Snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing in their sleep. More than 12 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder characterized by one or more pauses in your breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, which causes an ongoing disruption that moves you in and out of a deep, restful sleep. This disruption is why many patients that are suffering from sleep apnea commonly feel tired even after they have slept all night long.
Often, patients who suffer from sleep apnea do not know that they have the condition. You may have sleep apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sleepiness or lack of energy after a full night’s rest
- Restless sleep patterns
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a gasping or choking sensation
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
Your doctor or a sleep specialist can diagnose sleep apnea through a polysomnogram test that records specific physical activities while you sleep. This test can be performed either at a sleep center or in the comfort and privacy of your home. Some patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea can treat their condition at home by changing certain behaviors or utilizing dental devices. However, some sleep apnea cases are better solved through a surgical procedure performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
You may be a candidate for the surgical treatment of sleep apnea if
- Your sleep apnea cannot be corrected with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, alcohol avoidance, smoking cessation, or side sleeping.
- You experience discomfort or pain utilizing mouthpieces.
- You do not experience success or feel comfortable using breathing devices, such as the CPAP machine.
If your doctor determines that it is best to treat your sleep apnea through surgery, you will have an initial consultation with one of our skilled surgeons to discuss the surgical treatment. This surgical management often starts with an ENT surgeon who may shrink, stiffen, or remove excess tissue in the nasal passage, mouth, and throat to improve your breathing passages. In some cases, you may require repositioning of your jaw. This procedure advances the tongue and opens the posterior airway space and can greatly improve your sleep apnea symptoms. Our surgeons are skilled in this corrective jaw procedure. Your procedure may be performed in our office or a hospital, depending on the severity of your condition. Our surgeons will work closely with your sleep doctors/surgeons to make sure you have the best result possible.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a sound night’s sleep and think that the surgical treatment of your sleep apnea is the best option for you to achieve that goal, please call us at Billings Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center in Billings, MT, or Cody or Sheridan, WY. Our doctors have extensive surgical training, and our highly trained staff is happy to assist you throughout the process. Please call us today to set up an initial consultation.