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What to expect at a new patient exam

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Chances are if you’ve scheduled an appointment with us, you are doing so at the urging of a disgruntled partner wanting to avoid a sleep divorce due to your loud snoring. Or maybe you are just taking it upon yourself to learn about  ways you can achieve a more restful night’s sleep (and ultimately better health and immunity) as you head into 2021? (And we could all use a healthy boost in the right direction for next year!)

Whatever the case is, our dental sleep experts at Sleep Better Austin are here to help you.  Whether we are looking at the potential for sleep apnea–a common sleep condition affecting an estimated 22 million Americans— or something else that is keeping you up at night, our thorough  new patient consultation and exam will help us pinpoint a diagnosis and get you on the path to a better night’s sleep.

The first step is often conducting a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea. This can be done at an actual sleep lab or through an at-home sleep test. Then, if it’s discovered that you have sleep apnea, the following will happen:

  • You’ll get a prescription for a CPAP machine: a device worn at night to open up the airways and ease breathing via a form-fitted face mask.


  • If you can’t tolerate a CPAP machine (because they can be uncomfortable), you can be seen by our experts at Sleep Better Austin for an oral appliance. Oral appliance therapy uses a small, custom-fitted appliance worn inside your mouth that also positions and opens up your jaws for optimal breathing. These are often more comfortable to sleep with and less cumbersome at nigh,t as well as more convenient for travel.

“Once you come visit us, we’ll start each new patient exam with an in-depth conversation discussing your sleep habits and schedule,” says Sleep Better Austin’s dental sleep expert Dr. Max Kerr. “Then we’ll perform a series of physical exams to evaluate the alignment and function of your teeth, jaws, neck and nasal passageways.”

Dr. Kerr says these tests are nothing to worry about as there’s typically no pain or discomfort, and they are performed conveniently in our office. You should be in and out of the office in 60-90 minutes.

Here are the evaluations you can expect at your new patient exam:

  • Cone Beam CT: providing a 3D image of airways, teeth and jaws (basically an X-ray)
  • George Gauge: using a small tool measures the amount of movement and range of motion of your jaw along with your bite (how your upper and lower jaws fit together)
  • Head and neck exam: physically looking at the teeth, tongue, jaws and head and neck muscles to study how they move and interact with one another

This data will help us decide how to best treat your sleep apnea and eliminate that loud snoring and labored, sporadic breathing keeping you (or your partner) up at night.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment and improving your sleep quality, please contact us to schedule a complimentary appointment with one of our experts in dental sleep medicine.