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Jaw Surgery and Dental Implants in Singapore Blog

Maxillo-mandibular advancement surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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 This is NOT a post about mixed martial arts. MMA in this post refers to maxillo-mandibular advancement. This is a surgical procedure of bring the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible) into a more forward position so as to open up the airway for breathing. Just as cosmetic jaw surgery is known as orthognathic surgery, “ortho” referring to “straightening” and “gnathic” meaning “jaws”, MMA is sometimes referred to as telegnathic surgery, with “tele” meaning “advancing”. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition whereby breathing is blocked during sleep due to some anatomical structures obstructing the flow of air from the nose or mouth into the lungs. So, how does MMA solve the problem of OSA.

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Is there an age limit for corrective jaw surgery?

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Dentofacial deformities usually become apparent to the patient and their parents during the puberty growth spurt. The body undergoes a lot of changes during this period. Facial changes are most noticeable by parents and while most changes are a normal part of growing, disproportionate growth can arise. It is sometimes difficult to determine the point at which facial growth is deemed to have stopped and that no further changes are expected. Sometimes, a seemingly long lower jaw may be due to slower growth of the upper jaw, which when it catches up, will be proportionate. While waiting for that, parents are wary about subjecting their young child to surgery while at the same time concern about any undue delay. Fortunately, the window of opportunity for corrective jaw surgery is very wide.

 

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Jaw surgery and oral appliance therapy for  Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

bigstock-Attractive-asian-woman-awaking-92232875.jpgI spent my last weekend attending a Sleep Medicine meeting organized by the National University of Singapore. This meeting was to raise funds for the Edmund Tay Mai Hiong Endowment Fund, which seeks to educate dentists on Sleep Medicine and the role they play in management of sleep-related breathing disorders (SBD). This is a very good initiative as dentistry offers solutions to such conditions that are as effective as any branch of medicine. What are the dental treatments that can help patients with sleep-related breathing disorders?

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Corrective jaw surgery for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

 

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Obstructive sleep apnea is defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as a “sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe.” Put in a more comprehensible way, it basically means that it is a condition whereby your breathing gets obstructed during sleep. How does this happen? Whether we are asleep of awake, air goes in through either the nose or the mouth or both and enters the lung whereby oxygen is provided to the rest of the body. However, on the way in, air can be obstructed in the nose, by the soft palate, by the tongue, the tonsils, the soft tissue of around the throat or a combination of the above structures. The obstruction causes a reduction in the amount of air entering the lungs leading to a wide range of chronic illnesses. In Singapore, surgical management of OSA is mainly done by Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) specialists while non-surgical management is mainly by either the respiratory physicians or neurologists. Some of these specialists have formal sub-specialty training in Sleep Medicine. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS) and dentists can offer effective alternative treatments that are not used as often as they should.

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