Sleep apnea, also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a serious condition causing impaired breathing to the point where breathing stops during sleep. While this condition is pretty common, affecting more than 12 million Americans, most people don’t realize they have sleep apnea. When you are asleep and experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, you have pauses in your breathing. Sleep apnea can also be characterized by shallow breaths while you sleep. The pauses can last a few seconds to as long as a few minutes, causing an ongoing disruption of your sleep. Sleep apnea doesn’t allow those affected to experience a good night’s sleep, which is why many patients that are suffering from sleep apnea typically feel extremely tired even after they think they slept through the night.
Many patients who suffer from sleep apnea do not know they have the condition. You may have sleep apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Sleepiness or lack of energy after a full night’s rest
- Restless sleep patterns
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a gasping or choking sensation
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
A polysomnogram test can diagnose sleep apnea by recording specific physical activities while you sleep. This test can be performed 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 without surgical intervention when the condition is not severe. This can be done by changing certain behaviors, using a CPAP machine, or applying a dental device while you sleep that helps to open your airway. But some sleep apnea cases are severe, and a CPAP or dental devices are ineffective. These situations may require a surgical procedure performed by Drs. Pitrowski and Goldberg to gain relief from life-shortening OSA.
You may be a candidate for the surgical treatment of sleep apnea if
- Your sleep apnea cannot be corrected with lifestyle changes including weight loss, alcohol avoidance, smoking cessation, or side sleeping.
- You do not experience success, or you feel uncomfortable using breathing devices, such as the CPAP machine.
- You experience discomfort or pain while utilizing mouthpieces.
If it is recommended that your sleep apnea is best treated through a surgical procedure, you will have an initial consultation with Dr. Goldberg or Dr. Pitrowski to discuss the best treatment method for your specific condition. Generally, the procedure is most effective when the breathing passages are widened. This is accomplished when excess tissue in the mouth and throat is moved or repositioned through resetting the position of the upper and/or lower jaw. Your procedure may be performed in our office or in a hospital, depending on the severity of your condition.
If you think the surgical treatment of your sleep apnea is the best option for you, please call us at Coastal Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center and schedule an appointment to meet with one of our skilled surgeons.