A discussion with your health care provider is the first step. Completing a simple Epworth Screening questionnaire is a great start to assess potential sleep issues. If your health care provider feels a sleep test is advised he/she will order a sleep test.
Sleep Apnea is a medical condition and can only be diagnosed by a physician. It is important to note that a dentist is in the unique position to properly screen patients for the possibility of sleep issues. Working as a team with a sleep physician will enable the best possible outcome possible.
- Screening Options
- Sleep Lab
This will require the patient to spend the night in a sleep center. In order to evaluate for a number of sleep diseases, electrodes will be attached to your head and body to perform a full sleep study.
Home Sleep Testing
Patients are able to spend the night in their own bed in familiar surroundings. Brief instructions are given by a health care provider to allow the patient to take home a home sleep testing device for a self-administered sleep test. This could save you and/or your insurance company money, as the typical cost of a home sleep test is only a fraction of the cost of an in-lab sleep test.
Once the results are read by a board certified sleep physician a recommendation is made by the physician. The normal recommendations are:
- No treatment is needed.
- CPAP machine is recommended (Normally made for a severe sleep apnea diagnosis).
- Oral appliance therapy is recommended (Normally made for a mild to moderate sleep apnea diagnosis).
Epworth Screening Questionnaire
(Rate 0 – 3 for each scenario)
How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the situations described below, in contrast to feeling just tired? This refers to your usual way of life in recent times. Even if you haven’t done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you. Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation: 0 = Would never doze 1 = Slight chance of dozing 2 = Moderate chance of dozing 3 = High chance of dozing
- Sitting and reading
- Watching TV
- Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g. a theater or a meeting)
- Sitting in a car as a passenger for a continuous hour
- Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit
- Sitting and talking to someone
- Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol
- Sitting in a car stopped in traffic for a few minutes
SCORE: Add up your score for each scenario. 0–10 Normal range | 10–12 Borderline | 12–24 Sleepy