Our country is sleep-deprived – desperate for restful nights, to awaken easily, and be functional throughout the day without needing a nap. The anxiety and stress of our busy world certainly make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. But those dreams of being rested are even more difficult to achieve when nights are fraught with the tossing, turning, snoring, choking, or gasping for breath of oneself or a bed partner.
Medical research has determined that approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) every night, but over 90% go undiagnosed.
Untreated sleep disorders have been associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, depression, ADHD in children and a host of other problems- and it can be fatal.
CPAP – Traditional Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has continued to be the “gold standard” of treatment for severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. “If a patient is using CPAP and doing well, I want them to stay on it,” says Dr. Rod Willey of the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine. “Unfortunately, many patients simply cannot get used to the masks, or suffer from claustrophobia that causes them to discontinue wearing the mask,” Willey continues. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, “Approximately 60% of CPAP users are still using the CPAP after a few months.” If a patient cannot wear the CPAP, other treatment options include Lifestyle Changes, Surgery, and Oral Appliance Therapy.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral Appliance Therapy has come to the forefront as a very viable, scientifically based treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement in the 2006 Journal SLEEP declaring that Oral Appliance Therapy is an excellent treatment option for those suffering from Mild to Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea and is proving to be effective for severe cases as well. The purpose of the oral appliance is to hold the jaw in a position that allows the airway to remain as open and firm as possible during sleep. Oral appliances are similar to athletic mouth guards but are less bulky. They are completely non – invasive.
Physicians & Dentists Working Together to Treat OSA
At Koala Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders, we have teamed up with physicians and other specialists, cooperating in an important relationship to identify and manage Sleep Disordered Breathing. Patients interested in oral appliance therapy can use the following steps in pursuing treatment:
- Screening for Sleep Apnea – If a patient has not been previously diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea the dentist will screen for sleep apnea using simple questionnaires, health histories, weight, body mass index (BMI) calculations, and neck circumference measurements as well as oral and airway evaluations.
- Home Sleep Test or Overnight Lab Sleep Test – If a patient shows the markers for OSA, the patient will need to obtain a sleep study. Depending on the patient’s health history, the dentist will either offer an at-home sleep test (HST) or an overnight-attended test called polysomnography (PSG). These tests are read by a board certified Sleep Physician who will determine a diagnosis. It is important to know if the patient is considered mild, moderate or severe in order to be able to recommend the proper treatment therapy.
- Fitting the Oral Appliance – If the patient is then a candidate for OAT, the Dentist will take a custom impression and bite in order to have an FDA approved lab fabricate the oral appliance.
- Follow Up Care – Progress is monitored carefully as each patient has a different airway and requires specific titration, which means the appliance is slightly modified according to the patient’s specific bone and teeth structure. When a patient feels that their snoring has stopped and their symptoms have been relieved, a follow up sleep study will be performed with the oral appliance in place. Once maximum medical efficacy is reached, the dentist will see the patient again in six months, and then yearly after that. This gives the dentist the ability to ensure continued treatment success and make modifications to the treatment regimen as needed.
Yes, Oral Appliance Therapy Is Billed to Medical Insurance
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition, and our team of insurance professionals offer years of experience in billing medical insurance and Medicare for Oral Appliance Therapy.
For More Information Contact a Koala Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders near you. Koala Sleep Centers