What is Sleep Apnea?

There is no doubt about it: breathing is essential to life. The simple act of inhaling and exhaling fills our bodies with oxygen. Our brains and muscles cannot function without it, and both mentally and physically, a lack of oxygen can have disastrous effects.
During the day, breathing happens so easily that we rarely think about it at all. But, what happens at night, as you sleep, when the act of breathing isn’t so easy? Millions of adults suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea, in which breathing while sleeping is a challenge.

Sometimes, the condition is caused by an improper brain function. Whereas the brain would normally prompt the body to inhale and exhale, a patient with sleep apnea may not receive those brain signals. The result is a failure to breathe regularly, and the lack of oxygen can create a major health risk.

More often, the brain is able to send the appropriate breathing signals, but the airways of the nose, mouth, or throat is blocked, hindering the process. The blockage can be the result of the tongue or soft palate relaxing across the opening of the throat. It can be exacerbated by obesity or constricted nasal passages. This form of apnea, called obstructive sleep apnea, is more common and can render the same unhealthy results.

Both forms of sleep apnea tend to occur frequently throughout the night, harming your organs and interrupting your sleep pattern.
Imagine how your quality of life, energy, and mental stamina would be affected by a lack of oxygen and a lack of sleep. You’d probably snore quite loudly, feel groggy and tired during the day, feel irritable, and find it challenging to concentrate. Severe cases can lead to depression, weight gain, and car accidents or workplace injuries.

Fortunately, your oral surgeon can help to treat various levels of sleep apnea, using both surgical and non-surgical methods. It’s the right choice for your mental and physical health. 

If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Larry Wolford’s office using our online contact form or call 214-828-9115.

Condylar hyperplasia (CH) is a generic term describing enlargement of the condyle.  There are a number of different condylar pathologies that enlarge the mandibular condyle, with subsequent adverse effects on the morphology and function of the TMJ and mandible.  This may result in the development or worsening of a dentofacial deformity such as; mandibular prognathism (symmetric or asymmetric), and unilateral enlargement of the condyle, ramus, and body, facial asymmetry and malocclusion. 

Wolford has developed a simple, but encompassing classification that will allow the clinician to better understand the nature of the various CH pathologies, progression, and treatment options that have proven to eliminate the pathological process and provide optimal functional and esthetic outcomes.  The classification (Table 2 and Figure 29) also begins with the most common occurring form of CH and progresses to the least common occurring form.

CH Type 1:  This condition develops during puberty, is an accelerated and prolonged growth aberration of the normal condylar growth mechanism, is self-limiting but can grow into the 20’s, and can occur bilaterally (CH Type 1A) or unilaterally (CH Type 1B).

CH Type 2:  These condylar pathologies can develop at any age (although 2/3s develop in the 2nd decade), are unilateral condylar vertical and/or horizontal over-growth deformities, and are the most common occurring mandibular condylar tumors; osteochondroma (CH Type 2A) and less common osteoma (CH Type 2B).

CH Type 3:  These are other rare benign causing condylar enlargement. 

CH Type 4:  These are malignant conditions that can cause condylar enlargement.

The more common forms of CH (Types 1 and 2) will be presented relative to the clinical and radiographic findings, growth characteristics, effects on the jaws and facial structures, histology, and treatment considerations that are highly predictable in the elimination of the pathology and provide optimal treatment outcomes. 

FIGURE 29 Description

A-C) normal TMJ with balanced joint spaces.
D-F) CH Type 1 with relatively normal condylar shape, elongated condylar head and neck, and narrow joint space related to thin articular disc or displaced disc.  In the coronal view the condylar head is more rounded.
G-I) CH Type 2Av; an osteochondroma with a vertical growth vector without significant horizontal condylar enlargement or exophytic horizontal growth. This is a “young” osteochondroma with only about 3 years of growth.
J-L) CH Type 2Ah; an osteochondroma with horizontal (as well as vertical) enlargement of the condyle and exophytic outgrowth of the tumor. This tumor has been present for 6 years. Notice the significant increased vertical height of the mandibular body and ramus.