Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing in their sleep. This condition is pretty common, affecting more than 12 million Americans. The most common symptom of sleep apnea is excessive snoring; however, people who snore are not necessarily experiencing sleep apnea, and surgery may not always be the best option.
When you are asleep and experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, you are having one or more pauses in your breathing or may have shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, which causes an ongoing disruption in your ability to have a restful sleep. This is why many patients suffering from sleep apnea typically feel extremely tired even after they have had a full night’s sleep.
Many 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:
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Sleepiness or lack of energy after a full night’s rest
- Restless sleep patterns
- 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. A polysomnogram test records specific physical activities while you sleep and can be performed at a sleep center or in the comfort and privacy of your home. Some patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea are able to treat their condition without surgical intervention; this can be done by changing certain behaviors or applying a dental device. However, some sleep apnea cases are severe enough to be resolved 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 do not experience success or you feel uncomfortable using breathing devices, such as the CPAP machine
- You experience discomfort or pain utilizing mouthpieces
If your doctor determines that your sleep apnea is best treated through surgery, you will have an initial consultation with Dr. Weber to discuss the best form of surgical treatment. Generally, the procedure is most effective when the surgeon removes excess tissue in the mouth and throat or through resetting the position of the lower jaw, thus widening your breathing passages. Your procedure may be performed in our office or in a hospital, depending on the severity of your condition.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a restful night’s sleep and think that the surgical treatment of your sleep apnea is the best option for you, please call us at Northern Westchester Oral Surgery. Dr. Weber has extensive surgical training, and our highly trained staff is happy to assist you throughout the process.