Oral Appliances: Another Sleep Apnea Treatment Option

Posted by National Sleep Foundation on April 10, 2014

Obstructive sleep apnea affects millions of people in the United States. It not only affects the person with sleep apnea, but it affects their bed partner and family. The consequences of untreated sleep apnea can be serious, including increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

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Topics: dental device for sleep apnea

Ask the Experts: Using Dental Devices for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Posted by National Sleep Foundation on April 3, 2014

The National Sleep Foundation recently spoke with leading sleep dentists, Drs. Larry Lockerman and Don Pantino, to get an inside look at OSA & Dental Devices. Oral appliances are increasingly being used alone or in combination with other therapies to help treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Q. What leads patients to choose a dental appliance? 

Dr. Lockerman: There are many people who cannot use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for a variety of reasons. Once they hear there is a non-surgical alternative to CPAP, they get very excited to find a way to get better quality sleep. 

Dr. Pantino: When other therapies are unsuccessful for whatever reason – perhaps the patient is unable to lose weight or use various breathing masks – an oral appliance provides another option for them. The people I see tend to be patient-referred, physician-referred and now, as we’re getting into a little bit of internet marketing, internet-referred also.

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Topics: dental device for sleep apnea

Dental Devices for Sleep Apnea Are Covered By Insurance

Posted by Laura O'Dea on March 25, 2014

For several years, oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea has been covered by most medical insurance companies, as well as Medicare. However, it is still common to find professionals in the sleep medicine community who are not aware of this coverage. This sometimes results in patients being told that oral appliance therapy is not covered by their insurance.

Dr. Jamison Spencer, board certified dentist in Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain, gives us an overview on oral appliance therapy and insurance coverage.

Cause for Confusion

It doesn’t surprise me that there is still confusion about this issue. So let me start by stating that:

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Topics: dental device for sleep apnea, sleep apnea and insurance

A Young Dad Reviews Using a Dental Device for Sleep Apnea

Posted by Laura O'Dea on March 18, 2014

Michael B. didn't believe he had a sleep disorder. It wasn’t until he felt himself nodding off at a red light while driving in broad daylight that he knew something was wrong. Nearly falling asleep at the wheel that day – knowing his young wife and 1-year old daughter were relying upon him – had sufficiently scared him. He made an appointment for a formal sleep study.

Diagnosis, Surgery and a CPAP Trial Are All Unsuccessful

As happens with most patients when they are initially diagnosed with sleep apnea, the results of Michael’s sleep study painted a clearer picture. Unbeknownst to Michael, his breathing would stop over 100 times an hour, in some cases, for as long as 30 seconds at a time. Despite undergoing a painful surgery to remove his tonsils, his uvula and trim the soft palate at the back of his throat – he didn’t improve much based on his next sleep study. A trial with CPAP also proved unsuccessful because the soft palate, which acted like a natural gasket, had been reduced during his surgery.

“I couldn’t get into a rhythm,” he said. “I couldn’t exhale when the machine blew in and I wasn’t able to rest or sleep.”

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Topics: dental device for sleep apnea

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