Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It can lead to loud snoring and feelings of exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep. Maxillomandibular advancement is a type of surgery that is designed to help patients living with severe sleep apnea. It moves the maxilla or upper jaws and mandible or lower jaws forward and enlarges the airway in the palate and tongue area.

This surgical procedure is conducted under general anesthesia and the majority of incisions are made inside of the mouth. Thin saws and chisels are used to reposition the upper and lower jaws. Maxillomandibular advancement also involves placing large braces on the teeth that will remain for about six weeks.

Although the jaws are not usually wired together, rubber bands may be used to help patients maintain a stable bite while they heal. The recovery period for this procedure usually takes over six weeks. However, most patients are able to gradually return to work and other activities after three weeks.

After the surgery, patients should stick to a soft diet, refrain from chewing for six weeks, and take prescription pain medication as necessary. They should also elevate their head during sleep at a 45 degree angle to decrease blood flow to the head and neck and reduce swelling and pain.

In some cases, a temporary tracheostomy will be placed to prevent swelling related issues that may arise after the surgery.

Contact Costa Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

If you or someone you love is living with severe sleep apnea, a maxillomandibular advancement may be a viable treatment option. Contact our Great Falls office at 703-439-1214 or Ashburn office at 703-348-2818 to schedule an appointment and learn more.