Snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing in their sleep. More than 12 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea. However, people who snore are not necessarily experiencing sleep apnea, and surgery may not always be the best option.
Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder characterized by shallow breaths or one or more pauses in your breathing while you sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, which causes an ongoing disruption that moves you in and out of a deep, restful sleep. This is why many patients suffering from sleep apnea commonly feel tired even after they have slept all night long.
Often, patients who suffer from sleep apnea do not know that they have the condition. You may have sleep apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sleepiness or lack of energy after a full night’s rest
- Restless sleep patterns
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a gasping or choking sensation
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
Your doctor or a sleep specialist can diagnose sleep apnea through a polysomnogram test which records specific physical activities while you sleep. This test can be performed either at a sleep center or in the comfort and privacy of your home. Some patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea can treat their condition at home by changing certain behaviors or utilizing dental devices. However, some sleep apnea cases are better solved through a surgical procedure performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
You may be a candidate for the surgical treatment of sleep apnea if
- Your sleep apnea cannot be corrected with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, alcohol avoidance, smoking cessation, or side sleeping
- You experience discomfort or pain utilizing mouthpieces
- You do not experience success or feel uncomfortable utilizing breathing devices, such as the CPAP machine
If your doctor determines that your sleep apnea is best treated through surgery, you will have an initial consultation with Dr. Marashi or Dr. Ricciuti to discuss the surgical treatment. Usually, the surgeon will shrink, stiffen, or remove excess tissue in the mouth and throat or reset the position of the lower jaw, thus widening your breathing passages. Your procedure may be performed in our office or a hospital, depending on the severity of your condition.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a sound night’s sleep and think that the surgical treatment of your sleep apnea is the best option for you to achieve that goal, please call us at Greater Charlotte Oral & Facial Surgery. Dr. Marashi and Dr. Ricciuti have extensive surgical training, and our highly trained staff is happy to assist you throughout the process. Please call us today to set up an initial consultation.