If you believe that you may be struggling with sleep apnea, an accurate diagnosis is essential for truly effective care. Although dentists are not permitted to diagnose the condition, Dr. Stephen C. Ura of the Center for Dental Excellence can conduct a sleep apnea consultation at our Nashua, NH, office. Our team works closely with your primary care physician and other medical practitioners in the community, and through this coordinated effort, we can use a variety of techniques to evaluate sleep disorders. Although sleep studies are considered the gold standard, home testing equipment will often allow you to be evaluated in the comfort of your own home. Once your doctors have accurately diagnosed your condition, Dr. Ura can often alleviate symptoms with a simple oral appliance.
An Overview of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during the night. Your soft palate, throat, or tongue will droop into your airway, which will impair proper breathing. This can cause you to wake up anywhere from several dozen to several hundreds of times each night.
Our team works closely with physicians in the community, and through this coordinated effort, we can use a variety of techniques to evaluate sleep disorders.
We recognize that OSA can have serious effects on your current and long-term health. Dr. Ura takes a whole body outlook, meaning he will treat the condition within the context of your overall physical wellness. When diagnosing your sleep disorder, he will collaborate with your general physician. That way, he can make sure that your symptoms are not related to another systemic problem. He will also monitor your progress throughout the course of your treatment to ensure complete relief and improved physical health.
Your Initial Visit
When you first come to visit us, Dr. Ura will conduct a thorough consultation. First, he will evaluate your symptoms. Some of the most common signs of the sleep disorder include chronic fatigue, falling asleep during the day, frequent headaches, mood swings, depression, and loud snoring. Frequently, OSA is also related to high blood pressure, being overweight, and other health factors. Therefore, Dr. Ura will consult with your general physician and any other necessary doctors to get a complete picture of your health. In some cases, there may be a genetic component to sleep apnea so your family’s medical history will be considered as well.
Sleep Study for More Accurate Diagnostics
Although an analysis of your symptoms is important, scientific testing can provide an even more accurate diagnosis. Whenever possible, we can provide equipment for a home sleep study. A small, portable monitor will measure heart rate, air movement, and how much your chest rises and falls. Typically, you will also wear an oximeter finger probe, which will gauge the level of oxygen in your blood. In most cases, you will sleep with the equipment for one to three nights so that your doctor can obtain the most accurate readings possible.
Occasionally, your doctor may recommend that you go to a sleep lab for diagnosis. Over night, specially trained experts will conduct an advanced polysomnogram. This test will measure heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, eye movements, oxygen levels, snoring, air movement, and chest movement. You may also need to visit a sleep lab if your doctor believes that you may have central sleep apnea (CSA), which is a neurological condition.
Once you have a confirmed diagnosis of sleep apnea, we can make appropriate treatment recommendations. In most cases, we will fit you for an oral appliance. The device will tighten your soft tissues and open up your throat, allowing you to sleep restfully throughout the night. Most patients find the appliance comfortable and non-intrusive, which leads to impressive patient compliance.
Schedule an Evaluation Today
If you believe that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it is extremely important to seek medical attention Contact our office today to schedule a diagnostic consultation.