You may not think of visiting a dentist when you think of receiving an airway screening, but since many people see their dentist more often than their physician, it makes sense that a dentist is more likely to catch the symptoms of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. These conditions fall under the blanket term of airway-centered disorders and affect millions of people nationwide.
Symptoms of an airway-centered disorder can present themselves in many ways including waking up tired, waking up with a headache or a sore throat, teeth grinding, obesity, daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, dementia, and depression to name a few!
During your airway screening, Dr. Courtney will ask you some questions and look at your teeth, cheeks, lips, tongue, and throat to look for physical symptoms of snoring and OSA.
If an issue is detected, he may refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation or suggest you preform a home sleep test.
Traditionally, when people show signs of having sleep apnea they would undergo a sleep study. This is where the patient would be sent to a sleep lab in which they are evaluated overnight by doctors. However depending on Dr. Courtney’s findings durning the airway screening a take-home sleep test may be recommended first.
A take-home sleep test usually consists of patients using a small machine connected to a strap put around their chest, a small plastic clip placed on their finger and small tubes running into their nostrils. Take-home sleep tests monitor the number of times you snore and stop breathing, as well as your blood oxygen levels. Depending on your insurance, the copay for the test could be as little as $10 and could save you from booking a stay at a much more expensive sleep lab.
Patients bring the testing device back to the office and the information will be reviewed by Dr. Courtney and sent to a sleep medicine specialist, who interprets the full breadth of the test results. Depending on the following diagnosis and severity of the findings, patients may be referred to a sleep specialist or be treated by Dr. Courtney.