Sleep apnea is a condition that causes pauses in breathing, known as apneas, while a patient is asleep. It occurs when the airways become blocked while a patient is asleep, making it difficult for air to pass into the lungs. Here at Oral & Facial Surgery of New Mexico, Dr. Heiner offers several forms of treatment for patients who suffer from sleep apnea. In most cases, you will be referred to our office by another medical professional after you have been diagnosed with your condition.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Conditions
Because symptoms of sleep apnea typically occur during sleep, most of the time they are not recognized by the patient but instead by a patient’s significant other or doctor. The condition of sleep apnea can have long-term effects on a patient’s quality of life or even cause serious cardiovascular issues. Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include
- Difficulty paying attention during the day
- Waking up gasping or having shortness of breath
- Loud snoring or choking sounds during sleep
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Mood changes including depression
- Sleepiness during the day even after a full night’s sleep
The absence of these symptoms, especially snoring, does not mean that you do not have sleep apnea, just as the presence of them does not confirm your diagnosis. A doctor is trained to detect the condition and will refer you to Dr. Heiner for treatment if necessary. When you visit our office, Dr. Heiner can discuss your options for sleep apnea treatment.
Treating Sleep Apnea With Oral Surgery
Dr. Heiner has years of experience performing surgery to treat sleep apnea. The most common surgical procedures available to treat sleep apnea include the following:
- UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) opens the airway to prevent blockages during sleep. This operation removes the tissue at the back of the soft palate (back of the throat) that causes blockages.
- LAUP (Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty) is a laser surgery performed to tighten the soft palate, which is the opposite of a UPPP, but still prevents blockages in the airways for breathing.
- Orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) can reposition or alter any jaw issues to stop sleep apnea symptoms from occurring.
The procedures above are just a few surgical options for treating sleep apnea. In some instances, lifestyle changes in a patient’s life, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, can treat sleep apnea. Sometimes a patient can use CPAP therapy (continuous positive airway pressure) to breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine comes with a mask that can be worn during sleep to prevent apneas.
Sleep Apnea Treatment at Oral & Facial Surgery of New Mexico
If you suffer from sleep apnea in the Las Cruces or Roswell, NM, area, we encourage you to make an appointment at our office. Dr. Heiner has years of experience performing oral surgery and treating sleep apnea, and he can help you determine which treatment, whether surgical or nonsurgical, best fits your needs.