When is a Sleep Study Recommended?
It’s often difficult to diagnose sleep apnea because so many of the symptoms are seemingly unrelated, so patients need to be aware of these warning signs and let a dentist or physician know right away. This is especially true for those people at a higher risk for sleep apnea. Men, people over the age of 60, obese patients, and African Americans are all at a dramatically higher risk for sleep apnea. Whether or not you fit into any of these demographics, you should let your dentist or sleep doctor know if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Chronic, loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Frequent morning headaches
- Morning dry mouth
- Waking frequently at nighttime out of breath or gasping
- Difficulty concentrating and/or memory loss
- Changes in mood or behavior
The Sleep Study Process
You may choose to receive either an in-office or at-home sleep study. Both types of sleep study measure the number, length, and proximity of apnea and hypopnea events. Apnea is the cessation of breathing for ten or more seconds at a time. Hypopnea events cause shallow breathing or the cessation of breath for less than ten seconds. The studies will record these events and create a report called an apnea-hypopnea index, or AHI. This number is used to determine the severity of sleep apnea.
Your results will need to be evaluated by a professional, but an average AHI is five or less. In adults, mild sleep apnea is between 5 and 15 AHI, moderate is considered between 15 and 30 AHI, and severe sleep apnea is anything over 30 AHI. For children, an AHI of 1 can be abnormal. If your sleep study determines you are suffering from any level of sleep apnea, it’s essential that you seek treatment right away.
How Dr. Langston Can Help
Visiting Dr. William Langston and his Sunnyvale dental team may not be your first thought after receiving a sleep apnea diagnosis. However, dentists are able to provide treatments to help patients sleep soundly. Dr. Langston offers both the traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment as well as oral appliance therapy. Dentists have extensive training in the ways oral and facial structures should interact, and this includes the proper function of the airway. If you’re still in need of a diagnosis, the Long Creek Dental team will help you find a sleep study provider near you, and partner with you to seek out diagnosis and treatment.