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Why would I need surgery for sleep apnea?

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Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that can wreak havoc on your physical, mental and emotional health. Our Thornhill dentists explain the disorder, and offer insight on when you may need dental surgery. 

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder that leads to brief but typically frequent interruptions during sleep. 

If your airway becomes partially blocked, this can result in a vibration of the palatal tissues, producing that annoying sound we all know and recognize as snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the airway is totally blocked for periods of time. 

As you might imagine, this condition negatively impacts patients' physical, mental and emotional health.

Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder that is characterized by brief but often frequent interruptions during sleep.

How can sleep apnea impact my health?

Tired, but can't sleep? Sleep apnea can lead to a range of serious mental and physical health conditions that can cause several symptoms, from interrupted sleep in the short term to leaving you at risk for cardiovascular disease, depression and eventually, premature death.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can put you at risk for numerous health conditions, including:

  • Lack of energy
  • Awakening with headache or dry mouth
  • Extremely loud snoring
  • Irritability
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Problems with memory, or memory loss
  • Depression

As many know, snoring can also cause sleep problems for a spouse. However, there is hope in finding the right treatment method that considers the patients needs and effectively resolves this medical condition.

How is sleep apnea treated?

We often prescribe the SomnoDent sleep apnea oral appliance to treat various forms of sleep apnea.

SomnoDent Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance

The SomnoDent sleep apnea oral appliance is a custom-made device made of upper and lower dental plates to maintain optimal jaw bone positioning. Unlike other similar devices, SomnoDent allows patients to maintain normal mouth opening and closing. 

This is an ideal alternative treatment option for patients who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or for those who have severe OSA, yet are unable or unwilling to tolerate CPAP therapy and/or surgery. 


At Dentistry on Green Lane, we take a non-invasive approach to dental care, reserving surgery for rare cases that can’t be successfully treated with other methods such as oral appliances or lifestyle changes.

Do I need sleep apnea surgery?

If no other treatment options have worked, one or more surgeries may be recommended. Surgical options include:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to remove and reposition excess tissue in the throat and widen the airway.
  • Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR) to shrink and tighten tissues in and around the throat.
  • Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction to straighten a bent or deviated nasal septum.
  • Hyoid Suspension to pull the hyoid bone (located in the neck) forward and secure it in place, enlarging the space for breathing in your lower throat.
  • Maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement (MMA) for people with severe sleep apnea. The bones of the jaws are cut and will heal over months.

These are a few surgical procedures that may effectively treat sleep apnea. Your dentist may recommend a less common one depending on your case and requirements.

Do you have questions about sleep apnea treatments and how they can help? Our Thornhill dentists can assess and diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment that works for you. Request an appointment with us today. Request Appointment

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