Sleep Apnea and how to detect it

Sleep apnea screening has become an integral part of their clinical practice.

Understanding the signs and symptoms related to this sleep-disordered breathing disorder is essential to provide comprehensive health care to patients. Sleep apnea can manifest itself through dental indicators such as teeth grinding, tonsillar hypertrophy and jaw anatomy, and dentists are in a unique position to identify these factors.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic breathing disorder characterized by partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep.

During episodes of apnea, breathing stops briefly or becomes very shallow, resulting in a decrease in blood oxygen levels. These episodes can occur multiple times during the night, disrupting sleep and negatively affecting quality of life and overall health.

Apnea-Hypopnea Index

It is common to use the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) to assess the severity of sleep apnea. AHI is a measure that indicates the number of apnea (complete breathing pauses) and hypopnea (partial airflow reduction) events per hour of sleep.

The AHI is used to classify sleep apnea into different severity categories.

AHI - Mild
5 - 15
AHI - Moderate
15 - 30
IAH - Serious
More than 30

Events by hours of sleep

Obstructive Sleep Apnea represents a major public health challenge due to its high prevalence and lack of diagnosis.

As a dentist, you can make a difference in your patients’ lives by detecting and managing Obstructive Sleep Apnea, improving their quality of life and reducing associated complications.

It is important to note that the AHI alone does not indicate the severity of symptoms or the impact on an individual’s health. When evaluating a patient with sleep apnea, it is necessary to consider other factors such as daytime symptoms, blood oxygen saturation and the presence of comorbidities.

The diagnosis of sleep apnea is made through sleep studies, such as polysomnography, which record various physiological variables during sleep, including airflow, respiration, eye movement, brain activity and blood oxygen saturation.

3 out of 10 patients who visit your clinic are likely to suffer from Sleep Apnea or snore.

Offering specialized treatment services for sleep apnea and snoring will allow you to take advantage of a latent demand, differentiate yourself and expand your dental practice, providing your patients with a comprehensive solution to improve their health and quality of life.

How to detect patients with sleep apnea?

As a dentist, you can play a key role in the early detection and treatment of sleep apnea.

In the dental clinic, there are several signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of sleep apnea in a patient. Here are some guidelines that may help detect this disorder.

OrthoApnea: An advanced clinical solution for effective sleep apnea management