How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, causing you to stop breathing for short intervals while you sleep. If left untreated, this disorder can lead to significant health effects including heart disease, diabetes, and other long-term risks. So, how is sleep apnea diagnosed? Let’s dive into the two most common methods: in-lab and at-home sleep studies.


To diagnose sleep apnea, you must first consult with your doctor about your symptoms. Common symptoms include loud snoring, daytime fatigue, and mood disturbances. From there, you will likely be referred to a sleep specialist, who will determine if you need further evaluation. An evaluation typically involves monitoring your breathing and other body functions while you sleep, either in a lab or at home.

In-Lab Sleep Study

A nocturnal polysomnogram (PSG) is a test performed at a sleep center under the supervision of a trained specialist. During the test, you will be hooked up to equipment that monitors the activity of your heart, lungs, and brain, breathing patterns, arm and leg movement, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Once the PSG is complete, your specialist will tally the number of times you stopped breathing during sleep and grade the severity of your sleep apnea.

At-Home Sleep Test

Another way to detect sleep apnea is through a home sleep test (HST). This is a modified version of nocturnal polysomnography that is done in the comfort of your own home. It records fewer bodily functions than an in-lab test, but can still be used to confirm a diagnosis.

An HST has more limitations than a PSG. It is not used for patients without symptoms or who have significant medical problems like heart failure or neuromuscular disease. It is also not appropriate for those who have other sleep disorders in addition to the suspected sleep apnea.

Additional Evaluation

While both methods of sleep study help diagnose sleep apnea, they do not provide the location of the obstruction, so additional evaluation of the upper airway is necessary. One way to find the obstruction is through a nasopharyngoscopy, a procedure that introduces a flexible endoscope through the nose and throat to observe the structures that compromise the airflow. An alternative method is a sleep endoscopy, which is similar to a nasopharyngoscopy but is performed under mild sedation.

Treatment Options

Sometimes, lifestyle changes like losing weight, using a special sleep apnea pillow, or changing your sleeping position are all that are required to treat sleep apnea. In more severe cases, however, patients may require medical treatments. The most common device used for treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This device uses a small mask to increase pressure in your airway while you sleep.

At Smith Dentalworks, we use the Vivos System as an alternative to CPAP. This system involves a collaboration between our dental office and a physician to create a custom oral appliance for you. Unlike other sleep apnea treatments, the Vivos System corrects the deficiencies that lead to obstructive sleep apnea and only requires a treatment period of 12 to 24 months.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in Oro Valley

The first step in treating sleep apnea is reaching a diagnosis. At Smith Dentalworks, we partner with Vivos-approved specialists to complete a sleep wellness assessment. Then, our team will work with your doctor to execute your personalized treatment plan. We are dedicated to improving your quality of sleep and overall well-being.

If you are tired of feeling exhausted due to sleep apnea, contact Smith Dentalworks today.

Invisalign vs Braces

Invisalign and braces are the two most popular orthodontic treatments that gradually straighten your teeth. While both options yield impressive results, it is important to consider a few factors to determine which will work best for you. From comfort to convenience, we’ve got it covered. Below is everything you need to know about the debate of Invisalign vs braces.

Oral Hygiene


Cleaning your teeth should be a priority regardless of any orthodontic treatments you may have.

With Invisalign, your oral hygiene routine will not see many changes. Since the retainers are removable, you can continue brushing and flossing as you did previously. 


If you choose braces, your oral hygiene routine may need to be more involved than before. Certain foods can easily get stuck in the metal brackets and wires, so you need to brush your teeth after every meal. You should also consider investing in a water pick for flossing.



Invisalign aligners blow braces away in terms of appearance. The clear trays have a discreet, nearly-invisible look that is especially appealing to adults. Self-conscious teens also appreciate Invisalign because other people can’t notice their treatment.


Many people don’t like the look of traditional braces. While some kids enjoy picking out different colored bands for their braces, other patients think they are bulky and feel self-conscious wearing braces.



While straightening teeth with either device is inevitably going to be uncomfortable, there are fewer mouth and gum problems associated with Invisalign. The trays are made of plastic that is fitted to a patient’s mouth, applying less pressure to the teeth overall. They are also removable, so you can get temporary relief throughout the day when you take them out.


It takes time to get used to braces. They can be uncomfortable and irritating in the early weeks of treatment, as well as each time the orthodontist tightens them. The sharp edges of braces often cut the inner lip and tongue as well.



Invisalign trays can be just as effective as braces if patients comply with the suggested use of time. If you wear the aligners less than 22 hours per day, your treatment plan will take longer to complete. If you follow your orthodontist’s directions, however, you can straighten your teeth in a year.


Braces cannot be removed and therefore are always worn for the length of time recommended by the orthodontist. They are also a good choice for more complex corrections because they use anchors and an archwire rather than plastic to pull teeth into place. They can treat multiple dental and facial issues at once as well, taking an average of two years to work.



Both treatment options have pros and cons in terms of convenience. There are no food restrictions with Invisalign because you are required to take the trays out during eating and drinking, but remembering to take them out and store them properly may be overlooked.


Braces are convenient because they never have to be removed, but not being able to eat certain foods can be a nuisance. 

Invisalign Treatment in Oro Valley

No matter what treatment you choose, the most important part of transforming your smile is the dental profesional you choose. If you are looking for an informative and individualized dental office, we are happy to welcome you to Smith Dentalworks. We strive to make our high-quality Invisalign treatment accessible for all patients.

To learn more about our Invisalign treatments, reach out to our office today.