Sleep Apnea Treatment
At DC Smiles in Washinton, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia, experience and specialized training have clarified for Dr. Singer that sometimes less is more when it comes to treating such issues as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and sleep apnea.
At DC Smiles, we tend to take a conservative approach to the treatment of facial and jaw irregularities because he understands that each patient’s physiology is unique, and that means invasive treatments may not be ideal for everyone who suffers from TMD (jaw joint disorder/pain) or sleep apnea.
But, when other treatments for these disorders have been exhausted, our patients can feel confident that our clinicians are well-versed in orthognathic surgery, or corrective jaw surgery, which can correct TMD and sleep apnea.
When to Consider Jaw Surgery
Orthognathic surgery, or corrective jaw surgery, is a solution for our more extreme cases of malocclusion, or poor jaw alignment. This type of disorder can contribute to chronic TMJ pain and sleep apnea.
The indications that surgery may be necessary to treat a patients particular jaw issue include:
- Extreme malocclusion, or misaligned bite and jaw structure
- Documented skeletal abnormalities
What to Expect from Orthognathic Surgery
The primary function of corrective jaw surgery, in which a cut is generally made inside the mouth as opposed to through the skin, is to enable the patient to achieve a perfectly-aligned bite, which will correct TMD, or an enlarged airway, which will alleviate sleep apnea, for which this surgery is more than 90 percent effective.
Each one of these surgeries is a critical undertaking for the patient as well as the caregiver. Patients who are undergoing orthognathic surgery should expect:
- The use of braces or retainers before and after surgery
- The use of general anesthesia during surgery complete with a nasal tube for intubation
- The possibility that dental implants may be necessary for an optimal result
- Recovery time that may last from a few days to several weeks
- The possibility of a marked change in the shape of ones face or profile
- The need for an all-liquid diet during the immediate days after surgery, followed by the paced introduction of soft foods
- Post-surgical check-ups to monitor healing