For those who snore and might suspect they have sleep apnea, the first step would be speaking with a dentist, as they're familiar with the airway and they can refer you to a sleep center for further testing and a diagnosis. Before any treatment is done, a proper diagnosis needs to be received, says Dr. Rich Gillespie, a dentist in Vancouver, Washington with Gillespie Dentistry. In addition to a dentist, your primary care physician can refer you to a sleep center as well.
While a sleep center is the most thorough in their testing, there are home sleep tests that can be done in the comfort of one's own home and are also acceptable ways in determining a diagnosis. In terms of treatment, when speaking with a physician, they will most likely discuss the CPAP device. Less known and just as successful is the oral appliance that stabilizes the mandible and maintains the airway open, Dr. Gillespie says.
The CPAP and oral appliance can be used together in severe cases and they can also be substituted. Dr. Gillespie says that 80% of CPAP users would still prefer an oral appliance because of its portability and ease of wear.
Dr. Rich Gillespie is a dentist and leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, a featured network of Sequence Media Group. Sleep Better TV provides online, on-demand, sleep breathing disorder video content. For more information on Dr. Gillespie, click here.