Sleep apnea is a serious disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or extremely shallow breathing during sleep. These lapses in breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes at a time. People with this condition often have poor quality sleep wake up frequently during the night, which leaves them feeling fatigued the next day, even after a full night’s rest.
Many patients who suffer from sleep apnea are unaware that they have the condition, and often a partner is the first to notice the signs. You may have sleep apnea if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Fatigue and mental fog, even after a full night’s sleep
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry or sore throat
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Restless sleep
Sleep apnea can lead to low blood oxygen levels, fatigue, memory problems, and difficulty paying attention or staying awake during the day, which can be extremely distracting and even dangerous. If you think that you may have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor right away to schedule an exam with a sleep specialist.
Surgical Treatment of Sleep Apnea
There are multiple treatment options for patients with sleep apnea. Many patients react well to lifestyle changes such as weight loss, side sleeping, avoiding alcoholic beverages, quitting smoking, or using a prescribed CPAP machine or another dental device while sleeping. In other cases, surgery may be the best option for treatment. For patients who do not find relief through other treatments, or those who have a physical obstruction in or around their soft palate, surgery may be the best treatment option.
If you require treatment for sleep apnea, one of our skilled oral surgeons will perform an oral evaluation and consultation to determine the best course of treatment. Some patients have excess soft palate tissue, which can be surgically augmented to improve sleep apnea symptoms. Others may require jaw repositioning surgery to open the airway. At Pacific Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, our surgeons will work together with your doctors and specialists to provide you with the best possible results. Contact our office in Auburn, WA, Federal Way, WA, Renton, WA, or Maple Valley, WA, today if you are interested in learning more about surgical treatments for sleep apnea.