For dentists interested in understanding the design and features of many of the leading sleep apnea mandibular advancement devices, this is a great resource, courtesy of Sleep Review Magazine. There is no one appliance that will be optimal for every patient. Choosing the best appliance for your patient involves consideration of a number of clinical factors, patient comfort preferences, etc. This guide provides a good analysis with useful comparative data on a number of products from the leading manufacturers.
One of the best ways dentists can impact the overall health and wellness of their patients is to identify those with sleep apnea or at risk for sleep apnea, and provide oral appliance therapy.
A diagnosis of sleep apnea is made by a physician after a patient undergoes a sleep study. CPAP therapy was the first treatment developed for sleep apnea and is often first line treatment prescribed by physicians. CPAP is very effective when patients comply with treatment guidelines. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of patients try CPAP for a short time and discontinue use; many find the equipment to be cumbersome and uncomfortable.
According to the recent joint guidelines for Oral Appliance Therapy published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine sleep apnea patients are more likely to comply with use of mandibular advancement devices than CPAP. Oral appliances to treat sleep apnea have been shown to be effective at improving the AHI (apnea hypopnea index) and reducing symptoms commonly associated with sleep apnea.
Undiagnosed sleep apnea causes the same risk of motor vehicle accidents as driving under the influence of alcohol. This is attributed to the fact that sleep apnea disrupts restorative sleep. This may cause unrefreshing sleep and daytime sleepiness which are very common symptoms of the problem. Sleep apnea doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke; it is a known cause of hypertension over time, and has been shown to increase the risk of cancer. The good news is that oral appliance therapy can be very effective at opening the airway during sleep. The health benefits this confers on patients may go well beyond their oral health.
Only a dentist can provide oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, but these devices are considered medical equipment and are designed to treat a medical condition. Dental insurance does not cover mandibular advancement devices; these are covered by health insurance. With health insurance reimbursement rates for oral appliance therapy ranging from $ 1,800 – $ 4,000, treating sleep apnea is one of the best ways to help patients while building practice revenue.
David Dorn, President of Better Sunrise, helps dentists implement effective sleep apnea programs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. direct (773) 205-7409. www.bettersunrise.com.
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