Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs while you are sleeping and can affect your overall health. Our Napanee dentists explain what sleep apnea is and how it negatively affects your life and what the treatment options are.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder that is characterized by brief but often frequent interruptions during sleep.
If your airway becomes partially blocked, the palatal tissues vibrate, producing the sound we all know and recognize as snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is completely blocked for periods of time.
As you might imagine, this condition has significantly negative effects on the physical, mental and emotional health of patients. There are many treatment options, including oral appliances and CPAP machines. In rare cases, surgery may be recommended. We’ll explain why in a bit.
How can sleep apnea impact my health?
Tired, but can't sleep? Sleep apnea can lead to a range of serious mental and physical health conditions that can cause several symptoms, from interrupted sleep in the short term to leave you at risk for cardiovascular disease, depression and eventually, premature death.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea it is possible for you to develop a variety of other conditions, some of which are serious, including:
- Lack of energy
- Awakening with headache or dry mouth
- Extremely loud snoring
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack
- Problems with memory, or memory loss
There is hope in finding the right treatment method that considers the patients' needs and effectively resolves this medical condition.
How is sleep apnea treated?
There are many successful treatments for sleep apnea and the treatment that works for you will depend on my factors. Some of the possible treatment options are:
We can offer or recommend custom-fitted oral appliances to shift your tongue and lower jaw muscles to ensure the airway stays open. This will help keep your airways open allowing airflow and preventing your sleep from being disturbed.
Known as Continuous Positive Air Pressure Machines, these electronic devices use an internal fan to draw air inside. The air is then humidified and pressurized before being sent to the user through a connective base and face mask, which they breathe through.
At Got Smile Dental Centre, we take a non-invasive approach to dental care focusing on oral appliances, however, your physician may recommend surgery for rare cases that can’t be successfully treated with other methods such as oral appliances or lifestyle changes.
Do I need sleep apnea surgery?
If you have tried other options that have been unsuccessful then you may be recommended surgery. Surgical options include:
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to remove and reposition excess tissue in the throat and widen the airway.
- Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR) to shrink and tighten tissues in and around the throat.
- Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction to straighten a bent or deviated nasal septum.
- Hyoid Suspension to pull the hyoid bone (located in the neck) forward and secure it in place, enlarging the space for breathing in your lower throat.
- Maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement (MMA) for people with severe sleep apnea. The bones of the jaws are cut and will heal over months.
These are a few surgical procedures that may effectively treat sleep apnea. Your dentist may recommend a less common one depending on your case and requirements.