Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea: Improving Your Quality of Life Through Treatment

Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea: Improving Your Quality of Life Through Treatment

Jun 14, 2023

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects people of all ages. While many people think the condition only causes snoring and insomnia, it has been linked to other health issues which can cause severe complications. One of the most effective ways to treat sleep apnea is by undergoing Oral Surgery in Columbia, SC. This article will give more information on the various types of oral surgical treatment available and how they work to improve sleep quality.

Types of Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes interruptions which negatively impact a patient’s sleeping pattern. The interruptions may be mild, moderate or severe depending on the severity of the sleep problem you are suffering from. These interruptions can cause the patient to experience fatigue and reduced work performance during the day due to a lack of sufficient sleep.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

Obstructed Sleep Apnea (OSA)

It’s the most common sleep apnea that occurs due to the relaxation of throat muscles which reduces air intake. Patients suffering from OSA tend to experience headaches and may fall asleep during the day due to fatigue caused by insufficient sleep. Although anyone can get obstructive sleep apnea, some patients may be at more risk due to the following factors:

Being Overweight: people who are overweight are at more risk of getting OSA. Excess weight can cause fat to accumulate around the upper airway, limiting air intake.

Unhealthy Lifestyle: research shows that regular consumption of alcohol and smoking may increase the chances of getting obstructive sleep apnea. Alcohol causes throat muscles to relax, which may impede breathing while smoking increases inflammation and retention of fluids worsening the symptoms of OSA.

Prevailing Health Issues: suffering from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease makes you more vulnerable to OSA. Lung disorders like asthma may also increase the chances of getting OSA and worsen its symptoms.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea is a sleep condition caused by the failure of the brain to transmit signals to respiratory muscles, resulting in shortness of breath when the patient falls asleep. Although less common compared to OSA, the condition can cause serious complications. Everyone is at risk of getting CSA, including children. However, other factors such as weight, age, gender and lifestyle choices can increase the chances of getting the sleep condition. The condition can also be hereditary, so ensure you visit a dentist in Columbia, SC, to get tested for sleep apnea if most of your family members suffer from sleep apnea.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed sleep apnea is the least common type of sleep apnea. Patients who get sleep apnea may portray symptoms related to OSA and CSA. In some cases, symptoms of OSA may overwhelm those of CSA or vice versa. Drs. Ellis, Green and Jenkins have experience diagnosing all sleep apnea conditions and thus would be able to diagnose and treat the condition with ease.

There Are Several Types of Oral Surgery That Can Be Used to Treat Sleep Apnea

There are different treatments for sleep apnea. If you suffer from a severe case of sleep apnea, getting oral surgery near you may be the only way to treat your condition. A dentist near you may recommend any of the following oral surgeries to treat your sleep apnea:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is one of the most common surgical treatments recommended for adults suffering from OSA. During UPPP surgery, your dentist will remove extra tissue from the throat to open the upper airways for increased airflow. Tissues removed include part of the uvula (the soft tissue at the back of your mouth), tonsils and soft palate tissue in the side of your throat.

  • Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA)

It is one of the most effective sleep apnea surgeries that involves adjusting the bone structure of the upper and lower jaw to help soft mouth tissues, including the tongue and soft palate. Carrying out of MMA surgery helps keep airways free from potential obstructions, thus helping the patient sleep better.

  • Genioglossus Advancement (GA)

Some people’s tongues are not correctly positioned and thus sit in a way that obstructs the airways causing OSA and snoring. Genioglossus advancement is a type of sleep apnea treatment that focuses on correcting that. The surgery targets the genioglossus, the primary muscle of the tongue responsible for controlling tongue movements. During GA treatment, your dentist will pull this tongue muscle forward, properly repositioning it, resulting in increased airflow to the body. Depending on your case, a dentist near you may recommend GA in conjunction with other sleep apnea treatment procedures like UPPP.

What to Expect During Recovery?

The time it would take to recover from sleep apnea surgery may vary depending on the procedure you underwent. That being said, on average, patients tend to recover in 1-2 months. You may experience dental pain, swelling and minimal bleeding shortly after treatment. However, this shouldn’t alarm you since it’s quite common for any surgery. Your dentist will prescribe medication to minimize swelling and dental pain and prevent infection. They may also give you aftercare instructions to follow to speed up recovery.


Oral surgery is the most effective method of treating the most severe cases of sleep apnea. Since there are various types of sleep apnea conditions, the treatment recommended by your dentist may not match that recommended for other patients. If you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, visit We Care Dental for diagnosis and treatment. We have an experienced dentist who will do a series of tests and recommend the best treatment for your sleep apnea.