Can a Dentist Trim or Cut a Uvula?
The uvula is the flesh that hangs at the back of your throat. It is comprised of mucous membranes, muscle tissue, and canals that distribute saliva. Its name comes from the Latin word “uvola,” which means small bunch of grapes. Research has proven that the uvula may have multiple purposes. It may lubricate your throat, prevent food from going up your nose, and trigger your gag reflex.
If you suffer from sleep apnea or excessive snoring, trimming or cutting your uvula may be beneficial. In a procedure known as a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or UPPP, we may trim down your uvula, remove your tonsils, and reposition some of the muscles of the soft palate. This can widen your airway and help you get a better night’s sleep. Unfortunately, UPPP may lead to complications such as speech changes, a nasal quality of the voice, and drainage of secretion into the nose.
A less-invasive option is a laser-assisted uvuloplasty or LAUP. During this treatment, we will use a laser to make cuts and tighten the soft palate. Your uvula will also be trimmed over several visits. Although LAUP is typically less painful than UPPP, it is not as effective.
It is important to note that UPPP and LAUP are usually only recommended for patients with severe sleep apnea and snoring. Minor to moderate cases of this condition are typically treated with an oral appliance or CPAP therapy.
There are many teenagers and college students that often have swallowing problems because of an inflamed uvula. Their age usually means those close to them, including their parents, may not think this is a serious concern. Anyone who has had something stuck in their through in which the could not swallow knows that it is a serious problem. We suggest getting it checked out as soon as possible.
Contact Wells Family Dental Group
If you have sleep apnea and are wondering whether your uvula needs to be trimmed or cut, it is in your best interest to schedule an appointment at our office. Call us today at 919-266-5332.