Sleep Apnea FAQs

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Based on recommendations from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a physician is responsible for the diagnosis of sleep disorders and for recommending a treatment. A board certified sleep medicine physician at an accredited sleep center uses an overnight sleep study to detect and diagnose sleep apnea. Once a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea or a sleep related breathing disorder, a dental sleep specialist at Crossings Clinic may provide treatment. Our dental sleep specialists assist patients in the selection and fitting of an oral appliance and provides long-term follow-up care.

Dental sleep specialists together with sleep physicians are challenged to respond to the health risks and economic impact of untreated sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness. This partnership tasks physicians with the recognition and diagnosis of sleep disorders, while dental sleep specialists at Crossings Clinic provide the treatment.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. The muscles in your throat relax and the tongue may fall back and block the airway as you sleep, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your organs including your heart and brain. People with sleep apnea may snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods of time. The breathing pauses from sleep cause your body to briefly wake while you remain unaware. This can happen hundreds of times per night, and you may wake up feeling unrefreshed.

If I snore, does it mean I have sleep apnea?

Snoring is extremely common and, in many cases, relatively harmless. Nearly everyone snores at one time or another. Occasional light snoring, at worst, is a minor annoyance. Loud and habitual snoring can disrupt your sleep and may be a sign of a much more serious sleep disorder – obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring is a sound that occurs in the upper airway as you breathe in air. The unmistakable sound is a sign that your airway is partially blocked, usually by soft tissue in your throat. The flow of air causes the soft tissue to vibrate, generating the noise, which comes out of your nose, mouth or both.

The volume of snoring depends on the person. You may snore so loudly you wake yourself up. Snoring may also cause you to have a dry mouth or to wake up with a dry mouth and a sore throat.

What are signs of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea patient are often older, obese and have thick necks, but men and women of any age or body type can have sleep apnea. The sleep disorder progressively worsens with age and weight gain. Listed below are some common signs of sleep apnea:

  • Unintentionally falling asleep during the day
  • General daytime sleepiness
  • Unrefreshed sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Waking from sleep with a choking sound or gasping for breath
  • Loud snoring

If you have have these symptoms, you might have sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment at Crossings Clinic to discuss your treatment options.