Sleep Apnea is a common, though potentially dangerous disorder. There are three main types of sleep apnea, but the most common are known as obstructive sleep apnea, referring to the patient’s airway being either partially or fully blocked while they sleep. There are several options to assist patients who suffer from this disorder, including some surgical steps that our team at Cameo Dental Specialists can perform when non-surgical dental devices do not work. Creating a treatment plan begins with a thorough examination, following the exam, your oral surgeon at Cameo Dental Specialists will review your options with you. Sleep apnea has been found to be quite a potential hazard, decreased levels of oxygen can force a patient not to get the rest they need, and can even increase heart-related issues. If you, or your partner, suspect that you are suffering from sleep apnea, contact a dental specialist today. When non-surgical devices fail to provide you the results you need, then speak with an oral surgeon, including ours, at Cameo Dental Specialists.
Main Forms of Sleep ApneaSleep Apnea refers to the temporary cessation, or stopping, or breathing or intake of necessary oxygen while the person is in an unconscious state. There are two main categories of sleep apnea and then a third category which is a blend of the two. The categories are:
||Obstructive Sleep Apnea:This is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the throat muscles relax, allowing the tongue to slip a little further back toward the throat, or excess fatty tissue that has built up near the throat, to either partially or entirely block the throat, cutting off the passage of air. This problem does not fully rouse the person with the disorder. Instead, they only slightly wake, just enough to take a sudden gasp of air. Though the person may not realize it, their body is losing sleep. This process of gasping awake is often repeated again and again throughout each night, causing multiple disturbances in the persons sleep. People often exhibit signs of exhaustion, and they are unsure of why. People with obstructive sleep apnea can show signs of stress, irritation, migraines, depression, and exhaustion. Also, the constant spells of lack of oxygen damage the heart. The goal of a dentist, or oral surgeon, is to help open the airways, allowing you to breathe easier while you sleep. For some patients this may be as simple as a dental device that pulls your tongue forward, others may require surgery.
||Central Sleep Apnea:Is a communication problem between your nerves and muscles in your brain telling you to breathe. Central sleep apnea is associated with other medical disorders such as Parkinsons disease or stroke. Patients with this condition are treated with the assistance of their care physician. This condition is not, by itself, related to blockage.
||Complex Sleep Apnea:This condition is when the patient suffers from a blend of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Combined, the patient is probably feeling pretty awful. Each form of sleep apnea needs to be tackled individually.
Do I have Sleep Apnea?Most often a person’s partner is the one that spots the signs of sleep apnea. The person is loudly snoring while they sleep, which suddenly stops and is then followed by a gasp. If you do not have a partner, or if they are not catching those signs, you may notice signs yourself. Are you waking with a dry mouth? Are you finding that you never seem to get enough rest, even when you have slept a full night? If you suspect you might be suffering from sleep apnea, contact a dental professional, there are options that can help.
Treating Obstructive Sleep ApneaThere are multiple options in treating obstructive sleep apnea. At Cameo Dental Specialists, we recommend working with your primary dentist on non-surgical options first. Some patients find a dental device that fits like a retainer, designed to pull your tongue forward, to be exactly what they need to help them get the necessary oxygen while they sleep.
If your non-surgical device does not help you get the oxygen and rest you need, there are surgical options.
Maxillomandibular Advancement SurgeryKnown as, MMA, this procedure has been shown to be the most effective surgical treatment for sleep apnea. Studies have shown the success rate ranging between 94-100 percent. The oral surgeon at Cameo Dental Specialists makes bony cuts through intraoral incisions, a procedure known as osteotomies, to pull the upper and lower jaws forward and then tighten the soft palate, the tongue, and other tissues.
Upper Airway SurgeryUpper airway surgery is a potential surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Our oral surgeon at Cameo Dental Specialists will work with you to identify specific anatomic areas that may be contributing to your airway obstruction. For some patients, a simple minimally invasive procedure is all that is necessary, others may have a more complex treatment plan. The surgeon may discuss with you the necessity of removing your tonsils, or parts of the soft palate or throat.
Soft Palate SurgeryA procedure known by the long, complicated name of Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is the trimming of a bulky soft palate. There are options including lesser laser treatment for this process. Our surgeon will discuss this with you.
Nasal SurgeryA possible cause of obstructive sleep apnea is a deviated septum. A surgery known as septoplasty can straighten the septum allowing for better airflow. Another nasal based option is the removal of polyps or reducing large turbinates which will help open airways allowing for better breathing.
Oral Surgeon for Obstructive Sleep ApneaWorking with an oral surgeon for your sleep apnea problems can mean fixing a problem versus assuming a life of sleeping with a mask and machine each night. If you would like to discuss your options, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our team. For more information, contact Cameo Dental Specialists at (708) 456-7787.