Surgery is not favored as a snoring or sleep apnea treatment. In addition to surgical risks, there is the problem of limited effectiveness. Not only do sleep apnea surgeries have a relatively low effectiveness–even good results can degrade over time.

Many people who try snoring or sleep apnea surgery are very disappointed when it doesn’t work. But don’t give up: oral appliances often work well for people whose surgery didn’t correct sleep apnea.

Surgeons working on a patient

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)’s Low Success Rate

UPPP is surgery that attempts to remedy snoring and sleep apnea by removing potentially blocking tissue from the throat. This includes removing your uvula and tissue from your soft palate. Studies show that the immediate success rate for this surgery may be as low as 65%. When we factor in the changes to surgical results, it’s likely that the overall surgical success rate is probably around 50%.

This means that perhaps half of the people who have UPPP are ultimately looking for another snoring or sleep apnea treatment soon after. And the science shows that many people who don’t get successful treatment with surgery can get success with oral appliances.

Successful Treatment with Low Risk

People recommended to get surgery for sleep apnea are often those with more serious sleep apnea. For them, surgical risks are elevated, which makes surgery a risky bargain. If you tried sleep apnea surgery and it didn’t work, you may be reluctant to try another treatment that carries risks.

Fortunately, oral appliance therapy has low risk for the treatment of sleep apnea. Potential side effects are minor and infrequent, and serious complications are virtually unheard of. And, certainly, the potential risks of oral appliance therapy are very slight when compared to the risks of sleep apnea itself.

And oral appliance therapy is very successful–it can even help people who didn’t get results from surgery, although the success rate is lower than for the overall population. Depending on the study, the success rate among people who had unsuccessful UPPP was 55% or 60%, depending on the study. This gives a very real second chance at resolving sleep apnea.

Can an Oral Appliance Help You?

For people with treatment-resistant sleep apnea, even oral appliances can’t guarantee a 100% success rate. But it is a very good second chance.

If you want to learn more about the potential benefits of oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea in San Jose, please call (408) 354-5600 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos.