When patients find out that Dr. Agarwal can make an oral appliance to help with snoring, one of their first questions is, “Why do I need a sleep study?”
Though sleep medicine and dentistry overlap through the treatment of sleep apnea and bruxism, they remain two different branches of medicine. A sleep study is an important step in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, one you must do before getting a sleep appliance for these reasons:
- Diagnose other disorders besides apnea
- Tell you how much oxygen you’re getting while you sleep
- May determine that an oral appliance is not the right treatment for you.
But before you change your mind about calling our office in Raleigh, you might want to know that some sleep studies can be done in your own home, using a convenient self-administered setup.
Apnea’s Not the Only Reason for Snoring
If snoring is bothering you, or more likely your spouse and kids, there are a few things that could cause it.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA is the most common cause, but you could be snoring because of allergies or larger than “normal” structures, like tonsils and uvula, or a narrowed airway. So, if you’re snoring, a sleep device might not help you.
The study can also determine if you have restless leg syndrome or a REM cycle disorder, all of which may be complicated by OSA. If your snoring comes with observed pauses in breathing, excessive daytime sleepiness, frequent trips to the bathroom during the night, OSA is likely. However, in order for your insurance to pay for any treatment, like an appliance, you need a diagnosis from a sleep doctor.
Oxygen Levels Are Important
If you do have sleep apnea, you need to know how severe it is: how much oxygen you get at night, how frequently you stop breathing, and for how long. The monitors attached during a sleep study will capture all of that data, whether you do a home sleep study or one at a sleep lab. These numbers will help the sleep doctor determine how severe your apnea is and whether you need additional help.
Be Ready to Ask
While a dental sleep appliance can be a useful part of treating OSA, it may not help every case. Very severe apnea may require a CPAP machine to keep your airway open during sleep. Your sleep study will determine which therapies to pursue.
With that said, most sleep doctors have a preference for CPAP or BiPap machines as treatment and may not think to offer a dental sleep appliance as therapy. It’s important that you go to your appointment prepared with questions about your diagnosis, including whether a sleep appliance might work with your anatomy and severity.
Dr. Tarun Agarwal has years of experience treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea. He’s committed to the best outcomes for his patients, including treating bruxism, TMJ/TMD, and other dental complications of OSA.
Whether you’ve had a sleep study or are ready to learn more, talk to the team at Raleigh Dental Arts about how an appliance can help your snoring!