July 30, 2019
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition that afflicts millions of people across the United States. Over time, it can rob an individual of their mental, physical, and emotional health. Unfortunately, this devastating disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated in many cases. This may happen because patients do not recognize OSA’s symptoms, or because doctors are too quick to attribute the symptoms to other causes. Fortunately, an accurate diagnosis is easily obtainable when you visit a qualified sleep dentist who has advanced technology that enables them to detect and evaluate OSA. Let’s talk a bit more about some of the tools that can play a role in helping you obtain a better night’s sleep.
The most common way to diagnose sleep apnea is through a traditional sleep test, sometimes called a sleep study. Many dentists across the country work alongside trusted local physicians to help patients arrange for sleep testing. During the test, a machine will monitor your breathing and vital signs throughout the night. Then, an expert will analyze the results and assemble them into a report. The sleep test should reveal, not only if you have sleep apnea, but also how severe the condition is. A sleep test may take place either in your home or in a dedicated sleep laboratory.
Pharyngometry and Rhinometry
A regular sleep test reveals the “if” and “how bad” of obstructive sleep apnea. However, it does not give much insight into the “why” or “how” of the disorder. That is where pharyngometry and rhinometry come into the picture. Both of these diagnostic processes use sound waves to map out a patient’s airway. They are painless and noninvasive and can give your doctor a visual of any structural abnormalities in the airway that may be causing your sleep apnea.
The OSA Treatment Process
Armed with the information from a sleep test, pharyngometry, and rhinometry, your sleep dentist can create a custom treatment plat that will help you find relief from OSA and its associated symptoms. Often, the best treatment is a custom oral sleep appliance, which will gently reposition the jaw in a way that allows for easier breathing at night. However, if any of your tests revealed issues that an oral sleep appliance cannot correct (for example, rhinometry may reveal a deviated septum), your care provider will consider other avenues of treatment.
An accurate OSA diagnosis from an expert who is deeply familiar with the disorder can save you the frustration and expense of pursuing treatments that do not fit your needs. If you believe you may have OSA, seek help from someone who has the necessary knowledge and technology at their disposal to help you sleep better every night.
About the Author
Dr. William B. Langston is a holistic dentist in Sunnyvale who provides pharyngometry, rhinometry, and sleep apnea therapy to patients in Sunnyvale and the surrounding communities. If you would like to learn more about how he may be able to help you obtain a better night’s sleep, contact our practice today at 972-270-6533.
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