Jaw Surgery for Sleep Apnea: Everything You Need to Know

Jaw Surgery for Sleep Apnea: Everything You Need to Know

Do others complain of your loud snoring? Are you one of the millions of individuals who suffer from sleep apnea? If so, you may be interested in jaw surgery as a potential treatment option. This article will cover everything you need to know about jaw surgery and if it is right for you!

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. Severe sleep apnea can lead to several health problems, including daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, breathing problems, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

It is important to seek treatment if you think you may suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is caused by various factors, including obesity, smoking, alcohol use, and age.

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Central Sleep Apnea develops when there is a problem with the brain’s respiration muscle control. The brain cannot send the needed signals to those muscles, resulting in slower breathing.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form. This can be due to excess tissue in the throat, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or a misaligned jaw, causing temporary lapses in breathing.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome occurs when a person has both OSA and Central Sleep Apnea (also known as mixed sleep apnea).

You may suspect that you have sleep apnea if you have experienced certain symptoms (excessive snoring, dry mouth, insomnia, attention deficiency, and so on). Multiple factors contribute to the development of sleep apnea, but Raleigh Dental Loft’s professionals consider various factors, including family history, sleep positions, sedatives, and smoking habits.

Many people attribute their disorder to childhood factors or genetic causes. People who have close relatives with the illness are more likely to develop its symptoms and pass it to their children. Also, sleeping on your back may cause air blockages, so keeping the neck level as you rest is essential to open your upper airway. The sleeping position also affects the tongue, jaw, and other areas towards the back of the throat that directly impact airflow and overall sleep quality.

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Several treatment options are available, including lifestyle changes, oral appliances (such as a mandibular advancement device), and surgery. In some cases, medications may also be an effective treatment.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of sleep apnea, including losing weight if you are overweight or obese, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol. Oral appliances are devices worn in the mouth during sleep and help keep the airway open.

Jaw Surgery

Surgery is a more invasive treatment option, but it can effectively treat severe obstructive sleep apnea. Jaw surgery is often used when other treatments, such as weight loss and CPAP therapy, have not been successful.

There are two types of jaw surgeries to treat obstructive sleep apnea: traditional jaw surgery and minimally invasive jaw surgery. Traditional jaw surgery is a more extensive procedure that involves cutting and repositioning the upper and lower jaw. Minimally invasive jaw surgery is a newer procedure that involves using small incisions and special instruments to correct the position of the jaw bones.

Which type of jaw surgery is right for you?

The best way to determine which type of surgery for sleep apnea is right for you is to speak with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to assess your individual case and make a recommendation based on your needs.

Maxillomandibular Advancement Surgery (MMA Surgery)

Maxillomandibular advancement surgery (MMA surgery) is one of the most common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. It involves proper alignment of the upper and lower jaws and removing any excess tissue from the throat that may be obstructing the airway. Surgery can be performed in a number of ways, including open surgery, laser surgery, or robotic-assisted surgery.

Maxillomandibular advancement surgery is an effective treatment for OSA, with patients seeing significant improvements in their symptoms. Jaw surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that patients can go home the same day as surgery. Recovery time varies from individual to individual, but most people take approximately two weeks to recover from jaw surgery.

If you are considering MMA surgery, be sure to speak with your doctor about all of your treatment options. Jaw surgery is a big decision, and it is important to make sure that it is the right choice for you!

Risks of Corrective Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is a serious procedure, and it is important to weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision. Jaw surgery can have some complications, including bleeding, infection, nerve damage, and jaw dislocation.

The jawbone can potentially fracture as it grows back together, which is termed a delayed jaw fracture. Some patients may also experience problems with speech, chewing, and jaw movement after surgery.

In addition, corrective jaw surgery may not cure sleep apnea. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of corrective jaw surgery with your dental providers before making a decision.

What to Expect From Maxillofacial Surgery

Dentists who perform jaw surgery for OSA typically have additional training in maxillofacial surgery. Patients will likely be connected with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Typically, patients will be placed under general anesthesia prior to surgery and then moved to the operating room. Upon waking up from the procedure, patients can expect to experience some drowsiness and potential memory loss from the time leading up to surgery and immediately following.


Don’t be alarmed by your post-surgery appearance. After jaw surgery, many patients experience swelling and bruising around the jaw and face. The swelling will gradually go down over time, but it may take several weeks for the bruising to fade. Most people are able to return to work within two weeks of surgery.

Patients can expect some pain and discomfort following the procedure, but this should not be long-lasting. Jaw surgery can also result in a change in facial appearance and improve chewing.

At-Home Follow-Up Care

Following surgery, your oral surgeon should provide you with a list of detailed instructions on follow-up care. This may include avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, drinking plenty of water, or sticking to a liquid diet or a soft diet. Remember to take it easy, you will need time to recover from surgery.

Give Raleigh Dental Loft a Call Today!

Sleep apnea is a severe condition that can have a significant impact on your health. If you think jaw surgery might be the right treatment option for you, be sure to give us a call to see if you are a good candidate. Our doctors have extensive experience in providing relief from sleep apnea. Jaw surgery is a big decision, but it could help you get the relief you need!

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