A Sleep Study Can Help in the Diagnosis of Sleep Breathing Disorders
Screening and diagnosis of sleep breathing disorders—including snoring and mild-to-moderate sleep apnea—involve initial questions and specific diagnostic testing. Dentists like Todd Fincher, DDS, who have been trained in dental sleep medicine, screen patients for sleep breathing disorders. Dr. Fincher then works in consultation with sleep physician specialists at Greenwood Leflore Hospital Sleep Disorders Center to conduct a sleep study, determine your specific sleep breathing disorder diagnosis, and choose a type of treatment that’s best for you.
Initial Sleep Breathing Disorder Screening and Questionnaire
During your regular dental visit, it’s possible that Dr. Fincher may find tell-tale signs of potential sleep breathing disorders like snoring or mild-to-moderate sleep apnea by visually examining your mouth, tongue, and throat. These signs may include a severely enlarged tongue, a narrow lower jaw, enlarged tonsils, and large uvula (dangling tissue at the back of the mouth/throat).
Dr. Fincher may also identify signs of sleep breathing disorders by examining x-rays taken during your regular appointments. These signs may include a disproportionate amount of space between your tongue and soft palate, or your jaws and the back of your neck.
When a sleep breathing disorder is suspected, Dr. Fincher will likely ask you specific questions that will help determine if further diagnostic testing for sleep breathing disorders is needed. In particular, he will likely ask you the following questions. Answering “yes” to two or more questions could possibly mean that you are at risk for a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea.
- Do you snore?
- Do you feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the day?
- Has anyone seen you stop breathing while you sleep?
- Do you have, or are you being treated for, high blood pressure?
- What is your body mass index? Are you 30 pounds or more overweight?
- Are you older than 50 years of age?
- Is your neck circumference greater than 15 ¾ inches?
- Are you male?