Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs where there are several pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses, called apneas, can be quick and last only a few seconds, or they can be as long as several minutes. Sleep apnea is very disruptive to the sleep cycle, which often causes excessive daytime tiredness in the affected person, even though they think they have had a good night’s sleep.
This serious condition affects more than 12 million Americans, but many patients are unaware that they have it. Often, it’s a bed partner who notices the pauses in breathing and informs their partner.
Other symptoms associated with sleep apnea can include
- Loud snoring with pauses in breathing
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Restless sleep
- Extreme daytime fatigue
- Chest pain at night
- Headaches in the morning
- Waking up with a throat that is sore or dry
- A large neck
- Being overweight
- Poor judgment/can’t focus
- Mood changes
A specialist can provide a polysomnogram test (also known as a sleep study) if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. A polysomnogram test may be performed in the comfort of your own home or at a sleep center. The results of the test will determine the best course of treatment.
Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea can often avoid surgical intervention. Common nonsurgical treatments include the modification of lifestyle behaviors (such as losing weight and limiting alcohol intake), using a CPAP machine, or using a dental device that keeps the airways open while you sleep. However, the severity of your condition, along with other factors, will determine the right treatment plan for you. Sometimes, surgery is the best option for an effective treatment of sleep apnea, especially if the condition is severe or nonsurgical treatments have proven ineffective.
Surgical treatment of sleep apnea is intended to widen the breathing passages to get rid of or minimize the obstruction. This is done by repositioning the upper and/or lower jaw. Your oral surgeon will discuss your options during the consultation. The procedure may take place in a hospital setting or may be performed in our office, depending on the severity of the condition.
Sleep Apnea at North Sound Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr. Brar offers several oral and maxillofacial surgery procedures in his office, including the surgical treatment of sleep apnea. If you would like a customized treatment plan for your sleep apnea condition, we encourage you to give our office a call. We look forward to meeting you.