According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea is a very common sleeping disorder that results in paused breathing while you are asleep. It is so common that it affects as many Americans (more than 18 million) as diabetes does. There are three main types of sleep apnea: central, obstructive and mixed. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to various health issues, including cardiovascular disease, impotence, headaches, weight gain and memory issues. It is a diagnosable and treatable condition. Ultimately, there are four types of oral-related treatment for sleep apnea. These include:
1. Genioglossus Advancement (GGA)
This type of oral surgery works to tighten up the tendon of the front tongue. This helps to keep your tongue at the forefront of your mouth while you are sleeping so that it doesn't have the chance to obstruct your airway. For best results, this procedure is done in conjunction with another surgery, such as hyoid suspension or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Without the additional surgery, there is a 22 to 67 percent rate of success, but that success rate increases to nearly 80 percent with one of the additional surgeries.
2. Hyoid Suspension
This type of oral surgery consists of taking your U-shaped hyoid bone, which is located at the front of your neck, and connecting it to your throat's "Adam's apple." This works to stabilize your airway and prevent nighttime sleeping problems. According to one study, this isn't a surgery that is recommended to be done alone, as it doesn't offer as effective results as it would if it was combined with another surgery, such as the GGA.
3. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
This type of oral surgery involves shortening and stiffening your soft palate by removing a portion of the uvula and reducing the soft palate's edge. The soft palate is located at the back roof of your mouth. In some cases, your tonsils may be removed during this procedure as well as part of your tongue, if it is enlarged. According to WebMD, this surgery may reduce sleep apnea, but there is no guarantee. This is likely due to the numerous variables that must be factored in, such as one's weight.
4. Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)
This type of oral surgery consists of repositioning both the lower and upper jaws, soft tissues and chin. They are moved forward in order to provide a clear path of the airway. The surgery creates a larger airway, which permits more air to successfully pass through. It is one of the more extensive surgeries out of the ones listed here, but it is also extremely effective.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it is important to consult with a primary care physician as soon as possible. A PCP generally works with an oral surgeon in order to determine the best possible treatment option for your particular type of sleep apnea, depending on the extent of the condition. The thing to remember is that there is something that you can do about it, but you have to make the first move by contacting a professional - either your family doctor or an oral surgeon like Miller Kenneth G.