Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. There are several types of sleep apnea, but OSA is the most common. This occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway during sleep. People with OSA have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels.
You should consider treatment for sleep apnea if you experience any of the following:
- Loud snoring that disturbs yourself or a bed partner
- Snoring that is loudest when you sleep on your back
- Intermittent pauses in breathing during sleep
- Waking up gasping
- Excessive daytime drowsiness, indicating poor and unrestful sleep
- Daytime fatigue or irritability
Causes of Sleep Apnea
OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much, including the palate, uvula, tonsils, and tongue. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows and makes it difficult to breathe in for 10 seconds or longer. Your brain senses a lack of oxygen and briefly awakens you to reopen the airway.
This pattern of inadequate breathing and reawakening can happen up to 30 times each hour all night long. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause many complications, including:
- Daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor performance in school or at work
- High blood pressure
- An increased risk of heart disease
- The more severe the OSA, the greater the risk for heart attack, heart failure, or stroke
- Breathing problems
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
A sleep study may be recommended to evaluate oxygen levels and sleep habits overnight. Oral surgery is often the solution when non-surgical options have failed, such as breathing machines or mouth guards.
We will take advanced 3D scans of your mouth and face using our diagnostics imaging suite. This gives us a closer look at your bone and tissue structures. One surgical option is an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) that involves using a laser or radio frequency probe to tighten the soft palate. We do not perform this procedure at our practice, as they can make OSA worse and have a less than desirable success rate.
Another option is similar to orthognathic surgery and repositions the jaws to increase the size of the airway. This procedure is the most successful surgical treatment for sleep apnea and is very safe. Dr. Stefanuto has undergone intensive surgical training and combines the knowledge and skill from both his DDS and MD. You are in qualified, expert hands when you come to APEX Surgical Centre for Oral & Facial Surgery.
If you are ready to achieve a restful, healthy night’s sleep, please contact our office in Kamloops, to schedule an appointment.