Unlock the secrets to optimal airway health with our guide on choosing between home sleep tests and in-lab polysomnograms for sleep apnea. Discover diagnostic tools and the best testing methods for dentists.


As people have been learning about sleep and airway management, it is important to mention testing. Some frequently asked questions are:

Why do I need a test?

What types of testing are available?

Do I have to go to sleep in a lab?

Why do I need a test?

Airway and sleep directly impact your health, so the next step is to identify the problem. Figuring out what is hurting you is the only way to make sure you can fight it. Testing is how you do that!

What types of testing are available?

What do you think of when you hear sleep apnea or sleep apnea test?

Most people think of what is called a Polysomnogram (PSG) but the first part of the 20th century medical science has produced another way, home sleep studies!

Home sleep studies are as simple as they sound, you test in your home, and a doctor can review the test results with you at a later time. The question really is: What test is right for you?

Home sleep studies are designed to identify and diagnose obstructive sleep apnea only! They can identify the “presence” of what is called “central sleep apnea” but all the test will say is that you need to do a more comprehensive test.

For central sleep apnea, the brain based apnea, it’s very important that you have an in-lab test called a polysomnogram that can be done at a hospital or a private sleep center. This is the test most people imagine when they think about testing for sleep apnea.

This test can detect obstructive sleep apnea as well as central sleep apnea but will require a night at the hospital and being attached to quite a few channels that monitor you throughout the night.

If you suspect that you are at risk for central sleep apnea, then you should talk to your doctor about scheduling an in-lab test. 

On the other hand, if you or your doctor are concerned about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) then you should take the test that you will actually do!

Do I have to sleep in a hospital?

Not necessarily, if you snore or your dentist/doctor thinks you have obstructive sleep apnea because of your symptoms, then you have the option of doing an in-lab test or taking a home sleep test. If you are someone who woke up in Walmart at 2 AM in a bathrobe with only your keys and no memory, then there may be something going on with your mind (True Story) so consider taking a test in a hospital setting.

A home sleep test is usually more comfortable since there are fewer channels. There are typically only three or four channels attached to your body and it can normally be done in the comfort of your own home. 

If you snore or your dentist/doctor has mentioned that they are concerned about your airway health, then you may want to consider a home sleep test. However, you should not pick the easier test, you should pick the right test for you!

To learn more about if a dentist can own and operate a home sleep test click here!

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