How is Sleep Apnoea Diagnosed?
Sleep Apnoea is often anecdotally diagnosed by a partner as they’re best placed to know how many episodes a night you have or how loud your snoring is. When attending your first appointment or consultation with your dentist, it can be a good idea to bring along your partner so that they may give helpful information you may not be able to provide.
If it is suspected you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, your dentist will first perform a physical examination of your mouth, nose and throat. This is to check for any issues with the tonsils or soft palate as these are often enlarged and the cause of airway blockages.
They may then recommend you undergo a sleep study before making a final diagnosis. You can undergo a sleep study externally at a special purpose sleep clinic, or request a take home version of the kit.
What is a Sleep Study?
Known as a polysomnograph, or PSG, a sleep study involves being connected to a series of monitors and recording equipment used to measure important data that will help make a diagnosis about the severity of your OSA.
The description may conjure images of wires hanging from every possible centimetre of your body and while slightly exaggerated, the PSG is designed to measure oxygen levels, airflow through the mouth and nose, movement of the chest and abdomen and activity in the heart, brain, muscles and eyes.
If you are taking a sleep study at an external sleep clinic, you will be monitored by a trained professional who stays overnight. Results will then be given to you the next morning for you to take back and discuss with your dentist or health professional to make a diagnosis.
It is entirely possible, and preferred by many, to instead request a take home sleep test if you think it might be uncomfortable or awkward to sleep in a monitored clinic. If you choose to take the sleep test home, you will be shown by the sleep technician how to set up the measurement unit before you go to sleep. You will then need to schedule a time to take the equipment back to the clinic for analysis.
Booking Your Appointment
If you suspect you may have obstructive sleep apnoea and would like to see a health professional all you need to do is get in touch with one of our Sound Sleeper dentists to organise your first consultation.
To find your closest Sound Sleeper dentist, click here.