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Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Can Jaw Surgery Cause Sleep Apnea?


Posted on 3/1/2024 by Weo Admin
Woman holding jaw before making an appointment at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Allentown, PAJaw surgery carries a negligible sleep apnea risk. Actually, jaw surgeries such as maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) are commonly used to treat sleep apnea.

Jaw Surgery as Treatment for Sleep Apnea


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a potentially dangerous condition in which breathing recurrently starts and stops during sleep. This is linked to the collapse of the throat as a person takes a breath. When the wall collapses, the airway is blocked, and breathing becomes difficult. When respiration slows and oxygen levels drop, a person usually awakens.

A maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is a special jaw surgery used to treat sleep apnea. This double jaw surgery moves the upper and lower jaws forward by about a half inch to enlarge the airway. This prevents the total closure of the airway, even with the lateral collapse of the throat. An MMA requires proper planning, with our oral surgeons relying on Virtual Surgical Planning Technology to determine the precise movement and placement of the jaws.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea


First, snoring loudly, gasping, or snorting in your sleep is an indicator that your airway is obstructed. Not all snoring is indicative of sleep apnea, but these two mostly go together. Second, sleep apnea patients repeatedly wake up during the night, and sleep is not always restorative. Sleep deficiency then triggers daytime fatigue. Drowsiness and irritability are common for such individuals. Finally, sleep apnea headaches are described as pressing pain across both sides of the head that can last for several hours a day. The main cause of these headaches is oxygen deprivation during sleep.

When Can Jaw Surgery Cause Sleep Apnea


The Journal of Maxillofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery states that, at times, a poorly done mandibular setback surgery creates a small risk of sleep apnea. This surgery, the opposite of MMA, is used to restore jaws to their original position. If proper planning is not done, this surgery can reduce the airway, causing sleep apnea.

Contact Us Today


Sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition that should not be ignored. As the symptoms show, it lowers productivity and creates other risks. Talk to us today for a sleep apnea assessment and MMA treatment plans.

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