Sleep Apnea Treatment
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder wherein the soft tissues in the mouth, such as the palate or tongue, block the airway during sleep. This causes a person to temporarily stop breathing at night, making it virtually impossible for them to get a sufficient amount of rest. OSA can contribute to a range of serious health problems, including weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In severe cases, it can even be fatal. The more apneas (periods of not breathing) that a person has each night, the more serious their condition is.
As your oral surgeons in Houston, we are deeply concerned about the prevalence of OSA and offer treatments that may help you to reclaim the high-quality shuteye you deserve.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If your partner comments that you snore loudly, or that you toss and turn a lot at night, these are major indicators that you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Other symptoms of this disorder include:
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Slowed reaction times
- Mood swings and depression
- Waking up with a sore throat or headache
- Waking up gasping for air
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Decreased libido
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
For mild cases of OSA, it may be possible to alleviate the condition through lifestyle changes. For example, since obesity can contribute to sleep apnea, simply losing some weight may provide relief. Other lifestyle changes that may help include not drinking alcohol before bedtime and quitting smoking.
If lifestyle changes are not enough to help you, you may need to visit your Houston oral surgeon for one of the following treatments:
Oral Appliance Therapy
A custom-made dental appliance can reposition your jaw at night, thereby helping to keep the airway open so you can breathe easily. These devices are small and extremely portable, and they often work well in cases of mild to moderate OSA.
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can gently force air into your body while you sleep, preventing airway obstruction. However, some people find that the CPAP mask is uncomfortable or that it moves a lot during the night. Hybrid therapy, which uses a custom-made oral appliance that is attached to the CPAP machine, may offer a more comfortable and secure alternative.
In cases of severe OSA, your oral surgeon in Houston may have to alter your oral structures in order to correct your disorder. For example, removing a small portion of the palate or the uvula (an extension of the soft palate) may allow more room for airflow while you are asleep. Another possible treatment, jaw advancement surgery, may be able to prevent your tongue from blocking your airway at night. After Drs. Koo and Weil, your Houston oral surgeons, examine your mouth and learn as much as they can about your sleep apnea, they will talk to you in detail about surgical options for addressing your problem.
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