Diagnosis and Treatment

About Your Diagnosis

Our team works closely with local sleep doctors, as well as your family doctor, to coordinate care if an oral appliance is necessary. Normally, a patient takes a sleep study (can be done at home or at a lab), and the data from the study is interpreted by a sleep physician to determine the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI). The sleep study will reveal how many times you experience hypopnea, shallow breathing and apnea, the stoppage of breath. Depending on your AHI, we will determine the best course of action to treating your sleep apnea.

What is A Pharyngometer/Rhinometer?

The Eccovision pharyngometer/rhinometer is a diagnostic tool used for objective assessments of the upper airway. It utilizes a patented acoustic signal processing technology to provide us with a graphical representation of airway patency, allowing us to measure the dimensions of the airway down through the oral cavity all the way to the pharynx. It’s minimally invasive, extremely fast, and results are available almost immediately.

Our office is advanced among oral appliance providers in its use of a Pharyngometer/Rhinometer to determine the most effective titration (adjustment) of the oral appliance to achieve optimum airflow. Dr. Bollinger wants to ensure that your oral appliance works to its best potential, so we take precise measurements for you to get optimal rest.

Using this technique allows us to identify the site and severity of your airway obstruction, as well as changes that occur in airway tissues as a result of oral appliance therapy.

Why Use a Pharyngometer?

  • Helps identify site and severity of airway obstruction
  • See the effects that an oral appliance has on pharyngeal size
  • Determines if you’re a good candidate for an oral appliance
  • Determine the best method of treatment with objective data
  • Compare pre and post treatment results to see how effective it is

Your Treatment Options

Due to the distinct differences between each case of sleep apnea, there are various ways that your sleep apnea can be treated, and no single solution is right for all patients. Sleep apnea can be treated by changing aspects of your lifestyle, through the use of a CPAP machine, or by using an oral appliance.

  • Lifestyle changes may be adequate in helping mild cases of sleep apnea: Getting the right amounts of exercise daily can help patients lose weight that is potentially aggravating their sleep apnea.
  • The most commonly prescribed device for the treatment of severe sleep apnea is the CPAP machine, which provides continuous airflow to maintain an open airway for breathing during sleep.  However, some people find the CPAP mask to be uncomfortable or the machine operation to be disruptive, and therefore become non-compliant.
  • An oral appliance is often successful in treating patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, and also for those who are non-compliant to CPAP therapy.