While you may think that snoring is a respiratory issue, the real cause is often right inside the mouth. Relaxed tissue on the soft palate (roof of the mouth) or in the back of the throat can interfere with breathing by causing partial airway blockage. As air squeezes past the tissues they vibrate and snoring occurs. Imagine pinching the opening of a balloon – as air pushes out, the loose rubber vibrates to make a strange sound. It’s the same concept with snoring.
While snoring may seem like a small inconvenience, chronic or loud snoring can impact many aspects of your overall health, and it may indicate a more serious condition. Studies prove that snoring can also create health and quality of life issues for people who overhear it while trying to sleep, so your snoring can harm your family. If you or a loved one snore, or you’re concerned about having a sleep disorder, call Texas Oral Surgery Specialists in Colleyville today at (817) 522-3223.
When Snoring Gets Serious
Snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, or OSAS. Without treatment, OSAS can lead to a heart condition, stroke, high blood pressure, and other serious health concerns, as well as quality of life problems. People with OSAS have died of a heart attack during the night, so it’s no small matter.
Unlike snoring, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome causes breathing to stop completely during sleep. Each apneic episode can last up to ninety seconds and occur repeatedly through the night. When the brain lack oxygen, it sends signals to the body to wake up – now. The OSAS sufferer may awaken slightly again and again, never achieving REM sleep. In some cases, the sufferer wakes abruptly while gasping for air or choking.
Put Snoring and OSAS to Rest
The standard medical treatment for OSAS is a CPAP machine, or continuous positive airway pressure machine. As the name suggests, this device creates a consistent flow of air. The user wears a facemask during the night. A tube connects the mask and a main unit that compresses air. The consistent airflow prevents soft tissues from interfering with breathing. Many people dislike the CPAP machine, though. While modern systems are usually quiet and compact, wearing the mask through the night can feel constricting. The wearer must sleep on his or her back and cannot change positions. In some cases, condensation accumulates in the tube and creates a choking issue for the user. CPAP machines come with a strict cleaning requirement and need replacement filters, as well as general maintenance.
Patients who are CPAP-intolerant or simply don’t want to use the machine have other options.
The simplest treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a specialized oral device that keeps the airway open. The appliance repositions the mandible to a slightly forward setting so that the mouth’s and throat’s soft tissues cannot block air passage. This may be Dr. Tye’s first suggestion, since it’s non-invasive and requires no procedure.
Surgery for Sleep Apnea
As a Southlake – Colleyville oral surgeon, Dr. Tye offers surgical procedures to effectively treat snoring and OSAS. At your consultation and exam with Dr. Tye, he will determine whether you require involve surgery.
Removing Obstructive Tissue
Dr. Tye may recommend a laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. In this procedure, Dr. Tye removes the extra tissue around the soft palate to create a permanently unobstructed airway. Depending on the severity of the blockage, tonsils may need removal.
Tightening the Tongue
In some cases, Dr. Tye may recommend a genioglossus advancement. This procedure focuses on tightening the tendons that control the tongue so that it does not slip back in the throat. This adjustment simulates the tongue’s taut position while you’re awake so it will never again relax enough to block your airway.
Shifting the Jaw
Using a procedure called maxillomandibular advancement, Dr. Tye adjusts the jaw, tongue, and soft palate. This shift opens the airway permanently, without surgically removing tonsils or soft palate tissue.
Stop Snoring Today
At Texas Oral Surgery Specialists, serving Colleyville, Southlake, and surrounding communities, Dr. Chris Tye understands sleep apnea syndrome and snoring. Because he offers CPAP, an oral appliance, and surgical treatment, his patients have more options than they would at a general dentist’s or medical practitioner’s office. Call for a snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome consultation today: (817) 522-3223.