Do you snore? Snoring is often made to be funny, but the truth is that snoring could actually point to something more serious: obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which your airway becomes blocked by excess tissue while you sleep.
For many, sleep apnea can be controlled by special devices – a mouth guard or a CPAP machine, but for others, these devices interfere with sleep or are not successful. Another option for dealing with your snoring is surgery.
What’s the Danger?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous condition. Excess tissue blocking your airway not only causes snoring, it also causes you to momentarily stop breathing, an event which can last up to ninety seconds. You may jolt up, gasping for breath and not even know it.
Undiagnosed, this condition can lead to:
- Heart conditions such as an irregular heartbeat, a heart attack or heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
Oral Surgery Can Help
Special devices to wear while you sleep, or modifications to the one you currently have, may help, but not always. Surgery, or a combination of surgeries, can solve obstructive sleep apnea and eliminate the need for devices. A uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a procedure that is often performed along with another, removes excess tissue from your soft palate and uvula and repositions muscles to open your airway.
A genioglossus advancement focuses on the tongue. It tightens the tendon at the front of your tongue, bringing it forward. This helps to prevent your tongue from slipping into your throat.
A maxillomandibular advancement is a procedure that moves your jaw, along with your tongue and soft palate, forward. This helps to prevent your tongue and excess tissue from blocking your breathing.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous, potentially deadly, condition. Perhaps someone has pointed out that you snore. If you live alone, though, you may not even know you have it, unless you have woken up struggling to breathe or notice that you snore.
If you suspect you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or you are currently wearing a device to deal with the condition, contact or office today to see if surgery can help.