How Can an X-ray Determine that You Have Sleep Apnea?

You wake up with a headache, feel fatigued and grouchy all day, and you’ve been told you snore like a bear — sounds a lot like sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder that interrupts your breathing at night. 

One way to tell if you have this condition is to undergo a polysomnography test, which is a study performed while you’re asleep at a sleep center or hospital. Small electrodes placed on your scalp, chest, and legs record a wealth of data from heart rhythm to brain waves and oxygen level, and it’s an excellent diagnostic tool, even if it’s a bit inconvenient and uncomfortable. 

On the other hand, you could find out if you have sleep apnea and why you have it just by getting a simple X-ray here at Innovative Dental Ideas in Hilliard, Ohio. Dr. James Butler and our team have outfitted our offices with the most advanced technology to ensure you get the very best care.

One of our most sophisticated devices is our state-of-the-art X-ray machine that uses a digital sensor instead of old-school film to capture the most precise image of your teeth and soft tissues. We also use a cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanner to generate three-dimensional and cross-sectional images.

Here’s how that technology can detect or confirm obstructive sleep apnea and pinpoint the culprit causing your condition.

Types of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea causes intermittent interruptions in your breathing when you sleep, which can lead to loud snoring, sore throat, dry mouth, headaches, grogginess, and insomnia. In severe cases, it can lead to heart problems, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and liver problems. 

There are three types of this condition:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea: occurs when something blocks your airway
  2. Central sleep apnea: a breakdown in signals between your brain and your nerves
  3. Complex sleep apnea: a combo of obstructive and central sleep apnea

We use digital X-rays and CBCT to get a better view of your upper airway and find out what’s causing your obstructive sleep apnea. Here’s what we may find:

Depending on your X-ray results, we may recommend conservative treatments, such as losing weight or quitting smoking if relevant. We may also fit you for an oral appliance that helps keep your airway open when you sleep. 

If your obstructive sleep apnea calls for more extensive treatment, we can work with your primary care physician or specialist to make sure you get the treatment you need. 

If you’re experiencing some of the classic signs of obstructive sleep apnea, a digital X-ray can provide valuable diagnostic information and help inform your treatment plan. To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea or any of our other innovative tests and treatments, request an appointment online, or call us at 614-529-0062 today.

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