Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing in their sleep. Unfortunately, this condition is much more widespread than people realize; it currently affects more than 12 million Americans. The most common symptom of sleep apnea is excessive snoring, but people who have a loud, chronic snore are not necessarily experiencing sleep apnea, and surgical intervention may not be the best option.
While you are sleeping and experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, you are having several pauses in your breathing or may have shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. The pauses in breathing causes an ongoing disruption in your ability to have a restful sleep and is exactly why many patients suffering from sleep apnea feel exhausted even if they think they have had a full night’s sleep.
You may have sleep apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Restless sleep patterns
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Sleepiness or lack of energy after a full night’s rest
- Waking up with a gasping or choking sensation
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist who can diagnose sleep apnea through a polysomnogram test. A polysomnogram test records specific physical activities while you sleep. This test can be performed at a sleep center or in the comfort and privacy of your home. Patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea may be able to treat their condition without surgery; this can be achieved by changing certain behaviors or applying a dental device at night. However, some sleep apnea conditions are severe and need to be 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
- You do not feel comfortable using breathing devices, such as the CPAP machine, or are not successful with a CPAP machine.
- 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.
If it has been recommended that your sleep apnea should be treated through surgery, you will have an initial consultation with Dr. J. Scott Bobst to discuss a surgical treatment plan. Your procedure may be performed in our office or a hospital, depending on the severity of your condition.
If you have been referred by another physician or think that the surgical treatment of your sleep apnea is the best option for you, please call us at Boise Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center. Dr. Bobst has extensive surgical training, and our highly trained staff is happy to assist you throughout the process.