Jaw Surgery / Sleep Apnea
Why Choose Jaw Surgery?
Orthognathic surgery or “jaw surgery” can correct issues that cause the jaws to be unable to align properly. In the same way that teeth can be straightened with orthodontics, the misaligned jaw can be corrected with jaw surgery.
The benefits of having jaw surgery include improved facial appearance and properly functioning teeth and bite. Whether the problems with the jaw occurred naturally from birth or were caused by environmental influences or trauma to the face, corrective jaw surgery is a smart and effective option for issues relating to the mouth and jaw.
Issues That May Be Corrected with Jaw Surgery:
- Sleep Apnea / breathing problems
- TMJ or chronic jaw
- Improper bite
- Speech problems
- Difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing
- Protruding jaw
Technology and Jaw Surgery
The goal of technology in regards to jaw surgery is directed at helping the patient understand how the surgery will benefit not only their jaw-related issues, but even the overall appearance of their facial features. Jaw surgery often readjusts the lower facial region resulting in an attractive and proportionate facial appearance for the patient.
Athens Oral Surgery Center employs modern computer techniques and three-dimensional models to demonstrate how your surgery will be accomplished. The surgeon may also use comprehensive facial X-Rays and computer video imaging to demonstrate how the bite will be improved or how your facial structure may be improved after surgery.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs during sleep when breathing repeatedly stops and starts again, often without the sleeper’s knowledge, causing potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
There are several different types of sleep apnea, but the most common condition is obstructive sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea specifically occurs when the throat muscles relax to such a degree that the tongue, tonsils, or uvula are allowed to be sucked backwards and block the airway.
As a result of the obstruction to the airway, breathing may become impaired for up to 20 seconds at a time, resulting in low blood oxygen levels. After an extended amount of time without oxygen, the brain reacts by rousing the sleeper in an effort to reopen the airway. These brief, often unnoticed, awakenings may occur up to 30 times each hour resulting in an extremely unrestful and unhealthy night’s sleep. Furthermore, decreased oxygenation can result in serious cardiovascular disorders.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Loud snoring, especially while laying on one’s back
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Waking up with a dry mouth, sore throat, or chest pain
- Difficulty focusing during the day
- Depression or irritability caused by lack of restful sleep
- High blood pressure
Available Treatment Options
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP Machine
One of the most common and consistently corrective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea involves using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine which delivers a continuous flow of air pressure, keeping the upper airway passages of the mouth open and preventing obstructions and snoring.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
In some cases, jaw surgery may be the best option. In this surgery, the bones of the upper and lower jaw are repositioned to allow an increase in the size of the airway and permanently prevent obstructions from occurring. Jaw surgery is considered inpatient surgery and requires a one or two day overnight stay in the hospital.