Testing for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder where, while asleep, patients cease breathing repeatedly. These instances are followed by loud snoring, gasps, or choking sounds as patients try to catch their breath. Sleep apnea has three different levels: Obstructive sleep apnea where soft tissues collapse and block airways, central sleep apnea when the muscles aren’t receiving the proper signals from the brain to control breathing, and complex which is a combination of both.
While primary sleep apnea symptoms are any of the above, secondary symptoms can include fatigue, irritability, difficulty remembering things, and frequently falling asleep throughout the day.
How Do I Get Tested for Sleep Apnea?
To begin sleep apnea treatment, patients must first complete initial testing, which usually involved a sleep study. The study assesses the level of your sleep disorder to provide proper treatment.
A sleep study, or a polysomnography, is completed to diagnose sleep related disorders like sleep apnea or narcolepsy. To properly diagnose patients, it’s imperative to gather ample evidence while they are asleep so your primary physician, sleep specialist, and our dental office can formulate the right treatment plan for you.
The Sleep Study Experience
Sleep studies are non-invasive; patients are asked to stay overnight while doctors monitor you as you sleep. Examining doctors look at brain activity and body activity as you sleep, as well as monitor your REM and nonREM (nRem) cycles throughout the night to address any disruptions in your sleep pattern. During the sleep study, doctors will monitor eye movements, snoring, and oxygen levels in the blood through a sensor.
You will be taken into a comfortable, dark room, two hours prior to when you sleep, and will be connected to sensors on your head and body. However, your comfort and ease are priority in order to get the best sleep and results possible, so you are allowed to bring personal items to sleep as well.
It takes about two weeks after the study for your doctor to receive data from the technologist. Following this, you will be scheduled for a follow up to discuss results and treatment plans.
Bring Us your Sleep Apnea Questions
At John Hooker, DDS, we work with excellent sleep specialists and treat you based on the results from in-depth sleep studies. We make sure to provide the right treatments for you specific case to ensure the best results possible for quality of sleep and for the health of your smile. Contact our Greensboro, NC dental practice today for more information.
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