Sometimes, a person experiences several pauses in breathing while sleeping. These pauses are called apneas and are very disruptive to sleep. Many people are unaware they are living with this condition; it’s usually a bed partner who brings it to their attention.
Sleep apnea affects more than 12 million Americans. People who have sleep apnea often find themselves tired during the day, despite thinking they had a full night’s sleep.
Individual symptoms of sleep apnea vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Snoring loudly
- Gasping or choking while sleeping
- Tired during the day despite a good night’s sleep
- Nighttime chest pain
- Morning headaches
- Sore or dry throat in the morning
- Mood changes
Patients who are overweight or have a large neck circumference are at risk for sleep apnea. Lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking also put people at risk of developing sleep apnea.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea, you will be referred to a specialist who can give you a sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram test. Your specialist will decide whether your sleep study will be performed at home or a sleep center. The results of the test will determine treatment.
Conservative treatments at home may be all that’s needed to treat patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. These treatments include lifestyle modification (such as losing weight, quitting smoking, or limiting alcohol intake), using a CPAP machine while you sleep, or using an oral device to help keep the airways open.
If nonsurgical treatments are ineffective, or if the condition is severe, surgical intervention may be the most effective treatment. This involves repositioning the upper and/or lower jaw. An oral surgeon can perform the surgical treatment of sleep apnea. Depending on your condition, the procedure may take place in our office or at a hospital.
Oral Surgery Services offers the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery treatments in our office, including the surgical treatment of sleep apnea. Our experienced oral surgeons will come up with a treatment plan to provide you with the best possible result. Please call our office in Metairie, LA, or Gretna, LA, if you are interested in the surgical treatment of your sleep apnea.