Sleep Apnea FAQs

Cosmetic and family dentist in Shreveport, LA


Q:How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

A: First, we examine you to see if you have any physical blockages in your airways as a first step. Next, we send you to do what is called a “sleep study”, the best scientific test that we have. When you go for your sleep study, what they do is have a bed for you to sleep in overnight that is as comfortable as possible, and you are hooked up in a similar way that you would be for taking an EKG, the basic heart test, and a breathing mask. Now, when you actually fall asleep a technician can determine any irregularities in your breathing, heartbeat, or oxygen levels, plus determine how much extra air to give you that stops the apneas. That will be your prescription for the settings you need when you use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.

Q:What is a CPAP machine?

A: A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is a small machine that sits by your bed and with a mask that you wear, gently sends a certain amount of extra air to you, which is just enough to urge you to breathe. With the right settings, it can ensure you drastically reduce or eliminate your apneas, allow you to get a good nights rest, and greatly improve your overall health.

Q:I tried a CPAP machine before and I hated it. Is there any other alternative?

A: While the CPAP machine is definitely the most proven and effective medical device out there for people with sleep apnea, approximately 25-50% don’t or won’t use it, for a variety of reasons.

If you find yourself in this category, or want something smaller, easier, and easier to travel with, there are several approved devices that we can fit you with that greatly help with giving you unobstructed breathing. Note that unobstructed breathing is not exactly the same thing as true sleep apnea, where the patient can just stop breathing even with unobstructed airways. Nevertheless, these devices are not that expensive and can greatly help your breathing at night, and even reduce apneas quite a bit in many patients.

Q:What is the next step?

A: The first most important step is to schedule with us to come in and let us check your airways. We can do this anytime or in conjunction with other dental procedures. Then depending on what we find, we can send you on for your sleep study or get a device made for you. Schedule an Appointment with us today!