Can Jaw Surgery Fix Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea WomanDo you or a loved one snore? This condition may cause serious health issues if left untreated. And while some over the counter prosthetics or CPAP therapies can address some of the problems with snoring, jaw surgery is a medically-sound and reliable treatment option to resolve the issue permanently. Jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery is the process of correcting jaw issues or jaw discrepancies that can affect a patient’s ability to breathe normally while they sleep. Jaw surgery is also commonly used to treat other conditions including TMJ, malocclusion problems, and other orthodontic issues. Read on to learn if jaw surgery is right for you.

The dangers of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that contributes or leads to other conditions as the problem worsens, sleep apnea can be caused by a number of issues including being overweight or genetic jaw abnormalities but the results are mostly the same. Common issues that occur alongside sleep apnea include acid reflux or GERD, due to the way the throat closes while air moves in and out during sleep. This can cause pressure changes that suck the contents of stomach back up into the esophagus, causing major irritation. Obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension in people who have it as well.  Patients who suffer from sleep apnea also have a higher risk of heart attack while they sleep due to the disrupted oxygen flow to your body. Other issues that can arise are emotional stress and mental health problems, type two diabetes and frequent headaches. If any of these issues sound familiar, it’s best to be evaluated with a sleep study and visit a trusted maxillofacial specialist if it’s found that your jaw may be contributing to this condition.

How can jaw surgery resolve the issue?

Jaw surgery for sleep apnea is a procedure that involves surgically moving the upper and/or lower jaws forward which can effectively enlarge the space for breathing in the throat. Advancing the jaws and tongue forward reduces their ability to create blockages in the throat while you sleep and has been found to be an effective treatment for patients who suffer from congenital jaw deformities. While there is some risk of bleeding and infection during the procedure, this treatment has been found to be extremely reliable and safe for most patients.

Who is a candidate for jaw surgery?

Jaw surgery is a reliable and safe treatment option for many forms of sleep apnea. If you’re over the age of 18 and male or over the age of 15 and female and suffer from congenital jaw deformations, sleep apnea, facial injuries, an unbalanced facial appearance, or other orthodontic irregularities you may be a candidate for jaw surgery. A dental and medical evaluation will be necessary before this procedure can be considered, so it’s best to set an appointment with a qualified maxillofacial surgeon in your area.

What to expect during jaw surgery and the post-op process

Corrective jaw surgery may be performed in a surgical suite, under general anesthesia in a hospital, or an ambulatory surgical center, depending on the procedure. The surgery itself can take from one to four hours depending on the unique needs you may have and typically requires a two-night hospital stay. With upper jaw surgery your surgeon will typically cut above the teeth so the entire top jaw, including the roof of your mouth and your upper teeth can be moved forward as a single unit. During a lower jaw surgery, your surgeon typically cuts lengthwise down the jawbone and behind the molars, so the front of the lower jaw can be moved forward. When the surgery is completed, the bones that have been repositioned will begin the healing process in their new location. You may not have full functionality of your jaw for up to eight weeks and some swelling will occur in your face. You may also be placed on a special diet during this time to ensure you feel no discomfort while your jaw heals and limited activity is advised to ensure damage doesn’t occur to your jaw while it sets.

The benefits of jaw surgery for sleep apnea

Jaw surgery has several advantages for resolving sleep apnea, these benefits include improved breathing, a smaller risk of heart strain or heart disease. Improved bite function and mouth formation, lower blood pressure and less or a risk of hypertension and much more. If you’re considering corrective jaw surgery for sleep apnea, contact the surgical team at Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas. We can evaluate your condition and give you exceptional options for treatment. We’ve served countless patients in and around Dallas, and we’re happy to answer your questions.

Contact us today to schedule a dental evaluation and consultation.