Since my last column, I have been flooded with inquiries about the process involved to obtain an Oral Sleep Appliance. Sleep Apnea is a medical diagnosis. When a patient cannot tolerate or will not wear their CPAP machine and requests that I fit them for an Oral Sleep Appliance, the following is the sequence of events that transpire:
- Preliminary consultation and screening in my dental office wherein I confirm that the patient is a candidate for an Oral Sleep Appliance.
- Insurance and other pertinent health information is gathered.
- Contact is made with the sleep physician’s office informing them of the CPAP failure condition of the patient, requesting an order to fabricate an Oral Sleep Appliance.
- Patient reports to my office for impressions and a bite registration for the proper positioning for the fabrication of the Oral Sleep Appliance.
- 2-3 weeks after impressions, the patient returns to my office for fitting of the Oral Sleep Appliance and instructions on its use and care.
- The patient is given 2-3 weeks for a trial use period during which any alterations, adjustments, etc. are made if needed. (seldom needed)
- Patient returns to my office with report of wear compliance, general sleep experience including bed partner report. Also report of the patient’s general well-being and diminished daytime sleepiness, if this was a problem in the past.
- Based on symptomatic findings to this point in time, a referral is then made returning the patient to the Sleep Physician’s office.
- The Physician obtains objective information through a follow-up sleep study confirming the effectiveness of the Oral Sleep Appliance.
CPAP users who want a back-up for power outages or travel, camping, etc. follow the same scenario. Medical insurance and Medicare cover most, if not all, costs for the above treatment.