Does your partner, bedmate, or parent say you snore too loud? Do you wake up in the middle of the night choking or with shortness of breath? You may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), a common disorder that affects over 40 million Americans.
OSAS is potentially harmful if left untreated; it can lead to long-term health issues or death. If you’re in Southlake, or anywhere in the greater Colleyville, TX, area, call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Tye. He is an accredited oral surgeon with advanced training in the field of OSAS treatment.
What is OSAS?
Not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea. Snoring happens when the tongue, soft palate, and lower jaw relax during sleep. The airway then becomes partially obstructed, and as a result breath rate increases and causes the soft tissues in the mouth and throat to vibrate. This is the sound of snoring.
In contrast, OSAS causes the soft tissues to restrict all airflow, often for more than 10 seconds at a time. Blocking the breath for too long will cause the sufferer to awaken in a struggle to free his or her airway, sometimes with a loud gasp for air. Apneic episodes can happen up to 50 times per hour, and hundreds more during a typical 8-hour sleep cycle.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It affects about half of snorers, and men are more prone than women to the condition. People with a larger neck, those who are overweight, and alcohol users are also at higher risk for OSAS.
Sleep disruption leads to a host of problems during the day, including:
- Constant sleepiness
- Lack of concentration
- Decreased motivation
The restriction of oxygen to the brain and heart caused by OSAS can also create severe cardiovascular problems, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Sudden cardiac arrest
Dentists cannot diagnose sleep apnea, but Dr. Tye is an oral surgeon who has studied dental sleep medicine. He can treat you after you receive an evaluation at a sleep center. Undergoing a sleep study ensures the accuracy of diagnosis, as well as coverage by insurance (if applicable). Even if you discover that you don’t suffer from OSAS, Dr. Tye can help alleviate disruptive snoring.
Some simple steps that may reduce snoring include:
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol
- Using a humidifier
- Sleeping on your side
OSAS is a potentially harmful disorder which only qualified professionals can identify.
The most common solution to sleep apnea is an oral appliance, or night guard, that advances the jaw, opening the airway during sleep.
Dr. Tye will take impressions of your bite and construct your customized mouthpiece, then check the fit and make adjustments accordingly. Wearing it 15 minutes before bedtime will help you acclimate to the feeling, so you can tell if you need further adjustments. Some discomfort is normal at first, but in time, wearing the appliance will feel normal. You will rest assured knowing that your sleep device will restore health and quality of life.
Other treatment options involve a CPAP or bi-PAP device. These devices push pressurized oxygen into the throat and lungs, to create proper ventilation and keep your air passage open while you sleep. Many people cannot tolerate CPAP or bi-PAP because of the noise, a feeling of claustrophobia, or the inability to turn over during sleep. Traveling with these devices can be cumbersome, as well.
Minimally Invasive Surgical Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As an oral surgeon, Dr. Tye also offers minimally invasive treatments for OSAS, including Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) and the Pillar® Procedure. For LAUP, Dr. Tye uses a carbon dioxide laser to reshape the soft palatal tissue so it doesn’t restrict breathing when relaxed. The procedure requires multiple session in 3-4 month intervals. The Pillar® Procedure involves implanting small polyester rods in the soft palate, and it is usually performed while the patient is under anesthesia. When the skin heals around the rods, the soft palate will stiffen, which limits the relaxation of the tissue.
Choose a Dentist AND a Doctor
After graduating from both medical and dental school, Dr. Tye became the first dual-degreed Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon in Tarrant County, TX. He earned nominations for Top Doctor and Top Dentist in Fort Worth Magazine and Southlake Style Magazine. His background grants him a well-rounded perspective, which enhances his approach to OSAS treatment.
If you, or the person you share a bed with, suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Tye can help you find relief. Call our office in Colleyville, TX at 817-552-3223 to schedule a consultation today.