Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Doctors sometimes prescribe therapy with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) as a non-surgical treatment for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine helps open the airway to normalize breathing as you sleep. Some Washington, DC patients find the therapy effective, but others cannot tolerate wearing a CPAP mask to sleep every night.
An alternative non-surgical approach to sleep apnea is a wearable appliance. These devices include mouth guards that ease the lower jaw forward and splints that hold the tongue in place. Although effective for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, 75 percent of patients choose to stop using these appliances after a while and continue experiencing symptoms as a result.
Capital Center® for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery provides Washington, DC patients with surgical solutions to sleep apnea. These are the only options for resolving the condition permanently. If you suffer moderate to severe symptoms and can’t tolerate CPAP or an appliance, consider having a procedure to cure your sleep apnea.
Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)
Maxillomandibular advancement repositions the upper and lower jaws and moves the chin outward, which pulls the entire skeletal structure forward. This shift opens the airway, significantly improving or completely resolving sleep apnea.
In most cases, our specialists perform MMA using general anesthesia in a hospital setting. We combine state-of-the-art 3D diagnostics and CAD / CAM manufacturing to make custom splints, guides, and plates ahead of the surgery. During the procedure, the doctor frees the upper and lower jaw from the skull, advances both together, and then secures them in place.
Many of our Washington, DC patients who have MMA surgery also have cosmetic problems related to jaw and skeletal abnormalities. After the procedure, the typical sleep apnea patient will actually have more aesthetically pleasing features because the skeleton will be in an ideal position. Moving the jaws also tightens facial skin, diminishing lines and wrinkles. While cosmetics are not the focus of treatment, an improved appearance is a wonderful benefit of the surgery.
Beyond MMA, our doctors can also treat mild snoring with laser-assisted palatoplasty. This form of treatment is a serial process; the doctor makes small incisions in the soft palette, and after they heal, Washington, DC patients evaluate whether their snoring has improved or if they need a follow-up procedure. Recovery from palatoplasty can be painful in the seven-to-ten days that follow, and so we will spend a lot of time in consultation advising patients about the process.