How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

By September 3, 2013 August 27th, 2015 perfect smile, tooth pain symptons, Your Dentist
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that results in pauses of breathing during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes and can occur several times an hour. At the least, it’s an annoyance that results in poor sleep or an irritated partner. At its worst, it can result in a heart attack or stroke.

The symptoms of sleep apnea include tiredness, depression, fatigue, short temperedness and grinding of the teeth. Many sufferers don’t even know they have sleep apnea. They just know they are excessively tired during the day or are told that they have a problem by partners.

The symptoms can be caused by many things, so it’s important not to ignore them if you’re suffering from regular poor sleep. As you tend to see your dentist more than your medical practitioner, we are perfectly placed to help.

There are three kinds of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea (CSA), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of CSA and OSA. We concentrate on obstructive sleep apnea, as dentists can help diagnose and treat the condition readily.

The obstruction in OSA can be the tongue, which can be caused by removal of teeth, the position of the palate and dental arches, among other things. All of the possible obstruction factors can be quickly identified by a properly skilled dentist.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed in several ways. Your medical practitioner can perform tests and use questioning to ascertain whether you suffer from the condition. Dentists can also detect whether you’re vulnerable to it by examining the mouth.

As holistic dentists, we are well qualified to identify sleep apnea and can help manage the condition. We look for signs of teeth grinding, examine your medical history, check for an enlarged tongue, high blood pressure, enlarged tonsils and a selection of other indicators to assess whether you’re suffering from sleep apnea or not.

Checking with a dentist is a great idea if you think you’re suffering from the condition as you generally see your dentist regularly. As long as that dentist is qualified to check for sleep apnea, you’ll be in good hands.

There are a range of treatments available for sufferers of sleep apnea which we will cover in a later post. In the meantime, if you think you have OSA, or are being told you have troubled sleep, make an appointment with Aesthetic Family Dentistry today. We can quickly help identify and diagnose the issue and help with the treatment.