The CDC considers the world’s lack of sleep a public health epidemic.

23% of respondents in a recent survey said they have trouble concentrating during the day. Another 11% said it interferes with their driving, and 9% said it affects their job performance.

One of the most common causes of poor sleep is sleep apnea. It affects over 22 million Americans, but the majority of cases are still undiagnosed.

CPAP machines are one of the most popular forms of treatment, but they don’t always provide relief. Read on to learn how oral surgery can help.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

There are 3 major types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway gets blocked. Your tongue collapses against the soft palate and then against the back of your throat.

Central sleep apnea is a rarer condition. It occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles in the throat to breathe.

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both. It causes you to temporarily stop breathing and wake up, sometimes over 100 times a night.

In addition to snoring and difficulty sleeping, sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth and sore throat
  • Memory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Stroke

It’s also associated with other conditions such as type 2 diabetes and depression. The drowsiness it causes plays a part in many traffic and machinery accidents.

Oral Surgery for Sleep Apnea

Your airway may become obstructed by other health issues such as:

  • A large tongue
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Excess throat tissue
  • Improper jaw positioning
  • Obstructed nasal passages

You may need a surgical procedure to fix these issues, and there’s a range of options.

Nasal surgery fixes nasal issues such as a deviated septum or nasal valve collapse. UPPP, or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, removes excess tissue in the soft palate and/or throat.

GGA, or genioglossus advancement, moves the tongue forward and tightens it to keep it from collapsing and blocking your airway while you sleep.

A tongue base reduction can be done surgically or with radiofrequency waves. The pillar procedure uses small implants to reinforce your soft palate.

A hyoid advancement or suppression repositions the bone above your Adam’s apple to let more air in. MMA or maxillomandibular advancement moves your upper and lower jaw forward to open your airway.

These procedures are similar to most other types of oral surgery. You may experience temporary bleeding or swelling, but it should go away within a few days. You’ll get the best results if you discuss a treatment plan with your surgeon and listen to their instructions.

Where to Find More Oral Surgery Information

Sleep apnea is a dangerous but all-too-common condition that blocks your airways at night.

The most noticeable symptoms are snoring and difficulty falling asleep. It may also contribute to cardiovascular and mental health issues or make you more likely to get in an accident around cars or machines.

Treatments such as CPAP machines can’t provide relief in all cases. You may need to have an obstruction such as an oversized tongue or excess soft palate tissue removed surgically.