’ve had trouble with CPAP, or don’t like the idea of it, therapy or surgery from an oral surgeon may be more comfortable and effective.
One popular non-surgical therapy is a dental appliance called a mandibular repositioning device (MRD). It’s similar to a sports mouthguard, and you wear it to bed. The MRD holds your airways open so you can breathe more easily.
Your oral surgeon may recommend a procedure called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty to tighten, remove, or reposition excess tissue in your soft palate and throat that may block your airways. Your doctor may perform this surgery with the use of a special laser, or use a radiofrequency probe to tighten your soft palate.
The position of your jaw may be a contributing factor to your sleep apnea. Your specialist may recommend orthognathic surgery to correct jaw irregularities.
To schedule a sleep apnea consultation, contact Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada with the online tool or over the phone.