Sleep Apnea Diagnosis & Treatment


Dr. Dennis Stiles is a Diplomat in the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine

Diagnosis

Before diagnosing you with sleep apnea, your sleep specialist will take a detailed medical and family history, conduct a physical exam, and conduct a sleep study. A sleep study is the most accurate test for diagnosing sleep apnea. It records what happens with your breathing while you sleep. There are two commonly used types of sleep studies: polysomnograms and home-based portable monitors.

Polysomnogram (PSG)

A PSG is the most common sleep study for diagnosing sleep apnea. It is conducted in a sleep lab and is completely painless. You'll go to sleep as usual, except you'll have sensors on your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and finger. The staff at the sleep center will use the sensors to check on you throughout the night. This test records:

  • Brain activity
  • Eye movement and other muscle activity
  • Breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • How much air moves in and out of your lungs while you're sleeping
  • The amount of oxygen in your blood

Home-Based Portable Monitor

Your doctor may also recommend a home-based sleep test with a portable monitor. The portable monitor records most of the same information as a PSG, including:

  • The amount of oxygen in your blood
  • How much air is moving through your nose while you breathe
  • Your heart rate
  • Chest movements that show whether you're making an effort to breathe

After reviewing your results, your sleep specialist will work together with Dr. Stiles to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

Treatment

Treatments range widely and depend on the severity of the problem and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral – for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs. Beyond that, a CPAP device (continuous positive airway pressure) or an oral sleep apnea appliance can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.

Dr. Stiles and the rest of the Stiles Dentistry team will help you understand all your treatment options, finding one that is right for you and your individual needs.

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