Dental Screening

Medical and social history and clinic examination used by Dentist’s can help screen for sleep disorders.


Symptoms related to insomnia:

  • Sleep duration (When the patient goes to sleep and when the patient awakens)
  • Number of awakenings
  • Trouble of failing or staying asleep (number of nights per week)
  • Number of times the patient gets up in the night to go to the bathroom
  • Use of medication or alcohol to fall asleep
  • Use of pain or anxiety-related medication

Symptoms related to sleep-disordered breathing:

  • Snoring
  • Cessation of breathing
  • Choking
  • Awaking gasping for breath
  • Tendency to fall asleep during the daytime
  • History of hypertension and other cardiovascular disorders ( ischemic heart disease, stroke, night sweating, loss of memory, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating)
  • Nocturia/enuresis

Symptoms related to movement disorders:

  • Tooth grinding sounds during sleep (sleep bruxism)
  • Tooth tapping (faciomandibular myoclonus or sleep-related epilepsy)
  • Leg or arm movement during sleep, with or without injuries (periodic limb movement, REM behavior disorder)
  • Body rocking or head banging

Other symptoms:

  • Eating during sleep period (may exacerbate insomnia or sleep-disordered breathing)

Clinical examination

  • Weight, height, and body mass index
  • Neck circumference (at risk if greater than 41cm [women] or 43cm [men])
  • Retrognathia (class II)
  • Deep palate
  • Narrow dental arches
  • Tongue size (macroglossia)
  • Tongue indentations (habit or tic)
  • Adenoids or tonsil size
  • Oropharyngeal size, view through the mouth (Mallampati classification)
  • Nose shape (narrowing) and obstruction
  • Usual body position (supine is a risk factor for respiratory disorders and bruxism)
  • Tooth wear or damage or use of oral splint (bruxism or orofacial pain)
  • Absence of tooth or protrusive mandibular movement (preclude use of oral appliance to treat sleep-disordered breathing)

Apnea and Bruxism

Dentist and Sleep Apnea