Conebeam Scanner Technology Can Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects tens of thousands of people. It is difficult for doctors to diagnose sleep apnea because the condition cannot be readily observed during routine office visits.

There are various types of sleep apnea, the most common of which is obstructive sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the airway becomes blocked or collapses during sleep, leaving the individual with reduced or restricted airflow to the lungs. The air that is able to pass through has to squeeze by the narrowed passageway, which leads to the sounds that we all recognize as snoring. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to problems with blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke or heart attack.

What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

One of the most common signs of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Individuals may make choking or gasping sounds after each snore as the body tries to take in more air. Because the affected individual is asleep when this occurs, a partner or family member is often aware of the problem first.

Of course, not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea. Additional symptoms include fatigue during the day and problems concentrating, both of which indicate that the body is not getting sufficient rest during the night.

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Traditional methods of diagnosing sleep apnea rely heavily on information collected from patients and their families. Patients are asked to keep a sleep diary for a period of one to two weeks.

During office visits, physicians will examine the patient's airway, looking for conditions such as an enlarged uvula or soft palate. In some cases, patients are asked to undergo a sleep study, where they wear a special type of monitor at night that records information about their sleep and breathing patterns.

Today, however, there are far more advanced means of diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea, including the use of Cone Bean Scanner (CBS) technology. Testing can be done at our dental office, and any information collected, if needed, can be forwarded to your physician. In this way, patients can address their concerns about sleep apnea while also handling their dental care needs.

National Sleep Awareness Week is the first week of March and is intended to educate the public on the importance of getting the best possible quality and the proper quantity of sleep each and every night. For those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the team at Great Lakes Dental is here to help, and can answer any questions that you may have about Cone Beam Scanner technology and the testing process.